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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 14:00 
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1239675,00.html

Speed cameras save 100 lives a year, claims wide-ranging review

Andrew Clark, transport correspondent
Wednesday June 16, 2004
The Guardian

They have been abused, derided, spattered with paint and even firebombed. But the 5,200 bright yellow speed cameras scattered around Britain's road network save more than 100 lives a year, according to an independent audit published by the government yesterday.
In an attempt to head off a backlash against his policy of placing cameras at accident blackspots, the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, revealed the results of the first in-depth study of every traffic camera in England and Wales.

It concluded that the devices encourage drivers to slow down by an average of 2.4mph. They result in a 71% drop in the number of vehicles speeding and avert 870 deaths or serious injuries annually.

It found that just one in 20 cameras was failing to cut accident rates and estimated the economic benefit to the country at £221m.

Mr Darling said the study, by PA Consulting and University College London, proved that "cameras save lives" and indicated that motorists were likely to face even more flashes.

"Up to 10 people are killed on our roads each day," Mr Darling said. "We owe it to them and their families to do everything we can to improve road safety even further."

The government views cameras as a crucial weapon in its effort to reach a target of cutting serious road casualties by 40% within a decade.

But the audit failed to con vince motoring campaigners, who have accused the government of emphasising "zero tolerance" automatic enforcement while reducing the number of traffic police officers. Some critics claim the cameras are a revenue-raising exercise.

The Department for Transport also released figures on its website but they showed that casualties had increased rather than decreased at some locations.

Edmund King of the RAC Foundation said: "We support the use of cameras at accident blackspots and junctions but many motorists remain to be convinced that they're used in the right way."

He urged the government to introduce speed awareness courses rather than simply levying fines and penalty points. "All the evidence suggests that speed awareness courses are much more effective as a deterrent," he said.

Known as a Gatso after its inventor, Maurice Gatsonides, the first fixed-speed camera was fitted to London's Twickenham Bridge in 1992.

The number of cameras has rocketed since 2000, when the government allowed local authorities to claim back the proceeds of speeding fines, as long as the money is ploughed back into road safety.

Yesterday's audit concluded that just 245 cameras - one in 20 of the national total - was failing to reduce accidents. The Department for Transport said these could either be removed, made more visible or moved to a new location.

Richard Brunstrom, the chief constable of North Wales police, was called the "mad mullah of the traffic Taliban" by tabloids for his crackdown, yet North Wales achieved a 68% drop in casualties at camera sites.

But a handful of police forces, including Surrey, Merseyside and Durham, are refusing to take part in the government's camera "partnership" scheme. Durham's chief constable, Paul Garvin, has argued that drinking, drug taking and carelessness are more important than speeding in causing accidents.

His view is shared by Paul Smith, founder of the anti-cameras group SafeSpeed, who said: "These cameras are just designed to catch responsible motorists who have never had an accident but are going a few miles per hour over the speed limit."

The government's top transport adviser, Professor David Begg, said anti-camera groups had been proved wrong.

Prof Begg, who chairs the Commission for Integrated Transport, said: "Today's report proves that speed kills, that cameras reduce speeds at accident spots and that, most importantly, they prevent injuries and save lives.

"If critics continue to make dishonest claims about the impact of speed and speed cameras, they will end up with blood on their hands."

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 16:13 
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I thought merseyside had their plan rejected by the dft. And surrey are in process of creating their scamerapartnership.

I've just read the report and it's no wonder the results are like this.

For example the measure of public support is taken from transport 2000 'poll of polls' - I think it's clear that T2K are anti car and cannot be seen as indenpendant. They are also funded by the govt partly.

the data is supplied un audited by the camera partnerships themselves and many of the successful sites have seen engineering work. There have also been cases of accidents being 'moved' to aid reporting.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 23:56 
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CJB wrote:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1239675,00.html

Yesterday's audit concluded that just 245 cameras - one in 20 of the national total - was failing to reduce accidents.


It did nothing of the sort - I was under the impression that this survey didn't cover ALL of the cameras and the actual ineffective total was nearer a quarter? Even then there were something like 700 locations where accident rates increased, but the DfT spun its way out by saying they hadn't been in place long enough to have an effect. Of course, for the sake on consistency they also applied that logic to one year old sites showing a decrease didn't they....

Bunch of liars the whole lot of them.


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