Speed cameras were one area where a lot of councils aimed to save money following the government spending cuts, primarily by turning them off. While Oxfordshire County Council has seen an increase in driving offences and is now ready to turn their cameras back on, there’s bleaker news still for drivers that don’t appreciate such devices on their roads. The ASSET speed camera.
The ASSET speed camera isn’t like you typical yellow box. For a start off it needs to be hauled around on the back of a trailer as it is far from being especially lightweight or mobile. It is mobile, but only with the assistance of a police car and large trailer.
However, the camera can see inside the vehicle. It can determine whether the driver is wearing a seatbelt, determine the distance between cars to ascertain whether a driver is tailgating, it can of course clock driving speeds, and it can automatically detect registration plates so that it can tell whether a car is being driven uninsured or untaxed.
It’s hardly a cost cutting measure, though, as when it is brought to the UK which is expected in the year 2013 it will cost £50,000 a time assuming that it passes ongoing trials successfully.
The ASSET has been developed by Finnish engineers but is being funded with £7.1m of European Commission money. It is currently undergoing testing in Finland and if successful it may be rolled out around Europe.
Campaign group speedcameras.org sounded a word of caution over the widespread use of the device saying
‘We cautiously welcome a device that can detect several potential motoring offences, but it remains to be seen how accurate it is and how fairly it will be used. It’s a pity that the main actions that cause the most accidents, namely not paying attention to the road, misjudging distances and other drivers’ intentions, cannot be detected by a device of any sort. More police patrols and better driver education are the only ways to reduce accidents.’