Keeping you on the road
For some people, speed cameras are a thorny issue at the best of times, but the new speed cameras on the M25 in Kent have been particularly unpopular. Why? Well, unlike their bright yellow, easy-to-spot counterparts, these new cameras are grey, sleek and hard to spot.
The new colour seems to be working too, with over 1,500 people caught speeding in just three months, causing the Daily Mail to warn people to ‘watch out for stealth cameras’.
The new cameras, called Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Cameras, or HADECS for short, can also cover all three motorway lanes with a single camera, giving them a slim-line and sleek look. This, combined with the muted grey colour, makes them much less obvious than the multi-camera average speed systems we are all familiar with.
The new cameras are part of the variable speed control system on the M25, one of the new so-called Smart Motorways aimed at easing congestion. Just half of those caught had exceeded the normal motorway maximum speed limit of 70mph, with the rest caught exceeding the temporary variable limits of 40, 50 or 60mph in force at the time.
We don’t yet have enough data to say whether the new M25 cameras are effective, but speed cameras have certainly proved their worth elsewhere.
New speed cameras introduced on the M4 near Port Talbot hit the headlines recently by catching over 500 speeding motorists in their first five days, but speeds have since shown a definite decline. Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership spokesman, Chris Hume, said that there had been a “clear reduction in the number of people exceeding the speed limit”. The hope is that a clear reduction in accidents, injuries and fatalities will follow.
Elsewhere, speed cameras on the notorious A9, between Dunblane and Inverness, reduced the number of speeding offences recorded in a three month period from 2,493 in 2013 to just 298 in 2014. The number of drivers exceeding the limit by more than 10mph on the same stretch also fell by 97%.
Speed cameras are here to stay so we may as well get used to them. They are in place for our safety after all. The one and only sure-fire way to not get caught by speed cameras, whatever colour or style they are, is to stay within the speed limit.
Not only will this make you a safer driver, and significantly reduce the risk of you being involved in an accident, but it will also pay handsome dividends in fuel economy. Driving at 80mph uses 10% more fuel than driving at 70mph, yet will only gain you a few minutes on most journeys.