Speed camera capture numbers slump

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The Home Office has published the latest available figures of those caught by speed cameras, and they show a surprise drop to less than a million for the first time since 2001.

The 2009 figures predate the mass turning off of cameras by local authorities, and show that motorists are getting more speed camera savvy, say experts.

935,000 drivers were caught speeding by cameras in 2009 – down from a peak of 1.8 million in 2005.

Government ministers always insisted that speed cameras were there to promote safety, but came under increasing pressure to take action on what many saw as a cash cow.

Executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, Robert Gifford, said the fall simply showed more motorists observing the limits: "Are people becoming more compliant? Do they merely slow down for the camera?

"Has the emphasis on educational alternatives encouraged people to obey the law? Whichever of these is the answer, it is good to see fewer people issued with speeding tickets."

The government numbers also show 125,000 given fixed penalty notices for use of mobile phones and over 200,000 for not wearing seat belts.