Scottish safety camera report challenges Coalition's scrapping of scheme

Report shows marked decrease in accident and injury rate at sites of fixed cameras

by Sarah Barth   August 2, 2012  

Speed Camera © Simon MacMichael.jpg

A new report has shown that safety cameras in Scotland cut road deaths and serious injuries by more than two thirds, a statistic that challenges the Coalition government's decision to scrap cameras.

The Key Scottish Safety Camera Programme Statistics 2011 
report found that the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites is 68 per cent lower after cameras are installed.

The number of personal injury accidents at safety camera sites is 48 per cent lower with fixed cameras in place.

Despite these findings, the report also contained a survey of the public, which showed that there were still mixed opinions about the effectiveness of cameras.

Around 71 per cent of respondents agreed that safety cameras help discourage dangerous driving and help prevent accidents.

82 per cent think that people should see the use of road safety cameras as a good thing.

But only 41 per cent of respondents thought that cameras were not just an easy way of making money out of motorists, and half of the people questioned believe there are too many road-safety cameras.

The Scottish government has taken a different view on road safety cameras to the Coalition government in Westminster.

In May 2010 the new Coalition pledged to scrap public funding for speed cameras and cut the Road Safety Grant from £95 million to £57 million; Philip Hammond saying on his first day in the job that 'Labour's 13-year war on the motorist is over'.

This came even as Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, of Gwent Police, on of the country's top traffic officers, said casualties had almost halved over an eight year period due to the use of speed cameras.

However, the Scottish Government has broken rank with this report, and said that with the use of safety cameras, the country’s roads are becoming safer.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “We welcome these statistics showing that the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites has dropped by 68 per cent since their introduction.

“Despite the fact Scotland recently recorded the lowest road casualty figures since records began, one death on our roads is still one too many.”

There is another story in the rest of the country though. We reported in August 2010 how the number of drivers speeding at one location in Oxfordshire had nearly doubled since speed cameras were switched off. As a result, there was a change of policy in November the same year and the Oxfordshire cameras were switched back on in April 2011.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), safety cameras cut speeds, save lives and prevent crashes.

 

4 user comments

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Did the accidents on roads without speed cameras follow the same trend? Our experience here in Bristol is very different.

THE number of speeding tickets issued in Bristol since roadside cameras were switched off has dropped by more than two-thirds.

However, accidents have not gone up. In fact, the number of collisions on Avon and Somerset's roads has continued to fall.

Figures revealed by a Freedom of Information request to Avon and Somerset Police show that between 2010 and 2011 the number of tickets being handed out went down from 130,000 to 38,000 – a staggering 71 per cent drop.

In 2010, nearly 61,000 of the tickets were paid by fixed penalty – £60 and three penalty points. The figure in 2011 was nearly 25,000.

The cameras were trumpeted as vital for making our roads safer in the face of critics claiming they were nothing more than cash-generators.

And yet, despite being switched off, the accident rate has fallen. Police confirmed there has been a 25 per cent decrease in collisions in the past three years.

And the head of Avon and Somerset police's road policing unit now admits that education – rather than prosecution via speed cameras – is the way to make our roads safer.

Mixte Rider

posted by adriank999 [72 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 10:20

2 Likes

It all depends on how the results have been interpreted. Not so long ago there was a report trumpeting the safety benefits of sped cameras. Under close investigation, the claims for safety improvements fell apart. I agree that education is better than fines, carrot rather than stick, it is basic psychology after all.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2305 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 10:58

2 Likes

This came even as Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, of Gwent Police, on of the country's top traffic officers, said casualties had almost halved over an eight year period due to the use of speed cameras.

Really ??

Have you not introduced any other road safety initiatives for 8 years?

Or have the other measures introduced proved totally ineffective?

posted by alun [44 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 23:39

1 Like

"The statistics contained within this bulletin describe:
• Accident and casualty numbers at safety camera sites, before and after camera
enforcement.
• Speeds recorded at safety camera sites, before and after camera enforcement.
• The number of people caught exceeding the speed limit, or running red-lights, at
safety camera sites.
• Public perception of safety cameras. "

It seems they didn't look at the figures for roads without cameras so the although there were reductions at the camera sites we don't know if there were greater reductions on similar roads without cameras so the safety implications for cameras are not clear.

Mixte Rider

posted by adriank999 [72 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 10:15

3 Likes