New DfT data shows safety cameras fail to cut accidents
Road safety minister, Mike Penning announced in June that local authorities were to start publishing the data showing the effectiveness of speed cameras in an effort to improve accountability.
However, initial figures show mixed results. For example, in the Thames Valley, a total of 44 speed cameras have been introduced, but accident figures have actually gone up at seven of the sites.
In total, 75 English local authorities have published some or all of their information showing accident and casualty rates as well as speeds at camera sites before and after the introduction of speed cameras. The remaining 72 authorities plan to publish their data in the next few weeks.
Despite the initial findings, road safety charity Brake has warned that proper analysis will be needed to build up a full picture of the results and added that fixed speed cameras have already been proven to have safety benefits.
Julie Townsend, Brake campaigns director, said: ‘Rigorous academic studies have shown fixed speed cameras are exceptionally effective in reducing speeds, crashes and casualties, preventing families going through the unnecessary trauma and pain of a road death or injury. These studies have also demonstrated that speed cameras pay for themselves several times over by preventing costly casualties. They are therefore a proven way to improve safety without costing the taxpayer.
‘The information released today is incomplete and has not been academically analysed to produce an overall picture. Without this work, it’s impossible to make general statements on speed camera effectiveness using this data.
‘Given the extensive evidence we already have on speed camera effectiveness, and on the relationship between speed and crashes, the Government’s focus should be on persuading drivers of the importance of staying within the law and making roads safer by slowing down.’
Meanwhile the Institute of Advanced Motorists has expressed concerns about speed cameras being removed as a result of the data publication.
Director of policy and research Neil Greig said: ‘This data must be used with care. The best speed cameras deliver lower speeds and fewer casualties without catching lots of drivers out.
‘Any camera that consistently issues tickets clearly has location or signposting issues. No camera should ever be removed without a clear education or engineering solution to replace it.’For more of the latest industry news, click here.