TODAY the Echo can reveal Basildon’s number one speed trap hotspot.
Figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request show the camera in London Road, Pitsea, near the Glenmere junction, is top number plate taker.
A whopping 2,213 motorists have been nabbed by it in just three years – 278 drivers in 2011, 1,706 in 2012 and 229 last year.
The next hottest spot is Southend Road, Billericay, near Hickstars Lane – 1,100 drivers have been caught out by the camera there since 2011.
Yet it comes as the number of drivers caught speeding has halved from 3,281 in 2012 to 1,527 in 2013. The number of people caught jumping red lights has also halved from 562 incidents in 2012 to 224 in 2013.
In 2013 a speed camera in Nevendon Road, Wickford, north of Borwick Lane towards Basildon, failed to catch any drivers at all.
A camera at the traffic lights in Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, near Miles Gray Road also didn’t catch out anyone in 2012 or 2013.
The findings have caused some confusion.
Essex Police, which is responsible for them, said the dramatic fall could be down to cameras running out of film.
A spokesman said some cameras could also have been switched off for “logistical reasons”
after failing to meet the quota for number of people killed or seriously injured down, a certain stretch of road.
Tory councillor David Abrahall, who also represents Pitsea South East ward, said cameras were just a cash cow for authorities and other traffic calming measures should be used.
He said: “I don’t believe they act as a deterrent. I think these figures show that. There are other methods like speed humps which are better.
“They force you to slow down whereas drivers just slow down for cameras and then speed up.”
Aidan McGurran, Labour councillor for Pitsea South East, added: “Often in areas where there is speeding, it could be down to improper signage or a change to the speed limit so it may be we have to look at these areas to see if the signs are clear enough.”
In the past three years in Basildon, 258 drivers have been prosecuted for speeding, 1,625 fined and had points on their licence while 5,262 have been sent on a speed awareness course.
Speed trap hotspot nabs 2,213 drivers ‘I don’t believe they act as a deterrent. There are other methods like speed humps which are better ý Speed camera – catching drivers in Runwell Road, Wickford.
MORE drivers could be caught out, as speed cameras across Essex are being upgraded to make them more reliable.
Over the summer Essex Police will be converting all of their 100 cameras to digital. This means they will no longer require film, so they won’t stop working when kit runs out of tape.
A spokesman said: “The safety cameras positioned on a stretch of the A127 and Canvey Way are digital.
“A programme of converting fixed safety cameras in Essex begins this summer and is expected to take 18 months.
“All the cameras are in active operation at various stages of the year.
“However, when they run out of camera film they will not operate until a technician attends to change it.
“Our 100 cameras are never all in operation at the same time for logistical reasons. Cameras play a small role in the long term strategy to enhance driver behaviour and improve motoring skills with road policing officers preferring to engage with motorists.
“Education plays a pivotal role in Essex Police tactics to reduce the number of injuries on the county’s roads with enforcement just one option to tackle mobile phone usage, failure to wear seatbelts, careless driving and other potentially lethal offences.”