AA causes fury by publishing its first-ever map of speed cameras

Safety experts say motorists will be encouraged to break the law by a new atlas that identifies where the traps are set

A controversial decision by the AA to publish its first map of speed traps has provoked a storm of protest from safety experts, who accuse the organisation of encouraging motorists to break the law.

A controversial decision by the AA to publish its first map of speed traps has provoked a storm of protest from safety experts, who accuse the organisation of encouraging motorists to break the law.

Thousands of camera locations are included in the association's 2006 Road Atlas, published on Wednesday, a move prompted by the huge proliferation of speed traps.

But while the map will please many motorists, it has enraged leading campaign groups including Transport 2000, which branded the AA "irresponsible" for publishing it.

Deaths and serious injuries have been reduced by 40 per cent at sites where speed cameras are in operation. But the cameras have been a source of angry debate since they were introduced on a widespread basis.

Motoring organisations such as the RAC Foundation have accused the police of using the cameras to generate revenue rather than to prevent accidents.

Police forces have already been forced to make the cameras more visible, by painting them yellow, and pressure from the new freedom of information laws has obliged the authorities to reveal details of their location on the internet. But this is the first time that an atlas showing speed cameras will be available in the shops.

Breaking the speed limit or using inappropriate speed for the driving conditions is a factor in 40 per cent of all fatal road crashes. Figures released last week showed that the number of crashes had fallen at 730 of London's 800 speed camera sites.

Steve Hounsham from Transport 2000 said of the AA atlas: "They are in effect warning drivers where they need to slow down to escape speeding. It is encouraging illegal behaviour."

Mr Hounsham said it was now time for the Government to consider making speed cameras less obvious. "No one needs to know the location of speed cameras. Drivers should be within the speed limit at all times."

The rising number of speed traps has led to a booming industry in gadgets that can help drivers avoid getting caught. Motorists, including Prince William, are paying hundreds of pounds for systems that sound an alarm when a laser-operated camera is nearby. Many of these will become illegal when the new Road Traffic Act becomes law.

RoadPeace, the national charity for road traffic victims, said the decision by the AA to inform drivers where speed cameras are would make the roads more dangerous. Zoe Stow, who chairs RoadPeace, said: "We are very disappointed that a road organisation that represents so many motorists should be providing a tool to the non-law-abiding motorist to break the law."

Nicola Atkinson, a spokeswoman for the AA, denied that the motoring organisation was behaving irresponsibly. "We are launching the atlas in order to alert people to dangers on the road," she said. "Cameras are located where there have been serious or fatal crashes in the past four years. We are making drivers more aware of where the accident hot spots are."

She added: "We are not encouraging people to speed. Motorists should drive within the speed limit and avoid hot spots on their journey."

The AA has received backing for the atlas from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. A spokesman for the organisation said: "If people do consult the atlas, they will know that it is a dangerous road and hopefully they will drive accordingly."

Additional reporting by Malcolm Weir

DASHBOARD DEVICES THAT HELP DRIVERS BEAT THE TRAPS

GPS (GLOBAL POSITIONING SATELLITE)

Cyclops £369.95 + £45 per annum

Micro Road Pilot £379.99 + £50 per annum.

WHAT IT DOES

Uses satellites to locate your car on a map of UK speed cameras and sounds alarm when you approach one. Can also warn of accident blackspots.

FANS SAY

Alerts drivers to any fixed camera - radar, digital or laser-activated.

SCEPTICS SAY

It requires regular renewal charges and fails to spot or disable hand-held police speed traps.

LEGAL?

Yes. The government encourages GPS.

LASER

Road Angel 2 £389.95 + £49 annual subscription (as used by Prince William)

Snooper S3 Neo - £124.99 + £4.95 monthly subscription.

WHAT IT DOES

Detect lasers targeted on your vehicle, typically from hand-held devices.

FANS SAY

A help in avoiding hand-held guns. Has the Royal seal of approval. And the laser detectors often come free with GPS.

SCEPTICS SAY

They don't work. By the time you pick up the beam, you've already been nicked.

LEGAL?

Yes, but not for long. The Road Traffic Safety Bill now in parliament will ban them.

RADAR

Bel Euro 550 - £449.99

Snooper S1 - £79.99

WHAT IT DOES

Detects radars used by fixed speed cameras, such as those made by Gatso.

FANS SAY

They alert you up to 400 yards in advance of the camera.

SCEPTICS SAY

Automatic shop doors set them off, so a trip down the high street can drive the detector to meltdown. GPS systems are more than adequate. Cannot pick up mobile speed cameras, which now use laser.

LEGAL?

Yes, but not for much longer

LASER JAMMER / DIFFUSER

Target Laser Track 400 - £349.99.

WHAT IT DOES

Sends out a signal to confuse laser guns, which then display an error code. Laser diffusers are normally sold under the guise of "remote garage door openers".

FANS SAY

The only true weapon against laser guns for those who struggle to stick to the speed limit.

SCEPTICS SAY

You don't get much for your money. You still need GPS to alert you to Gatsos and the many other digitally operated speed cameras.

LEGAL?

Definitely not. Although the "garage door" function remains a grey area.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker