STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 FRIDAY 22ND MAY 2015
EYES WIDE SHUT FOR UK POLICE FORCES
FOI data from Police Forces reveals that one in four (23%) fixed speed camera sites are not in use1
For drivers on British roads, it can often feel like all eyes are on them - in fact new FOI data obtained by Confused.com reveals there are currently 1,714 fixed speed camera sites in use across the UK.
However, it’s also a case of ‘eyes wide shut’ for many Police Forces, as an FOI request has revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of fixed camera sites are not currently in use1. Despite so many fixed cameras effectively being ‘switched off’, there are still 345 mobile cameras in operation by Police Forces on British roads.
The figures obtained from Police also show that the 1,714 fixed cameras located around the UK caught nearly one million motorists last year (968,715), whereas far fewer mobile units (345) were responsible for catching 774,537 speeding motorists. This means a mobile speed camera will catch nearly three times more speeding offenders than a fixed camera3.
Despite the abundance of speed cameras across the UK, it would seem some drivers are still taking their chances. Already this year (2015) a driver in Avon and Somerset has managed to clock 144mph4– more than twice the national speed limit – whilst a driver in Leicestershire reached the dizzying speed of 142mph5.
However, the majority of drivers who speed aren’t clocking up Formula One level speeds. More than a third of drivers who have been caught speeding (38%) say they were caught travelling at 5-9mph above the limit. One in 10 (10%) said they were caught driving at 15-19mph above the speed limit whilst more than one in 20 (6%) said they were caught racking up 20-29mph over the limit.
Roger Reynolds, the policeman who first introduced the speed camera to the UK 23 years ago today, is sceptical about the way cameras have been implemented. He says:
“Speed cameras have not always proven an effective method of tackling speeding offences. Enforcement agencies have been too strict with minor offenders – 1 in 8 (13%) motorists said they have been sanctioned for driving just 1-4 mph over the limit! - in order to raise revenue and not tough enough with those who really pose a danger on the roads.”
Research conducted by Confused.com to complement the FOI data also reveals that nearly two-thirds of drivers (66%) admit to speeding, with nearly one in five (18%) of those saying they flout the legal limit on a daily basis. And whilst so many say they do break the speed limit, less than a third (31%) say they have actually been caught.
And this may be down to their driving habits. Nearly three in five (58%) believe people increase their velocity once they have passed the dreaded yellow box with two thirds (66%) acknowledging that people slow down when they are approaching speed cameras.
The findings also reveal that more than one in five drivers (21%) have witnessed erratic driving around the cameras – perhaps no surprise with many motorists admitting to changing their speed as they approach and pass cameras. Worryingly, one in 10 (10%) motorists say they have witnessed a near miss as a result of a speed camera, with one in 20 (5%) saying that they have actually had an accident as a direct result of them.
And though nearly a quarter (23%) say that speed cameras don’t affect their driving, nearly three quarters (70%) say that they do actually prevent them from speeding. When it comes to average speed cameras, more than three in five (61%) say they always drive on or below the speed limit when they are in force.
Number of drivers caught by fixed and mobile speed cameras over the past three years
Mobile Speed Cameras
Fixed Speed Cameras
Whilst there was a small drop in those being caught by mobile cameras from 2013 to 2014, overall the number of drivers caught for speeding offences, by both fixed and mobile cameras rose by 9% year on year.2
However, nearly one in three (32%) drivers think speed cameras are a poor deterrent for speeding. Sadly, more than a quarter (28%) believe that cameras are just a way for police to make money.
It would seem that the majority of drivers are fully aware of speed cameras and how they might affect their driving, but some don’t seem to be too sure about whether they need to declare their speeding convictions to their insurer. With nearly a third of drivers (31%) admitting that they have been caught speeding but nearly two-fifths (38%) of these say they haven’t notified their insurer about their speeding conviction.
Gemma Stanbury, head of Motor at Confused.com, says:
“It has been 23 years since the very first speed camera was introduced on British roads and they remain as divisive a subject as ever. And whilst many might point to the fact that nearly a quarter (23%) of fixed speed cameras aren’t in use, people should be keeping to speed limits regardless of whether cameras are there or not.
“A speeding fine can have repercussions, from a fine and points on your licence to a driving ban, not to mention increased insurance premiums. It’s a drivers’ responsibility to tell their insurer whether they have any convictions. Failure to do so could lead to a policy being invalid or the increased premium being backdated.”
Notes to Editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK drivers (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 15th April and 20th April 2015.
Data was provided by 32 of the 44 Police Forces who we submitted the FOI request to. There are currently 1,714 fixed speed camera sites on UK roads and 391 fixed camera sites are not in use. This equates to 22.8%.
In 2013, 1,594,132 people were caught speeding by fixed and mobile speed cameras. In 2014, 1,743,252 people were caught speeding by fixed and mobile speed cameras. This is a difference of 9.35%.
345 Mobile speed cameras have caught 1,740,439 people speeding since 2013 – this equates to 5,045 people caught per camera. The 1,323 (in use) fixed and static cameras have caught 1,959,452 people speeding since 2013 – this equates to 1,481 offences per fixed site. This equates to 3.4 more people caught per mobile camera site compared to fixed camera sites.
Data was provided by Avon and Somerset Police. A driver was caught travelling at 144mph on the M4 Eastbound J20 to J19
Data was provided by Leicestershire Police. A driver was caught travelling 142mph on the A46 Thrussington
Confused.com was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance. Confused.com is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, holiday insurance, pet insurance, small van insurance, motorcycle insurance, breakdown cover and gas and electricity, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance.
Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an, objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.
Confused.com is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. Confused.com is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.