not every day that we find something in the car press that
we feel appropriate to carry here. But this is an exception.
SPEED CAMERAS COST THE
MOTORIST MILLIONS IN FINES AND COST LIVES
This is the conclusion Autocar magazine in association
with the RAC Foundation has reached after carrying out extensive
research into the speed camera debate.
Steve Sutcliffe, editor of Autocar magazine said:
"Speed cameras are a £150 million failure. They do not
deter drivers from speeding, are remarkably unsuccessful at saving
lives and may well cause accidents of their own. Their presence
has meant the removal of police from our roads, so thousands of
serious driving offences now go undetected."
As an alternative Autocar believes speed cameras could even be
putting lives at risk because:
- there are no longer as many police cars on our roads because
the police now rely too much on cameras to catch speeders, which
means there are also…
- more drunk drivers going undetected
- more drugged drivers going undetected
- more insurance fraudsters going undetected
- more defective vehicles on our roads than ever before
- therefore our roads have become more dangerous than ever to
drive on BECAUSE there are so many cameras on them
Autocar has discovered that while the number of
speeding drivers caught by cameras has risen four-fold to more than
1million since 1996, there has been a less than five per cent reduction
in the number of road deaths.
Also, the most lethal 10 roads in the country (as
designated by Euro RAP) are covered by just FOUR speed cameras.
"Accident figures show younger male drivers
cause more accidents, but it is the middle-aged professionals between
45 – 54 that are being caught by cameras. People being caught
by cameras are not the ones causing the accidents – so something
is wrong with our policing," stated Edmund King, Executive
Director, The RAC Foundation.
The reliance on the speed camera as the only form
of policing is, Autocar believes, the root of the problem. Traffic
police are being switched to other duties deemed more politically
sensitive, with the cameras employed in their place: more serious
road offences are therefore going largely undetected. Meanwhile,
the otherwise law-abiding citizen is the one repeatedly punished
for minor discretions, with the threat of losing their licence as
well as their livelihood.
The lack of traffic police is illustrated by the
dramatic fall in written warnings handed out to drivers of dangerous
or unroadworthy vehicles, which has halved between 1996 and 2001.
That equates to another half a million dangerous cars undetected.
More worryingly, the lack of traffic police has led to a fall of
50,000 in the number of dangerous driving offences detected.
Autocar have forwarded its findings to the government
and has suggested that the manifesto it has put together is taken
on board as a starting point of a major serious campaign to cut
road deaths. The 10 major points of the Autocar manifesto are:
1. Improve driver education and training
2. Position speed cameras in genuine black-spot
3. Get traffic police back on the road
4. Establish an expert body to set all speed limits
5. Improve the driving test
6. Give the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency
7. Implement a graded licence for new drivers
8. Revamp the licence penalty points system
9. Engineer existing roads for greater safety
10. Begin a major, sustained roads-building programme