British motorists are sceptical about whether speed cameras really help to ensure compliance with the law and improve road safety.
A survey carried out by Ipsos MORI for the RAC Foundation has found that, while people generally support enforcement cameras in principle, 83% doubt the effectiveness of speed cameras because they think drivers only slow down when they pass a camera and then put their foot down again.
There is also a widely held belief that the cameras are there to raise money, with 57% seeing them as revenue generators, and half believe they do not effectively discourage drivers from offending.
More than half (53%) of the 2,203 adults surveyed say there is now a speed camera within ten minutes' drive of their homes, with Londoners most likely to say there is one close by.
However, despite concerns about the effectiveness of speed cameras, the survey reveals that there is support for automated road traffic enforcement if it is used for the right reasons.
Seven in ten people back the use of fixed or mobile speed cameras, average speed cameras, bus lane cameras, red light cameras and box junction cameras if this leads to a decline in death and injury on the roads. Almost as many (66%) said they support the use of enforcement technology if it frees up more time for police to deal with other offences.
Public confidence in automated enforcement could be increased through greater transparency, according to the RAC Foundation.
More than half (56%) of people believe there would be greater confidence in automated enforcement if there was data published about it, while 54% thought an annual review should be published to increase acceptability.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, commented: "This survey reveals that we are broadly tolerant of living in a surveillance society with two thirds of those questioned agreeing that camera-based monitoring is more of a force for good in society than for bad.
"But when it comes to monitoring of behaviour on the roads we continue to have a complex relationship with cameras.
"There remains a suspicion amongst many that the rationale for some cameras is to raise revenue rather than cut congestion or make our roads safer.
"We believe the best way to tackle the scepticism about camera deployment is to ensure the data relating to their use is captured comprehensively and published openly so that the relevant authorities, and motorists themselves, can be informed by having the facts speak for themselves."
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