Over 1,000 Fines Per Week for Speeding on Smart Motorways
Figures obtained by the BBC have revealed that more than 1,000 drivers a week were fined, with 52,000 fixed penalties issued, for breaking variable speed limits on 'smart' motorways in 2015.
Last year 52,516 fixed penalties were issued on 11 smart sections, including on stretches of the M1, M25 and M6. This compared to 2,023 on the same stretches in 2010-11, before they were upgraded to smart motorways - which use the hard shoulder and variable speed limits to control the flow of traffic. In the same period, one section of the M1 in Nottinghamshire saw police issue 8,489 tickets, generating £425,000 in fines in 2015.
There are currently more than 236 miles of smart motorways in England. A further 200 miles of smart motorways are currently either planned or under construction. Traffic experts forecast motorway traffic to increase by up to 60% by 2040. A spokesman for the Department for Transport has confirmed that that the government is pressing ahead with its £6billion investment in smart motorways and said: 'Smart motorways smooth traffic flow and cut congestion for millions of motorists, with evidence from trials showing they are just as safe as regular motorways. Enforcement is a matter for the police and it is clear that speeding costs lives. However, we have been clear for a number of years that speed cameras should not be used to generate revenue.'
Critics have accused the government of being more focused on raising revenue than safety. Motoring groups have criticised the fact that large numbers of 'stealth' cameras enforcing limits were grey, making it harder for drivers to spot them.