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Road safety experts issue joint statement in defence of safety cameras

Tuesday 24th August 2010

RoSPA and Road Safety GB have joined forces with other leading road safety organisations to voice concern about the switching-off of safety cameras.

To spark an informed debate, nine influential groups have put their names to a communiqué which unequivocally recognises safety cameras as an effective part of a much broader programme to save lives and reduce injuries on UK roads.

With many local authorities preparing to discuss cuts to their road safety budgets, it is feared decisions could be taken soon which may prove irreversible.

Before those decisions are taken, the communiqué’s co-signatories want to raise public awareness, demonstrate unity and feed the wider debate with facts.

The communique reads as follows:

We the undersigned agree that:

• Speed cameras help to save lives - an estimated 100 lives a year in the UK.

• Lives are saved by reducing speeding. Speeding significantly increases the risk of an accident happening; and also increases the severity of injuries in an accident.

• Cameras should continue to be used where casualty statistics show they are needed.

• Switching off cameras systematically would be close to creating a void in law enforcement on the road. Cameras currently account for 84 per cent of fixed penalty notices for speeding.

• Cuts might also threaten many speed awareness courses that give motorists an opportunity to learn about the dangers of driving too fast.

• While public spending needs to be cut, cuts must be justified by evidence. Cameras pay for themselves and currently make an important contribution to achieving compliance with the speed limit.

It is signed by:

• The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA): Tom Mullarkey MBE, Chief Executive

• The AA: Edmund King, President

• Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers (AIRSO): Graham Feest, Secretary

• CTC - the UK’s National Cyclists’ Organisation: Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive

• GEM Motoring Assist: David Williams MBE FIRSO, Chief Executive

• Institute of Road Safety Officers: Darren Divall, Chairman

• London Road Safety Council: Councillor Peter Herrington, Chairman

• Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS): Robert Gifford, Executive Director

• Road Safety GB: Alan Kennedy, Chairman

RoSPA has issued an evidence-based defence of speed cameras entitled: “Ten Reasons to Maintain Speed Camera Enforcement”. Click here to view the document.

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Clare

The points you made in your reply are agreed except for two.

"Take away the speed and no one gets hurt". If taken literally, this shows a gross misunderstanding therefore I suspect you meant something more specific.

With regard to the comment about the benefits of slowing traffic, I do not choose to ignore them so please may I assume that you have misunderstood my point.
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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-1

I know exactly what I am saying thank you. People make mistakes (Driver error) all the time, weather travelling at 29 mph or 79 mph. A mistake made at 29 mph is less likely to incur serious injuries, whereas a mistake made at 79 mph most likely would. Take away the speed & no one gets hurt. Speed also comes under the heading Driver error. Besides that if you travel along the motorway at 100 mph, pick up debris in a tyre & it blows out, you will not be able to control the car.There are many benefits to slowing drivers down. You just choose to ignore them.
Clare Brixey - Somerset

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Clare

Both you and Derek are correct, but you are making dissimilar comments hence the disagreement. Derek says, speed alone will not kill people. That is true; you will not die just because you drive a car at 100mph. So, speed alone does not kill hence the slogan "speed kills" is not true therefore not liked by some commentators. What you are saying is that any object, a car for instance, when it impacts on another object, another car, a brick wall, the resulting affect will be influenced by the speed of the moving object at the moment of impact along with other factors. So, a collision at 10mph may result in a broken headlight glass. A collision at 100mph will be considerably more severe in its outcome. The cause of the two collisions may be similar, inattention, carelessness, stupidity, bad judgement, but the results are different due to the speed on impact. This is what you are saying, you are talking physics, but the speed without the mistakes will not kill you. This is what Derek is saying. Do you see my point?
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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The proof that speed kills is everywhere to seen. You are fooling yourself if you can't or won't see that. no one can argue that a collision at 29 mph would result in lesser injury than a collision at 79 mph. That is simply because the faster you drive the harder you hit. Speed kills. Fact.
Clare Brixey - Somerset

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-3

“Speed kills!” Where is the proof of this? Tell it to the high speed train drivers, the aircraft pilots, the motorway drivers. If none of them could cope with anything more than 20mph, where would the world be today? In the Stone Ages. They’d all be dead if speed alone killed, this is where such an argument is based on false perceptions. The motorways are per vehicle mile travelled the safest in the country. Side streets on housing estates - the worst. As a species we are quite capable of handling speed when trained, alert, and with active systems to inform us. Speed cameras have been a sledge hammer to crack a Walnut.

All of the above activities have in place systems to help the ‘inadequate’ human brain, and on the road, we have indications of limits and our own perceptions of what is safe. What is that? Simply being able to stop on your side of the road within the distance you can see in prevailing conditions – not a number. The velocity at which we travel at in numbers per hour may vary greatly within that envelope. The pursuit of those who may at times exceed a limit by a few MPH when safe to do so as criminals, is misguided and foolish.

I can’t run at 20mph, I use wheels for travelling that fast and faster. Have you never seen people walk into lampposts at 4mph? I have. Is 4mph too much for our ‘inadequate’ brains that have brought us engineering, medical, and social excellences exported around the world? The horse and cart were not accident free, horses can bolt, kick, and kill. To consider a return to such a mode of power, or at least ‘speed’ (though I do realise you did not suggest that) would encumber the land with more effluent than it could ever cope with, and along with it, animal cruelty, not to mention the complete collapse of a nations transport infrastructure and economy.

Pure Speed is not the issue.

Inappropriate use of speed can kill, and reckless ignorance under the influence also - of which you are all too painfully aware. It is the correct use of speed and a drivers/riders appreciation of hazard perception that gives us the levels of low fatalities on our road network today – it is not speed cameras. Driving at, or below a specific number does not make roads safer. There would have been fewer deaths if speed cameras had not invaded the scene, but the motive was money, a policy designed around it, and a certain degree of willingness amongst the many to ‘believe’ the ‘experts’ when ‘sold’ as commonsense.

You do have some credibility with vehicles being made ‘too easy’ to drive, too quiet, too comfortable. But how far would you be prepared to drive in an open topped car without a heater, inadequate windscreen wipers, and brakes of dubious effectiveness, when compared to a modern warm, cosy and dry small saloon? Those old cars are nice to drive now and then, but fatiguing to drive also – another killer on the loose?
Derek Reynolds

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+1

It has been proved time & time again that speed kills! Drivers need to allow more time for their journey so that they can slow down. The faster you drive the more your brain struggles to take in information around you. It is a proven scientific fact that our brains where made to function as fast as we can run i.e 20 mph. So this proves that driving at 30 mph although stretched you are much more able to be aware of hazards than if you drive at say 70 mph. Speed has been proven to be a contributory factor in many deaths on our roads, in many serious injuries on our roads. If you were to take away speed many many lives would have been saved, many many serious injuries could have been prevented. Our roads are not race tracks, it is not a competition. Our roads are a form of moving from one place to another & for all to use. The problem here is cars are now made quieter/smoother for driver comfort but unfortunately you don't realise the speed you are travelling at. Maybe we should take away driver comfort so that drivers are more aware of their speed. If you go back to the time when we had horse and carriage for transport, how many horses would some of you get through if you expected them to run as fast as they could all the time. Speed is a very serious issue on our roads, we need to keep doing all we can to slow drivers down!
Clare Brixey - Somerset

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Despite the sub-heading stating: “39 readers have commented on this story” (to date), it is actually only eleven give or take, such has been the thrust and parry twixt a few. Perhaps I'll be the twelfth! But 39 'comments' have been made. It is in the course of such pedantry that details are discovered that otherwise are glossed over, ignored completely, and whether deliberately or unconsciously - even hidden, or through lack of knowledge, completely wrong as in the declared 90° bend on the A316 beyond Twickenham Bridge.

In the debate over the effectiveness of speed cameras, it is vital to acknowledge WHAT they are effective AT. Are they effective at reducing traffic speeds of legal sober drivers? Yes, in general. This is clear at whatever camera site one may have access to. Do they help release traffic officers for duties elsewhere? Yes, they may do so, but with that comes a loss of the ability to apprehend and question the erratic driver who may be under the influence; using a mobile phone; juggling papers or a map on their lap; the one with inadequate documentation; and the defective vehicle, all and any of which can cause an accident that the camera will not ‘see’– perhaps that officer will be called to an incident at the site of a speed camera. Do they reduce, prevent, or stop accidents? Those SPECS cameras on motorways cause vehicles to bunch closely together creating difficult lane changing – the major cause of motorway accidents. Here is the crunch - under certain situations it is believed they might save lives, and ‘might’ is at the crux of this one aspect of their deployment that is clearly stated when the numbers of lives claimed to have been “saved” are an “estimate”. Introduce me to one single person who can hand on heart swear that the presence of any one camera – or any number come to that – has saved their life – find me an accident where it could credibly be claimed that a camera could have prevented it?

In what situations, and how might they save lives? Some will inevitably claim ‘by reducing vehicle speeds’ - in theory only. Slowing could reduce the likelihood of a collision as well as the severity, but the flip-side of slowing traffic by too much (well below the 85%ile) is loss of concentration and other activity – in effect, complacency is drawn in thereby eroding any safety margin gained. A collision may still occur due to elements other than pure speed such as poor observation, inattention, ignorance of another’s path and speed no matter that it may be at - or even below a posted limit, road surface condition, darkness, wet leaves and more. In some situations a lower speed will give a driver more chance at perceiving a hazard and acting accordingly thereby reducing the effects of, or even avoiding a collision – but how does one prove that aspect? You cannot. And yet the whole drive for the implementation and retention of speed cameras is based on that premise, a premise that has no detailed corroborated data. A ‘belief’ that cameras save lives, that they are ‘estimated’ to have saved lives. And when lives are lost to an event where excess speed over and above a posted limit has caused a fatality, cameras are declared to be the answer – cameras will stop the carnage. No they will not, nor will removing them increase road traffic accidents as Swindon’s example has shown, and also in the County of Durham where cameras were not introduced in the first instance. That County has one of the lowest fatality records Nation wide.

To those who claim ‘If they might save just one life, then they are worth it’ I ask: are they equally worth removing if any one has caused just one death? For there are families bereaved who have lost loved ones at camera sites – never mind the excuses and reasons why someone braked and another didn’t notice – it doesn’t bring them back when they might be here today had that camera not been there, and for those who will still flaunt commonsense and the law wilfully driving recklessly and dangerously, no camera will stop them either.

Look back at some of the statistics for road fatalities since 1972 - over 7,000 deaths annually – no speed cameras. Since then until 1992, the numbers about halved – despite the increase in vehicle numbers over that same period – no speed cameras, a few radar traps, but localised and nothing new when pitched along with the Bobby and a stop watch, or a discrete pursuit. Many improvements have been made to vehicles and their ‘protective’ systems of air bags and ABS which have accounted for much improvement in casualties numbers, but then from 1993 speed cameras came on the scene, the first Gatso being that on the South side of Twickenham Bridge – the industry was about to take off. But did the ongoing trend of reduced fatalities continue down? No, it did not. Instead of any appreciable and increased fall in fatalities that should have occurred if speed cameras were effective at saving lives, the downward trend slowed almost halting, and the trend that perceivably should have continued – stalled. No other single or collective events that have occurred on our road network has contributed to this fact – not a supposition, not a belief nor an ‘estimate’ – a fact.

Accidents still continue to happen outside of areas covered by speed cameras and for a variety of reasons, yet the vast majority of the nations roads are NOT covered by speed cameras, and we have a road network and safety record that is almost second to none in the world despite our congested Islands. As much as some would have the entire country held under surveillance for our every move, accidents would still happen. Fewer would happen with better driver training, and advanced courses offered with incentives for lower insurance and road tax. But there again is a nub – cash. An entire industry has been created that demands feeding. Experts have been appointed as road safety gurus, and the line they peddle is that of the speed/safety camera industry – more is better – but they have a huge invested interest and are basing their views on the flimsiest of ‘evidence’ in “estimates”. Once such panels of experts have convinced sufficient numbers that they hold the Holy Grail, once the catch phrases and sound bites have been absorbed by repetition and learnt by heart – the heart takes over, emotion begins to over-rule any analytical logic and any who then choose to lift a few stones, ask questions and seek the underlying data for such claims will be laughed at, vilified, scorned and abused, until eventually the day arrives when their claims and questions become ever so quietly adopted as: ‘self evident’.

Such has been the way of the world for centuries, and the ‘debate’ around speed cameras is no different.
Derek Reynolds, St Albans, Herts.

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Roy

Probably my last post on here.

A “Road Safety Manifesto” off the top of my head (in no particular order)

1. Review all speed limits and adjust to the 85%ile speed to restore the intrinsic value in them. Resist the tendency to believe that reducing speed limits improves road safety - there is no evidence to support that, and I have professional road safety underlining the value of the 85%ile - anything else is likely to degrade road safety.
2 Remove any “road safety” devices/systems that have a net negative effect on road safety i.e. remove hazard cameras and other dangerous interventions known to cause or contribute to collisions such as chicanes and speed humps (which cause latent defects in tyres, steering and suspension).
3 Close down the self-promoting Partnerships, return road safety to council officers and police.
4 Improve driver training in every way possible – focus on “Roadcraft”, identifying and dealing with hazards and creating a safety margin around your vehicle. Close down speed-awareness courses, as their main purpose is to justify the existence of cameras and Partnerships
5 Employ competent independent safety experts and statisticians whose job does not depend on showing road safety in a good light.
6 Increase police patrols, and make sure they are willing to stop and deal with poor driving of all kinds. Not just obvious dangerous driving (such as using a mobile phone in traffic or aggressive driving) but driving with no lights in fog or at dusk, faulty lights, lack of signalling when it would have been appropriate, tail-gating, etc.)
7 Make facilities available for drivers to train away from the road - eg skid pan. Some female friends of mine attended a "Ladies Driving Challenge" last year, which was organised to raise money for a charity, but it gave them a chance to drive a fire engine, a lorry, a JCB and so on. Such experience can provide confidence to drivers - it was women in this case, but I know several people whose would drive better if they were a bit more confident behind the wheel.
8 Advertising campaigns, pushing the basics of good driving. Not alarmist and harmful "speed kills" messages, but aimed at driving such that you can stop within the distance you can see, the importance of mirrors and signals, how to look for and respond to hazards.
9 Consider installing vehicle activated speed signs (not because I think they prevent collisions, but as a public relations exercise where speed cameras are removed).
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

We have had considerable dialogue on how it should not be done and what is wrong with current strategies and policies.

You are clearly a researcher who has put a great deal of thought and analysis into the subject of road safety and roads policing. Is it not now time for you to tells us how it should be done?

What is your manifesto for road safety? How would you do it? How would you police the roads?
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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Roy

You say "Enforcement cannot guarantee safety, that is obvious, but it makes a major contribution to it."
You have supplied no evidence to support that claim.

"The method of that enforcement should not generate a negative"
agreed - but it DOES. It creates 40 negatives according to Paul Smith, and he was not far off.

"and you believe that is what cameras do."
No, I KNOW that's what cameras do, and have provided extensive evidence to support my claims and can provide more (I'll use your direct email - have spent too long on this thread).
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

Enforcement cannot guarantee safety, that is obvious, but it makes a major contribution to it. The method of that enforcement should not generate a negative and you believe that is what cameras do. We are back where we started but the debate has been wholesome.
Roy Buchanan. Sutton

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Roy and Clare

If the method of enforcing speed compliance makes a net negative contribution to road safety - and the Bridgstock Conjecture and Corollary prove that that is the case - then those enforcement methods must be curtailed.

As I have said many times, compliance with the law does not necessarily guarantee safety improvements, and that is the case with speed cameras.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

Thank you for your agreement.

Your forgot to complete the sentence. Speed selection is indeed "based on the driver's perception of the conditions" WITH A MAXIMUM GOVERNED BY LAW.

Like it or not, both of us have to play by the rules. What we think of the rules is secondary. Try motorcycling in Switzerland. It's a joy and not just because of the scenery. The Swiss are very efficient at roads policing and the drivers believe in compliance.
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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Eric. speed cameras are only one aspect of road safety, there are many others. No one has ever said that speed cameras will prevent EVERY RTC. That would be silly, wouldn't it? Speed cameras are a vital part of road safety for reducing SPEED on our roads. This particular subject is about SPEED. Not drunk drivers, not drivers who use their mobile phone, not drivers who don't wear a seat belt, not drivers who don't maintain their car.

Speed cameras work by slowing drivers down, we need to keep them. You say cameras cause collisions, nO they don't. Drivers do by ignoring speed restrictions. Braking hard at a camera site is negligance of the driver, not a problem with the camera. Also if you believe checking your speedometer will cause a collision why hasn't there been collisions caused by this everywhere else on our roads? drivers check their speedometer often whilst driving not just at speed camera sites, it is just the same as checking your mirrors, we are all taught these simple tasks when we learn to drive so an experienced driver should not find this difficult or dangerous. There is only one reason why anyone would object to speed cameras, and that is simply because thay wish to drive above the law without the penalties.
Clare Brixey - Somerset

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Roy

We are in violent agreement. Of course better driving is safer driving.

I agree that speed selection is important but that selection is based on the driver's perceptions of the conditions.

Forcing a speed selection via a camera or some other speed enforcement intervention will not necessarily improve safety, and there are plenty of documented examples where it clearly reduces safety. Such interventions do not have the effect of creating a better driver or a safer driver.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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No Eric - deceptive interpretation I'm afraid.

We have established that we achieve improved safety by better driving and that speed selection is part of that activity, not a by-product. My experience with the Metrpolitan Police Driving School, Hendon, shows that all drivers became safer (and better) as a result of their training.
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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No, Roy - flawed logic I'm afraid.

We have established that we achieve improved safety by better driving. A by-product of that MAY be slower driving by some of your wayward characters. My experience with RoSPA Advanced Driving was that many drivers became quicker (and better) as a result of their training.

Slower does not equal safer (just try doing 40mph on a motorway).

I'm going to repeat an earlier post in a slightly modified form, because it is so fundamental...

Driving involves positioning your vehicle relative to the road layout and other road users, proceeding at an appropriate speed, in the appropriate gear, and monitoring and adjusting those using the steering wheel, pedals and other controls, in response to hazards. It also involves observing, and signalling intent to other road users. Good drivers develop the ability to do all of these instinctively and even poor drivers manage to do most of them fairly well most of the time.

Speed choice is an output from the driving process - it is what the driver decides, mostly instinctively, is the appropriate speed given all the inputs they receive from their senses.

Speed management, and speed cameras in particular, focuses a disproportionate amount of attention on that one instinctive aspect of driving – speed – reducing the time and attention available for the others. The consequence is that the driver's assessment of conditions is distorted. When most collisions involve misjudgement, poor observation or a lack of concentration, it is inevitable that interventions such as speed cameras will have a detrimental effect on drivers' judgement and increase risk to all road users and contribute to more accidents than they could ever prevent.

As a safety professional, responsible for the safety cases for everything from air traffic control to weapons and including military low flying training, I have spent three years trying to see if there is a safety argument for speed cameras. There simply is not.

And when you consider the costs involved they just make no sense at all.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

You said, in this case, the police would have been carrying out "better driving driving enforcement" of which "speed was only a part" but a factor nonetheless. Consequently, a higher safety level would have ensued. We seem to have established the link that was previously denied. I am grateful for your tolerance.
Roy Buchanan, Sutton.

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Roy

What the police are doing in that case is "better driving enforcement". You said yourself they drive "aggressively" - speed only a part of that.

A speed camera may be able to achieve speed enforcement in limited circumstances (legal, sober driver); police patrol can encourage and enforce better driving, including pulling over and warning drivers.

I've also received independent info this morning about the Twickenham bridge. The corner is no more than 20 degrees and drivers being distracted by the view from the bridge is probably a likely cause of incidents, they said.

Exceeding the speed limit is not always necessarily unsafe and driving within the speed limit is not necessarily safe. That, and the fact that they can only partly enforce a small element of better driving AND create numerous negative effects underlines why they are a very poor (as well as very expensive) "road safety tool".
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

I live in a residential suburban road. Quite a number of cars litter the roadside. Two local residents are young men who are "into cars." They drive along the road briskly, aggressively, at inappropriate speeds but probably not exceeding the speed limit (30) by a huge amount. If a situation were to be presented to them requiring emergency braking, collision avoidance may be difficult, if not impossible, due to prevailing factors one of which is speed. Were they being followed by a police motorcyclist they would, no doubt, drive at a more appropriate speed, in a calmer manner, reducing the risk level, danger if you prefer, and raising the safety level. Is that, in this case at least, a "convincing link" showing that "speed enforcement" is "assisting safety?"
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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Eric - this statement has been drawn up by the experts!!! It is a great report. We need to keep speed cameras switched on, they have proved to work & save lives. They needn't cost a penny to the tax payer as there are still to many speeders on our roads who finance them perfectly well. Oh and Eric, if we had no signs on our roads people would soon get lost, taking even more time to reach their destination & expanding their carbon footprint.
Clare Brixey Somerset

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Mark
The link between enforcement and safety is far from straightforward as the examples where enforcement contributes to crashes illustrate.

Enforcing speeding at ACPO thresholds below the 85%ile speed is actually introducing hazards and risk.

If they are called enforcement cameras, then that is what they are. You'll be hard-pushed to attribute safety benefit in terms of collision or casualty reduction.

Some are called "safety cameras"; that is a misnomer, they are hazard cameras.

It is vitally important that Road Safety GB focuses on safety. If speed enforcement can be shown to assist safety, that's a good thing, but I have yet to see a convincing link between the two.

To repeat another of my previous postings somewhere...

Speed limits have three functions:
1) to guide inexperienced drivers in what is likely to be an appropriate speed for a particular stretch of road
2) to facilitate prosecution of wildly excessive speed
3) to guide all drivers as to the likely hazard density.

Speed limits cannot represent a safe/unsafe speed threshold in all circumstances and conditions.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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-1

Eric. This is a discussion where significant comment relates to issues of road safety. However safety, although vitally important, is not the only issue in the debate about camera technology. Indeed at some locations the signs refer to the devices as 'enforcement cameras'.

Effective traffic law enforcement and road safety, are of course, linked. Roy's comments regarding the strategic positioning of the police motorcyclist at the Twickenham bridge, illustrate this link.
Mark - Wiltshire

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Roy

I agree, and advocate that drivers should drive according to what they can see and clearly they should have recognised that the bend was sharp.

In order to debate this properly we need to know more about how many crashes were involved, the circumstances, and what the root causes were.

If it were a small number, then regression to the mean plays a part.

If locals were crashing, were they drunk, etc? I find it difficult to believe that sober locals simply forgot that there was a sharp bend, or consistently failed to recognise it.

Were chevrons tried and, if not, why not?

I certainly don't see enough evidence here that the speed camera solved the problem, partly because of the analysis of cause and effect that I have done that suggests that the likelihood of a camera preventing a collision is diminishingly small.

Your "I seem to recall" comment suggests that much of this is now lost - but if we can dig it up, we could make progress.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

I agree generally with what you have written but your answers imply that drivers fail to demonstrate adequate hazard perception and need signs. What would happen if drivers had no signs upon which to rely? Would they have accidents at every bend? No, they would drive differently honing their hazard perception skills in the process. If the road ahead does not appear to go ahead then it must be deviating left or right, perhaps sharply, so a driver should react to that information that you would like to see confirmed by signage. Is this not a variation on your broken speedo theory?Your answer that "drivers did not realise" that the bend was so sharp at this location suggests that those drivers involved in accidents were not locals but strangers to the area using that road for the first time. I seem to recall that was not the case. Some drivers were local and used the road frequently yet entered the bend too fast. You did not address the issue that, in this case, after the installation of the camera the accident figures improved dramatically. What, in your opinion, influenced that outcome and did the camera play a role in that result?
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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John WM: "despite the evidence to support their introduction ... the real issue is that cameras provide one tool in a varied toolbox".

What do you believe to be the safety evidence? EVERY report claiming benefits is flawed (I'm currently in correspondence with Prof Allsop at UCL about the claims of the 4th Year Evaluation, which proved nothing about safety effectiveness).

So why would you want an ineffective tool in your toolbox, especially such an expensive one which has so many negative effects?

Mark, Wiltshire is talking about law enforcement and has not realised that this is a SAFETY discussion. None of his Q&As has safety as its subject.

Roy - I had exchanges with Kevin Delaney about a year ago but he is clearly in denial about what a monster that first camera has become.

Regarding Twickenham, the problem was not "drivers travelling too fast ...and failing to adjust their speed", it was drivers not realising how sharp the bend was and presumably not expecting a bend that sharp at that location. They deployed a police motorcyclist, but what use was made of signage, chevrons, psychological effects (eg lines across the road getting closer together), etc?

Drivers need information about road layout and possible or actual hazards so that they can respond accordingly. Speed is an output based on the driver's perceptions and skill (inputs). All speed management and "behaviour conditioning" is concerned with trying to control the output when the way to improve road safety is by improving the inputs.

As I said on a previous posting, driving involves positioning your vehicle relative to the road layout and other road users, proceeding at an appropriate speed, in the appropriate gear, and monitoring and adjusting those using the steering wheel, pedals and other controls, in response to hazards. It also involves observing, and signalling intent to other road users. Good drivers develop the ability to do all of these instinctively and even poor drivers manage to do most of them fairly well most of the time. Speed management, and speed cameras in particular, focuses a disproportionate amount of attention on just one aspect of driving – speed – reducing the time and attention available for the others. When most collisions involve misjudgement, poor observation or a lack of concentration, it is inevitable that such interventions will increase risk to all road users and contribute to more accidents than they could ever prevent.

The claims that cameras are being dismantled and fatalities will therefore shoot up have no foundation whatsoever. Hazard cameras have caused far more deaths than they could ever have prevented. Paul Smith identified 40 negative effects and even the Twickenham Bridge camera would have triggered many of those effects (some lead to incidents well away from the camera site).

I therefore still see no case for speed camera use, nor any ongoing justification that they have a "role to play". Twickenham Bridge was the start of an experiment - one which has gone badly wrong.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Eric

To answer your question regarding the role of the camera, we are best to return to the first speed camera installation at Twickenham Bridge. The problem was drivers travelling too fast, south bound, over the bridge and failing to adjust their speed to take the 90 degree turn on the south side. Several accidents ensued at this location but not when the Metropolitan Police posted a motorcyclist to sit at the roadside. However, this officer had other things to attend to so could not sit there for a full tour of duty. A speed camera placed on the bridge had the desired affect. Drivers slowed down for the camera and were consequently travelling at an appropriate speed to take the bend. The accident rate plummeted. This demonstrates that the camera, in this case, had a role to play, but their use elsewhere appears to have become unbridled over the years. For a more in-depth explanation of the Twickenham Bridge Affair please refer to my former Commanding Officer, ex-Chief Superintendent Kevin Delaney, now Head of Road Safety with the IAM. I hope this explains why I believe cameras have a role to play but that role must be selective and justifiable. I suspect this principle has not been applied to each and every installation and has resulted in an understandably hostile reaction from the motoring public. Does this remove the tarnish from my reputation Eric?
Roy Buchanan, Sutton

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Q. How do you help prevent individuals breaking the law.
A. Enforce it.

Q. What is the finest traffic law enforcement resource in existence?
A. Highly trained roads policing (traffic) officers deployed overtly and covertly in cars and on motorcycles.

Q. How do you utilise this fantastic resource most effectively?
A. Allow them to focus on what they do best - concentrate on advanced core roads policing issues.

Q. Is deploying a professional highly trained roads policing officer and associated sophisticated high performence vehicle, for several hours at the road-side, with a speed measuring and detection device, an efficient and cost-effective use of one of the finest law enforcement resources in existence?
A. Probably not.

Q. What does the job of enforcing the speed limit and provides the evidence for prosecution quite cost-effectively? What also provides referrals for driver/rider education programmes?
A. Safety cameras.

Q. What can enforce the speed limit and provide evidence for the prosecution of those violating other road traffic laws? What can do this with the use of that very sophisticated piece of technology - 'the mark-one human eyeball'? What could provide referalls for a wider range of driver/rider education programmes?
A. The mobile camera unit.

Q. Would the general road-user benefit from more education and skills development?
A. Yes.

Q. Is there a need for safety camera technology appropriately deployed, as a modern policing and road-safety resource, as part of a portfolio of resources available to the modern police service to be used where operational considerations and requirements necessitate appropriate deployment.
A. Self evident.
Mark - Wiltshire

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The debate concerning safety cameras will rumble and rumble despite the evidence to support their introduction. The real issue is that cameras provide one tool in a varied toolbox to solve road safety problems and they are being removed without appropriate consultation.

The bigger issue for me is the fact that without a long-term road safety strategy it is not only cameras that will be removed but the whole profession. The proposed budget cuts will be savage and many Councils will restructure and place less emphasis (and funding) on road safety. This has already been seen with experienced individuals made redundant or retiring to realise budget savings. Interestingly budget savings in itself is an interesting term, as the people who do the job most effectively are replaced by less knowledgeable and interested professionals.

By supporting and promoting a long-term road safety strategy the Government could easily increase the emphasis that should be placed on road safety locally. Without it there will be no KPI's and minimal funding to support the activity. Pedestrian training, cycle training and many other fundamental schemes aimed at different road users will be significantly reduced or even totally stopped. This will not only undermine the years of hardwork that all RSO's/Engineers have done but potentially will reverse the trend in casualty reduction to see an increase in road injuries.

At this time more than ever, Road Safety professionals need to pull together and despite the differences of opinion in certain aspects of delivery. Lets hope that an informed debate is had covering all aspects of road safety including safety cameras and that a higher level of importance can be achieved!

As an aside, it would be interesting at the end of the evening news if they could state both the daily and cumulative fatalities and serious injuries that have occurred. Would this raise the profile an importance sufficiently, as it has done with other issues?
John, West Midlands

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Roy

Thanks, I think, for your words of support and encouragement.
I have seen many a wise word from you but then you spoil it with “the speed camera still has a role to play”.
What exactly is that role?

As the earlier posts presented questions and demanded answers, perhaps I could ask "to what question is the answer ‘speed cameras’?”

For true safety measures, the questions are obvious (and they have a clear safety context)

A: chevrons, sharp bend sign
Q: How do we alert drivers to the fact that a bend is especially sharp, or sharper than it may appear?

A: laminated windscreens, seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, etc.
Q: How can car design reduce the likelihood of drivers and passengers being injured?

A: rear foglights
Q: How do we reduce the likelihood of rear-end shunts in fog?

A: anti-lock brakes
Q: How do ensure the driver retains the ability to steer under very heavy braking, and reduce the likelihood of a skid?

A: speed cameras
Q: ????????

If you are tempted to pose the question “How do we discourage drivers exceeding the speed limit?” we know that is not a safety question (see previous comments about driving safely with a broken speedometer, even though that means that you may be driving [safely] above the speed limit on some occasions). Also, equally, we know that driving below the speed limit is not necessarily safe, nor necessarily safer.
Even if driving within the speed limit were automatically safe, the level of penalties suggests that cameras are not the most effective way of achieving speed reduction to below the limit.
If you are tempted to pose the question “How do we discourage drivers from using inappropriate speed?” or “How do we discourage drivers from excessive speed?” you’ll need to explain why a speed camera is a valid answer since it cannot “know” what is either inappropriate or excessive speed.

So, what exactly is the role of the speed camera and to what safety question is it the answer?
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Aah, "amid the noise and haste" to justify or discredit speed cameras comes words of wisdom from Eric Bridgstock advocating a police presence. I never stop advising to "take kindly the counsel of years" and return to what makes roads safer. I will resist the temptation to eulogize about roads policing, I have said it all before. But, "with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams", the speed camera still has a role to play. Perhaps this saga is "unfolding as it should" so "be cheerful." (with aplogies to Max Ehrmann)
Roy Buchanan Sutton

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obviuous correction to my previous message ...

Bad drivers CAUSE crashes, better drivers prevent them (through observation, concentraion, anticipation and driving so that they can stop in their visible distance).
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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And my answer to Duncan's challenge is driver education and training.

Bad drivers prevent crashes, better drivers prevent them (through observation, concentraion, anticipation and driving so that they can stop in their visible distance).

This must be supported by a police patrol, presence to deal with all forms of bad and dangerous driving.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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Mike - the Conjecture (have you read it?) is a serious attempt to break through the bogus and misleading statistical-based claims that have been made for the benefits of speed cameras. It uses safety engineering arguments and seems to be working.

Interesting to spot the similarities between climate change and speed cameras - both rely on dodgy statistics, minimal real science and massive vested commercial interests, not to mention emotional arguments (as deployed by Brake).

I am an engineer and a scientist and would expect all decisions to be based on evidence and argument, and for that evidence to be open to scrutiny. That is not the case for speed cameras or CC.

Duncan asks a cracking question - it's a variation on one that I ask: "Can you drive SAFELY with a broken speedometer?". I would expect most drivers to say: "Yes - I drive according to the conditions so that I can stop on my side of the road in the distance that I can see to be clear." The fact that they may occasionally stray over the speed limit does not make them any less safe.

If speed limits are not arbiters of what is safe, then what are they for? Consider these roles (first proposed by the late Paul Smith):
1) To firmly guide inexperienced and under-skilled drivers away from exceeding safe limits by wild margins
2) To provide a ready means of prosecution of those who use speed dangerously
3) To provide a "standard warning" of expected hazard density

Certainly not a safe/unsafe threshold and nor could they ever be.

I look forward to other responses to Duncan's challenge.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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The question I always ask of road safety professionals is "how would you go about managing road safety if the speedometer had never been invented"?

So far nobody has come up with a satisfactory, or indeed any answer to that question, yet I have a feeling that it gets to the very heart of the speed camera argument.

Although speedometers are mandatory, very few of us take time out to consider why this is so and what the world would be like if nobody had a speedometer in their vehicle. Would as some suggest, there would be utter carnage, or would we have attempted to identify the real root causes of road accidents and then take the requisite steps to address them?

To follow the theme of sparking an informed debate, I therefore challenge the signatories to the communiqué to have a go at answering my question. I'm sure that a great many people would be interested in hearing the answer.

Just to add fuel to the debate, to my certain knowledge, nobody ever got killed because somebody broke the speed limit but instead, everybody got killed because somebody broke their skill limit.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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Let me see if I've got this right: 'conjecture' in its statistical, dictionary-defined sense, is OK for stating that safety cameras 'probably' don't work, but Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT) are mandatory for proving that they do. A somewhat asymmetrical and unfair situation. Let me make this clear: although I work in road safety I have no particular interest in safety cameras other than as one of a range of tools used to reduce casualties. I was nicked by one some years ago, so I know how it feels to be punished for a moment's lapse of concentration. If they didn't work I'd be front of the queue persuading colleagues to stop wasting money on them and spend it on other things instead. Most colleagues I know are in road safety for vocational reasons, not to persecute drivers (most of us ARE drivers) or make life unpleasant for people. I see no-one has taken up my own ‘conjecture’ that safety camera deniers, with their asymmetric evidential standards, remind me of anthropomorphic climate change deniers and that the two groups might display a large degree of overlap; saying more about their own psychological reasons for their position than their so-called evidence ever could. Humour me, Eric and Dave, and become the first two participants in my little bit of research: state your position, on the record, on anthropomorphic climate change.
Mike, Birmingham

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I've seen some of Dave Finney's work and it is a lot more thorough and credible than the "evidence" cited by the communique.

Given that lives are at stake, and the costs involved in operating speed cameras are huge, Dave and I are entitled to expect the supporting evidence to be substantial and convincing. It is neither and by a long way.

The crucial element to any work based on modelling, statistics and estimates is "is the answer believeable?". That was one of the catalysts for the development of the Bridgstock Conjecture which uses a safety engineering approach to analyse what conditions can cause a collision and what interventions can prevent them. It concludes that "the likelihood of any speed camera ever preventing a collision or a casualty is diminishingly small".

The Conjecture has been reviewed by many road safety professionals and experts and discussed on this forum http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/1099.html

It has yet to be disproved, and is unlikely to be.

Given that some of the signtories to the communique have reviewed the Conjecture and even helped to shape it, it is extraordinary to find them putting their names to a statement that shows them to be so out of touch.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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There have been 2 systematic reviews of speed camera reports, both of which searched the world for the best evidence available.

The 1st, published by the British Medical Journal, stated that “The level of evidence is relatively poor”.

The 2nd, published by the Cochrane Collaboration, determined that the “quality of the included studies being judged to be weak”.

And neither of these reports were written by "camera deniers", quite the opposite.

RCTs are NOT "unrealistically high evidential standards". It was perfectly possible to have done these at any time and, with lives at stake, we ought to demand such evidence (as we require for medical drugs etc). Would you take a new drug that had not been properly tested but was "estimated" might produce a benefit? That would take us back to the days of witch doctors, yet we allow this on our roads!

And RCTs can be done "in reverse".

If we genuinely wanted to find out what effect cameras are having, instead of just stifling funding resulting in a patchwork of conflicting effects, we could pay 1/2 the price for 1/2 the cameras but make the selection process to remove RANDOM.

This would be the 1st scientific test of cameras and, under the current climate, easy and practical.

But, suppose that there is no benefit? Or suppose cameras make road safety worse? After 16 years of refusing to test and refusing to measure, the camera industry has a strong vested interest in making sure these are never done.
Dave Finney - Slough

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Dave simply underlines my thesis that deniers always demand unrealistically high evidential standards for material that they disagree with, while providing no evidence to the contrary, or, as he does here, misleading his readers by quoting the line that says:

'The extent of RTM cannot be determined from the monitoring data used in the main analysis’

…without mentioning that it goes on to say:

'However, estimates have been made for a subset of 216 sites in urban areas for which extra information is available, using empirical Bayes methods with an external accident model. This analysis shows that RTM has only a modest effect on PICs, but may well have an appreciable effect on KSIs. Even in that case, there are significant reductions due to cameras.’

The word ‘estimate’ is used here in its statistical sense because statisticians rarely quote absolute figures. When they say ‘estimate’ they don’t mean ‘guess’ or a ‘ball park figure’ that a jobbing builder might give you for a bit of brickwork pointing. When they say ‘estimate’ they also quote the confidence interval of the ‘estimate’ (95%) in this case). Dave’s right about one thing – lives ARE at stake and if camera deniers in positions of power get their way, people will die unnecessarily.
Mike, Birmingham

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EVIDENCE.

What is the evidence on speed cameras?

The single greatest problem is that scientific trials have NEVER been done. There is no reason that RCTs could not be performed. There are far more locations that meet camera requirements than there are cameras to place there. This means that we already leave thousands of potential sites without cameras. Why could these have not been used in RCTs?

Before/after studies (in any field of science or engineering) can be massively influenced by selection bias and the effect of RTM may even be the entire benefit at camera sites. This would mean that the cameras are doing NOTHING to reduce collisions.

But RTM has never been measured or eliminated.

eg, the 4YE has an estimate of RTM but there are 2 problems:

1) It’s an estimate. Estimates can give us “ball park” figures, but they are not a measurement of the actual effect.
2) The estimate was only calculated for a small unrepresentative sample of camera sites. The estimate does not apply to all cameras.

The 4YE goes on to admit (p7) "The extent of RTM cannot be determined from the monitoring data used in the main analysis".

It would be fair to state that the evidence in favour of cameras is "weak" or "poor".

The 4YE certainly does NOT state that cameras save 100 lives per year, nor does it state that they prevent "over 1,600 serious injuries" as the RoSPA site claims.

We would NEVER allow "weak" or "poor" evidence in any other field of safety engineering, why do we allow this in road safety?

We need to get the facts right because lives are at stake.
Dave Finney - Slough

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In an ideal world full of ideal road users there wouldn’t be any need for speed limits because everyone would travel at a safe speed for the conditions. Therefore we wouldn’t need any traffic law enforcement and road safety professionals would become obsolete. We don’t live in an ideal world!

The opponents and proponents of safety cameras agree on one thing – we need law enforcement and education to ensure and persuade road users to travel in a safe and effective manner, and to integrate with one-another, so that we mostly get along with others and get to our destinations. The methods of enforcement and persuasion are where the differences of opinion are most apparent.

Just about everyone agrees on the need and desirability of visible roads policing, carried out by highly trained specialist police officers. There is no substitute for the mark one human eye ball. The standard of our advanced police drivers and riders (class1) has always been first rate and remains excellent today. The high standards required of these officers and their vehicles costs money. These highly trained roads policing officers and their vehicles are a law enforcement resource (an incredibly valuable and effective one) that is managed and deployed by teams of senior police officers according to operational needs and efficiency.

When the cameras are switched off, some senior officers are stating that their officers will still rigorously enforce speed limits and other road traffic legislation. It is well known within the police service that roads policing units make ‘high quality arrests’. This is achieved by overt and covert patrolling and other intelligence led activities, together with the good old fashioned police officer’s sixth sense. T would suggest that the deployment of these highly trained officers with their specialist vehicles, for hours on end at the roadside, with speed measuring devices, is perhaps, not the most cost effective use of one of the most valuable policing resources in existence.

Most of the arguments for and against safety cameras seem to centre around the fixed yellow boxes. The value of mobile safety camera units is not really being included in the debate. These units are versatile, and can be moved from one location to another, providing a high degree of flexibility of operational deployment for police management teams. They also contain that very sophisticated piece of equipment – the mark one human eye ball! I would suggest (personal opinion) that these units are more cost effective for the job that they do, than highly trained roads policing officers.

The mobile camera units can detect other offences in addition to speeding. They can detect the use of hand held mobile phones and the failure to wear a seatbelt – they can provide photographic evidence of this that can be used in prosecutions. The mobile units can also provide useful intelligence that can be utilised by specialist roads policing units. They could detect and provide photographic evidence that could be used in the prosecution of section 3 offences such as crossing a solid white line to perform an illegal overtaking manoeuvre. These are just the kind of examples of bad driving/riding that the opponents of safety cameras are saying that cameras can’t detect. With the current level of affordable technology fixed cameras can’t do this, but mobile camera units can.

Then there is the desirability of education as an alternative to prosecution in certain circumstances. There is general agreement on this. We all agree that the general standard of road use is rather poor and that drivers/riders will benefit from more education and skills development. We also know that relatively few drivers/riders get involved with further training and skills development after passing their learner test. Mobile camera units, in many cases, are the first stage in the process of referral to a driver education programme or speed awareness workshop.

I have never seen a speed awareness workshop that is used as a vehicle to promote pro safety camera propaganda. Those that I have seen have been delivered in a very professional manner by very experienced tutors who care passionately about what they do. Much of the content is related to sound road craft and good common sense driving and riding practice. There are sections on hazard perception and good sound advice on how to deal with many of the problems that are regularly encountered on today’s roads. Those attending are given help with dealing with aggressive road users and how best to manage their driving/riding environment. They are given helpful suggestions on dealing with busy urban environments, rural single carriageways and dual carriageways.

They are also given help with driving on motorways, including lane discipline, dealing with adverse weather conditions, how to avoid fatigue and effective journey management and planning. Active traffic management systems are reviewed together with newer developments, such as the hard shoulder being used as a running lane during congested periods; the use of refuge areas for breakdown is discussed. Common sense advice on breakdown management and ensuring the safety of all vehicle occupants including animals are discussed.

Effective management of the drivers/riders space on all roads is discussed and reviewed. Good observational techniques and the principles of ‘scanning and planning’ are included. Guidance on prioritising driver/rider actions based on the information gained by good observational techniques is given. Dealing with vulnerable road users is also included.

What I have described above is already known to road safety professionals and specialist roads policing officers and their police management teams. I’m not sure how many politicians are aware of what is really going on and all the good work that is being done. I’ve no doubt that some of them are blissfully unaware of the positive and cost effective contribution mobile safety camera units make to road safety and traffic law enforcement & the driver/rider development process. These mobile units free up valuable time for highly trained specialist roads policing officers to concentrate the valuable professional work that they already do.

Politicians need to revisit this before they lay themselves open to criticisms of naivety and ineptitude. They need to do this soon.
Mark - Wiltshire

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I’m glad Dave has raised the 4–year evaluation (4YE); it’s required (if somewhat heavy) reading for anyone weighing in on this topic – and that includes you Bob. I’m not quite sure what Dave’s requirement for scientific trials are, though I’m guessing he means the medical gold standard, Randomised Control Trials. Anyone who works in the political-social world of road safety will understand the ethical constraints on using RCT in our work and to dismiss everything that isn’t RCT as useless isn’t being strictly honest. So, what does the 4YE say about regression to mean, trend etc? Well it wasn’t possible to analyse the whole set of camera sites in that report for RTM because the model needed to do that required extra information that was only available for a sub-set of the sites. Eventually 216 urban sites were used. The model used to find out how much of the reduction in casualties/collisions was due to ‘camera success’ and how much was due to RTM and trend etc was designed to work with collisions numbers, not casualties and certainly not KSIs, so some differences in the results were to be expected. Here’s what Mountain & Maher’s Appendix H of the report said about collision numbers:

‘The overall average observed reduction in PICs is 31%. After allowing for trend and RTM effects, the average reduction in all PICs attributable to the cameras is 16% of those observed in the baseline period. RTM effects account for a fall of 7% with trend accounting for a further fall of 8%. Thus, on average, the effects of the cameras accounted for just over half of the observed reduction in PICs with RTM and trend effects each accounting for about a quarter.’ (page 152)

And here’s what the Appendix said about KSIs (referred to by Mountain & Maher as Fatal/Serious Casualties (FSC)):

‘The overall average observed reduction in FSCs is 55%. After allowing for trend and RTM effects, the overall average reduction in FSCs attributable to these cameras is 10% of those observed in the baseline period. RTM effects account for a fall of 35% with trend accounting for a further fall of 9%. Thus RTM accounts for about three fifths of the observed reduction in FSCs with the effects of the cameras and trend each accounting for a fifth.’ (page 154)

Perhaps the report best summarises it:

‘An analysis was carried out on a subset of camera sites to estimate the size of any regression-to-mean effects. Whilst regression-to-mean does appear to account for some of the reduction in collisions at cameras, the safety effects of cameras remain substantial.’

And:

‘This analysis shows that RTM has only a modest effect on PICs, but may well have an appreciable effect on KSIs. Even in that case, there are significant reductions due to cameras.’

When I see the techniques used by camera deniers I am reminded of the similar techniques used by anthropomorphic climate change deniers. I’d love to see some research on how much overlap there is between the two sets of people and whether they betray similar attitudes and behaviours; e.g. a dislike for authority and being told what to do and setting an impossibly high evidential standard for views they disagree with while asserting the luxury of not providing any evidence at all for their own position. Stuff like that.
Mike, Birmingham

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Until RoSPA and other road safety organisations STOP excusing Criminal Offences as mere 'accidents', the law-breaking motorists including speeding motorists will continue to get away with their Criminal Actions.

Speeding, like every other Criminal motoring offence, is Breaking the Law and if the speeding Criminals were not speeding they would not be caught. There are warnings letting the Criminal motorists know where the Speed cameras are or will be.

The following Briefing explains why the correct terminology must be used so that Criminal Motoring Offences are taken seriously.

Why Road Traffic Incidents/Crashes should not and must not be referred to as ‘accidents’.

The correct use of terminology is absolutely vital in influencing attitudes towards
Road Traffic Incidents and the carnage and devastation caused.

I am sure you will agree that we all have a duty and responsibility not to use slogans, signs, terminology or language which is inappropriate, incorrect or is misleading, or causes distress or offence.

I realise that the public will not have any idea, But I RoSPA Should Know, that the two words/terms deeply distressing and deeply offensive to the bereaved parents and families of innocent road incident victims are – ‘road traffic accident’ and ‘accidental death’. Both of which, as well as being deeply distressing and deeply offensive, are inappropriate and are grossly misleading and compounds the overwhelming grief, devastation and trauma of the bereaved.

I cannot express strongly enough how distressed and offended we feel when we hear word/term ‘accident’ when referring to Road Traffic Incidents. It is making the assumption that it was without apparent cause, which is grossly misleading. The word/term ‘accident’ (in this context) is, as you will know, in fact incorrect, inappropriate, grossly misleading – and it is insulting, insensitive, deeply offensive, deeply distressing. (We refer to the term ‘accident’ as the ‘A’ word)

It is belittling the trauma and devastation suffered by parents and families of Innocent loved ones horrifically and violently killed in Road Traffic Incidents in an unprovoked attack of Road Violence by another road users who used their vehicle as a lethal weapon whilst in the commission of committing one or more criminal motoring offences and Playing Russian Roulette with the lives of innocent men, women, young people and children.

I am sure you will agree that it cannot be appropriate to use the same word to describe an event, which has caused horrific injuries or horrific, brutal, violent death and utter devastation, as that when someone has spilt milk’ – or as that when children wet themselves and are told, – there, there, never mind it is only an accident’!

By using the terminology ’Road Traffic Incident/Collision/ Crash’ – It States a FACT, and Should be used regardless of how the Incident occurred. Using the correct terminology would give proper meaning and respect especially to the innocent victims killed and injured on the roads. And using the correct terminology would relieve a little of the Trauma, which affects the health and well-being of so many bereaved parents and families of Innocent Victims of Road Violence.

I am sure that you will agree that the Terminology 'accident' trivialises the enormity of a Road Traffic Incident in every sense and is extremely detrimental to the commission of raising awareness about Road Safety and in changing attitudes towards safe driving.

Road Deaths of innocent men, women, young people and children is a random unprovoked attack of Road Violence by another road user who used their vehicle as a lethal weapon whilst in the commission of committing one or more criminal motoring offences and Playing Russian Roulette with the lives of people going about their daily lives. This is worst type of Road Violence and as such should be treated as that of Gun and Knife crime, as all are Violent Crimes Against the Person.

I am sure you will agree that a Civilised Society cannot and must not treat the killing of innocent people on the roads less than the killing of innocent people in other circumstances! To do so is a Violation of Equality and of Human Rights, and is denying the Innocent Victims of Road Violence their Fundamental Right to Truth, Justice and Protection of the Law.

Road Traffic Incidents are lumped in the travel section and trivialised as an inconvenience to other road users and holding up traffic. If Road Traffic Incidents were given the same respect, importance and consideration as other crimes against the person, and as that of Rail Crashes and Air Crashes, the public would be informed immediately that the Incident had occurred, of causalities and kept updated, as we should when people have been killed or injured in horrific, violent and brutal circumstances. If Road Traffic Incidents were treated in this way, we might begin to make people change their dangerous, intimidating criminal driving behaviour.

I am sure you will agree that it is a complete contradiction to use the terminology ‘accident’ when the law has been broken, and even more so when a motorist has caused death, maiming or injury whilst in the commission of committing one or more criminal motoring offences.

I am sure you will agree that the correct use of Terminology/Words is so important, because the words we use and the context in which we use words reflect our attitudes and beliefs.

B M J Wall – Founder of Families Against Road Violence – 
B Wall

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If these "nine influential groups" genuinely wished to "spark an informed debate", then they should start by getting their facts right and seek to be honest about the statistics.

1) Speed cameras have NEVER been subjected to scientific trials.

2) RTM has never been measured or eliminated even though the 4-year Evaluation estimates that it is the largest effect on changes in fatal or serious collision rates at camera sites.

To take each point above in order:

a) Speed cameras are NOT "saving around 100 lives a year" and the 4-year Evaluation does not make such a claim (as this does not take account of RTM), but is very well written to disguise this fact. There have been huge numbers of people that have been fooled by the 4-year Evaluation including, it would seem, these "nine influential groups".

b) Speeding (exceeding a speed limit) does NOT significantly increase the risk of an accident happening. The vast majority of people exceed speed limits regularly, yet the VAST majority of fatal or serious collisions (over 92%) occur at or below the speed limit.

c) Cameras should NOT continue to be used except within scientific trials, or at least where other major factors (RTM, trend, other work and diversion of traffic) are to be measured, analysed and reported by genuinely independent and competent engineers.

d) Would a "void in law enforcement" actually happen? Before cameras started we had far better safety improvements. If a "void in law enforcement" caused road safety to return to the pre-camera trends, our roads would be FAR safer.

e) If the courses actually taught road safety rather than attempt to bolster support for the camera industry, then this would be a loss.

f) Speed cameras may well play "an important contribution to achieving compliance with the speed limit", but it would be far better if we had measures that would prevent collisions, and prevent deaths and injury.

RoSPA's “Ten Reasons to Maintain Speed Camera Enforcement” does not "spark an informed debate", but continues the spin and deception that so plagues the speed camera campaign.

If we are to have "an informed debate", shouldn't we start by being honest?
Dave Finney - Slough

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Local authorities have not spent their time moaning or complaining about funding. Since 1997 they have received a Road Safety Grant that has funded a wealth of road safety programmes as well as the camera enforcement operations in most areas. What has changed this year has been the withdrawal of the Capital Funding element of the grant - the ££ to build and install things, be they cameras or other safety engineering measures. That and the coming cessation of the entire Road Safety Grant with effect 31 March 2011 and no replacement means that local authorities must now decide how they address the many competing calls on their funding, continue to provide the statutory duties they are required to provide, including road safety data analysis, engineering remedies and a road safety education, training and publicity service. All from significantly reduced resources. How they decide their priorities is a matter for each authority in consultation with their local community and their partner agencies.

The last paragraph of Bob's submission shows a lamentable lack of knowledge of the wealth of educational, training and publicity work carried out by road safety officers and road safety partners throughout the country every day of the week - yes, seven days a week. Every RSO in my team more than earns their money and shows extraordinary dedication and commitment that means they all go well beyond 'just doing my job' in their efforts to prevent collisions and casualties on our roads. The years of media word wars about camera enforcement have become a major distortion by overshadowing the much wider work of road safety officers, highways engineers and partner organisations. We work with every age group - from parents of young children to every Key Stage of education, into colleges and with young drivers and their passengers, adult drivers at work, motorcyclists, older drivers, foreign drivers visiting for work or on holiday, and with all road users, including cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and drivers. We re-engineer junctions and try to reduce the risk on the road network wherever we are able. These many and varied programmes of work may not always be so headline-worthy but I believe that we certainly do earn our money, in fact offer very good value for money and are committed to continue to do so.
It is easy and, frankly, rather cheap to just have a dig at 'bureaucrats' - they are actually real people who work as hard as anyone else - oh, and they pay tax and buy things just like anyone else so they are contributors too.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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To my understanding the cameras were paid for by the government of the day, and for a period of time, up to a certain date, the revenue went to the Local Authorities who were responsible for sighting such cameras where there could be justification due to number of or nature of accidents.

A short while ago, under that agreement the monies went to central government instead with only a percentage returning to the local authorites who retained the responsibility to maintain, service, certificate ect.

Since then the local authorities have done nothing but moan and complain. and now the present government has reduced its support by a certain % the local authorities see even less monies coming in.

As it and other interested parties have expressed there has been a reduction in Killed but this is an ESTIMATE. They also say that cameras are just a part of a broader programme to save lives. So shouldnt the safety officers by now looking at other ways of reducing KSI on our roads and place less reliance on cameras. In other words earn their monies.
Bob Craven

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