A new type of cheap speed camera could see the number of cameras on the UK's roads soar. The Home Office is currently deciding whether to approve a new form of average speed camera and motoring groups are concerned that a positive ruling for the new Spike system could see the number of speed cameras rise dramatically. Unlike gatsos, which are the sort of speed cameras most commonly encountered by drivers, the Spike measures a vehicle's speed over a designated stretch of the road – meaning speeding motorists cannot escape a fine by breaking dangerously at the last minute. Average speed cameras, known as Specs, already exist, but the current model is extremely expensive, meaning few safety camera partnerships have been willing to install them and only 14 are reportedly in operation across the country. Costing just £20,000, it is expected that many partnerships will move to install Spikes if they are granted Home Office approval, encouraged by their manufacturer's claims that they can work for 24-hours and perform well in all weather conditions.
Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA Motoring Trust, explained that Spikes do have road safety benefits: "The great advantage with these cameras is that you can use them for long, nasty, curly stretches of road, rather than picking up motorists at odd points. "They are particularly good on single carriageway roads, where people tend to go too fast and drive into trees or become involved in overtaking accidents. So these cameras can cut down on a lot of this behaviour." However, motoring groups point out that any speed camera, but especially average speed cameras, encourage drivers to focus more on their speedometer and less on the road ahead. From Mr Howard's comments, it would appear that these cameras could be targeted precisely at the sort of roads that require the greatest attention from drivers, placing a question mark over their road safety claims. source: http://news.intranetics.co.uk/Spike_Datasheet.pdf (PDF / 148 KB)