Smart Motorway Speed Limit Enforced By New Cameras
Stealth cameras that penalise drivers for exceeding 70mph will soon monitor hundreds of miles of Smart Motorway, the Telegraph reports.
Historically, fixed motorway cameras have helped monitor traffic flow, identify problems such as breakdowns, and – at the most - enforce a lower speed limit to protect road workers. Most speed enforcement has come from mobile camera units and police patrols.
The Smart Motorway network is currently being constructed and this – rather than traditional motorways – will incorporate the new Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System (Hadsec3) which is capable of monitoring several lanes of traffic simultaneously.
The Highways Agency says the purpose of Smart Motorways is to smooth the flow of traffic and reduce congestion. Techniques include increasing capacity by opening the hard shoulder for non emergency use, and varying the speed limit based on the conditions.
Smart Motorway limits will be enforced by cameras that – controversially - are grey rather than the more familiar and easier to see yellow. This has led to the nickname “stealth cameras”.
Furthermore, an Autocar survey suggests the cameras might find rich pickings, as about 95% of motorists admit speeding on the motorway.
Alliance of British Drivers Opposes Speed Cameras
The Alliance of British Drivers opposes the use of speed cameras and its spokesperson, Roger Lawson, said: “The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality”. He added: “What is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses”.
Mr Lawson concluded: “If these cameras are grey rather than yellow they are going to be harder to spot and so will have no impact in slowing traffic down. If there is a good reason for the traffic to be slowed down then the cameras need to be as visible as possible.”
Highways Agency Discusses Stealth Cameras
A Highways Agency spokesperson argued: “These are not stealth cameras” and “these motorways are not about speed limits”. He added that: “they are about smoothing the traffic flows and increasing capacity”, that the cameras will be clearly “signposted”, and that “the onus is on the driver to abide by the speed limit”.
Smart Motorway Camera Positions
The Telegraph confirms that the cameras are already operational on the M25. They will now be installed on 6 stretches of Smart Motorway over the next 2 years including the M1, M3 and M6. The system will then be expanded to cover parts of the M4, M5 and M23.