When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
CAUGHT IN THE A34 CAMERA TRAP
SPEED cameras used to enforce a 50mph limit on the A34 are catching 254 drivers every time they are used.
Police set up a mobile camera on the Botley bridge in Oxford over the road 48 times last year and caught more than 12,000 speeding drivers.
It is now the county’s most prolific speed camera. The 70mph limit was cut to 50mph in 1998 to cut noise caused by traffic and police began enforcing it in 2012 after residents raised concerns the limit was being ignored.
Eric Batts, transport representative on North Hinksey Parish Council, said: “I am concerned so many people are getting caught. It shows people are showing dis-regard for the speed limit.
“The speed limit signs are quite visible.”
He said speeding drivers were a danger to residents trying to join the A34 from the interchange and residential roads.
Figures released by Thames Valley Police revealed in two years a camera caught 22,492 drivers speeding on the stretch – bringing in a potential of £1,349,520 in £60 speeding fines.
Drivers are offered a £95 speed awareness course as an alternative and all fine money is handed over to the Treasury.
Last year the camera was used on the A34’s southbound and northbound carriageways at Botley 48 times – each for about two hours. And more than 12,213 drivers were caught speeding – the equivalent of up to £15,240 in fines generated in each two-hour operation.
Stanley Road resident Briony Newport, who campaigned to lower the speed limit as vice-chairwoman of Hinksey A34 Action Group, said she was not surprised by the numbers.
The 73-year-old, a former North Hinksey Parish and Vale of White of Horse District Council member, said: “I am grateful the police are monitoring it because that means somebody might think again next time they go through our locality.
“Anything that helps make the road safer must be welcomed.”
As revealed by the Oxford Mail last week the next most prolific speed camera in the county is in Woodstock Road, Oxford, but it caught 7,109 drivers over a five year period compared to more than 22,400 motorists caught on the A34 at Botley in two years.
The Highways Agency said the 50mph speed limit was introduced in September 1998. Spokesman Andrew Broughton said the limit was lowered to meet concerns about noise. He said: “It was done for environmental reasons.”
In the five years before the new limit was piloted in 1997 there were 18 accidents and one death on the A34 through Botley.
Claire Benson, specialist unit manager on the Thames Valley Police roads policing team, said the force started using the cameras after complaints about speeding from residents.
And she defended the enforcements. She said: “There are known road safety and environmental issues on this stretch of road which have been evidenced. Enforcement is justified to reduce actual speeds in this sensitive location.”
But Mark McArthur-Christie, above, a Bampton-based road safety commentator, said the figures showed the dual carriageway should not be a 50mph zone and the enforcement was not working.
He said: “The thing with speed camera enforcement is it is a little bit like trying to repair a watch with a mallet.”
The 50 mph speed limit was extended north of the interchange in 2010/11 by the Highways Agency after concerns over road safety.
Comments are closed on this article.