Van drivers along with other motorists must be preparing for life without static speed cameras, and many will be rubbing their hands with glee. As the debate over their use has been in the political arena for many years, it seems fitting that a political decision albeit one about finances should precipitate their disappearance.
With road safety groups absolutely adamant on their valuable contribution to cutting loss of life in motoring accidents, motoring groups accusing the government of using them as no more than a cash cow and the government itself announcing they are a more than useful tool in identifying illegal drivers, the static speed camera has never been without controversy.
The arguments by both sides seemed set to continue for eternity. Although one town council, Swindon, in Wiltshire, had turned their static cameras off in 2009. It was seen as little more than a protest against the old Labour Government’s method of using local councils to collect taxes for Westminster. The removal of Labour from power brought a new coalition government and a set of austerity measures that sent shudders down the local council offices of the UK.
Cost cutting on a massive scale has suddenly brought the usage of static speed cameras into the spotlight. Councils across the UK are now saying they cannot afford the man power needed to run the cameras efficiently and they are being switched off.
Devon and Cornwall will lose 10 cameras at the start of next month and van drivers will be really put to the test, as well the motoring organisations that have campaigned against them. It really is an acid test. In Devon and Cornwall, road safety groups point out that at their inception speed cameras caught 49,000 speeding motorists, last year the figure was 20,000. This they say was because motorists were aware of the penalties and aware of the cameras.
What will next month bring, van drivers know the complications speeding fines bring, a hike in their commercial vehicle insurance, penalty points on their licence and the threat of a ban much nearer. Will motorists prove they have learned the lesson that speed kills or will the disappearance of cameras bring a disappearance of good motoring sense. The nation awaits.