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Specs3 cameras set for summer introduction

09 October 2008

Jim Fitzpatrick, road safety minister: "The new cameras will give a more sophisticated edge to cameras than the blunt instrument we have at the moment"

UK police are testing the latest generation of Specs3 digital speed cameras that can monitor drivers’ average speed with a view to introducing them in summer 2009. Speeding motorists who slow down briefly or who make a detour from the main route will still be caught, warn officials, because up to 50 of the cameras will work together in a network.

The UK Home Office says the cameras can be positioned more than 25km (15 miles) apart and will automatically read number plates and transmit data instantly to a penalty processing centre.

Trials of the equipment in London have concluded successfully, and a second set of trials will finish this week in Northern Ireland. The Home Office is expected to approve the technology by the end of January and the first cameras are likely to be installed by next summer on hundreds of roads in the UK.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the road safety minister, claims the new cameras would bring significant safety benefits and reduce congestion by making traffic flow more smoothly. “When the Home Office approves the equipment, I think there will be great interest among the safety-camera partnerships,” he says. “They will give a more sophisticated edge to cameras than the blunt instrument we have at the moment.”

The Specs3 cameras are expected to cost around £300,000 (US$517,000) per network.

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