More than 13,000 motorists have been caught speeding in the first six months since variable speed limits became operational on a 13km stretch of the M4.
Figures from GoSafe*, the Welsh Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, reveal that 13,195 notices of intended prosecution have been issued between the cameras going live on 10 October 2016 and the end of February, equating to an average of around 84 offences per day.
The Welsh Government introduced the Variable Speed Limit (VSL) system in 2011 between J24 and J28 on the M4, in a bid to reduce congestion while improving road safety and journey time reliability.
However, the system remained inactive for five years, with fines only issued since October 2016, following a 14-day period during which advisory notices were sent out. Prosecutions can be handed out whatever speed the variable limit is set, from 20mph to 70mph depending on congestion levels.
A Welsh Government spokesman told the South Wales Argus: “Although it is still relatively early days in terms of measuring the success of the system, it’s encouraging that compliance with the speed limits continues to improve, enabling the system to work as intended.”
Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Government’s economy and infrastructure secretary, also told the Argus that since launch, the scheme has “helped improve traffic flow and reduced the number of accidents along this stretch”.
While Mr Skates stressed that the “majority of drivers adhere to the limits in place”, he added “a minority of drivers continue to flout the displayed limits and act as if the restrictions do not apply to them”.
The VSL system will be reviewed after a full year’s operation.
*GoSafe, the Welsh Road Casualty reduction partnership, includes 27 equal partners – the Welsh Government, the 22 Welsh authorities and the four Welsh police forces.