New camera technology is in place on the A46 near Stroud that could have resulted in £4.8 million worth of speeding fines in just 40 days.
The camera is a sophisticated system that has been monitoring vehicles moving through Rodborough, between Nailsworth and Stroud for the last 6 weeks.
Over the course of this time period, automatic number plate recognition (also called ANPR) has clocked more than half a million cars traveling in both directions through the 30 mph zone. Out of these motorists, 48,000 went over the speed limit and would normally be eligible for high fines. However, in this instance, rather than sending out £100 penalties, the new scheme sends regular speeders a warning letter or if it becomes more serious, a doorstep visit from the police.Charles Oederick, the chair of the Rodborough Road Safety Working Group, along with his team, have been working together with Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to get the new technology off the ground.
After analysing the data, he said “These figures are absolutely shocking. On average, every day around 1,200 vehicles drive through this busy residential area at 35mph or higher – this is incredibly dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and children. We’ve calculated that if all those caught speeding had received the standard £100 fine then it would have totalled 4.8 million in penalties. If you factor these same statistics over one year it would reach an incredible £44m. These numbers show just how big an issue speeding is for this area.”
However, Mr Pederick stressed that the new camera technology was not a ploy to make money. He added “This isn’t a cash cow. This is not about catching people out and penalising them. Neither the parish nor the police are making any money out of this. In fact we’re actually spending money to trial the technology. This is about trying to change people’s attitude. This system gives the driver a chance to change their driving habits instead of a fine and at least three points on their licence. We want to encourage people to become safer, more responsible drivers and generally, the vast majority are supportive of our aims.”
The small yellow camera has been in place on a telephone pole outside the Stroud Enterprise Centre on Bath Road from 26th February. Unlike normal speed cameras, it also registered a vehicles number plate, the time, the date and takes a photograph. This allows a record to be built that can be used to flag up those who regularly exceed the speed limit.
The fastest car that has gone through the camera was traveling at 66mph during the hours of ‘the school run’.
There has also been a man caught who was breaking the limit on more than 40 times over the course of a month. He was sent a letter from the police saying he would normally be summoned to the Magistrates Court, but in line with the trial, he would be given the chance to not speed again. When his car was checked again, it showed that he had continued driving through at 50mph and he was one of the first people to be given a doorstep visit from the police. Since then, he has dropped down to just above 30mph.
The pilot scheme is set to run until April 2017 and if it proves to be successful, it could be rolled out to a number of other parishes who find speed to be a recurring problem.