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Jamie Gibbs

Councils net £182 million from drivers caught on CCTV


Councils are making increasing use of CCTV to catch and fine motorists, but many aren’t even aware that they’re being watched.

Traffic CCTV catching drivers

The number of councils using Big Brother tactics to catch drivers committing traffic offences has risen by 76% since 2012, data reveals.

There are currently 768 active CCTV cameras being used across the UK by local councils to monitor traffic offences such as:

  • driving in bus lanes

  • stopping in box junctions

  • illegal U-turns

Since 2012, drivers that have been caught out by CCTV have paid out more than £182 million in fines.

Despite the growing prevalence of cameras to monitor traffic offences, more than half of motorists (53%) are unaware that they’re being watched on the road.

Glasgow hit hardest

So far in 2015, councils have earned more than £36 million in revenue from Penalty Charge Notices (PCN), with drivers in Glasgow bearing the brunt.

The highest revenue-raising councils in 2015 are:

Council Revenue earned Number of PCNs issued
Glasgow City £4,000,468 131,238
Ealing £3,004,278 57,167
Lambeth (London) £2,967,755 62,891
Islington £2,216,007 46,023
Waltham Forest (London) £1,950,969 39,800

Councils in London especially are taking advantage of the benefits of CCTV. A total of 122 cameras are used by Wandsworth Council to catch motorists, and a further 63 are used by neighbouring Hounslow.

These two boroughs account for almost a quarter of all CCTV cameras in the UK that are used in this way.

Matt Lloyd, head of car insurance, says:

“In 2015, motorists paid more than £36 million to some local councils. This is equivalent to nearly a million fines being issued for traffic offences.

“This is a staggering amount of money. But it’s also worrying to see the amount of traffic misdemeanours that motorists have so far committed in 2015.”

Not all councils are able to fine drivers for motoring offences - this is an area usually enforced by the police.

In December 2014, Cardiff became the first local authority outside of London to be granted greater powers in order to crack down on minor traffic violations.

Bus lane in London

Law-breaking motorists dodge fines

There is an argument for councils to make even greater use of cameras to catch and fine motorists, as some drivers are seemingly getting away with breaking the law.

Almost half of motorists (45%) admit to having committed a motoring offence, and more than one in eight (13%) offenders admit that they haven’t been caught.

The most common self-confessed motoring offences are:

  1. Driven over the speed limit – 62%

  2. Parked on double yellow lines – 21%

  3. Stopped in a box junction  - 19%

  4. Made an illegal U-turn – 16%

  5. Driven in a bus lane – 14%

Despite 14% of motorists admitting that they’ve driven in a bus lane – and 29% also saying that they’d consider doing so – only 4% of motorists have actually been caught and fined. 

Matt Lloyd says:

“It’s quite concerning that many motorists would still consider committing an offence without thinking of the consequences.”

It should be noted, though, that some bus lanes can be used outside of their normal hours of operation.

Resistance to increased surveillance 

Many people aren’t too happy about the idea of having even more CCTV cameras monitoring our daily lives on the road.

More than two fifths (41%) of motorists believe that the use of surveillance is just another method for councils to generate even more revenue.

And almost a quarter (24%) think it’s outright wrong that councils are using CCTV to catch motorists out in this way.

Matt Lloyd continues:

"CCTV has always been a bone of contention for many, as people feel their privacy has been invaded.

“However, the main reason why councils are using these cameras is to stop motorists breaking the law.

“By making drivers abide by the rules of the road, our roads should become more stress-free and safer to drive on.”



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