Road safety groups have leapt to the defence of speed cameras after figures showed a huge rise in the number of people getting tickets for driving too fast.
Shadow police reform minister David Ruffley said official figures showed that a million more speeding tickets a year are now being issued compared with a decade ago.
He said the statistics revealed that 1,773,412 fixed penalty notices were given to drivers in 2006 – up from 712,753 in 1997.
They include motorists caught on camera as well as those stopped by the police, with the total fines raising £100 million a year.
Mr Ruffley said the biggest rise in fines had been in Warwickshire, where 30,316 were imposed in 2006 – 16 times more than in 1997.
He added: ‘Ministers need to tell us what they are doing with this £100 million a year taken from motorists. How much is actually put back into practical road safety that does not involve speed cameras?
‘Ministers’ failure to answer that question confirms the view that for this government the British motorist is ‘a nice little earner’.’
But road safety charity Brake said speed cameras and speed restrictions were aiding the battle to keep accidents down.
Its head of campaigns, Cathy Keeler, said: ‘Recent government figures have shown that the number of people exceeding 30mph speed limits has fallen, so the message is getting through.
‘More people are getting tickets because speed limits are being enforced more vigorously. More people are now beginning to view speeding in the same light as drinking and driving in that it is an anti-social thing to do but there is still a long way to go.’
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: ‘Safety cameras are there to save lives, not make money. Independent research has shown there are 1,745 fewer deaths and serious injuries at camera sites each year.
‘The government is clear that the best safety camera is the one which takes no fines at all, but succeeds in deterring drivers from speeding.’