Should we abolish speed cameras?

It was recently reported in the press that a councillor in Swindon has called to abolish speed cameras. Speed cameras were first introduced as an innovative new road safety measure, designed to slow motorists down, thus reducing accidents. However in the years since their introduction we have still seen many road deaths, and are forced to reconsider their effectiveness in terms of road safety.

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Speed cameras are a dangerous distraction to motorists

Motorists don’t just look down at their speedometer once to check their speed when a speed camera is nearby. A survey by Safe Speed revealed that 75% of drivers checked their speed at least 3 times over an 8 second period as they drive past a camera. This means that 40% of a driver’s time is spent looking down at the speedometer and not at the road. Assuming the camera has been sited due to a history of accidents, it has the opposite of the intended effect if less time is spent observing potential hazards and other cars. Travelling at 30mph, looking down at the speedometer for just 1 second means the vehicle has travelled 13 metres (42ft) without the driver concentrating properly on the road. (This includes half a second to glance down and half a second for your eyes to focus and re-focus). That is a total of 39 metres travelled if you check your speedo three times

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...

If motorists are complying with the allocated speed limits then there will be no need for distraction.

Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)
http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Speed cameras only detect 5% of all road accidents

Department for Transport figures show that exceeding the speed limit is a contributing factor in just 5% of all serious or fatal traffic accidents. This fact puts the whole argument of speed cameras into proportion because a vastly disproportionate amount of resources and publicity go into speed cameras when the truth is 95% of accidents are caused by factors other than exceeding the speed limit. Speed cameras cannot detect driving too fast for the road conditions, drunk drivers, not paying attention, misjudging distances, failing to indicate, etc.
http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...

Speed cameras are placed in locations where there is a significant accident record.
Introduction usually leads to lower vehicle speeds and a better accident record.
Speed cameras also act as a deterrent to dangerous driving and have successfully contributed to lowering average vehicle speeds on the UK roads hence lowering the accident risk.
Road Casualties Great Britain 2006, found that injudicious action, which includes going too fast for conditions, following too close and exceeding the speed limit, accounts for 34% of fatal cameras highlighting that problems still exist with speed management. The 5% figure should be treated with caution as on average the police recorded two factors for each crash. With regards to speed limits, the DfT has always emphasised that they are legal guide that should be adhered to but that driver judgement should also be utilised as well. Speed cameras successfully lower vehicle speeds and have drawn attention to the need to drive at appropriate speeds within the designated speed limit.
Camera policing of speed limits can only be introduced after all else has failed. In some cases, on roads identified by projects such as the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) there is evidence that the collisions are not speed related and therefore new cameras would not be installed and other measures used. Cameras are only installed at sites where at least 20% of drivers exceed the speed limit and there have been four deaths or serious injuries on a given 1km stretch of road within three years.
Research (Stradling et al, 2003) has also shown that drivers stopped by police for speeding or who had been flashed by a speed camera had double the incidence of recent crash involvement suggesting that speed cameras have been successful in targeting dangerous drivers.
http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Authorities support speed cameras because it’s politically correct

After years of brainwashing from government and police adverts, leaflets, and pressure, most authorities embrace speed cameras and take it as fact that they are correct, without scratching the surface to find out the facts for themselves. However, a few councillors have broken rank and spoken out. Recently a councillor from Swindon said they are considering removing all of their cameras and several years ago a councillor from North Somerset said “We’ve created a Frankenstein’s monster... the cameras are simply an income generator, it’s a massive job creation scheme.”

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...
Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Cameras increased fatalities creating a “fatality gap” as decades of declining fatalities flattened out

If in 1993 the trend in the fall of fatal accidents had continued then in 2003 there would have been between 2000 and 2500 fatalities. The sad fact was that the decline in fatalities slowed right down leaving 3400 people dead in 2003. This is what is known at the “fatality gap”. Should the decline in fatalities remained the same then 6000 more people would still be alive today, and that’s just in those 10 years.

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...

There is no evidence and no logical reason to suggest a correlation between the advent of speed cameras and the declining rate of road casualty reduction. Research has consistently shown that speed cameras have a major impact in reducing casualties.
Despite the positive impact of speed cameras on road casualty figures, however, the steep decline in road fatalities achieved in the 1980s has not been matched by the more gradual drop in fatalities in recent years. Sharp reductions in the number of road deaths were achieved between 1983 and 1993, and have been largely associated with the 1983 law making front seatbelt wearing mandatory, better car design and major reductions in drink driving fatalities. Factors likely to be responsible for the slowing rate of reduction between 1993 and 2003 include continued increases in traffic (up from 583 billion passenger kilometres 1993 to 634 billion passenger kilometres in 20025); sharp increases in motorcycle casualties (up from 427 in 1993 to 609 in 2002); a levelling-off of drink drive fatality numbers (up from 520 in 1993 to 560 in 2002; a decline in seatbelt-wearing and the increased use of mobile phones while driving. The factors contributing to the slowing rate of fatality reduction are currently under review as part of analysis of progress towards targets for 2010 casualty reduction set out in the road safety strategy.

http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Better car and medical technology has saved lives, not cameras

For the last 10 years the safety technology used in cars has improved leaps and bounds, with ABS now standard on virtually all vehicles, vastly improving control and stopping distances. Everyone now wears seatbelts and have at least two airbags with many modern vehicles having four in the front and two in the rear. Better designed structures help protect passengers and improved bodywork reduce the damage done to pedestrians on impact. Paramedics with better equipment are more capable of saving lives than 10 years ago and hospitals have new procedures and treatments. Car manufacturers and medical and technical professionals deserve the credit for saving lives, not speed cameras.

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...

Improved car and medical technologies have undoubtedly contributed to the reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. However, these have not acted in isolation; the UK has improved its road safety record as a result of a wealth of measures including engineering, education and enforcement. The introduction of cameras has played a part through lowering the average speed on our roads. In 1997 70% of vehicles exceeded the 30mph limit; by 2007 this had fallen to beneath a half.

http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Driving behaviour has not changed since cameras were introduced

If cameras were really helping to slow drivers down then ask yourself why more and more speeding tickets have been issued each year? With 1.9 million tickets issued in 2007 compared to 700,000 in 1997, one could argue that cameras have increased the number of speeding incidents. If cameras did what the authorities claimed they would do then there should be less speeding tickets issued, not more.

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

No because...

Cameras have slowed motorists down and road safety has benefited. The cameras have sent out a message that it’s not OK to speed. Prosecution of speeding drivers caught by camera appeared to have the strongest deterrent effect, although the primary purpose of cameras is to encourage lower speeds without prosecution. Furthermore, speed cameras and speed limits are intended to reduce differential speeds on our roads. This can be a major factor in accidents in addition to excessive speed.
The proliferation of speed cameras is an important means by which to raise drivers' awareness of the dangers of speed and of inadvertent speeding, ultimately more than this and other forms of speed limit enforcement will be required in order to modify drivers' views on speed. Attention needs to be given to factors associated with overconfidence in being in control and with the broader social climate in which our car culture is embedded.

http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Cameras are money making, not life saving

£120 million was collected in 2006 from speeding tickets. That money helps pay for an entire industry built around designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining speed cameras, not to mention the army of administrators or the traffic police officers who spend time sitting in wait with a mobile camera instead of going after the more dangerous 4 million estimated drivers who are on the roads illegally. The money from fines now goes straight to the Treasury. (Local authorities were once allowed to keep it)

Originally when cameras were first introduced in Britain they were used with honest intentions and erected at genuine accident black spots. But when the money started rolling in from drivers caught by these new devices the authorities realised how much money can be made if they keep on planting new cameras. If it really wasn’t about the money then why have they focused so hard on an offence that causes just 5% of accidents and have done proportionally very little in preventing the other 95% causes of accidents?

http://www.speedcameras.org
In favour of road safety, not revenue

Further to this opening argument....

The PACTS reply (and the pilot study and all their other quoted analyses) is based on a gross misuse of the figures in Highways Economic Note #1 (HEN1), which gives estimates for costs associated with a road fatality, serious injury, etc and also the value of preventing a fatality (VPF).
The Costs are the true costs to the county of an incident (emergency services, hospital, repairs to roads, etc.), typically up to £10,000 (for the worst case, a serious injury).
The report makes it clear that VPF includes amounts for pain, grief, loss of earnings, etc. (totalling around £1.5M for a fatality) and explains that VPF cannot be equated to costs.
Any use of VPF to show return on investment is bogus and potentially fraudulent. The values assigned to pain, grief, etc are hypothetical amounts that someone might be prepared to pay to bring their loved one back, and are to be used to compare alternative road schemes. Those values do not exist and would never appear on a balance sheet.
To get £58M "cost saving" from two years of "280 lives saved", PACTS are using an average figure of about £100,000 as the costs of a fatality/serious-injury/minor-injury. This is a blatant misrepresentation of official government figures by a governemnt body.
Further, most of the 280 reduction in KSI per year at camera sites is due to the statistical phenomenon "regression to the mean", in other words those 280 accidents would probably not have happened anyway, regardless of cameras. It is a fanciful number and bears no relation to reality (ask yourself how any camera can save a life!).

So, with a massive reduction in costs per death/injury and a massive reduction in the number of "lives saved by cameras", the return on investment argument is exposed as totally bogus. I believe the "return on investment" in terms of safety/casualties is less than 5% per annum.

I am currently pursuing this issue with the Head of Scrutiny with my local County Council, who have been using the same tricks.

Bripe - an advanced driver and safety professional

No because...

Speed cameras are remarkably cost-effective. In a two-year pilot study of cameras in six counties, there were 280 fewer people killed or seriously injured at camera sites than would otherwise be expected. This means that the total cost saving of casualties at camera sites over two years was around £58m. This figure is several times higher than both the amount spent on camera enforcement (£21 million) and the amount raised in fixed penalty income (£27 million). When the reduction in casualties across the pilot area (4% reduction in KSI) is taken into account, it is estimated that the total benefit to society over two years is approximately £112 million. A previous Home Office Police Research Group cost benefit analysis of speed cameras found that cameras generate a return of five times the investment after one year and 25 times the amount after five years.

http://www.pacts.org.uk

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Speed should be the individual's responsibility

The government shouldn't waste their time interfering in what should be an individual's responsibility. We all know that going too fast is dangerous and that if we cause an accident while driving we will be severely punished for it. Everyone is taught this while they learn to drive. Surely if you are mature enough to drive a vehicle then you are mature enough to weigh this up for yourself and follow the rules of the road. Speed cameras just catch people out who accidentally go a tiny amount over the limit, not causing any harm to themselves or others.

No because...

The dangers of speeding to other road users are too great for speed to be left as self-regulated. Speeding laws are there for a reason and they need to be enforced, not just whipped out as a punishment when someone causes an accident.

Should we abolish speed cameras?
Yes because...

Speed Camera tolk my Licence

Because i was only a few km over the speed limit, I drive at least 10 hours a day as it my job
Thanks to speed cameras i have to lose my job
I belive it an in just as i am a better driver than a lot of them out there
been driving for 20 years now never had an accident
For the average person who just drives to work and do shopping they wont lose there licence but for people who drive all day and late at night its more likely for them to get court speeding

No because...
Should we abolish speed cameras?
No because...

Speed cameras encourage responsibility for our actions

The presence of speed cameras on the roads gives motorists the sense that their actions are being monitored and that if they break traffic laws they will get caught. This will heighten their awareness, even while driving outside of the areas where the cameras are installed, and make them drive more carefully. If we remove the cameras, this sense of surveillance and responsibility will be removed and motorists will be more likely to take dangerous risks.

Yes because...

This is clearly not true; most motorists spend their time thinking about how to avoid being ‘flashed’ by a camera by slowing down in time, rather than simply driving safely all the time. The rise of satellite navigation systems in cars that alert you to upcoming speed cameras bears this out- drivers just want to dodge the fine.

Should we abolish speed cameras?
No because...

The government should not bow to public pressure

The reason that most people would like to get rid of speed cameras is because speeding fines are an irritating inconvenience that they would like not to have to worry about. They find justifying arguments, but at the end of the day their motivation is financial, a dislike of the fines, and the feeling that the government has 'robbed' them as punishment for what they see as a very small infringement. Public opinion does not really care about the lives at stake, just convenience. The government cannot back out of a scheme designed to protect its citizens just because they complain.

Yes because...

There are, as this debate has shown, many perfectly logical reasons for abolishing speed cameras that have nothing to do with avoiding annoying fines. A democratic government should listen to public opinion about speed cameras, and take all the facts into account; they would find that the cameras are simply not an effective solution to the dangers of motoring.



Should we abolish speed cameras?

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