British police forces have made much use of speed cameras in recent years. However, cameras have been relatively few and far between on the country’s motorways – which are typically the safest roads statistically – and painted a bright shade of yellow – until now, that is. A new breed of digital cameras are set to be rolled out across hitherto unpoliced expanses of motorway in attempt to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit – all as part of the Highways Agency’s roll out of ‘smart’ motorways, which are set up to optimise the flow of traffic.


Motorway speed limits are already lower than in most European countries.

However, unlike current cameras, which have been painted in lurid yellow to provide a visible deterrent to drivers in an attempt to lower speeds around accident hotspots, these new versions are due to be a very hard-to-spot grey, causing some critics to see them as nothing but revenue raising ‘stealth’ devices aimed to catch as many drivers as possible, rather than improving road safety. Studies of UK drivers have discovered that as many as 95 per cent of motorists admit to exceeding the 70mph motorway limit, reports The Telegraph. Despite the tightening up of the 70mph speed limit, the maximum speed on UK motorways is already significantly lower than in many other European countries.

A large proportion of countries in Europe let drivers travel at up to 130kph (80mph) on motorways while many more have a limit of 120kph (74mph). In addition, numerous German autobahns let motorists drive without the spectre of a speed limit at all. Nearly 700 drivers were given fines in just over two months following the introduction of new cameras on the M25 in Kent. Additional cameras were fitted to one of the northern stretches of the M25 before Christmas, while many more are due to be added to some of the UK’s busiest motorways including the M1, M3, M6 and M60 in coming years.

Picture: Brian Jackson

Chris Lloyd


January 15, 2015