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Speed cameras catch more motorists
THE number of speed camera tickets has rocketed since 2008, figures obtained by the Oxford Mail show.
Some 33,613 were handed out to motorists last year, compared to 26,285 in 2008, a rise of 28 per cent.
Police said this brought in an estimated £728,760 last year compared to £650,160 in 2008. The cash goes to the Treasury.
Most were caught on Oxford’s Woodstock Road, Eastern Bypass and the A4155 at Shiplake, our figures show.
There were 29,260, 18,139 and 32,290 camera offences in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Debate has raged about the value of the cameras in improving safety on county roads. All 65 were switched off in August 2010 because of Government funding cuts, but were turned back on eight months later.
During that time 18 people were killed in smashes, compared with 12 deaths in the same period the year before, the first rise in four years. Fatal collisions fell from 42 in 2008 to 30, 41, 26 and 28 in the following years. Some 63 died in 2000.
Non-fatal, but serious smashes went from 301 in 2008 to 315, 354, 329 and 279 in subsequent years. This was 453 in 2000.
Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, of Thames Valley Police’s joint roads policing unit, said: “This figure is still too high, each one representing real people needlessly dying and the police’s role is to try and prevent these hideous events occurring.”
Anyone caught speeding is sent a notice of intended prosecution which carries three points and a £100 fine.
Points are waived if drivers attend a course, for those who have not attended one with a participating force in the last three years.
They must also have been caught “at or just above” the 35mph speed limit threshold.
Those driving at 50mph or above go to court, where they can be fined up to £2,500 and given up to six points.
Chf Insp Parsons said: “Where appropriate we offer an educational alternative to prosecution.”
Road safety team leader at Oxfordshire County Council Mandy Rigault said: “We are committed to reducing the number of people killed and injured in road accidents and improving conditions for all road users, including vulnerable groups such as pedestrians and cyclists.
“People observing speed limits can help us to achieve this.
“We urge people to be aware of the speed they are driving at as the higher the speed they are travelling, the less time they have to react to an incident.”
Among those caught last year was plumber Kevin Wallington, who lives in Morrell Avenue, East Oxford.
Mr Wallington, caught doing 30mph in his 20mph street, said: “They are just trying to get revenue off people. They shouldn’t be monitoring a 20mph hill with 10 coppers when they could be catching pickpockets in Oxford or burglars, and keeping law and order.
“They are raking it in like we are some kind of fat cash cow.
“They will be taxing us for breathing fresh air soon.”
He said: “It actually takes your concentration away from the road if you are looking at the speed dial to make sure you are below 20.”
Wheatley taxi driver Peter Horsely said: “In some ways I think it is a revenue generator particularly because sometimes the signs are very small.
“If you’re not from this area and the speed limit suddenly changes you are going to get done.”
But Bampton’s Mark McArthur-Christie, director of policy for motorcycling think-tank Two Wheels Better, said: “Cameras are large tall yellow boxes. If you can’t see them, you shouldn’t be driving.”
He said: “You don’t drive to the limit you drive to the road conditions and the speed limits now change every mile and a half.”
Speeding is “not an issue in the huge majority of crashes” he said.
“Cameras are a superb political invention for local politicians to give the impression they are doing something when in fact they are not actually achieving anything.”
TOP 10 SPEED CAMERA SITES
Woodstock Road, Oxford
Botley Road, Oxford
Eastern Bypass, Oxford
Headington Road, Oxford
Banbury Road by Hernes Crescent, Oxford
Lamborough Hill, Wootton
A4155 at Shiplake
Ardley Road at Middleton Stoney
B4009 at Lewknor
A4074 at Shillingford