Few things spark a sense of panic in a speeding motorist more than the unexpected sight of a fast-approaching speed camera.

Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world and speed cameras have undoubtedly contributed to that, but here’s the twist: only half of them actually work.

Information obtained by the Press Association has revealed that little more than half of Britain’s fixed speed cameras in the UK are switched on.

Speed camera

Figures released by 36 police forces in the UK show that out of 2,838 cameras, just 1,486 – or 52 per cent – are active.

In fact, in Northamptonshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Cleveland, every fixed speed camera is inactive and just for show.

And it’s not a recent thing apparently; Northamptonshire Police admitted its cameras were deactivated in 2011, but the structures were left in place to deter speeding.

UK Motorway

The figures reveal that only six regions had every fixed speed camera switched on: the City of London, the Metropolitan Police/Transport for London, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Northern Ireland.

AA president Edmund King said when it came to snapping speeding motorists, it was “a postcode lottery”.

He explained that many cameras were switched off due to cuts in road safety grants and warned drivers thinking of flouting speed laws to be wary of mobile hidden cameras.

“Best advice is stick to the limits rather than gambling on the yellow boxes,” he told the BBC.

average speed cameras

Lobby group Safe Speed rejected the notion that the mere presence of speed cameras improves road safety, claiming that average speed limit cameras actually have a five per cent negative effect on road safety while Gatso [yellow box cameras] have a 13 per cent negative effect.

Meanwhile, figures show that a police officer on the side of the road will have a 27 per cent benefit, leading Safe Speed to question why policies that have a negative effect on road safety are still being employed.

What’s your view on this news? Will you be tempted to try your luck driving through speed cameras now? Is now the time to do away with fixed speed cameras altogether? Tell us down there in the comments.

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