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Speed cameras can 'talk' to track you down

London Evening Standard | April 7 2005

A new "intelligent" speed trap is set to catch thousands of drivers in London.

Groups of cameras will track cars over a wide area - such as a housing estate - instead of "flashing" them at just one spot.

Designers say it will be impossible for drivers to outwit them by slamming on their brakes as the cameras record each car's number plate and "talk" to each other via radio-wave technology.

Computers then calculate how fast the vehicle was travelling between each point. If a driver is found to have been speeding they will be fined ?60.

Road safety campaigners today hailed the new system that will rigidly enforce speed limits in 20mph zones.

But motoring groups said it would be powerless against the rising number who drive illegally by refusing to register their cars. The system is being pioneered by Transport for London in Camden from next month.

In a year-long experiment two cameras will be placed at either end of Mansfield Road, which has a 20mph zone. Fines will not be issued until the scheme has Home Office approval.

If successful it will be used across London. "The aim is to see how and if the technology works - it is not to gauge the effect on motorists yet," said TfL.

"It is one of a range of ideas we are looking at to tackle speed in sensitive areas such as residential roads.

"At the moment the only option to slow people down is to use hard engineering techniques such as humps, which many people do not like. This is one possible option and we want to see how it works."

Paul Smith, of the Safe Speed campaign, said: "Authority's obsession with speed cameras is not improving road safety and it has to stop."

However, safety organisation Road-Peace said it welcomed the trial.

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