Smart motorways helping to catch more speeding drivers


The introduction of smart motorways is helping police in the UK to catch an increasing number of speeding motorists, new figures show.

Statistics obtained by the BBC’s The One Show reveal that over 1,000 speeding drivers are being caught every week thanks to the high-tech speed cameras attached to smart motorway signs, which give authorities greater accuracy in detecting speeders than ever before.

Investigators from The One Show asked 12 police forces for information on the number of motorists they caught speeding from 2010 to 2011 and again from 2014 to 2015, after smart roads had become more common.

During the earlier time period, it was found that 2,023 speeding tickets were issued to drivers on the M1, M4, M6, M25 and M42 motorways, but this figure increased dramatically to 52,516 following the wider introduction of smart motorways.

The section of the M1 close to Luton Airport was found to be the place where motorists were most likely to be caught speeding, with 10,489 tickets issued on this smart stretch of road between 2014 and 2015. The part of the M5 that passes through Bristol was the second biggest speeding hotspot, where 9,038 drivers were caught travelling over the speed limit during the 12-month period.

It could be argued that smart motorways are helping to make Britain’s roads safer in the long term as a result, while speeding fines have increased significantly from generating £150,600 for the government in revenue each year in 2010 to bringing in more than £1.1 million today.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport commented: “Smart motorways smooth traffic flow and cut congestion for millions of motorists, with evidence from trials showing they are just as safe as regular motorways.

“Enforcement is a matter for the police and it is clear that speeding costs lives. However, we have been clear for a number of years that speed cameras should not be used to generate revenue.”

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