IT’S astonishing to think that speed cameras across Oxfordshire have generated a potential £13m in fines over the past five years.

But even though the devices have been around in the Thames Valley since 1992, some drivers still haven’t caught on, because the total number of fines went up 53 per cent last year compared to 2009.

Road safety campaigners argue that the increase is due to the imposition of lower speed limits on the county’s roads.

Mark McArthur Christie says motorists should be able to “drive to the speed that feels right to them and safe for them on a particular road”.

But the accident statistics show that drivers are better off with speed cameras around, even if they don’t like having to pay the fines.

Eighteen people died when the cameras were switched off in a bid to save money in 2010. This compared to 12 deaths over the same period the year before; the first increase in fatalities in four years.

Lots of drivers hate speed cameras, particularly as it is hard to tell which ones are currently operational. But it is hard to argue against them if the head of roads policing is saying they are being used in locations where there are real safety risks.

Speed kills and it’s a natural reaction for drivers to drop their speed when they see a speed camera looming in the distance. Yes, drivers might start to accelerate a few hundred yards down the road, but you could argue that by then the camera has done it’s job.

Drivers who get caught out by the same speed camera twice will be fuming, but they need to learn from their mistakes.