Over 50,000 speeding drivers caught on smart motorways
An investigation by the BBC's One Show has revealed that the number of motorists fined for speeding on smart motorways has increased by 50,000 over the last five years.
As Motoring Research reports, 52,516 tickets were issued on smart stretches of the M1, M25, M4, M42 and M6 between 2014 and 2015. This is up from the 2,023 tickets issued in 2010-2011, before smart motorways were commonplace.
Smart motorways were introduced with the aim of easing congestion. They use overhead gantries to change speed limits and open and close lanes, including the hard shoulder.
Often, these gantries have average speed cameras that monitor the traffic when lower speed limits are enforced. These cameras are then turned off when the motorway is running at the national speed limit of 70mph.
But the investigation found that it wasn't just the number of speeding tickets that had increased. The research discovered the revenue raised by cameras on smart motorways rose to over £1.1m, up from £150,600 five years ago.
Along one section of the M1, police in Nottinghamshire issued 8,489 speeding tickets last year, amounting to £425,000 in fines. However, in 2010, no fines were issued along this section.
Last year, Bedfordshire's police and crime commissioner, Olly Martins, controversially suggested activating speed cameras on the M1 in order to raise much-needed cash for the force.
Speaking at the time, RAC chief engineer, David Bizley, said: "For many years, RAC research has shown that a majority of motorists regard speed cameras primarily as revenue generators for the police."
Bizley added: "Motorists tell us that they would like to see better enforcement and more roads police officers, but enforcement needs to be prioritised in terms of road safety benefits and not in terms of the value of the revenues generated."
There are currently around 236 miles of smart motorways in the UK.
Do you think smart motorways help to ease congestion?
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