Scottish safety camera report challenges Coalition's scrapping of scheme

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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.