Average speed cameras prove success with motorists

By Adele Barry

Most motorists (79%) believe average speed cameras are more effective and play a greater role in road safety than traditional cameras that catch speeding drivers in one location, according to research from the RAC. 

While 70% of those questioned felt traditional speed cameras were effective at getting drivers to slow down at their specific location, 80% said they made little difference beyond where they are sited.

In contrast average speed cameras, which work over longer distances between two or more locations, were thought to be far better at getting drivers to stick to the speed limit with 86% claiming they were very (38%) or reasonably (48%) effective. Only 12% did not believe them to be very effective.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: ‘We know that some drivers can be very cynical about speed cameras, with a significant minority having told us they believe they are more about raising revenue than they are about road safety. Interestingly, these latest findings show there is now a strong acceptance that they are there to help save lives and prevent casualties on the road, although more than a third (36%) claim they are about both road safety and raising revenue.

‘Our research suggests the growing use of average speed cameras in motorway roadworks, and increasingly on sections of A-road, is reinforcing the road safety message as they are extremely effective at slowing down drivers. For instance, on the A9 in Scotland the number of deaths has halved since average speed cameras were introduced between Dunblane and Inverness in October 2014. This type of use of average speed cameras, together with the constant addition of more miles of smart motorways with strictly enforced variable speed limits, may be contributing to a shift in perception in favour of regulated speed enforcement over longer stretches of road.

‘Speed is one of the main contributory factors in many road collisions so measures that effectively reduce speed over greater distances will mean fewer lives are lost or ruined on our roads. And even though drivers accept this, many still have issues with single location cameras as in places other than accident blackspots, they don’t appear to have lasting effect on behaviour.’

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