In recent weeks, motorists all around the country have been caught out when driving on the motorway, and are now receiving tough penalty fines for breaking the 70mph speed limit. This is mainly due to the influx of a new design of motorway speed cameras.
The new speed cameras are all part of the “Smart Motorway scheme” which implements a variation of speed limits throughout the day, through the use of variable speed limit signs to help beat congestion and maintain a steady flow of traffic.
These cameras are a lot harder to spot then the standard motorway speed cameras, they are positioned on overhead gantries and are painted grey. Furthermore, though the speed limit on the motorway is set in stone as 70MPH, typically, those who are a few miles an hour over this have had no need to worry; this is mainly because the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) says that “motorway drivers should be given some leeway and only fined or stopped for driving at over 79mph”. Though, we can’t stress enough that this is not a legally binding piece of information, but rather an “unwritten rule”, or piece of etiquette that many of the UK’s police force tends to follow.
Critics have given the new scheme a hard time, and argue that once again that this could just be another scheme used to take advantage of the everyday motorist, they criticize the new cameras hard to spot paint, and argue that on the motorway, a 5mph speed increase is highly unlikely to increase the risk of an accident by an exponential amount.
Paul Watters from the AA also agrees with this, as he says that; “only about 4% of accidents occur on them (motorways)”.
There are of course counter arguments to this, and many people argue that perhaps paying attention to speed limits on the motorway should be a top priority, rather than complaining about being fined for breaking the speed limit, and yes this is true of course; but as Roger Lawson from the Alliance of British Drivers said “These cameras are not painted yellow: they are basically concealed and are set to trigger fines for anyone who breaks the 70mph speed limit.” He therefore raises the question that the implementation of the cameras may not be at all to try and save lives, but to catch thousands upon thousands of motorists off guard. Indeed, Lawson continues to add “If there is a particularly dangerous stretch of road, speed cameras can be useful if people see them and slow down.”
“But that is not the case here because drivers don’t know the cameras are there.”
So I guess it’s up to you to decide, is this yet another scheme to create revenue generation? Or are these implementations made to create safer roads throughout the UK. Truthfully, the answer to this is probably a bit of both; but as long as you are cautious when driving on the Motorway, and always remember not to break the speed limit, you should be just fine.