New ‘smart’ speed cameras are set to be installed on a Hampshire motorway.
The devices will be rolled out to the M3 after a successful introduction on a section of the M25 in Kent, in which 668 drivers were caught exceeding the speed limit in just two months.
The cameras, the first in the UK to use digital technology for the first time, are painted grey, making them harder to see than the standard yellow.
On the M25, they have been used to catch drivers exceeding variable speed limits as well as the standard 70mph.
Now more of have been installed on a northern stretch of the M25 as plans are finalised to position them on the M3 as well as sections of the M1 and the M6.
The Highways agency say the cameras are part of its plan to expand ‘smart’ motorways and ease the flow of traffic. Other measures include using the hard shoulder as an extra lane at peak periods.
The new devies use front and rear-facing cameras to record speed, and can scan four lanes of traffic simultaneously.
at a time – have been criticised by motoring organisations, who say the move is designed to raise income through fines and is not about road safety.
They also claim that drivers will be penalised for driving only marginally over the speed limit on stretches of the motorway that have previously been unpoliced.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, told The Times: “The law is the law but it needs to be applied consistently. Many constabularies have followed the ACPO guidance.
“If the new approach is one of zero tolerance then it needs to be equally applied across the network and understood by motorists and police forces.”
Studies have shown that as many as 95 per cent of drivers admit to breaking the limit on motorways.
The government had planned to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph before the proposals were shelved by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, in 2013.
The Association of Chief Police Officers recommends that drivers are not charged unless they exceed 79mph in a 70mph zone.
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A Highways Agency spokesperson said:
“Variable speed limits on smart motorways are primarily there to smooth traffic flow, reduce congestion and make journeys more reliable.
“Hundreds of thousands of motorists use this stretch of the M25 every day. The vast majority are sticking to the speed limits and are experiencing better journeys as a result of smart motorways.
“There are clear signs where cameras are in place and the new cameras are more visible than the previous versions.”