MOTORISTS could be targeted by a new generation of speed cameras when driving through major roadworks across Scotland.

Nicknamed the yellow vultures, the cameras record the average speed of each driver and are said to have helped slow traffic flows and reduce accidents.

Transport Scotland wants the hi-tech cameras used on roads where major work is being carried out. They are currently being used on both sides of the busy M74 at Hamilton, where lanes have been cordoned off to allow for a bridge strengthening upgrade.

The Speed Enforcement Camera System was first introduced over a 29-mile

section of the A77 in Ayrshire following a series of fatal accidents.

SPECS forces motorists to drive at 40mph over distances, unlike conventional cameras which simply record a passing driver's speed.

Transport chiefs are aware most motorists deliberately slow down when approaching a normal speed camera only to put their foot down as soon as they have past it. But drivers have to maintain a slow speed when being monitored by SPECS cameras.

Transport Scotland said the new generation of cameras only costs 15% more than traditional cameras.

A spokeswoman said: "Initial results in terms of accident reductions and traffic flow are encouraging.

"There is also a high level of compliance and we have seen public opinion look favourably on SPECS.

"Based on this, Transport Scotland takes the view that the average speed camera system is beneficial."

Anti-speed camera campaigners claim SPECS makes little or no contribution to road safety.

However, Neil Greig at the AA Motoring Trust said: "I expect SPECS will become standard practice for major roadworks in Scotland."

Amey Scotland, which maintains the motorway network throughout the Glasgow area, today praised the SPECS cameras.

Unit manager Gordon Allan said: "On behalf of Transport Scotland we have used SPECS cameras for the first time in Scotland at roadworks ongoing on the M74.

"The cameras greatly assist in reducing congestion by maintaining speeds."