Cameras enforcing traffic obedience are still relatively unknown in the United States, but in the U.K. it’s quite a business. Now that the cameras are becoming more widespread across the outskirts of major metropolises like London, business is booming, much to the dismay of many who feel that regulations and fees are too strict considering the relatively minor offenses committed.
Saying that a few motorists speeding through red lights are being fined would be a blatant understatement. A newly installed camera in Poole, Dorset catches, on average, 1,843 traffic violators each month. At 60 pounds per ticket issued, that creates a yearly revenue of a staggering 1,327,140 pounds – over 1.9 million U.S. dollars. The camera, which originally ticketed people for ignoring a red light, has now expanded its reach; people are now receiving high-priced tickets even for driving just a few notches above the established 30 mile-per-hour speed limit.
The community living in the camera’s view have not been oblivious to the new implementation, and many are going out of their way to expose what they consider a deep injustice as well as a violation of their rights. As said by Ian Bellchamber, a member of the road safety action group Dorset Speed:
It is not a residential area and according to the official figures there have been no fatalities there for more than 10 years. The 30mph speed limit is much too low for this type of road and as a result motorists dribbling a few miles over that limit are being fined in huge numbers. This camera has been designed to milk the motorist at a road position that has nothing to do with safety.
Evidence seems to back Bellchamber’s point that the camera is designed to take advantage of a situation that could potentially generate an easy profit. In eleven years, only one injury has ever occurred at the camera’s site, leading residents to question the motive behind the new installation.
Pat Garrett, head of fixed penalty notices at Dorset Safety Camera Partnership, agreed that the camera was not installed in an effort to reduce car accidents or injuries, but simply to enforce safe driving in an area that was considering a “community concern site.” As of now, there are no plans to remove or modify the camera or the frequency at which tickets will be dispensed.