THOUSANDS of people were caught speeding along the M27 during roadworks, racking up more than £80,000 in fines.
Figures obtained by The News from a Freedom of Information request show 4,601 motorists were captured by ‘yellow vulture’ cameras exceeding the 50mph average speed limit during a seven-month period of works to the bridge at junction 9 last year.
Out of the 4,601 drivers caught, 1,531 were issued fixed penalty notices.
To date, 1,103 motorists have paid, generating £80,620, which goes to central government.
The other drivers caught but not fined would include unregistered cars – including foreign drivers – and others who could not be clearly identified. Depending on the circumstances, other offenders may have been offered a speed awareness course if they were caught driving less than 55mph.
Executive member for transport at Hampshire County Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, said the figures were proof average speed cameras work as a deterrent.
He said: ‘It has been a success, but a success at keeping the speed down.
‘That is a low number, a tiny per cent considering the millions of journeys made on that stretch of motorway and it is testament to the fact that the speeds were kept low, therefore protecting the workforce.’
The average speed camera zone was set up by police on February 21, 2013, dismantled on December 3 that year and the cameras were actively enforced from April 26 until November 19.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Primarily, the temporary speed limits are for the safety of the workforce and are enforced to ensure all road users are passing through this section of the M27 at a safer speed for their protection.
‘We take the same action as any other speeding penalty — £60 and three points on a driving licence.’
RAC head of external affairs, Pete Williams, said speed cameras are often ‘loathed and revered in equal measure’ and praised the police’s approach on the M27.
He said: ‘It looks like Hampshire Constabulary has taken a reasonable approach to the operation of speed cameras at junction 9, giving a degree of leniency to motorists who only exceeded the limit by a small percentage.
‘Motorists respect the need for reduced speed during periods of roadworks on grounds of safety but inevitably are frustrated when journey times are impacted when there is apparently limited activity.’