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No accidents since cameras switched on at Orwell Bridge - and number of speeding drivers halved

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 December 2016

Average speed cameras on the A14 by the Orwell Bridge.

Average speed cameras on the A14 by the Orwell Bridge.

The number of motorists caught speeding on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge has halved since the cameras were first switched on in July.

But there have still been nearly 5,000 motorists caught speeding since the new 60mph limit was introduced at Easter.

The cameras do seem to have improved driver behaviour – Highways England which manages the A14 said there had been no incidents of the bridge being closed because of an accident since the new limit was introduced.

New figures from Suffolk Police released under Freedom of Information legislation show that in October 839 motorists were caught exceeding the 60mph speed limit on the Orwell Bridge.

During the first month they were in operation, in July, the cameras caught 1,699 motorists. However between July 1 and October 31 a total of 4,885 motorists have been caught speeding over the bridge.

The highest speed caught by the average speed cameras on the bridge during October was 95mph.

The cameras were introduced to enforce the new speed limit introduced last spring. That was brought in to cut the number of accidents on the bridge, especially those which forced its closure and lead to traffic chaos across Ipswich.

A spokesman for Highways England said the organisation’s records showed that there had been no occasions when the A14 had been closed as the result of an accident on the bridge since the new speed limit was introduced.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore pressed for the speed limit to be introduced in a bid to reduce the number of accidents, and welcomed the fall in the number of speeding offences.

He said: “It does sound as if the message is starting to get through – but 839 speeding motorists is 839 too many.

“Speeding is one of the main factors in accidents and there is a reason why there is a speed limit on the bridge.”

The news from Highways England was very welcome.

He said: “That bears out what I have felt about this and it is very good news – we saw how important it is to keep the bridge open when it was closed because of high winds last week.”

Inspector David Giles from the roads policing unit said: “It’s encouraging that instances of speeding have reduced following the introduction of average speed cameras on a section of the A14, but 839 offences is still a significant number of motorists who are failing to heed the warnings.

“They are putting themselves and other roads users at significant risk of being involved in a serious, even fatal road collision. Reducing speed saves lives.”

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