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A real Asset?

Speed cameras. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. While we will wholeheartedly declare how safe they make our roads, we will be grumbling inwardly about the times we’ve been caught out going that bit too fast on a hill or bend.

Now speed cameras are set to scrutinise our behaviour even further, where literally no move will go unnoticed. Funded by the European Commission, the Asset camera is to be rolled out across Europe by 2013 and can detect up to five motoring offences at once. It can catch drivers speeding, measure distances between vehicles to prevent tailgating, pick out drivers who aren’t wearing seatbelts, and identify vehicles without insurance or valid tax disks.

Seriously, how bad must European and UK motorists be for this device to be required?

The Fuelcard Company, which is a major reseller of UK and European fuel cards, warned fleets this week to “get smart before they get snapped” by this so-called super speed camera, arguing that a UK or European fuel card could be more necessary than ever.

Jakes de Kock, marketing director, said that this new age of speed camera will require fleet managers to exercise a much higher level of driver control to prevent repeated penalties – something which fuel cards will be crucial in facilitating.

He explained: “Fuel cards can give fleet managers an indication of how a vehicle has been driven, including whether the driver has been exceeding speed limits, accelerating aggressively or braking suddenly.

“This information will become absolutely necessary when these ‘super speed cameras’ come into force and will help fleet managers identify which drivers need additional training to avoid an unpleasant financial penalty.”

There were mixed reactions to the Asset announcement this week, with AA president Edmund King saying he was pleased if the device stops motorists tailgating, as long as it is not used as a money-spinner for the Government. Meanwhile, Speed Cameras Dot Org welcomed the camera but advised against it becoming a replacement for traditional traffic policing.

The way we see it, speed cameras have for too long been a deterrent against speeding, rather than a wake-up call for motorists to take responsibility for their own speed. Surely the only reason for motorists not to speed should be that it is dangerous, not that they might be spotted by a speed camera and fined.

But if this is the only way to reduce accidents, let’s hope this new camera lives up to its name.

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