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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz