Drivers support use of long-range speed cameras

Gloucestershire Constabulary recently trialled a camera which can, from up to 1km away, catch drivers who speed, tailgate, use a handheld mobile phone or don't wear a seat belt.

In a survey by the RAC, 59% said they supported the new technology and only 28% were against the camera being used by all UK forces.

A breakdown of the responses shows that far more women than men were in favour (69% vs. 50%). Older female drivers over the age of 65 were the most supportive, with 83% of those surveyed saying they should be introduced everywhere.

The new camera was deployed at 35 different sites along the A417 during November 2018.

Officers detected 1,293 speeding offences, with 10 people driving over 100mph and the worst offender clocked at 126mph. Tailgating, use of a mobile phone, vehicle plate offences and failure to use a seat belt were among the other offences recorded.

The RAC's survey found that seven in 10 motorists (71%) felt a long-range camera would make the country's roads safer while half (50%) believed it would lead to more drivers being caught speeding as many manage to spot traditional, single-location fixed cameras -- or even normal mobile cameras -- in advance and slow down.

Drivers were divided on the issue of whether speed cameras should be visible, however, with 45% saying it is fair to have hidden police speed traps without warnings and 46% saying it was not.

Among the 28% who were against long-range cameras being used more widely, the majority (68%) said they had no deterrent value in contrast to speed camera vans and police officers with handheld cameras which are a more visible deterrent.

Another 44% felt the camera's use was unfair as drivers would not be able to see it in advance, and just over a third (35%) were concerned about privacy issues.

"While speed enforcement can split driver opinion, the findings of our survey show widespread support for the new long lens of the law," commented RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams.

With fewer roads police officers on patrol these days, enforcement of multiple motoring offences via long-range camera could also be seen as a more efficient use of police time, Williams added.