Temporary speed cameras around roads like the M1 and M54 have caught 80,000 speeding motorists over the course of just 18 months, potentially bringing in as much as £4.7m in fines, although the actual figure is likely to be less because of the number of vehicles that cannot be traced by number plate recognition systems, because of successfully contested fines, and because of vehicles setting off cameras despite being permitted to drive faster than the limit.
Critics have said that when the cameras are turned off there was no increase in accident rates, and pointed to the fact that the cameras are officially called temporary safety cameras because they are meant to be used as a means of improving safety and not as a means of raising money by imposing fines on speeding motorists.
However, a representative for the Highways Authority said that a small minority of people do speed through traffic works, and that this causes a potential danger to them, to other road users, and to those that are working at the side of the roads. Others have criticised the fact that the cameras are meant to protect workers, but are still left on even when there are no workers on site, or when work has been temporarily suspended.
Temporary safety cameras are often seen on motorways, and most commonly around roadworks. They are meant to protect the people that are working on the side of the road, and are also used when lanes have been narrowed in order that work can be completed at the side of the road. They are meant to ensure that people drive at reduced speeds, and therefore improve safety levels for all road users and for everybody that is near the road.
However, the recent figures suggest that whether cameras are being used as a means of raising money or not, this is certainly what is happening. The M54 near Wolverhampton saw nearly 14,000 offences over an 18 month period while the M6 Thelwall Viaduct was the other stretch of road that saw more than 10,000 instances during the same year and a half period.