10 cameras to be positioned on A500 in speed crackdown
SPEEDING motorists are to be targeted on North Staffordshire's busiest road after the number of crashes doubled in a year.
Cameras are to be positioned on 10 bridges spanning a three-mile stretch of the A500 between Hanley and Etruria.
They will be in the back of stationary police vans overlooking the road on which around 50,000 vehicles travel each day.
The crackdown starts on Monday and will remain in force until drivers stick to the 50mph limit.
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It comes as latest figures show 55 people were injured in 38 collisions on both D-road carriageways last year. That compared to just 18 crashes generating 20 casualties in the previous 12 months.
Police and road safety experts say 2010 coincided with the speed limit needing to be strictly enforced because of roadworks for most of the year.
Chief Inspector Steve Smytheman, from Staffordshire Police's road policing team, said: "It doesn't take a genius to work out that when motorists realise we are serious about cutting speed, accidents drop.
"With the numbers of collisions starting to increase again we felt it was a good time to introduce this campaign.
"The bridges are on long straight stretches so drivers will be able to see the police vans in advance and cut their speed gradually. Far from being secretive to get convictions we want to be as high-profile as possible.
"Speeders may be subject to a fixed penalty of £60 and three penalty points, or a court appearance.
"Most motorists using this stretch are local so we hope their driving habits will change as word gets around."
Mr Smytheman added that action would be taken against those travelling well above 50mph, while those slightly over the limit would be offered driving courses. No fatal crashes occurred during the 2010 speed clampdown – but over the previous year two people were killed and two more suffered serious injuries.
The campaign is being backed by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Station manager Ian Read said: "Road accidents cause so much pain and misery to very many people and firefighters themselves suffer stress and trauma cutting casualties from the wreckage. It is a dreadful part of the job and with many accidents down to speed, this move is welcomed."
Peter Price, assistant director of technical services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said the results of the camera campaign would be monitored over the next year.
He added: "With everyone travelling in the same direction at a similar, steady speed, there should hardly be any collisions.
"Evidence shows that campaigns like this can eventually influence driver behaviour permanently on a piece of road."
Any money made from fines would go to the Treasury.
Marg Hardcastle, chairman of Stoke West and Oakhill Residents Association, said: "I am in two minds about the overuse of speed cameras but if that is what the police believe will cut accidents I would support it."