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Speed Cameras Celebrate 20th Birthday

Article by: rob brady
Date: 23 May 2012

A common addition to our roads which many of us take for granted, today marks the day when the first UK speed camera was put into operation 20 years ago.

The camera in question was located on the A316 and, rather than being set to the 40mph limit which was imposed on the road, it was set at a more indulgent 60mph.

Yet, despite the generosity of the camera, more than 20,000 drivers were caught driving faster than this in just three weeks. This result helped to cement the success of speed cameras, with the technology having become an integral part of the UK's road safety operations ever since.

Of course, the systems have not been adopted without some criticism and changes to legislation which allowed local authorities to receive a portion of the revenue from speed cameras caused outrage amongst motorists, many of who view them as money-making machines, rather than life saving devices.

Nowadays, the sight of speed cameras is common - although motorists may be surprised to learn than not all cameras are live at all times. In fact, Roger Reynolds, the former police officer who was responsible for switching on the first camera, contends that speed cameras were installed 20 years ago to deter motorists from speeding, not to prosecute them, saying "Only one in eight cameras were live".


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