FOUR new yellow vans operated by Cumbria Safety Cameras have taken to the roads.

They are now capable of catching speeding motorcylists because, unlike the vans they replace, they have both forward and rearward facing cameras.

Until now the vans have been able to photograph only vehicles coming towards them.

Motorcycles do not bear front registration plates, so the previous van cameras could not photograph them.

The new vans are bright yellow with a large speed camera icon on all sides and replace vehicles which have been operating since the initiative started in 2003.

The new vans are also kitted out with the latest Teletraffic Concept digital cameras which record offences on DVDs rather than old-fashioned tape.

The new cameras have better lenses and can capture offences at up to 1,200 metres and provide sharper images with enhanced resolution for easier identification of vehicles and drivers. Now they can also operate at night.

Kevin Tea, communications manger for Cumbria Safety Cameras, said: “One of the drawbacks with the previous vehicles was that they did not have a uniform base colour and while we felt that the branding made them stand out, some motorists felt they looked too similar to other road service vehicles and trade vans.

“By having a uniform bright yellow background with a large speed camera graphic on all sides and which complies with current camera signage legislation, we feel there can be no doubt what this vehicle is for.”

The role of the camera vans is to provide a deterrent to speeding motorists and help reduce the number killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads.

Mr Tea said: “While fatals, particularly among younger drivers, are still at an unacceptably high level, the number of serious casualties are dropping rapidly and road safety professionals in Cumbria are confident that the 2010 target set by the Government will be met.

“However, until all aspects of bad driving, not just inappropriate or excessive speed, are recognised and acted upon by drivers in the county, that level of fatalities and the accompanying grief to family and friends will not go away.”

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