Speed cameras are often sneered at for being more concerned with picking motorists’ pockets than improving the safety of Britain’s roads.
Of course, the reality is that introducing speed cameras at notoriously dangerous hotspots has regularly proved effective in cutting the number of accidents on certain roads.
They do a pretty good job of filling the government’s coffers too, which is perhaps what upsets motorists the most.
Now, a report has revealed that the most lucrative speed cameras in Britain can be raking in more than £500,000 a year.
Top 5 biggest earners
The UK’s biggest-earning speed camera is in Lincolnshire on the A1/Great Ponton Northbound, which collected a jaw-dropping £606,400 in 2015 alone, generating £1,661 every day for the government.
Similarly, a speed camera in Scunthorpe on the M180, west of the River Trent, papped 5,835 vehicles in 2015, generating £583,500 in fines.
The dreaded M25 London Orbital had the third and fourth highest-earning speed cameras in 2015, placed between junction 18 and 17, earning £538,500 for the government, and between junction 5 and Clacket Lane Services (£373,300).
Completing the top five highest-earning speed cameras was the A12 Stratford St Mary Southbound (£305,400).
Research shows that speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents, with the risk of death multiplied around four times when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph, rather than 30mph. Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural A-roads as urban A-roads.
Sgt Mark Lucas of the Metropolitan Police Service said that road crashes cost the economy an estimated £16.3 billion in 2014, due to human costs and the burden on the emergency, health and criminal justice services.
Currently, Britain has some of the safest roads in Europe, second only to Sweden, and for better or worse, it’s wise to assume that is partly down to the effective presence of speed cameras.
What’s your opinion on speed cameras? Invaluable life-savers or robbing nuisance? Tell us down there in the comments.