Professors agree speed camera report is fraudulent
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 28th June 2004 number: PR127

Professors agree speed camera report is fraudulent

NEWS: For immediate release

Speaking on Radio 5 live on 15th June 2004, Paul Smith of the Safe Speed road safety campaign, revealed that new government figures claiming success for speed cameras included a serious statistical error. Paul followed this up with a press release and an open letter to the lead author of the offending report, Professor Heydecker.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign said: "Speed cameras in the UK are an unmitigated disaster. Now we seem to be suffering, not only from the cameras themselves, but also from layers of deceit as those who have faith in the camera system try to paper over the spreading cracks with scientifically invalid "evidence"."

Following Safe Speed's revelations many senior academics have joined the complaints. They include:

  • Professor emeritus Mervyn Stone (UCL)
  • Professor emeritus John Brignell (Southampton)
  • Professor John Adams (UCL)
  • Professor Garel Rhys (Cardiff)
  • Professor Michael Silver (Cardiff)
Now "Numberwatch", a web site edited by Professor John Brignell, says:
"In particular, one Benjamin Heydecker, who rejoices in the title of Professor in the Centre for Transport Studies University College London, persistently renews this deception, although its fraudulent nature has been pointed out to him over and over again. That is the way the professorate behaves in the post-scientific age."
In a written report for the Radio 4 Today programme, Professor Mervyn Stone said:
"The three-year DfT report was released from a politically-dictated embargo on June 15th. As I implied in my speed camera judgement, its analysis of the data from the 24 police force areas makes no quantitative allowance for regression to the mean. Section G3 of the report gives reasons for thinking that the established statistical phenomenon of regression to the mean will not apply in full measure". I interpret this to mean that the authors acknowledge that the estimates of savings of casualties and accidents in the Executive Summary should be taken as upper bound estimates. Will the public be made sufficiently aware of this qualification? Was the minister?"


Notes for editors.

Comments regarding the DfT report on the Numberwatch web site:

Professor John Brignell's CV:

Numberwatch home page:

Previous Safe Speed PR:

Safe Speed letter to Professor Heydecker:

Regression to the mean primer:

DfT Report: "The national safety camera programme: Three-year
evaluation report":

DfT Road Safety Good Practice Guide:

Professor John Adams (UCL) quoted in The Times, 25th June 2004,,1-2-1157290,00.html

Professors Garel Rhys (Cardiff) and Michael Silver (Cardiff) quoted
in MCN 23rd June 2004.

Professor Mervyn Stone (UCL) See...

... Where the BBC are due to publish a report by Professor Mervyn Stone including the quote above and much more information about speed cameras and regression to the mean. Publication has been delayed. Professor Stone's 11,000 word report is highly critical of the UK speed camera programme.

About Safe Speed:

Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul Smith, 49, an advanced motorist and road safety enthusiast, and a professional engineer of 25 years UK experience, has carried out about 5,000 hours of research into the overall effects of speed camera policy on UK road safety. We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried out by any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall speed cameras make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported a number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed cameras, and the whole "speed kills"  system of road safety.     

The inescapable conclusion is that we should urgently return to the excellent road safety policies that gave us in the UK the safest roads in the World in the first place.     

Safe Speed does not campaign against speed limits or appropriate enforcement of motoring laws, but argues vigorously that automated speed enforcement is neither safe nor appropriate.     

Contact Safe Speed:     

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telephone: 01862 832000 anytime.     
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Location: North Scotland     

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Created 29/06/2004. Last update 29/06/2004