‘Remove dummy cameras now’

11.55 | 13 November 2023 | | 6 comments

Inactive speed cameras should be removed from Britain’s roads before they cause a major collision, a road safety technology firm has warned.

Road Angel recently undertook a Freedom of Information Act request which revealed that 46% of fixed speed cameras in England and Wales were inactive.

Now the campaigners are calling on police forces and local authorities to ensure all fixed cameras are active or to remove them altogether.

Road Angel says that inactive cameras serve no purpose other than to distract motorists and warn that they have the potential to cause a major collision.

It points to an incident from 2018, when entrepreneur Shed Simove was banned from selling a dummy speed camera by police who warned him that he could face seven years in jail if one of his devices distracted a motorist and led to a collision.

Road Angel founder Gary Digva says inactive cameras had the potential to confuse drivers and served no real purpose.

He said: “We believe speed cameras serve a useful purpose in encouraging motorists to drive safely but our view is that cameras should be working.

“If a camera is inactive and remains so for many months or even years at a time then it begs the question, why is it there?

“Yes it may still play a part in encouraging traffic to slow down but it could also act to distract drivers and potentially cause an accident.

“Our view is that if cameras are present then drivers should be able to feel assured that they are working. If they are non operational then they should be removed.

“That is why we are calling on police forces and local authorities across the country to carry out an audit of cameras and remove any non operational devices as quickly as possible.”



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    What a curious (if slightly hilarious) contradiction of facts. The inference being that the presence of any so called road safety camera might be likely to cause a crash. Indeed, how are the public to know which are live and which are not. So if the presence is likely to cause a crash is the answer to remove all of them in the best interest of road safety?

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

    On a separate note, as a part of my passive safety work it was my intention to next year crash demonstrate a camera housing and its post to see whether redundant cameras present a hazard to occupants of errant vehicles and that their removal should therefore be considered.

    However, in feedback received from DfT to this proposal, it was suggested that many LAs may still consider a redundant camera housing to perform a road safety function and to that extent still have a purpose and their presence beneficial. This consideration would likely outweigh the risk of one being struck, making the demonstration unnecessary.

    Andy Pledge, Southampton
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    I think they have a point if the cameras are obviously out of use, i.e. damaged, covered over or burnt out then they should be removed. However the camera housing’s very rarely have cameras in all of them at the same time as the actual camera’s are moved between sites so they are never all active all of the time and that is part of the deterrent, drivers don’t know if they are live or not and so drive to the limit.
    Why should these temporary inactive cameras be removed when they are still doing their job???

    sharon, Warwickshire
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    If a driver doesn’t know whether a camera is active or not active, then how could its actual status have any bearing on the driver’s behaviour?

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

    A non functioning or dummy camera is just as effective as one that works at moderating vehicle speeds providing nobody knows. When they flash and an envelope goes in the post they have failed as a deterrent.

    Derek Cozens, Herts
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

    Road Angel haven’t said why they think that inactive cameras would be more distracting than active speed cameras… and what difference would it make to drivers anyway?

    Fixed speed camera housings, may – or may not – for short, random periods of time, contain a camera and are hardly therefore, permanently ‘active’ or ‘inactive’.

    Is all this, because it casts doubt on the usefulness of Road Angel’s speed camera detectors?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (15) | Disagree (0)

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