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Speed cameras causing crashes

2013-06-26 09:07

DODGY SPEED CAMERS TO BLAME? The RAC Foundation says there are 21 suspect speed cameras in England which are causing accidents rather than preventing them. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Speed cameras could be increasing the risk of fatal or serious crashes in some parts of Britain.

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has highlighted a number of places where collision rates have risen "markedly" since cameras were installed, the London Daily Mail reported.

Supporters of speed cameras in the UK have given them the more politically correct title of "safety cameras" to emphasise the point that they are supposed to save lives and reduce crashes not increase the risk. RAC, which conducted the study, believes some cameras are causing accidents rather than preventing them.


The foundation has written to seven local authorities warning them of 21 suspect cameras and said that because only a third of speed-camera partnerships (government/private collaborations) supplied data "in a usable form", the true extent of the problem could be much worse.
Professor Stephen Glaister, foundation director, said: "Crucially, the study has also identified a number of camera sites near which collisions seem to have increased markedly.

"This may or may not be related to the cameras but warrants further investigation. Therefore, on the basis of this study, we have written to a number of local authorities suggesting they examine the positioning and benefits of a total of 21 cameras.

"What is disappointing is that only a third of those bodies required to release the data have done so in a usable and consistent form. It is unacceptable that users of speed camera data have been left with no guidance on how to interpret the figures, even though the data has for some years given rise to both controversy and genuine difficulty in interpretation."

Two-thirds of so-called safety-camera partnerships, comprised of councils, police, courts and road safety groups, have failed to publish speed camera performance data.

The result is that the full extent of the speed camera danger cannot easily be determined - despite ministerial attempts to make speed-camera performance "more transparent".

So complex and obscure was some of data, that even the top academic commissioned by the RAC to carry out the study, Professor Richard Allsop of University College London, was left scratching his head.


Ministers must act to make the data intelligible to ordinary drivers, says RAC.

Overall, the professor’s analysis of data shows that on average the number of fatal and serious collisions in their vicinity fell by 27% with an average reduction of 15% in personal injury collisions.

RAC said: "The research also highlights 21 camera sites in these areas at which, or near which, the number of collisions appears to have risen enough to make the cameras worthy of investigation."

The speed camera data going back to 1990 was released in 2011 as part of a Government order to councils to make speed camera operations more transparent to the public.

It details accident statistics before and after fixed speed cameras were installed, be made publicly  available.

Since 2011, only a third (12 out of 36) of the partnerships responsible for the figures have published the information in a format which complies with official Department for Transport guidance.

RAC said the new study broadly supported Professor Richard Allsop’s earlier 2010 study which concluded that speed cameras prevented up to 800 people a year being killed or seriously injured.
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