A Freedom of Information request made by campaigners has revealed that one speed camera alone generated half a million pounds on the M11 in Essex. The high amount of revenue from a single speed camera has given considerable clout to the argument- made by the campaigners who issued the request- that speed cameras are just another means to milk the motorist. Furthermore figures released by the police show that accidents are up by a quarter on the stretch of road in the last five years.
So why does the camera remain on the road if it is not delivering on its purported objective of reducing the number of accidents? Paul Pearson, who runs the website penaltychargenotice.co.uk, said
“No wonder they haven't removed the camera that is causing these accidents. It is just raising too much money and they clearly want to keep it there.”
The high number of accidents appears to be due to the sudden change in speed limits from 70mph to 50mph without adequate prior warning. The motorway also goes from 3 lanes down to 2. Many argue that the sudden change in speed limit, lane reduction and the speed camera causes drivers to brake suddenly and cause car pile- ups. A spokesman from Essex police stated
“Cameras do not cause collisions, poor driving does.”
The police spokesman’s point is very insightful – and if poor driving is the problem makes you wonder why public policy is obsessed with cutting speeds. But, it is unforgiveable not to acknowledge that dangerous changes in road conditions can increase the likelihood of road accidents. It is only now that the police have introduced speed indicator signs before the camera and camera warning signs. These methods have a proven record of positively affecting drivers’ behaviour and reducing accidents.
Road safety is an issue of great importance and it is paramount that the most effective and fair measures are used to reduce road collisions. With such high levels of fines coming from this camera and an increase in accidents at the camera site this particular speed camera on the M11 is failing on both counts.