The ABD today reacted with scepticism to Transport
Minister David Jamieson's astounding assertion that every single
one of Britain's 6000 speed cameras is correctly positioned for
The fact that he reached this conclusion by simply asking the Camera
Partnerships reduces the matter to sheer farce. What else did he
expect them to say? They are responsible for placing them, so they
are hardly going to admit they are in the wrong!
"It's too late to fob the British people off with this kind
of whitewash," said Nigel Humphries of the ABD. "Almost
everyone now knows that cameras are in the wrong places and that
most of the people they catch are driving perfectly safely, whilst
dangerous drivers swan around unmolested."
Many people also know that the number of fatalities on Britain's
roads has hardly fallen since cameras were introduced, despite huge
advances in vehicle crash worthiness and medical care.
The ABD has continually highlighted what is wrong with the way
cameras are used.
· Many cameras are not placed in accident blackspots at
all. Camera partnerships from Scotland to London have admitted this
about cameras not placed by them. Some blatant examples - like the
ones placed on the Batheaston bypass near Bath, have even been removed,
but many more exist.
· The requirement to justify cameras by four serious accidents
in the vicinity is wide open to abuse. In many cases, the accidents
chosen: 1. Are a long way from the camera - note 1 2. Happened before
engineering work was done to prevent them -note 2 3. Are not caused
by breaking the speed limit - note 3
· Camera partnerships can quote accident numbers and causes
without any obligation for public scrutiny of the details of the
· Cameras are sited where the speed limit is wrong and so
where safe, attentive drivers are likely to be exceeding it. This
means that safe drivers are caught, whilst cynical dangerous drivers
slow for the camera then drive fast on residential roads where there
are no cameras. By punishing safe drivers and rewarding dangerous
ones, road safety is undermined and relations between police and
public are strained.
It is outrageous that the supporters of speed cameras continually
attempt to sweep these problems under the carpet with dismissive
statements like this one from David Jamieson.
The ABD will not go away and lie down. We will continue to expose
the fundamental flaws in a camera based road safety policy which
are leading to unnecessary deaths on Britain's roads and creating
a climate of oppression for those who seek to drive with courtesy
In the past, Highways authorities have used accidents along the
whole length of a road to justify a camera in a location where there
have been none. Now, government guidelines demand four serious accidents
within one kilometre. This is still a very long way, especially
in urban areas, and there is no reason why an accident at an urban
junction would be affected by a camera a kilometre away.
2 Engineering work
It is common to make improvements to a road, to remove a hazard,
and install a camera at the same time. The camera then gets the
credit for the improved safety at that site. Cameras are often installed
on stretches of road where several bad accidents have happened at
junctions or dual carriageway crossing points. In many cases, the
crossing points are closed or traffic lights are introduced, effectively
preventing any recurrence of the accident.
3 - False Diagnosis
The Government likes to claim that a high proportion of accidents
are caused by speeding. In fact, independent reviews such as the
West Midlands Road Accident Review shows that excessive speed is
the cause of 1.1% of pedestrian accidents and 4% of non-pedestrian
accidents. Durham's Chief Constable Paul Garvin recently went on
record to point out that the vast majority of serious accidents
above the speed limit are as a result of drink or drugs.
For more information about the ABD visit the Website at http://www.abd.org.uk