Fines from speed cameras have soared
- Speeding offences have trebled since 1997
- Fines now raise over £115 million each year
- Criticism of Government's camera policy
Fixed penalty notices for speeding have almost trebled from 700,000 to over 1.9 million a year since 1997, according to Government statistics.
Along with an increase in the basic speeding fine, this means that speeding tickets are raising over £115 million each year - and that has led to opponents saying that the Government is using the speed camera system as a 'cash cow'.
In 1997, 712,000 people were fined at £40 each, bringing in an estimated £28.5 million. In 2005, that figure had risen to £115.2 million from 1.92 million fines, thanks to an increase in the basic fine from £40 to £60 in 2000, and to a rise in the number of cameras installed.
Cameras have risen in number from a handful in 1997 to over 6000 in England in Wales today, yet road deaths have fallen by only around 7% in the same period.
The Conservative Party's transport spokeswoman, Theresa Villiers, said: 'Enforcing the law should be the overriding motivation behind speed cameras and penalties. They should not be used as a cash cow.
'The Government needs to rethink ways of improving road safety, including cracking down on uninsured drivers.'
However, the Department for Transport defended the revenue gained, saying that the cameras do not raise additional revenue for central government. Instead, the money passes to the safety camera partnerships that operate the cameras.
Others felt there is still an important role for speed cameras. Neil Greig, of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) Motoring Trust, said: 'I don't think enough has been done to convince people of the need for these cameras. When you look at the huge number of people getting caught like this, the message isn't getting through.'
Jools Townsend, head of education at road safety charity Brake, said: 'Research shows that speed cameras reduce casualties on the roads where they are placed.
'If you break the speed limit, you are endangering lives and breaking the law, and therefore it is entirely right that people who speed should be fined.'
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