The speed camera installed on the M11 at Chigwell, otherwise known as Site 050, has been one of the most profitable speed cameras in Britain for some time. The camera is notorious for being the one that clocked ex-MP Chris Huhne speeding, which led to his trying to transfer his points to his wife’s license. The discovery of Huhne’s attempt to avoid losing his license led to him losing his position as an MP. Why, then, is the Chigwell speed camera so profitable, and how successful are speed cameras in the UK?
The Chigwell camera has racked up more than £500,000 in fines since being installed in the early 2000s. Part of its success has been down to being in a zone where drivers have to suddenly change from 70 mph to 50 mph, and the camera has been criticised for catching out drivers, rather than giving them enough time to properly slow down. The impact of the camera can also be compared to the success rate of other cameras around the country for reducing accidents since being set up in the early 1990s.
While deaths on the road are down from 4,229 in 1992, some have questioned whether or not that’s been due to the cameras, or improving car technology and road surfaces. There are cases where cameras are particularly effective at preventing accidents, most notably in West London, where fatalities have fallen over the past decade. However, many of the speed cameras now seen on the roads are only warnings, and will not always record and penalise drivers.
Other potential technologies that could improve speed tracking include cameras with 3G, which can relay important data to each other if a car is passing at a speed that’s difficult to detect. TreadCams, which can be installed in road surfaces, could also measure speed. There are problems, though, with the effectiveness of new speed cameras – digital cameras installed on the M25 last year failed to produce a single ticket for drivers. Similarly, in the West Midlands, the police are having to remove more cameras and replace them with camera vans in order to save money.
More and more cars are now able to either react to, or accurately predict when they might be caught in a speed trap. Systems like Toyota Touch and Go can provide mapping and driver assist read outs that provide information on traffic and speed cameras during your journey. There’s also a wide range of different smartphone apps for working out when a speed camera is going appear – some of these apps include CamerAlert, TomTom Speed Cameras, and the AA’s own version. These devices are technically legal as an assist, rather than something that can be abused by drivers slowing down for cameras.
Any driver that does want to dispute a penalty notice, which is usually issued via a Notice of Intended Prosecution Order or a Section 172 Notice, can pursue a refund or a refusal to pay a fine through the courts. Faults with cameras, and being able to prove that you weren’t speeding at the time of the ticket, can be used. Trying to prevent speeding tickets from happening at all by paying attention to the speed limit, and by using apps to double check when a camera is coming up, is the best option for avoiding this problem, though.
About the Author :
Eva Holmes is a prolific internet blogger who spends most of her time writing about what she knows and loves – cars. Whilst born and raised in Essex, she now lives in Berkshire and can be often seen frequenting the used car dealers in Sandhurst.