Chief questions speed camera use
A police officer using a speed-gun (generic)
There are now 6,000 speed cameras in the UK
The "undue emphasis on the role of speed cameras" by police could be scrutinised by the new chief constable in charge of road policing.

On his first day in the job, Meredydd Hughes said a wider range of measures should be used to make roads safer.

Money from speeding fines could be better spent on "warning signage and better road engineering", he added.

The South Yorkshire chief constable also suggested motorists should re-take driving tests at regular intervals.

Road conditions had changed in the 30 years since he had taken his test.

But however long ago they had passed, drivers were never asked to prove their competence again, Chief Constable Hughes, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Driving is a privilege - not a right.


I want drivers to be given a fairer crack of the whip in terms of knowing what they should be doing in any one location
Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes

"We have got to up-skill, improve the level of driving in the UK and change the culture."

An automatic number-plate recognition system linking "road policing directly back into mainstream policing" would also "help us deny criminals the use of the road", he added.

Chief Constable Hughes, who has been caught by speed cameras twice himself, told Today more signs, satellite navigation and mobile phone systems should be used to remind motorists of speed limits.

"I want drivers to be given a fairer crack of the whip in terms of knowing what they should be doing in any one location."

Chief Constable Hughes added 10 people were killed on Britain's roads every day.

"We have got to do something about getting those numbers down."

There are now 6,000 speed cameras in the UK - 2,500 of them are mobile.

And the number of camera fines has risen from 200,000 in 1995 to more than two million last year.

'Temporary measure'

But transport researchers have found removing white lines, or narrowing streets have just as much effect in cutting drivers' speed.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, of European road safety and environment scheme Shared Space, told Today there were many "visual and psychological techniques" that would change driver behaviour.

Making roads look narrower by colouring their edges or planting trees on the pavement increases a driver's sense of danger, making them more conscious of oncoming traffic, he added.

Speed cameras were a "temporary measure" that "may have had their day", Mr Hamilton-Baillie said.


(From) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4414370.stm