Deaths up in high camera areas
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 25th June 2004 number: PR129

Deaths up in high camera areas

NEWS: For immediate release

There is a clear tendency for road deaths to increase where speed cameras are most used says Safe Speed. Using official figures released yesterday Safe Speed has compared the road safety performance of various groups of counties.

The top four speeding fines areas (Essex, Lancashire, Thames Valley and Derbyshire) collectively saw road death increase between 2002 and 2003 by 12.2% from 376 to 422, despite issuing almost 600,000 speeding
tickets between them.

The eight original camera partnership areas collectively saw road deaths increase by 12.9% from 634 to 716, and issued 566,000 speeding tickets.

The eight original camera partnership areas collectively saw killed and seriously injured reduce by 1.2% from 2002 to 2003 while national KSI reduced by 6.6%.

The four bottom speeding fine areas issued under 24,000 speeding tickets and collectively saw road deaths fall over the same period, but only by 2.

It might be argued that cameras have been added in greater number in the most dangerous counties. So what sort of changes did we see in earlier years? Were accidents in the trial 8 increasing before they joined the partnership scheme in 2000? And the answer is no.

trial 8 counties - road deaths

1997 657
1998 649
1999 693
2000 644
2001 668
2002 634
2003 716

top 4 ticketing counties - road deaths

1997 391
1998 380
1999 395
2000 388
2001 383
2002 376
2003 422

bottom 4 ticketing counties - road deaths

1997 221
1998 212
1999 200
2000 225
2001 207
2002 222
2003 220
The kindest possible conclusion is that official strategy is not working to save lives in the high camera counties.

But Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign comments: "We're not suprised to see road deaths increasing where there are lots of speed cameras. We don't have a lot of accidents caused by speeding and cameras come with a whole range of side effects. For example, they send a distorted safety message and they distract drivers."

Paul continues, "Some have blamed the 2003 increase in road deaths on motorbikes, and if you look at the figures in isolation it is true that road death in total rose by 95 while motorbike deaths rose by 84. But we don't yet know the causes of the extra motorbike deaths, nor do we yet know if there was an increase in national motorbike mileage. The causes of the accidents are very important, because much of the increase may have been caused by dozy car drivers. All we can safely conclude is that the road became more dangerous."


Notes for editors:

All casualty figures from DfT "Road Casualties in Great Britain Main Results"


1997 to 2002 inclusive:
(no longer available from the DfT web site)

Camera conviction by county figures from The Daily Mail, 17th May 2004.

There will be a spreadsheet containing the figures available soon at the following address: and

The eight trial counties are:
Essex, Strathclyde, Cleveland, South Wales, Northants, Nottingham, Lincolnshire and Thames Valley

The four top ticketing counties in 2003 are:
Derbyshire, Essex, Lancashire and Thames Valley.

The bottom four ticketing counties are:
Gloucestershire, Merseaside, North Yorkshire and Gwent.

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