Speeding fines soar after cameras' comeback

A HUGE rise in the number of drivers caught speeding in Oxfordshire has led to claims that switching off Speed cameras made the county’s roads more dangerous.

Last month, Thames Valley Police switched the cameras back on after an eight-month hiatus, nabbing 5,917 motorists in the first 30 days.

That compares with just 2,286 fines issued last July, the month before the cameras were turned off when Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its share of funding for them.

Campaigners said the figures showed drivers were flouting speed limits when the cameras were off, because they did not think they would get caught.

But Thames Valley Chief Constable Sara Thornton refused to say if she or the force accepted any responsibility for the increase in speeding because of the lack of enforcement.

The camera switch-off last August came after the council withdrew £600,000 in funding after its grant from the Government was cut.

Speed cameras were left on in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, the two other counties served by Thames Valley Police.

The force switched Oxfordshire’s cameras back on on April 1 – with the first motorist being caught at 6.56am.

Police road safety officer Sgt Chris Appleby believed complacency was a factor.

He said: “There was an element that thought they were not going to comply with the law, because they were not going to be caught.

“The figures are an indication there are a lot of people speeding and we know it (speed) is a major factor in people being injured and killed on the roads.

“I’m disappointed the figure is so high.”

But he added: “I think reactivating cameras impacts on safety. More people abide by speed limits and, as a result, people are safer on the roads.”

Corinne Grimley-Evans, of Oxford Pedestrians’ Association said roads had been more dangerous without the deterrent effect of the cameras.

She said: “There’s no doubt about it. It was a very bad idea to turn them off.”

Police will pay for the operation of the cameras, estimated at £800,000 a year, and the council will pay for maintenance of the equipment.

Rodney Rose, the council’s cabinet member for transport, said the authority was not to blame, because while it was responsible for road safety, speed enforcement was a police duty.

Mr Rose said the rise in the number of people fined “emphasises the need to turn them back on”.

“If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact.

“The enforcement of speed limits is a police duty. We had to spend what money we had on our core business.”

As well as the surge in fines, earlier this year it was revealed that the number of deaths rose by 50 per cent, from 12 to 18, during the camera switch-off.

Ms Thornton refused to comment on whether roads were more dangerous during the switch-off period and whether she should take any responsibility.

She said: “The primary purpose of road safety cameras is to reduce death and serious injury on the roads. The number of collisions across Oxfordshire between August 2010 and January 2011, compared to August 2009 to January 2010, reduced from 885 to 867.”

She said camera enforcement “is not the only thing we do. It is part of the strategy”.

Oxford city councillor Nuala Young said the roads had got more dangerous by the day with the cameras off.

She added: “If it had gone on much longer, we would have seen higher accident rates. It was a slippery slope.”

Comments (26)

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9:20am Wed 11 May 11

Kick the pregnant says...

"If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact."

Care to prove that, Mr Rose?
"If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact." Care to prove that, Mr Rose? Kick the pregnant

9:29am Wed 11 May 11

Ms Fingerpaint says...

It goes to show one thing - the general public can't be trusted to stick to the law without someone there to enforce it for them...
It goes to show one thing - the general public can't be trusted to stick to the law without someone there to enforce it for them... Ms Fingerpaint

10:25am Wed 11 May 11

CupHalfFull says...

So more drivers were travelling faster, but the evidence that any lives were lost, or that serious injuries were caused at camera sites, during that period seems sketchy to say the least.
The Police appear to be wriggling on a dilemma -either more people were injured in which case the cameras should not have been switched off and the police failed to protect the public, or they weren't - in which case they should be switched off again.
So more drivers were travelling faster, but the evidence that any lives were lost, or that serious injuries were caused at camera sites, during that period seems sketchy to say the least. The Police appear to be wriggling on a dilemma -either more people were injured in which case the cameras should not have been switched off and the police failed to protect the public, or they weren't - in which case they should be switched off again. CupHalfFull

10:29am Wed 11 May 11

Mark L. says...

I didn't notice any difference in behaviour on my daily commute as to whether the cameras were on or off. Everyone still slowed right down at all the Gatso cameras I passed, even when I knew they were off. I think many motorists were either unaware or disbelieving that they were really switched off.
I didn't notice any difference in behaviour on my daily commute as to whether the cameras were on or off. Everyone still slowed right down at all the Gatso cameras I passed, even when I knew they were off. I think many motorists were either unaware or disbelieving that they were really switched off. Mark L.

10:55am Wed 11 May 11

CupHalfFull says...

Also - what is the evidence from Swindon where cameras have been switched off for longer? This is a genuine question because the evidence might have a bearing on the debate.
Also - what is the evidence from Swindon where cameras have been switched off for longer? This is a genuine question because the evidence might have a bearing on the debate. CupHalfFull

11:59am Wed 11 May 11

Jmark says...

This article says police pay £800,000 a year to run the speed cameras!

How on earth does it cost so much?

The cameras are already there - all they do is take pictures and police put fines in the post! I know the cost of a first class stamp is increasing but this is ridiculous...
This article says police pay £800,000 a year to run the speed cameras! How on earth does it cost so much? The cameras are already there - all they do is take pictures and police put fines in the post! I know the cost of a first class stamp is increasing but this is ridiculous... Jmark

12:14pm Wed 11 May 11

icba1957 says...

Yet more rumour, hearsay and "claims". Where is the proof that turning the cameras off made the roads more dangerous? Was there an increase in accidents or injuries, or not?
The primary cause of accidents is driver error, part of which might be driving too fast for the road conditions. Until we see evidence that there was any increase in accidents, the case remains unproved.
Yet more rumour, hearsay and "claims". Where is the proof that turning the cameras off made the roads more dangerous? Was there an increase in accidents or injuries, or not? The primary cause of accidents is driver error, part of which might be driving too fast for the road conditions. Until we see evidence that there was any increase in accidents, the case remains unproved. icba1957

12:17pm Wed 11 May 11

firstwitney says...

Kick the pregnant wrote:
"If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact."

Care to prove that, Mr Rose?
You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow.
[quote][p][bold]Kick the pregnant[/bold] wrote: "If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact." Care to prove that, Mr Rose?[/p][/quote]You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow. firstwitney

12:56pm Wed 11 May 11

Accelebrate says...

Enforcing an arbitrary limit is a very shortsighted approach to improving road safety, sadly it seems to once again be a lucrative one.
Enforcing an arbitrary limit is a very shortsighted approach to improving road safety, sadly it seems to once again be a lucrative one. Accelebrate

12:59pm Wed 11 May 11

Accelebrate says...

firstwitney wrote:
Kick the pregnant wrote:
"If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact."

Care to prove that, Mr Rose?
You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow.
On that basis our motorways must be bloodbaths...
[quote][p][bold]firstwitney[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kick the pregnant[/bold] wrote: "If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact." Care to prove that, Mr Rose?[/p][/quote]You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow.[/p][/quote]On that basis our motorways must be bloodbaths... Accelebrate

1:20pm Wed 11 May 11

Oflife says...

This is total BS! The councils are entrapping people for some extra money. Thankfully, the government have realised this and yesterday announced they will be asking the police to focus in BAD drivers. Speeding drivers are NOT bad drivers. My Grandma never left second gear and was a danger due to the way she hogged the centre of the road (she learned to drive when horses were still used on the roads.) Others I know are confident capable drivers, who have never had an accident, yet drive pretty fast. The cameras are for the normal socialist jobsworths to make a money grab from hard working people. Meanwhile, dangerous drivers continue to plague our motorways by cutting people up.

(Entrapment is implementing speed limits that are so low, people accidentally break them because their cars are not designed to crawl along in second gear. Note also that driving very slowly uses up a lot of fuel. The optimum driving speed is 55mph, hence such a limit was introduced into the USA in the 1970s during the oil crisis.)

The only cameras that are justified are those at red lights - there is NO excuse to drive through a red light.
This is total BS! The councils are entrapping people for some extra money. Thankfully, the government have realised this and yesterday announced they will be asking the police to focus in BAD drivers. Speeding drivers are NOT bad drivers. My Grandma never left second gear and was a danger due to the way she hogged the centre of the road (she learned to drive when horses were still used on the roads.) Others I know are confident capable drivers, who have never had an accident, yet drive pretty fast. The cameras are for the normal socialist jobsworths to make a money grab from hard working people. Meanwhile, dangerous drivers continue to plague our motorways by cutting people up. (Entrapment is implementing speed limits that are so low, people accidentally break them because their cars are not designed to crawl along in second gear. Note also that driving very slowly uses up a lot of fuel. The optimum driving speed is 55mph, hence such a limit was introduced into the USA in the 1970s during the oil crisis.) The only cameras that are justified are those at red lights - there is NO excuse to drive through a red light. Oflife

1:54pm Wed 11 May 11

Kick the pregnant says...

firstwitney wrote:
Kick the pregnant wrote: "If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact." Care to prove that, Mr Rose?
You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow.
You must be the brains of the operation...
[quote][p][bold]firstwitney[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kick the pregnant[/bold] wrote: "If they slow people down, it has to have a safety impact." Care to prove that, Mr Rose?[/p][/quote]You might as well ask for proof that the sun will rise tomorrow.[/p][/quote]You must be the brains of the operation... Kick the pregnant

2:27pm Wed 11 May 11

Lord Peter Mcvey says...

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
1061808/Speeding-dri
vers-cause-3-car-acc
idents-figures-revea
l.html.


Police road safety officer Sgt Chris Appleby believed complacency was a factor.

He said: “There was an element that thought they were not going to comply with the law, because they were not going to be caught.

“The figures are an indication there are a lot of people speeding and we know it (speed) is a major factor in people being injured and killed on the roads.

By lying to us Chris, you just lost your argument, as the newspaper article (link above) shows. Unless of course you really DO believe that 3% is a MAJOR proportion.
http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 1061808/Speeding-dri vers-cause-3-car-acc idents-figures-revea l.html. Police road safety officer Sgt Chris Appleby believed complacency was a factor. He said: “There was an element that thought they were not going to comply with the law, because they were not going to be caught. “The figures are an indication there are a lot of people speeding and we know it (speed) is a major factor in people being injured and killed on the roads. By lying to us Chris, you just lost your argument, as the newspaper article (link above) shows. Unless of course you really DO believe that 3% is a MAJOR proportion. Lord Peter Mcvey

3:22pm Wed 11 May 11

FarmerG says...

CupHalfFull has it exactly. We need a simple comparison of deaths and injuries on the roads in the months prior to the switch off compared to the number that occurred during the switch off. Is there something politically incorrect about supplying this information?
CupHalfFull has it exactly. We need a simple comparison of deaths and injuries on the roads in the months prior to the switch off compared to the number that occurred during the switch off. Is there something politically incorrect about supplying this information? FarmerG

4:39pm Wed 11 May 11

Ms Fingerpaint says...

I don't see what people are getting so uppity about. The law's the law, whether it's a law telling you how fast you're allowed to drive, or that one that says you're not allowed to kill someone or nick their stuff - it's still the law of this land. Therefore, if you break the law, expect to be duly punished for it. Speed cameras allow offenders to be punished, whilst leaving the embattled policemen and women free to catch thieves and murderers.
I don't see what people are getting so uppity about. The law's the law, whether it's a law telling you how fast you're allowed to drive, or that one that says you're not allowed to kill someone or nick their stuff - it's still the law of this land. Therefore, if you break the law, expect to be duly punished for it. Speed cameras allow offenders to be punished, whilst leaving the embattled policemen and women free to catch thieves and murderers. Ms Fingerpaint

5:22pm Wed 11 May 11

zarney says...

To be honest I dont mind the cameras being on, if you speed then dont be surprised if you get a fine. If it raises money for the councils or police then surely thats good is it not, seeing there are so many cuts to everything. If it stay in the oxfordshire area and is spent there that is.
To be honest I dont mind the cameras being on, if you speed then dont be surprised if you get a fine. If it raises money for the councils or police then surely thats good is it not, seeing there are so many cuts to everything. If it stay in the oxfordshire area and is spent there that is. zarney

6:18pm Wed 11 May 11

Diddy OX says...

Nationwide 6% of all accidents are a consequence of speed I wonder what causes the other 94%!
Nationwide 6% of all accidents are a consequence of speed I wonder what causes the other 94%! Diddy OX

6:58pm Wed 11 May 11

Lord Palmerstone says...

"The law's the law, whether it's a law telling you how fast you're allowed to drive, or that one that says you're not allowed to kill someone or nick their stuff - it's still the law of this land."
True, of course, but nearly all of the roads on our island are now restricted to 50 mph or less. I don't think the law of theft or murder has changed since, for example 1971. Clerks live boring lives and their wives/husbands treat them with contempt. The only way they can feel masculine or feminine is by constantly imposing more controls on others.
"The law's the law, whether it's a law telling you how fast you're allowed to drive, or that one that says you're not allowed to kill someone or nick their stuff - it's still the law of this land." True, of course, but nearly all of the roads on our island are now restricted to 50 mph or less. I don't think the law of theft or murder has changed since, for example 1971. Clerks live boring lives and their wives/husbands treat them with contempt. The only way they can feel masculine or feminine is by constantly imposing more controls on others. Lord Palmerstone

8:30pm Wed 11 May 11

Alfie Nokes says...

"The law's the law" -
1. "bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny" (Edmund Burke).
2. All Statutes and Acts of Parliament from Parliament are only given the 'force of law' by the individual consent of the governed. They are not the law of the land. Parliaments do not make laws. "The law of the land" (English Common Law) is not the same as the civil law which is all commerce based (in the concept of bilateral contract), although commonly thought of as "the same thing", it most certainly isn't.
3. If you are an English male over the age 14, have you been carrying out two or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy as "the law" demands you do?
"The law's the law" - 1. "bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny" (Edmund Burke). 2. All Statutes and Acts of Parliament from Parliament are only given the 'force of law' by the individual consent of the governed. They are not the law of the land. Parliaments do not make laws. "The law of the land" (English Common Law) is not the same as the civil law which is all commerce based (in the concept of bilateral contract), although commonly thought of as "the same thing", it most certainly isn't. 3. If you are an English male over the age 14, have you been carrying out two or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy as "the law" demands you do? Alfie Nokes

12:06am Thu 12 May 11

Fantomas says...

You’ve just started to drive through a green light when all of a sudden some one runs a red light and cuts you up…
You are driving round a roundabout when another driver merges from the left and forces you to break...
Angry?
Well if you think that exceeding the speed limit is acceptable and being fined for doing that is a disgrace you have absolutely no right to be so.
Whether you think the speed limit is right or wrong is not relevant. There are rules governing the safe use of the highways and we can abide to them or let anarchy reign.
If you can’t play the game or are incapable of operating your car safely then hand in your licence and ride a bike.
You’ve just started to drive through a green light when all of a sudden some one runs a red light and cuts you up… You are driving round a roundabout when another driver merges from the left and forces you to break... Angry? Well if you think that exceeding the speed limit is acceptable and being fined for doing that is a disgrace you have absolutely no right to be so. Whether you think the speed limit is right or wrong is not relevant. There are rules governing the safe use of the highways and we can abide to them or let anarchy reign. If you can’t play the game or are incapable of operating your car safely then hand in your licence and ride a bike. Fantomas

12:46am Thu 12 May 11

Alfie Nokes says...

Fantomas I'm not sure whether your comment is directed at anyone or everyone, mine was obviously in response to Ms Fingerpaint's innocent (but wrong) statement that "he law's the law" and Lord P's agreement that is it (when it isn't). I can let one innocent but wrong comment go by but not the affirmation (even if done in innocence).
If you are saying "the rules are the rules" - did you do your weekly archery practice or are some rules so obviously out of date that one can pay no attention to them? Are the 'rules' beyond being questioned? Obviously not if you have to admit to not doing your archery practice, isn't that what the majority of commenters here are doing?
Fantomas I'm not sure whether your comment is directed at anyone or everyone, mine was obviously in response to Ms Fingerpaint's innocent (but wrong) statement that "[t]he law's the law" and Lord P's agreement that is it (when it isn't). I can let one innocent but wrong comment go by but not the affirmation (even if done in innocence). If you are saying "the rules are the rules" - did you do your weekly archery practice or are some rules so obviously out of date that one can pay no attention to them? Are the 'rules' beyond being questioned? Obviously not if you have to admit to not doing your archery practice, isn't that what the majority of commenters here are doing? Alfie Nokes

7:30am Thu 12 May 11

Lord Palmerstone says...

Fantomas-the rule of the road at roundabouts and traffic lights has not changed since they were invented. After a brief experiment with realistic speed limits, between the 1930's if memory serves, and the Oil Crisis in 1971 they have arbitrarily been continually reduced at the behest of the anti motoring squad, and this reached its nadir during the period the country was without a coherent government 1997-2010, but sadly this government has not taken a sensible look at the situation. The private car may not have much future, but without a public transport alternative we better start re-opening village shops and schools.
Fantomas-the rule of the road at roundabouts and traffic lights has not changed since they were invented. After a brief experiment with realistic speed limits, between the 1930's if memory serves, and the Oil Crisis in 1971 they have arbitrarily been continually reduced at the behest of the anti motoring squad, and this reached its nadir during the period the country was without a coherent government 1997-2010, but sadly this government has not taken a sensible look at the situation. The private car may not have much future, but without a public transport alternative we better start re-opening village shops and schools. Lord Palmerstone

10:39pm Thu 12 May 11

Fantomas says...

@Alfie
Why do you persist in offering this non sequitur argument about out dated archery practice laws?
It bears as little relevance to the laws of the road than it does to the law which prevent me from going to your house and robbing it.
Driving is a privilege not a ‘uman rite’. No one is forcing you to drive but when you do, play the game like everyone else. Club membership, club rules.

@Lord P again I reiterate; the rights and wrongs of the UK speed limits are a different issue to that of drivers’ obligations under the law. If in the future some enlightened soul decides to shake up the limits then so be it, (even then some people are incapable of self-regulation and will still go faster.)
@Alfie Why do you persist in offering this non sequitur argument about out dated archery practice laws? It bears as little relevance to the laws of the road than it does to the law which prevent me from going to your house and robbing it. Driving is a privilege not a ‘uman rite’. No one is forcing you to drive but when you do, play the game like everyone else. Club membership, club rules. @Lord P again I reiterate; the rights and wrongs of the UK speed limits are a different issue to that of drivers’ obligations under the law. If in the future some enlightened soul decides to shake up the limits then so be it, (even then some people are incapable of self-regulation and will still go faster.) Fantomas

5:52am Fri 13 May 11

Alfie Nokes says...

@Fantomas I persist when people say things like "the law is the law" and "rules are rules" attempting to bring those who dare question them to heel.
It shows that if one can utterly negate a law that still stands, no matter how outdated, one can certainly question acts, statutes and other instruments of parliament that appear to badly drawn.
Re 'the priviledge' - I do not drive and likely never will so apart from making sure people don't dumbly conflate laws, acts, statutes and rules to stiffle debate, I wasn't putting my oar in, but you have drawn me.
In that privilege you accept, you are in fact, being conned into accepting that you are acting commercially and are then insane enough to sign away the rights to your property, but that lunacy is another legal/lawful argument and your problem, not mine.
@Fantomas I persist when people say things like "the law is the law" and "rules are rules" attempting to bring those who dare question them to heel. It shows that if one can utterly negate a law that still stands, no matter how outdated, one can certainly question acts, statutes and other instruments of parliament that appear to badly drawn. Re 'the priviledge' - I do not drive and likely never will so apart from making sure people don't dumbly conflate laws, acts, statutes and rules to stiffle debate, I wasn't putting my oar in, but you have drawn me. In that privilege you accept, you are in fact, being conned into accepting that you are acting commercially and are then insane enough to sign away the rights to your property, but that lunacy is another legal/lawful argument and your problem, not mine. Alfie Nokes

6:29am Fri 13 May 11

Alfie Nokes says...

@Fantomas I have tried in vain to find "the laws of the road" perhaps you could enlighten me by quoting those laws. I only know which Acts of Parliament that might be what you are referring to.
There is no law that prevents you from coming to my house and robbing me, under English law, theft was written into a statutory offence in the Theft Act 1968, which would only apply if you were dishonestly appropriating property belonging to me with the intention of permanently depriving me of it, if of course you were using deception to achieve you goal, the Theft Act of 1978 would be more applicable.
Obviously nothing "prevents" anything, even if there were such a law, it would only give remedy after the situation.
You don't have to stop conflating laws, acts, statues and rules but it could make your arguments actually meaningful.
@Fantomas I have tried in vain to find "the laws of the road" perhaps you could enlighten me by quoting those laws. I only know which Acts of Parliament that might be what you are referring to. There is no law that prevents you from coming to my house and robbing me, under English law, theft was written into a statutory offence in the Theft Act 1968, which would only apply if you were dishonestly appropriating property belonging to me with the intention of permanently depriving me of it, if of course you were using deception to achieve you goal, the Theft Act of 1978 would be more applicable. Obviously nothing "prevents" anything, even if there were such a law, it would only give remedy after the situation. You don't have to stop conflating laws, acts, statues and rules but it could make your arguments actually meaningful. Alfie Nokes

2:58pm Sun 15 May 11

Fantomas says...

@ Alfie
1. Google is your friend. I searched for 'laws of the road uk' and it returned 110000000 results in under a second.

2. I'm not going to go into a debate about theft acts, as I pointed out in my other post it bears no relevence to driving responsibly.

3. Back to speeding, I am not qualifed to question why a speed limit has been imposed on a given section of road, My own instinct is to obey it especially if I am unfamiliar with that section.

4. In accepting the privilege to drive I am accepting responsibilty for my actions.

5. My license is clean and I've never been fined. Funny that...
@ Alfie 1. Google is your friend. I searched for 'laws of the road uk' and it returned 110000000 results in under a second. 2. I'm not going to go into a debate about theft acts, as I pointed out in my other post it bears no relevence to driving responsibly. 3. Back to speeding, I am not qualifed to question why a speed limit has been imposed on a given section of road, My own instinct is to obey it especially if I am unfamiliar with that section. 4. In accepting the privilege to drive I am accepting responsibilty for my actions. 5. My license is clean and I've never been fined. Funny that... Fantomas

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