Campaigners have called for speeding fines on smart motorways to be spent on safety improvements after it was revealed that one stretch where four drivers have been killed has brought in around £6m since 2017.
The Sunday Telegraph said a total of 62,337 tickets were issued between junction 30 and 35a of the M1 in just two years and eight months, Based on an average £100 fine, it calculated this as a £6,233,700 boost to government coffers.
The paper pointed out that cash from this type of fines is not ring-fenced to be spent on transport, as it would be on local roads.
Samantha Cockerill, who set up Campaign for Safer Roadside Rescue Recovery after her partner on the hard shoulder of the M25, told the paper: ‘I am astounded money earned from speeding tickets is not reinvested into road safety infrastructure, like having refuge areas closer together and educating the public about what to do if you break down on smart motorways. Is this more about money than safety?.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘The safety of smart motorways is critical so the millions raked in from fines should be invested in extra lay-bys to prevent more fatalities.
‘Highways England has just admitted that 20mph signs were incorrectly left running for 14 hours after a crash on the M5. Despite this almost 100 drivers had to pay up and have not been refunded. This kind of attitude suggests the authorities are more into the financial windfall then fairness or improving safety.’
The Telegraph said its freedom of information request shows that the majority (52,948) of the 62,337 speeding motorists were caught after Highways England reduced the speed limit from 70mph on the 16 mile stretch of the M1.
A Highways England spokesperson said: 'Speed enforcement cameras play an important role in smart motorways. By encouraging compliance with the speed limit they help safety and tackle frustrating stop-start congestion.
'Soon they will be used to detect people driving in lanes that have been closed with a Red X, helping improve safety further still.'