Road safety charity attacks AA for 'promoting speeding'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The AA has been accused of "gross irresponsibility" for selling technology which warns motorists of the presence of speed cameras.

The motoring organisation is to offer the system as an "optional extra" on its in-car satellite navigation equipment, AA Navigator. Drivers will be alerted by a noise or a screen message if they enter a camera zone.

A parliamentary Bill outlaws equipment that can detect speed cameras through the use of radar or laser technology, but allows the use of satellite navigation equipment. The AA device can detect the car's location and will "know" if cameras are near. The driver has to pay regular subscriptions to keep the information up to date.

The road safety charity Brake expressed concern that the devices will give drivers the opportunity to exceed the speed limit. "Responsible organisations should encourage their members to observe speed limits at all times, regardless of whether there are speed cameras," it said.

"The locations of speed cameras should not be made public at all - if drivers were not aware of the locations of cameras, they would have to stick to speed limits at all times to avoid being caught, and our roads would be many times safer."

Paul Kenny, acting general secretary of the GMB general union, which represents AA staff, said: "The AA was once a byword for road safety. Now owned by venture capitalists, it is trashing its own reputation by encouraging dangerous driving and thereby putting road users at risk in its relentless search for profit."

He said the Department of Transport should find a way to "neutralise" the devices or make them illegal.

An AA spokesmansaid: "We are not encouraging people to drive dangerously. Speed cameras are located in accident blackspots. If drivers are aware of the dangers, they will drive more safely as a result. This is in line with the policy of the police."

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