Watch out! There’s been a huge increase in the number of Surrey drivers being caught speeding
The number of speeding fines handed out in Surrey rocketed by nearly 40 per cent last year – with one motorist now caught every 19 minutes, on average.
Police data released this week showed officials in Surrey dished out 27,326 fixed-penalty notices for speeding offences in 2015.
That compares to just 17,153 in 2014 – meaning an extra 10,173 fines in 2015.
It works out as an eye-watering increase of 37.2%.
The total for 2015 is also substantially higher than it was in the years before 2014.
In 2011, 18,302 fixed-penalty notices were handed out. That rose to 18,580 in 2012, but a year later fell back to 18,409.
The figures might reflect more people speeding on the roads, but might also reflect more rigorous enforcement of the laws through fixed cameras and mobile patrols.
Locally there are fixed speed cameras on Reigate Hill, the A25 in Bletchingley, the A217 in Lower Kingswood, the A217 in Burgh Heath, the A240 in Burgh Heath, the A24 between Dorking and Leatherhead, the A22 in Whyteleafe, the A23 in Merstham, the A217 in Banstead, the B2032 close to Walton on the Hill and the B2221 in Tadworth.
There are also red light cameras on the A23 in Hooley and at the junction of Reigate Road (the A240) and Brighton Road (the A217) in Burgh Heath and a host of speed cameras and average speed cameras on the Surrey stretch of the M25.
Earlier this year we revealed that speed cameras were being upgraded to make them better at catching law-breaking motorists.
Surrey County Council and Highways England announced plans to switch 11 cameras across the county from “wet film” to digital technology.
Among the cameras set for an upgrade were the one on the A23 (Brighton Road), in Hooley, near the junction with Star Lane.
Others included the speed camera on the A217, at the junction of Reigate Road and Brighton Road in Burgh Heath and the one in Tadworth at the junction of the B2221 and St Mark’s Road.
A report to the county council’s cabinet member for localities and community wellbeing, Richard Walsh, at the time said: “International, national and local data shows that safety cameras (speed and red light cameras) are very successful at reducing road collisions where speeding and red light jumping have previously been a problem.
“The old wet film technology is becoming obsolete and so needs replacing with new digital technology.
“As well as maintaining the existing reduction in casualties at each site, the advent of new improved digital camera technology offers the opportunity for enhancing the level of enforcement deterrent and further reducing casualties at each site.”
The digital technology eliminates the need for film to be retrieved by the police or camera operator. This means the camera will no longer run out of film so will always be active. Cameras on busy roads could previously run out of film quickly.
Nationally, there was a less significant rise in the number of speeding fines, up from 743,054 in 2014 to 790,956.
That means 47,902 more tickets were handed out in 2015 than 2014 – a rise of 6.4%.
The total of 790,956 means a fine is incurred for speeding every 40 seconds, on average, on roads in England and Wales.
How do speed cameras work?
Since the introduction of speed cameras on Britain’s roads in 1992, it is the Gatsometer BV speed camera which has become the most commonly used camera on the UK’s roads.
Gatso speed cameras use radar technology to measure how fast a vehicle is traveling. If a motorist is driving above the speed limit for that road then several photos are taken of the vehicle.
The Gatso uses a powerful flash to show the rear of the vehicle, its registration plate, and calibration lines on the road.
Gatso speed cameras are always rear facing. The reason for this is that the speed cameras’ flash will not blind oncoming motorists.
It is a legal requirement to have a secondary measurement for speed. This is why at every Gatso speed camera location there are white lines painted on the road.
The distance between each line represents 5mph so there can be no dispute over how fast you were driving. If there is any dispute over whether the radar technology captured the correct speed of the vehicle that was speeding the white lines are there as a secondary measurement.
The Gatso can differentiate between different speed limits for different vehicles. For example cars, caravans and HGV’s can have different speed limits on certain roads and the camera will measure the vehicle’s length and impose the correct speed limit for each vehicle.
Speed camera myths busted?
There are lots of things many of us will have been told about speed cameras but which are true and which simply aren’t?
Not all speed cameras work, some are switched off – True
A spokesman for Brake said: “Concerningly, various Freedom of Information requests have revealed that some speed cameras are not fully operational in the UK.
“Brake fully supports the use of speed cameras, and would encourage the return to use of any cameras that have been turned off. Speed cameras are proven to reduce speeding, and can catch far higher numbers of speeding drivers than traffic police with mobile cameras.”
You have to be speeding at least 10% above the limit plus 2mph, to get caught – False, sort of
The law states that a driver can receive a speeding ticket as soon as they exceed the speed limit on a road, even if that is only by 1mph.
However, guidance provided by the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council), suggests that officers do not seek prosecution of a driver until they have exceeded the speed limit by 10%, plus 2mph.
The spokesman for Brake said: “It is important to note this guidance is not legally entrenched, and that officers have the discretion to act outside it – drivers should be aware that this guidance also does not mean that they can break the speed limit legally.”
If you slow down for the camera then speed up again, you won’t get caught – Depends on the camera
“The operation of average speed cameras prevents dangerous driving in this manner, and provides a strong deterrent to drivers who may not be detected by fixed cameras,” according to the spokesman for Brake.
If you drive really fast, you won’t trigger the camera – False
This one’s complete rubbish. The only way to avoid triggering the camera is to stick within the speed limit.
Speed cameras must be painted yellow to be legal – False
The government has announced plans for all speed cameras in England to be painted yellow, however if you’re caught on a grey camera before that happens, the offence is still valid.
Average speed cameras don’t really work and that’s why some people ignore them – False
The spokesman from Brake said: “Average speed cameras are an effective way to prevent dangerous driver behaviour.
You must be notified within a certain amount of time for it to be valid – True
According to Brake, a driver who is caught by a speed camera, rather than a police officer, must be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days. The notice will go to the individual who the vehicle is registered to.
You can request a speed awareness course – False
Those eligible for a course will be notified by the police. If you haven’t been offered one, you’re out of luck.
You can do a speed awareness course more than once – Sometimes true
Drivers who are caught speeding for a second time may be able to do a second course, dependent on the severity of the offence. However, this cannot be within three years of the first speed awareness course, according to guidelines.
If you get a speed awareness course, you don’t have to declare it on your insurance – False
The spokesman for Brake said: “Drivers who fail to reveal that they have undertaken a speed awareness course, who then later make a claim to their insurance provider, may find that their policy is invalid. Information on whether a driver has taken a speed awareness course is held by local police forces.”