This morning we revealed that there are 27% fewer dedicated traffic police on our roads compared to just five years ago. That’s a worrying stat. Especially if you drive around the M25 regularly.
You see, while there are cameras everywhere along the M25, ready for sniping that person who strays up to 60mph when the 50mph signs are displaying on the gantries, there is so much poor driving that the police aren’t there to see.
It’s interesting to look at the police areas in which the M25 passes, and how traffic officer numbers have fluctuated over the years.
As of 31 March 2015, Kent has 94 traffic officers (a drop of 44 compared to 2010), Surrey has 94 (down by 6), Thames Valley 204 (down by 24), Hertfordshire 91 (down by 48) and Essex 148 (down by 109 compared to 2010, but up by 72 compared to 2014).
The general theme is that you’re considerably less likely to see a liveried 3 Series patrolling London’s orbital motorway than just five years ago.
So what’s the solution? More traffic cops, obviously. But as cuts mean that’s unlikely to happen in the near future, I have another idea. Why not turn all those average speed cameras into lane-hogging cameras?
Lane-hogging is a huge issue on the M25. It probably accounts for something like 154% of congestion (figure might not be entirely accurate). Traffic officers are now able to dish out on-the-spot fines for those showing poor lane discipline, but they’re not there to do so.
So, how difficult could it be to use those cameras to catch lane-hoggers? As I was sat in traffic on the M25, I was giving this thought. Simply, they could read number plates of cars passing through in each lane, and any vehicle that repeatedly passes under cameras in the same lane could be flagged up.
Obviously it can’t be that simple. What about if there’s heavy traffic, where it just isn’t possible or practical to move between lanes? This is 2016… it can’t be that difficult for cameras to cleverly work out whether the inside lanes are clear enough for cars to move over.
Alternatively, they could just be used to snipe motorists continually passing under middle lane cameras at speeds above 60mph – in which case the motorway should be clear enough to move over occasionally.
Sure, some people won’t support the idea of more cameras. But anything that stops middle-lane morons clogging up the M25 is fine with me. What do you think?