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Abolish Stealth Speed Cameras, Says Labour

By raccars Published

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It's election year and all the parties are doing their best to appeal to voters, including motorists. Labour's latest sally against the ruling Conservative - Liberal Democrats coalition is a promise to abolish 'stealth' speed cameras. Should Labour be elected, it plans to make sure all speed cameras are painted yellow to make them clearly visible to motorists, while the party also claims it will not use speed cameras as a source of revenue.

New speed cameras installed on a stretch of the M25 in Kent have attracted criticism from drivers and motoring groups for their grey colour, which makes them almost invisible and has led to 1,500 penalty fines being issued within three months. The so called 'stealth cameras' are due to be rolled out nationwide over the course of the year, but opponents of the HADECS, or Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera Systems, claim they do not meet current government guidelines relating to speed cameras, which stipulate that they must be clearly visible. The Highways Agency has countered the criticism by claiming that motorways are exempt from these rules.

The cameras are used to enforce variable speed limits on congested motorways and to catch drivers breaking the 70mph limit at other times. Unlike older style cameras, the HADECS digital system can scan four lanes of motorway at a time, rather than one single lane.

Speeding fines are at their highest level in four years, with 115,000 fines of £100 or more issued in 2014, making them a hot topic among voters. Shadow Transport Secretary, Michael Dugher, has confirmed that he would like to pass new regulations, to make sure all speed cameras, including those on motorways, should be clearly visible to motorists by painting them yellow. The opposition party also intends to review claims that speed cameras are being used to earn revenue for local authorities rather than to make roads safer.

Labour is quick to assert that it believes speed cameras can play an important role in road safety, claiming that road deaths and serious injuries have fallen dramatically since the introduction of speed cameras. However, the party points out that they should be used to change driving behaviour rather than to create income.

The amount of traffic on British roads increased by 15% from 1998-2008, but road deaths and serious injuries fell by 44% in the same period, during the last Labour government. However, statistics suggest that this trend is reversing and that Britain's road safety record is getting worse.

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