Bad Policy Increases Road Death
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 24th June 2004 number: PR128

Bad Policy Increases Road Death

NEWS: For immediate release

Official Figures released today show that road deaths have risen by 2.25%. Safe Speed says this rise is caused by bad road safety policy.

The big question that must be answered is: "Why are road deaths rising while speed cameras are spreading like a virus."

It is no surprise to us that road deaths have risen - they are following a trend that we have been predicting for several years.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign comments: "We are told that speed cameras save lives, but the figures are hopelessly flawed. Speed camera effects are wide ranging and not limited to immediate and local effects on drivers speed. For example, speed cameras also affect drivers' safety priorities - and not for the better."

Paul explains: "It is very important to our road safety system that drivers slow down in areas of danger. I believe that all the indications point to speed cameras eroding this vital driver behaviour, and this is one of the most important factors that has lead to the rise in road death. By contrast keeping to the speed limit is not a terribly important road safety behaviour. Our motorways are the safest roads in the World, yet on some quieter sections more than 90% of cars are exceeding the speed limit."

The rise in road death cannot be explained away as the result of an increase in traffic. Traffic has seen about a 1.75% increase, but we also have ongoing improvements in vehicle safety, road engineering safety and post accident medical care thought to be worth about a 7% reduction per annum when taken together.

In the pre-camera decade, from 1984 to 1993, we saw road death fall by 32% (from 5599 to 3814). In the speed camera decade from 1994 to 2003 we have seen road deaths fall by just 3.8% (from 3,650 to 3,508).

Paul comments: "The focus on speed limits is dangerously simplistic. It sends completely the wrong messages. We must give all road users complete and accurate messages about the causes of road accidents, so that we can all guard against the right risks. Normal road users exceeding the speed limit is a real contributory factor in less than 2% of accidents."


Notes for editors:

We have prepared a spreadsheet with graphs showing the slow down and eventual reversal in the road death trends: and "zipped"

This PR may well be extended during the day and the latest version will be published at: [this page]

DfT press release

These new figures further extend the anomaly affecting the serious accident statistics:

The Radio 4 "Today Programme" will report on the case for speed cameras on Friday 25th June 2004 between 7am and 9am.

Graphs included in spreadsheet:

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:  

email : 
telephone: 01862 832000 anytime. 
mobile: 07799 045553 
note: the mobile does not work well at our office. Always try land line first. 
Location: North Scotland 

We are available for press and media interviews.

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Created 24/06/2004. Last update 24/06/2004