SPECS Average Speed Cameras – not working or just very effective?

Police in Northern Ireland have revealed that following the installation of 32 SPECS cameras on the busy A2 Belfast to Bangor road in May, only ONE motorist has been caught speeding.

SPECS speed cameras work by measuring the average speed of a vehicle over a stretch of road, avoiding the phenomenon known as ‘camera surfing’ where speeding motorists slow down for conventional speed cameras and immediately speed up again once they’re passed the camera.

The BBC reports Peter Weir, the Northern Ireland Assembly member for North Down, as saying: “It will lead to suspicions that the cameras have not been operating properly or that drivers are finding a way of evading detection. There is a key challenge to the police on this issue, and they must come forward with immediate confirmation that the cameras have been fully and properly operating.”

There is another possible reason for the low level of detection that Peter Weir seems not to have considered. Maybe the local motorists have taken notice of the 32 bright yellow cameras along a short stretch of road and have actually cut their speed, which was surely the intention of installing the cameras to start with. If the cameras weren’t installed as a deterrent, and one which is apparently working, then why were they installed?

A spokesman for the Police is quoted as saying: “The success of the scheme is measured solely in the reduction of speed and casualties.”

The only other SPECS speed camera site in Northern Ireland is on the A1 outside Newry, where just 77 speeding motorists have been caught in the 2 years of operation. As the main route between Belfast and Dublin it is perhaps only to be expected that the A1 would have a higher level of non-compliance than the A2.

The first SPECS cameras in the UK were introduced in Nottingham in 2000 and immediately proved to be highly effective in lowering average vehicle speeds – so much so that they produced a much lower revenue for the local council than had been anticipated.

A major installation of SPECS cameras is estimated to cost around £2 million.

Posted under Speeding, Tolls, Charges & Fines

Posted by Alec at 12:48 pm, July 21, 2008

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