NEWS: Why AI speed cameras are good news for bikers

It might be illegal, but plenty of motorists still seem to think it’s okay to use their phone when they’re behind the wheel. The good news is that the National Highways agency is investing in technology which can catch out serial scrollers in an effort to make our roads safer.

Riding a motorcycle forces a greater level of awareness of what’s happening on the roads around you. You’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head, assume that every car’s going to pull out, and watch out for drivers that clearly haven’t seen you. But ride anywhere up, down and across the UK and you’ll see motorists with a phone in their hand.

Average traffic speed camera on motorway against a blue sky background

National Highways wants to make that a thing of the past, and has been trialling a new kind of speed camera which aims to catch out people using a mobile phone at the wheel, those not wearing a seatbelt, and those speeding, too.

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Produced with the help of engineering firm AECOM, the cameras have been about in the UK since 2021, and they’re now being used right across the country in Durham, Manchester, Humberside, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Norfolk, Thames Valley and Sussex.

At the moment they’re fitted to a specialist van or trailer, with multiple cameras working to capture the most complete view of drivers and passengers possible, though there are plans to make them more permanent and fix them to overhead gantries.

Back when the scheme was first launched, offenders were sent warnings, but now the images are going to be sent directly to the Police for review, meaning that drivers could be fined £500 for not wearing a seatbelt, or bag six points and a £1000 fine for using their phone. Devon and Cornwall Police have had plenty of ‘success’ with the clever technology, with a free-standing AI camera on the A30 near Launceston catching 297 offenders in just three days.

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Speaking about the news, Head of National Road User Safety Delivery at National Highways, Matt Staton, said: “Working with our police partners we want to reduce such dangerous driving and reduce the risks posed to both the drivers and other people. We believe that using technology like this will make people seriously consider their driving behaviour.”

It’s not very often we praise speed camera proliferation, but we’re behind anything that’s going to discourage some of the worst habits of our friends on four wheels.


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