Figures revealed by the comparison site, GoCompare, have shown that since 2016, the most prolific speed cameras have been predominantly located in Avon and Somerset; the top eight were policed by the Avon and Somerset police force.

The statistics have been obtained as part of a Freedom of Information request sent out to all 45 of Britain’s forces, although only 16 thought it necessary to respond, so how representative these numbers are is debatable. We also don’t know whether the different forces are using different trigger speeds.

However, statistics published one year ago also state that Avon and Somerset issued 95 tickets per 1,000 residents – second only to the City of London, so it would seem that they’re most likely at the top of the list.

148 Tickets

The most prolific camera, located on the M32, caught 22,350 speeders in the first five months of 2018, which equates to just under 150 motorists per day. Whilst Andy Williams from Avon and Somerset Police is insistent that they don’t want to catch speeders, you’d have to consider that even just a £100 fine per offence could typically net over £5,000,000 in speeding fines for the year.

“Speeding can have fatal consequences, it endangers the lives of others. We don’t want to catch speeders, we just want them to obey speed limits” states Andy Williams.

Between 2016 – 2018, a total of 386,969 speeding tickets were issued by the Avon and Somerset police, more than Bedfordshire, West Mercia, South Wales and Cheshire Police. You’d have to wonder just how that number is consistently higher than other forces – are they using lower limits than the rest of the country?

Top ten cameras

From the 16 respondents, these are the top ten cameras, their locations and the amount of tickets issued and when:

Camera Location Number of tickets issued Year
M32 Severn Beach rail line overbridge to end of the M32 southbound 22,350 2018
M4 J19 – 20 westbound 21,009 2016
M4 J20 – 19 eastbound 19,137 2016
M5 J16 – 17 southbound 19,088 2017
M5 J17 – 16 northbound 17,082 2016
M32 Severn Beach rail line overbridge to end of the M32 southbound 12,980 2017
M5 J17 – 16 northbound 12,176 2017
M4 J20 – 19 eastbound 10,833 2017
M1 Bedfordshire 10,339 2016
A1081 Airport Way south-westbound 10,024 2017

Strangely, the M32 camera caught just under 13,000 motorists in 2017, and yet after an increase in penalties, it has already caught more than 22,000 in the first five months of 2018.

Speeding and you

Although speeding offences are generally on the decline, the revamped and increased penalties (from April 2017) could see you being fined as much as £1,000 for an offence on a single or dual carriageway, and as much as £2,500 for a similar offence on a motorway. Regardless of road type, you could also be faced with 6 penalty points and anything up to a ban for serious breach of the speed limit.

Challenging a ticket issued as the result of a safety camera is almost impossible, and contrary to popular belief, minor details being wrong (such as the colour of the car) isn’t a defence that will stand up in court. The only ‘get out’ clause you could possibly use is if the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) hasn’t been issued in time – it should be issued within 14 days of the offence.

With that said, you may not necessarily receive the NIP within that time, but providing it has been sent to the registered keeper, the prosecution will go ahead.

There is never really a defence for speeding, and although police numbers are on the decline, the rise of technology means that prosecutions for driving offences are on the increase – it’s estimated that 1 in 3 motorists are fined every year, and that the police forces are raking in around £25,000,000 each year from fixed penalty notices.

If you feel that a speeding conviction has been unfairly issued, there is still hope – around 1 in 10 speeding fines are cancelled each year, although between 2016 – 17, Greater Manchester Police raised that cancellation figure to almost 28%, a total of 33,893 speeding convictions were withdrawn.

A lecturer in criminology at Liverpool Hope University found that 241,165 fines were scrapped in the same period, and calls for the ‘zero tolerance’ approach have been dismissed as unworkable, thanks to the mistakes being made.

What do you think about the proliferation of safety cameras? Are the authorities too reliant on them? Do you think that some view it as an alternative to policing? Let us know in the comments.

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