Majority of drivers unaware of ‘Big Brother’ AI speed cameras being rolled out in Northamptonshire

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The new cameras can detect speed, if you’re wearing a seatbelt, if you’re using a mobile phone and even if you have road tax and insurance.

The majority of drivers (60%) are unaware that futuristic AI speed cameras are already in place on several UK roads and are also set to be rolled out on routes in their local area – including Northamptonshire - soon.

That’s according to used car dealership Big Motoring World who surveyed 2,000 British motorists about the cameras.

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In addition to detecting how fast a vehicle is travelling, the new type of AI speed camera can also see if drivers are using phones behind the wheel, whether their seat belt has been fastened, if they have insurance, and if they have road tax.

Drivers warned about new AI speed camerasDrivers warned about new AI speed cameras
Drivers warned about new AI speed cameras

Trial cameras were first introduced in Lambeth and on a road between Devon and Cornwall last year. According to the RAC, one camera reportedly caught almost 300 drivers for ‘rule breaking’ in the first three days it was in operation.

Earlier this year, National Highways announced that Northamptonshire Police has agreed to take part in further trials in 2024 and 2025.

The exact locations and roll-out dates for the AI camera trials in the Northamptonshire area have not been announced, but local motorists are advised to be extra vigilant now, to avoid getting fines and points in the coming months.

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Further information is expected to be shared on the Northamptonshire Police X account (@NorthantsPolice).

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points.

There is also a fine of £500 and three penalty points for not wearing a seat belt, and motorists can pick up six penalty points and a £200 fine if they’re caught using a phone while driving.

Big Motoring World’s study also revealed the country is split on whether the new cameras are justified or not, with 50% seeing them as an invasion of privacy.

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Just under half (49%) see the cameras as justified to improve safety.

Over a quarter of motorists (27%) say they’ll be more law-abiding because of new cameras, but more than half (56%) will continue to drive in the same way regardless.

Around one in four (27%) will go out of their way to avoid roads that have 4D AI cameras.

There has already been backlash and concerns for people’s right to privacy though, with Campaigner Jake Hurfurt, famously calling out the use of the cameras, saying: “This kind of intrusive and creepy surveillance which treats every passer-by as a potential suspect is poses a threat to everyone’s privacy. People should be free to go about their lives without being analysed by faceless AI systems.”

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Brian Gregory, from Alliance of British Drivers also said: “It’s clear that the hollow assurances the motoring public was given about speed cameras being used exclusively to prevent accidents was always a total sham. The objective is actually to maximise their revenue-generating potential.”

Ian Hajyzamanali, Head of Marketing, at Big Motoring World added:The introduction of these AI cameras has divided opinion and pulled privacy and safety into a head-on debate.

“With well over half of Brits being unaware of these cameras and their capabilities, it seems there is some distrust towards the new technology and a sense it’s a recoil of our right to privacy or a money gaining tool.

“Only time will tell how many drivers are caught out.”