Speed cameras ban a million drivers

Thursday, 9th March 2006, 10:17
LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - Almost a million motorists are on the brink of a driving ban because of the speed camera scourge, a survey warns today.

They are just one conviction away from losing their licence, with many facing the sack if they are unable to drive.

Convictions for speeding have risen dramatically in the past five years, and the number of drivers with three points on their licence has gone up by seven per cent in the last two years alone.

The YouGov survey of 2,430 adults found 16 per cent of all motorists hold penalty points on their licence and of these three per cent are currently three points away from losing their licence and 14 per cent are six points away from losing it.

There are 33,809,493 motorists in the UK so an estimated 919,618 are one conviction away from a driving ban.

According to the findings, six per cent of motorists in the past 12 months have paid out an average speeding fine of 60.

More than one in seven (14 per cent) of the motorists with nine points on their licence would lose their jobs if it was taken away, a total of over 125,000 people across the country.

Despite speed cameras being launched just 13 years ago, 92 per cent of those receiving motoring convictions in the last two years are for speeding and fines can be as much as 2,500 for a first offence.

Within the past year motorists have paid out more than 121 million in speeding tickets, according to the research by insurance firm Direct Line.

But motorists are cynical about the rise in speed cameras, and their subsequent fines.

Six in ten (61 per cent) believe they are revenue raisers, and one in ten (eleven per cent) think they are there to pay for the bonuses of local authority workers.

Overall, 4.8 million (16 per cent) drivers now have penalty points on their licence, but despite the risk in getting caught by cameras motorists say they are failing to deter them.

More than half claim speed limits (56 per cent), cameras (57 per cent) and fines (74 per cent) have no impact on their speedometer.

And in addition to knowingly flouting the law, many have no idea what the speed limits actually are.

The research reveals despite 93 per cent of motorists claiming they have a sound knowledge of speed limits, in reality just half are able to correctly identify the limit on a dual carriageway (70mph).

Motor spokeswoman of Direct Line Emma Holyer said: "Despite the growing number of speed cameras in the UK and the increase in motorists receiving penalty points our research shows that drivers are still speeding.

"Although the Government is currently reviewing speed cameras as part of the Road Safety Bill, drivers need to take notice of the speed limits and cameras regardless of whether they agree with them or not as they could lose their licence if they choose to ignore them.

"Speed cameras exist because speeding is one of the biggest dangers on UK roads with one in three road deaths attributed to it so motorists do need to keep their speed down and be aware of the limits."

Speed cameras were first introduced in London in 1992, and there are now more than 6,000 fixed and mobile speed camera sites across Great Britain.

In 2003/04 speeding fines generated 112 million. Of that, 92 million was ploughed back into installing and operating the cameras.

The Road Safety Bill may bring in graduated fixed penalties for speeding, whereby higher levels of points would be awarded to those exceeding the speed limit by a wide margin.

The lower level of two points and a smaller fine would go to motorists just over the speed limit.

The aim of the Road Safety Bill is to improve road safety measures and reduce casualties on the roads.

First reading of the bill occurred on 11 January 2006. The Road Safety Bill is due to have its second hearing in the House of Commons

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