NEW WAR ON THE MOTORIST
OUTCRY: Tracking will lead to more accidents
Monday September 15,2008
By Sarah Westcott
Have your say(14)
THE war on drivers is moving up a gear with a high-tech speed camera that tracks cars for up to six miles.
The long-reach traps will enforce limits over large stretches, including motorways, accident blackspots and some residential areas.
But critics last night claimed the equipment was just another cash cow to swell Government coffers.
Captain Gatso, the campaigns director for Motorists Against Detection, said: “This will not reduce deaths on the roads. It’s all about the money.
“When you are all travelling at the same speed in two or three lanes and something goes wrong, you have got nowhere to go. Driving in a funeral cortege for six miles at 50mph could see you at your own funeral.”
The new device is currently used only on motorways and A-roads during roadworks. It measures the time taken for vehicles to travel between two points and calculates an average speed.
It would replace the Gatso camera, which measures speed over a few metres.
The move comes as Britain’s motorists struggle with the spiralling costs of fuel, car tax and repair bills.
And the AA claimed the cameras could jeopardize safety by causing drivers to tailgate as they adhered to the 70mph limit.
Paul Watters, head of road safety policy cautioned against “wholesale speed enforcement for no reason” across the roads network.
He said that 50 per cent of motorway traffic exceeds the limit of 70 mph – which could mean every other driver receiving a speeding a fine.
Brian Macdowall, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said the new cameras would be even worse than the traditional fixed type for distracting drivers – potentially causing more accidents than they prevented.
He said motorists should be encouraged to drive safely by taking advanced driving courses which would then bring down their car insurance premiums rather than be hit with points and fines.
“Drivers will be staring at their speedometers instead of concentrating on the road ahead,” he said.
“It is even more a case with these cameras because you know you are being clocked at two different points,” he said. “These cameras force drivers to concentrate on speed rather than being in the right gear or in the right position.
“Speed cameras have produced a state of war between drivers and the Government and it will just go on and on.”
The Department for Transport said their use would be decided by road safety partnerships – made up of local authorities, police and highways authorities. The Home Office is understood to be giving approval for the cameras in January.
Last night officials refused to confirm the timing of a new scheme.
Last week, the Daily Express told how a senior police officer called for a review of speed cameras.
Ian Johnston, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said public confidence in the police had been damaged by the constant targeting of motorists.