The days of cruising along the motorway at 80mph could soon become something of the past, as police plan to introduce a “zero tolerance” approach to speeding.
To clamp down on motorway speeders, the Bedfordshire Police, which is responsible for policing the M1 motorway, aims to permanently switch on speed cameras across stretches of the carriageway, which is used by thousands of motorists every day.
If this were to happen, drivers caught travelling over the national limit of 70mph would be forced to pay a £100 fine as well as receiving points on their licence, or could choose to attend a speed awareness course at the cost of £90 instead.
The new approach sounds appealing in terms of preventing motorway accidents but, according to The Telegraph, the controversial plan is intended to raise millions of pounds in revenue for the police.
Olly Martins, police and crime commissioner for the region, said he hoped the scheme would come into action in April next year, generating up to a million pounds for the force.
These controversial proposals have prompted motoring groups to stand up and fight back, since they fear other forces will follow the trend. Co-founder of the Association of British Drivers said the plan “beggared belief” and would lead to revolt on the roads.
He said: “I think this is a dangerous precedent. I am really appalled that a police force should be even considered such an idea. My fear is that if police forces see this working in one area they will quickly adopt a similar approach and soon the whole motorway network will be operating a zero tolerance policy”.
He added: “If the police want us on their side this is hardly the best way to go about it. This is utterly outrageous. Speed cameras are supposed to be there to make the roads safer, but as we now see the real reason is to make money.”
In response, Martins said: “If motorists do not like it then they can always stick to the speed limit.”
Martin said the reasoning behind the scheme is because his force has hit a financial breaking point and fining drivers could help the Bedfordshire Police retain 25 officers.
He added: “If it is a question of reducing the force by 25 officers or introducing this scheme, then I am going to go for this every time.
“It will only affect motorists breaking the law, so people who do not speed have nothing to worry about.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We have total sympathy with cash-strapped constabularies, but no sympathy with forces explicitly setting out to raise money from cameras.
“We support the proportionate use of cameras for safety reasons but this step would fan the fury of millions of sceptical motorists who already suspect that some of them are only there to raise revenue.”
Claire Armstrong, co-founder of Safe Speed, said: “When the attitude of the police is to enforce on the basis of funding their force, then we have lost all sight of road safety.”