Before I start this article, I would like to state that speed cameras used for safety reasons, such as those outside schools and in a built-up area are not the issue. Those cameras are not a speeding ticket money spinner.
The police force has made a habit of utilizing mobile speed cameras to capture people on roads where it is easy to creep over the limit, such as at the bottom of steep hills.
A group representing the interests of the UK motoring public called on the British government to provide transparent speeding statistics. The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) cited official figures in questioning the usefulness of deploying thousands of speed cameras nationwide to ticket motorists for creeping a few miles per hour over the designated speed limit.
“So who are the drivers who crash and kill above the speed limit?” ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries asked in a statement.
The ABD then referenced the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain tables that show nine out of ten serious or fatal accidents involved vehicles that were not speeding. Of the remaining 217 fatal accidents in the UK, at least one quarter involved fleeing felons, drivers who were high or stolen vehicles. Some 16 percent of drivers who crashed were drunk. Eight percent were unlicensed or “inexperienced.” The group slammed the government scorekeepers for not digging deeper into the numbers to track how many accidents were caused solely by exceeding the posted limit.
“For decades now there has been a huge campaign by the authorities to convince us that sober, otherwise legal drivers exceeding the speed limit are a major cause of death and injury,” Humphries said. “A huge, well-funded industry with vested interests has built up around that ‘fact’ being true; but clearly this ‘truth’ is very much in doubt.”
The group is calling on the government to release the individual accident reports from the 217 fatal and 1238 serious injury accidents to allow an independent analysis of the data.
In 2016, just under two million speed camera tickets were mailed out in Great Britain. Ticket recipients who had their case adjudicated in the court system saw the potential cost skyrocket last April with the introduction of income-based fines. Ordinary mailed tickets remained £100, but new sentencing guidelines gave judges the discretion to charge up to 75 percent of a driver’s weekly paycheck when accused of traveling just 1 MPH over the posted speed limit, up to a maximum of £2500.
More serious speeding accusations raise the potential fine to 175 percent of weekly income, up to the £2500 cap. The official 2017 figures are yet to be released, but there is a good chance they have issued even more tickets with the introduction of “Smart Motorways”. And we are yet to see the maximum speeding fine issued.
The worry is that rather than tackling the issues that make our roads dangerous, the government and police force are using speeding as a scapegoat to hide fails elsewhere.