Fixed speed cameras were first introduced in Bedfordshire in 1996 as a measure to improve compliance with speed limits and to reduce casualty collisions on the A1. Cameras are sited at collision trouble-spots where highway safety experts consider greater speed or red-light compliance will reduce the frequency of collisions and the severity of injuries sustained in the event of a collision.
Evaluation of the effect of speed cameras shows that:
- the presence of speed cameras leads to greater compliance with the speed limit
- greater compliance with speed limits leads in turn to a reduction in speed-related collisions
- average vehicle speeds and the number of speeding vehicles are reduced at regularly-enforced mobile locations with a historic speeding problem.
Core sites enforced by the Partnership's dedicated safety camera team are identified and installed by highway safety engineers from the highway authority and are enforced by Bedfordshire Police. They are highly visible to deter people from speeding.
Between April 2002 and March 2007, pre-approved safety camera operations were funded from the money collected in fixed penalty notices from camera-detected offences under a Government "cost-recovery" scheme. This scheme - the "National Safety Camera Programme" - was governed by the Department for Transport. Since April 2007, the Government has paid a Road Safety Grant to local highway authorities, part of which is used to fund safety camera operations in Bedfordshire and Luton. The purpose of cameras is to deter speeding to make the roads safer, not to generate income from speeding fines.