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Super speed cameras with no flash snap motorists without them knowing

UK Daily Mail | May 25, 2007 

A new generation of super speed cameras which do not flash are being tested.

The cameras require no film and can photograph the driver's face as well as the number plate.

Because the device gives no warning, speeding drivers will not know they have been caught until a £60 fine, which can be issued in minutes, arrives in the post. A motorist could run up a points ban on one stretch of road without realising it.

There is also criticism that because the camera does not flash when triggered, speeding motorists or those behind them will not modify their driving.

Campaigners have branded the new devices "money making" machines that will do little to make roads safer.

A trial on the A4 Great West Road in London has already trapped drivers but they will not be prosecuted as the camera has not been officially approved.

Once they have been sanctioned by the Government, the devices are expected to be installed across the country.

The new device can be used forward or rear-facing so they can also trap speeding motorcycles, which only have number plates on the back. The cameras, which can operate on battery power in case of a power cut, rely on wireless technology to send digital images to police so that the details can be processed quickly. They can also be used to catch drivers who jump red lights.

Paul Smith, of the Safe Speed Road Safety Campaign Organisation, said: "The fact that you do not know you have been flashed adds more uncertainty to the driver's mind, and uncertainty is never a good thing for safety.

"If it is to be a deterrent it is better to know where you stand. The camera is aimed at making lots of money for the manufacturer."

Its makers, Truvelo, were given permission to test the camera at Gillette Corner, Isleworth, by Transport for London and is working with the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP).

A TfL spokesman said the trial was "openended" and would continue until the device was approved by the Home Office.

The number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads has fallen by 41 per cent since the mid-nineties.

TfL says cameras have played an important role in reducing the number of casualties, together with other road safety measures such as 20 mph zones, as well as advertising and educational initiatives.

About half of all motorists flashed by speed cameras in London avoid a fine.

This compares with a 100 per cent “hit rate” in areas including Kent, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and a national rate of around 60 per cent.

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