Increase in drivers caught in Suffolk as cameras net �2m in speed penalties
THE number of motorists caught speeding in Suffolk has risen by about 5,500 in just one year – edging the total closer to the 50,000 mark, new figures reveal.
Speed cameras have now generated more than �2m over the past two years, even though the number of Suffolk motorists avoiding fines and points on their licence by completing 'educational' courses has reached a record high.
The figures, which have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request, show that 48,679 speeding motorists were captured by either a fixed or mobile camera in 2011 – up nearly 5,500 on 2010.
A total of 17,171 drivers received a standard �60 fine and three penalty points in 2011 – and this income, added to that netted in 2010, adds up to more than �2m. However, thousands more drivers kept their licence clean by signing up for a short speed awareness course.
Police and driving experts said educating rather than punishing drivers was 'beneficial to all' while they also expressed disappointment at the number still flouting speed limits.
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David Ball, Roads Policing Inspector and joint head of Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership (SafeCam), said thousands more drivers were opting for the AA-run DriveTech course after eligibility guidelines changed in December 2010.
In 2009-10 just 192 drivers took part in the speed aware course, while in 2010-11 that figure stood at 19,000.
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'We are not in the business of just hammering motorists, getting them points on their licence and getting them fined. By educating motorists about the dangers of speed it benefits everyone,' said Insp Ball. 'What we all want is for people to abide by the speed limits. If drivers stick to the limits then the number of collisions would drop significantly. A fatal collision is a tragic event and we need to do everything we can to stop it.'
Inspector Ball said that, despite the increase in people being captured speeding on camera, he believed more people understood the responsibility that comes with driving.
Peter Rodgers, head of driving standards at the Institute of Advanced Motoring, said education was needed alongside traditional deterrents, such as cameras.
'The purpose of speed cameras is to prevent people speeding, to make us behave. So the perfect speed camera wouldn't catch anyone,' Mr Rodgers said.
'What we need is to educate people about why they should be behaving themselves.'
Martin Howard, a spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said they supported initiatives in Suffolk to combat speeding.
'It is deeply concerning that so many drivers in Suffolk are speeding, and that cameras are consistently catching drivers breaking the law in certain places,' he added.