Speed camera fines hit four-year high

More than 100 speeding fines are handed out each day across the county.

The Suffolk Police Authority annual report has revealed more than 37,000 tickets were issued to people exceeding the speed limit on the county’s roads in 2009-10.

This marks a rise from last year’s figure of 36,273 tickets, which in itself was an increase of nearly 3,000 on the number of fines handed out in 2007-08. The total in 2009-10 is the highest since 2005-06, when nearly 39,700 tickets were issued.

Michelle Finnerty, communications manager for Suffolk SafeCam, which manages speed cameras on behalf of the police and the county council, said the rise in 2008-09 was in because of Operation Nucleus, an enforcement campaign which ran for three months in 2008 to reduce the number of people involved in road accidents.

“We are always concerned to see an increase in the number of people speeding because the more people speeding, the more likely they are to have or cause an accident,” said Ms Finnerty.

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“But we have to look at these figures along with the actual figures of people being killed or seriously injured on the roads. We have seen an 80% reduction in the number of people killed or injured at safety camera sites since they were brought in.

“We have no vested interest in catching people speeding. It is quite simple – if you don’t want to get caught, then don’t speed.”

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The publication of the latest figures comes after the EADT revealed Suffolk’s speed cameras raked in �1.75million from fixed penalty notices issued in 2008-09, although this goes to central government rather than any local authorities.

But Taxpayers’ Alliance spokeswoman Fiona McEvoy said: “Although speeding fines have been on the increase, this doesn’t seem to be having any real impact on dangerous driving, with a slower rate of decline in road casualties since the introduction of speed cameras.

“Drivers are understandably sceptical of these punitive measures that bring in money for the authorities but don’t seem to prevent traffic accidents.

“Suffolk Police Authority should be wary of using speeding fines as a cash cow and look to examples like that of Swindon, which has scrapped roadside cameras and seen no increase in accidents.”

A fixed penalty notice will usually mean a �60 fine and three points added to a driver’s licence.

But prosecutions for speeding offences are falling in Suffolk, as drivers opt to complete a speed awareness course instead. This still costs the offender �61.30, but it means no points are added to their driving licence.

There are currently six fixed cameras and three mobile cameras operating in Suffolk. Since 2008, there have also been ten designated routes, including the A14, which have a high number of accidents across the whole length of the road rather than any single location. Mobile cameras can be placed anywhere along these routes to encourage drivers to stay within the limit along the whole road.

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