Most drivers support using speed cameras to catch drivers breaking other motoring laws such as driving without tax, an MOT or insurance.
The cameras already use automatic numberplate recognition to help issue fines to speeding drivers and road safety charity IAM Roadsmart argues that the same technology could be used by police to detect a wider range of offences.
Its director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said that motorists driving without insurance or an MOT could cause suffering to other drivers and the cameras were a convenient pre-existing way to crack down on offenders and potentially improved road safety.
According to the charity’s annual Safety Culture Report, 90 per cent of motorists support the suggestion.
Greig said: “These results paint a very clear picture. Law-abiding motorists are in favour of the police using existing equipment to help make our roads safer by catching motorists who think the rules don’t apply to them.
“Of course, the primary purpose of catching speeding motorists is paramount but it should not be overlooked the suffering that drivers of vehicles which are uninsured, unlicenced and without a valid MOT can cause other road users.”
It is estimated that someone is injured every 20 minutes on UK roads by an uninsured driver and figures released by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) estimate that annually 130 people are killed and 26,000 more are left injured in collisions caused by uninsured and untraced drivers.
The MIB paid out £322 million in compensation to victims of uninsured and untraced drivers in 2019, a sum that is ultimately paid for by law-abiding drivers through increased insurance premiums.
Greig added: “There is no excuse for speeding, driving uninsured, unlicenced or without a valid MOT. If speed camera partnerships are issuing speeding tickets they should also follow up on a wider range of offences and this is backed by the vast majority of drivers. Getting law breakers off our roads could significantly help reduce the number of casualties caused by motorists with no regard for their motoring responsibilities.”
The standard punishment for driving without insurance is a £300 fixed penalty notice and up to six points on your licence, although if a case goes to court it can result in an unlimited fine and a driving ban.
Anyone caught driving without vehicle tax is initially hit with an £80 fine but failing to pay this can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
The standard fine for driving without a valid MOT is £1,000 but following changes to the test, you can now be fined up to £2,500 and hit with three penalty points if the vehicle was failed due to a “dangerous” or “major” fault.
The IAM Roadsmart report also found substantial support for using traffic cameras to issue automatic fines to drivers who jump red lights in urban areas and to people who speed on residential streets, with around 80 per cent supporting both suggestions.