Concern as speeding drivers evade actionThousands are evading prosecution
19 April 2007
Motoring groups today expressed concern that hundreds of thousands of drivers are not being prosecuted for speed and red-light camera offences.
The situation is particularly bad in London, where more than half of those caught on camera are not prosecuted, according to research for BBC Radio 4.
Around half a million people are caught in the capital each year, according to The Investigation, broadcast tonight.
A third cannot be traced, because they are not registered or are foreign vehicles, while some escape because of technical faults or are emergency vehicles.
Of the remaining 350,000 who are sent a ‘notice of intent to prosecute’, only 48 per cent end up getting points on their licence and a fine, the BBC said.
Other parts of the country have also had significant problems, and The Investigation said it had uncovered evidence that drivers were registering cars at other addresses to evade capture.
‘We are very concerned about the number of drivers who are untraceable,’ said Sheila Rainger, head of campaigns at the RAC Foundation.
She went on: ‘The fact that some motorists cannot be traced suggests there is an underclass of people who have not registered vehicles.
‘The fact that not everyone is prosecuted is not entirely bad news, as it shows that people can have some kind of representation if they feel they have been wronged.
‘It shows that you need cops as well as cameras on the streets.’
Dianne Ferreira of road safety charity Brake said: ‘Speed cameras are a proven deterrent and it's vital that those who break the law are caught.
‘It's crucial that the camera system works properly. If many people are evading prosecution then the system needs to be looked at.
‘It's important that drivers do not get the message that somehow it's all right to speed. A system that saves lives should not be faulty.’
The Association of Chief Police Officers' traffic spokesman, Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, said the detection rate for all crimes was 30 per cent and in that context camera offences were reasonably enforced.
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