Smart motorway speed cameras active when no variable limit in place

Drivers who exceed the 70mph speed limit on smart motorways when no variable limit is in place can still be ticketed by speed cameras, an investigation has found.

While some motorists believe smart motorway speed cameras are only active when a reduced speed limit is in place, police in Derbyshire have confirmed cameras on the M1 can catch drivers breaking the 70mph limit as well as those breaking lower, variable limits.

60mph limit proposed to cut M1 pollution

A Freedom of Information request, submitted to police by the Derby Telegraph, revealed speed cameras between Tibshelf services and junction 29A at Duckmanton on the M1 are permanently switched on, adjusting to variable limits, and even catching drivers when no variable speed limit is in place.

The four cameras on that stretch of road caught 8,382 speeding drivers in 2017, making them the most profitable cameras in the county in 2017.

And speeding isn’t the only way the Government is set to make money from smart motorways: earlier this year, we reported the Home Office is trialling the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to catch, then penalise, motorists driving in closed smart motorway lanes.

Smart motorways – where lanes can be opened or closed depending on traffic conditions, and variable speed limits can be enforced – have been around since 2006. Safety concerns recently prompted Highways England – the Government-owned company behind the motorway network – to announce it would increase the frequency of refuge areas for vehicles that break down on smart motorways.

Need advice on appealing a speeding ticket? Read our guide to speeding fines


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