A new type of state-of-the-art speed camera could mean thousands more motorists getting slapped with fines.
The new generation of “smart” cameras was first introduced on a section of the M25 in Kent and within two months of being installed, almost 700 drivers had received penalties.
The devices, which rely on new digital technology, were also put up on London’s orbital motorway just before Christmas and there are already plans to roll them out to stretches of the M1, M3, M6 and M60 over the course of the coming years.
It is the first time that the authorities have specifically introduced cameras to catch those who break the 70mph limit. Previously they have been installed on sections of the motorway where roadworks are taking place and traffic is expected to go more slowly than usual.
The new approach has alarmed motoring groups, who fear fines and penalty points being handed out to drivers who are travelling only slightly over the speed limit.
There are also concerns about the design of the new devices, which are painted grey. Some have said that the housing, which is much more difficult to spot than the distinctive yellow design, will mean many more drivers being caught unawares.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, told The Times: “If the new approach is one of zero tolerance then it needs to be equally applied across the network and understood by motorists and police forces.”
Studies have previously shown that as many as 95 per cent of drivers admit to going faster than they should on the motorway, although proposals to raise the limit to 80mph were shelved by the Transport Secretary in 2013.
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