Motoring: 20mph zones to be enforced by SPECS cameras
15 Jun 06 16:12
The new generation of digital speed cameras (known as SPECS), which can calculate average speed in a particular area rather than just speed at one set point, is to be used to enforce 20mph zones in residential areas.
Trials are to run in Camden, north London, until March 2007. Local authorities hope that the cameras, besides slowing down traffic, will cut down on people using residential areas as 'rat runs' to avoid congested major routes.
These cameras catch drivers who slow down when they see a camera only to speed up again and instantly transmit the offending car's number plate to a central digital database. They will be sited at entry and exit points to 20mph residential zones and will ultimately replace speed bumps in many areas.
Speed bumps or humps have proved unpopular, with many complaints to councils of damage to cars, increased noise and air pollution caused by repeated acceleration or braking, and the slowing-down of emergency service vehicles.
Supporters of 20mph zones argue that they protect pedestrians and other vulnerable road-users in residential areas, and will make it safer for children to play outdoors. Research has found that when hit by a car travelling at 40mph, 19 out of 20 pedestrians die, but if the car is travelling at 20mph, 19 out of 20 survive.