Various media sources reported over the weekend that only around half of fixed speed cameras on UK roads are switched on and recording details of speeding offences.
The story was originally broken by the Press Association, based on a FOI request to all 45 UK police forces and their speed camera partnerships.
The Press Association received responses from 36 forces which showed that of a total 2,838 fixed site speed cameras, just 1,486 – or 52% – are active.
Northamptonshire, Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire police forces said that none of their fixed cameras were switched on.
Of the 272 cameras across Staffordshire only 14 are active, while in Derbyshire just 10 of 112 cameras are active.
Across Scotland, less than 29% of fixed cameras are switched on, whereas in West Yorkshire, Kent, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire less than 25% of fixed cameras are active.
In contrast, all cameras in Suffolk and the City of London are operational.
Edmund King, president of the AA, told BBC News that getting caught on camera amounts to a ‘postcode lottery’.
Edmund King said: "Many of the empty yellow cases are due to cuts in road safety grants and the fact that digital cameras, although more effective, are very expensive.
"It has long been the case that cameras were moved between sites, depending on need. When it comes to the chances of being caught on camera, it is a postcode lottery.
"However, drivers should remember that lack of a yellow fixed camera doesn’t mean they are immune from mobile hidden cameras. Best advice is stick to the limits rather than gambling on the yellow boxes."
Neil Greig, a director of IAM Road Smart, said there is “clear evidence” that fixed site cameras “are there for road safety reasons”.
Neil Greig added: "Each of these locations is a site that has got some kind of accident problem and that’s why we want to be sure that there’s protection there all the time for the people who live around those sites."
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns at Brake, told the Guardian that speed cameras are “a proven, cost-effective way of reducing deadly collisions and so it’s critical they are operational”.
He added that Brake is concerned so many cameras are switched off and “would urge they are urgently put back into action”.