A report commissioned by the RAC Foundation has stated that the cost of switching off all speed cameras in the UK would be up to 800 additional people killed or seriously injured every year.
The report’s author Professor Richard Allsop, emeritus professor of transport studies at University College London, also suggested that the popular perception of the cameras being there primarily to raise money is a myth with just £4 from every £60 fine going to the Treasury.
Several councils have switched off their speed cameras as money provided by central government for road safety measures has been cut.
In light of the findings the RAC Foundation is sending a copy of the report to every highway authority in the country as they consider how best to spend those reduced road safety budgets.
Professor Allsop says speed cameras have offered continuing road safety benefits since their widespread introduction between 2001 and 2005.
These benefits, Professor Allsop concludes, are not just to be found at camera sites but across the wider road network. He also points out that a large majority of the public have consistently backed the use of cameras.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Mike Penning told the BBC that local councils should have the power to decide how to deal with road safety in their area.
He said: "We ended central government funding for new fixed speed cameras because we don't believe we should dictate to councils that they use them as the default solution in reducing accidents.
"It is not true however that the government has cut all funding for road safety, rather we have removed ring-fencing from local authority grants so that councils are able to set their own priorities.
"We would expect that road safety would remain a priority for local communities and that local spending would reflect that."