Number of speeding fines for various sections of smart motorway revealed plus a Government, AA, and legal viewpoint.
Smart motorways explained
In 2014/2015, 1,000 motorists per-week were caught speeding on smart motorways which was far more than before such routes evolved from standard, non-smart, motorways, the BBC reported. 52,516 fell foul on 11 sections throughout England. For comparison, in 2010/2011 – prior to the evolution – 2,023 speeders were penalised.
Smart motorways expand capacity by permitting traffic to use the hard shoulder as a standard, non-emergency, lane. Drivers that breakdown use emergency refuge areas instead. Furthermore, the speed limit varies to ease the flow of traffic. Slowing cars in region “x” provides time for the queue ahead to clear, for example.
The BBC confirmed the number of motorists caught speeding on various sections of smart motorway in England. The M1 Junctions 10 to 13, for example. 10,489 motorists fell foul over both carriageways. The following table incorporates additional findings.
|Motorway||Junctions||Section (both carriageways)||Fines (2014/2015)|
|M25||J16 - 23||M40 - A1||3,240|
|J23 - 24||A1 - Potters Bar||3,466|
|M1||J6a - 10||M25 - Luton S & airport||839|
|J10 - 13||Luton S airport - Bedford, M Keynes||10,489|
|J25 - 28||Nottingham - Mansfield||8,489|
|M6||J4 - 5||M42 / Coventry - Birmingham E||2,718|
|J5 - 8||Birmingham E - M5||36|
|J8 - 10a||M5 - M54||3,916|
|M42||J3a - 7||M40 - M6 (N)||3,039|
|J7 - 9||M6 (N) - M6 Toll||7,246|
|M4||J19 - 20||Bristol - M5||9,038|
The lawyer's perspective
Motoring Lawyer Paul Wright told the BBC: "A cynic might say that it's another way of getting more and more money out of the motorist; over and above what we're paying already. It's an easy way to extract fines from people, because once you're clocked over the limit by the camera it's very difficult to fight against that."
The AA's safety perspective
AA President, Edmund King, is concerned about safety and argued such routes require additional – and longer - refuge areas. He said: "Only a couple of weeks ago, one of our members broke down on a smart motorway. There was a red “X” up (on a gantry to warn drivers about the obstruction) but they still got hit from behind."
The Government's perspective
Despite such concerns, a Department for Transport Spokesperson championed the concept. He explained: "Smart motorways smooth traffic flow and cut congestion for millions of motorists. Evidence from trials shows they are just as safe as regular motorways.”
He continued: "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."