Road safety organisations call for public debate on issue before cameras turned off

National cyclists organisation CTC has joined forces with the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and several other road safety and motoring organisations to urge councils to reconsider abandoning speed cameras as a result of budget cuts.

As reported here on road.cc in the past fortnight, a number of councils are considering either switching off all of their speed cameras, as Swindon and Oxfordshire have already done, or reducing their use of them as a result of the coalition government’s decision to slash the Road Safety Grant, which helps fund the cameras, by 40%.

RoSPA, which has produced a document called Ten Reasons to Maintain Speed Camera Enforcement has been in touch with other organisations concerned with road safety, including CTC, and has published a joint communiqué to councils considering turning off their cameras.

Other co-signatories to the communiqué are representatives from the AA, the Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers, GEM Motoring Assist, the Institute of Road Safety Officers, the London Road Safety Council, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and Road Safety GB.

RoSPA says that before decisions to switch off or scale down the use of speed cameras are taken, the organisations signing the communiqué “want to raise public awareness, demonstrate unity and feed the wider debate with facts.”

The full text of the communiqué is as follows:

Speed Cameras Communiqué: issued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents on behalf of the undersigned on Tuesday, August 24, 2010.

We the undersigned agree that:

Speed cameras help to save lives - an estimated 100 lives a year in the UK.

Lives are saved by reducing speeding. Speeding significantly increases the risk of an accident happening; and also increases the severity of injuries in an accident.

Cameras should continue to be used where casualty statistics show they are needed.

Switching off cameras systematically would be close to creating a void in law enforcement on the road. Cameras currently account for 84 per cent of fixed penalty notices for speeding.

Cuts might also threaten many speed awareness courses that give motorists an opportunity to learn about the dangers of driving too fast.

While public spending needs to be cut, cuts must be justified by evidence. Cameras pay for themselves and currently make an important contribution to achieving compliance with the speed limit.


The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA): Tom Mullarkey MBE, Chief Executive

The AA: Edmund King, President

Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers (AIRSO): Graham Feest, Secretary

CTC - the UK’s National Cyclists’ Organisation: Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive

GEM Motoring Assist: David Williams MBE FIRSO, Chief Executive

Institute of Road Safety Officers: Darren Divall, Chairman

London Road Safety Council: Councillor Peter Herrington, Chairman

Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS): Robert Gifford, Executive Director

Road Safety GB: Alan Kennedy, Chairman

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


OldRidgeback [2847 posts] 7 years ago

DfT figures say excess speed is a factor in 14% of accidents on UK roads, rising to 24% of fatal accidents. However the biggest cause of accidents on UK roads by far is from drivers failing to look properly at 37%. If the money spent on chasing speeders had instead been investd in targeting the SMIDSY problem, UK roads would be a lot safer.

Simon E [3178 posts] 7 years ago
OldRidgeback wrote:

If the money spent on chasing speeders had instead been investd in targeting the SMIDSY problem, UK roads would be a lot safer.

Speed is easier to detect. Still, a quarter of all fatalities is still a fair number of dead people. Instead of pandering to people who insist on flouting the law, they should put up the duty on petrol by the amount needed to cover the road safety grant.

How do we persuade people to take more care? Not as easy as telling them to slow down (or they get their picture taken). I would suggest:

- stiffer sentences for texting/mobile/SMIDSY drivers, especially where conditions and visibility are demonstrated to be good.

- a longer driving ban, tougher hurdles to jump through before getting a license back and compulsory green P badge displayed prominently on the vehicle for 2 years after license is gained.

- and some hard-hitting TV adverts. No blood and gore (well, not much), just a brief flashback and the grimy prison cell?

Driving isn't a right, it's a privilege.

OldRidgeback [2847 posts] 7 years ago

Speed may be easier to detect but it's not the biggest problem. By focussing on speed as THE problem, drivers are unaware that this isn't the case. SMIDSY is the real killer. Anyway, conventional speed cameras only detect speed at that point. You and I both know that drivers slow down for them and then speed up again with a net effect of zero benefit for road safety. The cameras are being switched off because they don't benefit safety. Average speed cameras are a different story altogether, which is why more are being installed in London for example.