Cameras do not catch the real offenders

I WAS amazed to read the report (The Hunts Post, July 9) in which Cambridgeshire Police and the Highways Agency were reported as saying the average speed cameras on the A14 have made a real difference , Really? This is not the results of my, admittedly n

I WAS amazed to read the report (The Hunts Post, July 9) in which Cambridgeshire Police and the Highways Agency were reported as saying the average speed cameras on the A14 "have made a real difference",

Really? This is not the results of my, admittedly non-scientific, observations, as a regular user of the road. My observations are that the average speed cameras are completely ineffective and a waste of money, because they are set to record vehicles which exceed the average speed of 70mph. While there are a great number of vehicles which do exceed 70mph and then suddenly reduce their speed for a distance - causing much of the stop/start motoring - there are a great many other road users who exceed the speed limit for their particular class of vehicle on a dual carriageway. They will never be recorded as speeding because they do not exceed 70mph.

These include cars and any other vehicle towing a trailer, which are restricted to 60mph on a dual carriageway; light goods vehicles (up to 7.5tonnes) which are restricted to 60mph; and heavy goods vehicles (over 7.5t), restricted to 50mph.

A great number of towing vehicles travel at speeds well over 60mph and will never be caught by the cameras. A very high number of LGVs travel at speeds up to 70mph - unless they are recently registered and are electro-mechanically limited to 56mph. A very high number of HGVs travel at speeds up to 56mph (if they are British registered) as they are electro-mechanically limited to that speed (for motorway use) and, almost all non-British HGVs travel at much higher speeds since they are not electro-mechanically limited.

Additionally, the driver of any foreign-registered vehicle travelling at a speed which would cause it to be recorded as speeding would not be prosecuted since it has been acknowledged that the police do not pursue foreign-registered vehicles for photographed speeding offences because of the administrative difficulties in tracing them.

So the majority of vehicles that are speeding will not trigger the average speed cameras. The only way that speed can be managed effectively is by re-introducing the human eye in both marked and unmarked police vehicles patrolling the road.

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It is only a human who can decide which category the vehicle falls into, stop the vehicle and take the necessary course of action - warning or prosecution.

In view of the difficulty in taking action against foreign-registered vehicles, the only effective way to enforce the relevant speed limit is to have on-the-spot penalties activated - not only for drivers of foreign registered vehicles but for all drivers.

It would be extremely interesting to have statistics for the estimated number of vehicles using the A14 over the past year, and the actual number of drivers who have been prosecuted or awarded a fixed penalty as a result of being recorded on the average speed cameras.

If the average speed cameras have been effective, it would be reasonable to assume that there would have been a relatively large number of prosecutions or fixed penalty notices. In that case, the 'jungle drums' would have passed on the message and many of the speeding drivers would have got the message and observed the limits for their class of vehicle.

PETER S FORSTER

Grainger Avenue

Godmanchester

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