Mixed results as DfT publishes safety camera data
The DfT has published detailed information about casualty rates and speeds at safety camera sites, as part of the Government’s ‘drive to increase transparency’.
While casualty rates at some sites have worsened, other partnerships have achieved a reduction in crashes and injuries thanks to the introduction of cameras.
So far 75 local authorities have published information showing collision and casualty rates, and speeds at camera sites before and after the introduction of cameras. The DfT says that the remaining 72 authorities plan to publish their data in the next few weeks.
Mike Penning, road safety minister, said: "Local residents have a right to expect that when their council spends money on speed cameras, they publish information to show whether those cameras are helping to reduce accidents or not. I hope that this information will help local people to make informed judgments about the impact cameras are having on their local roads.
"However, residents can only hold their council to account if it has made information available so I would urge those councils which have not yet published their data to do so as soon as possible."
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "This data must be used with care. The best speed cameras deliver lower speeds and fewer casualties without catching lots of drivers out.
"Any camera that consistently issues tickets clearly has location or signposting issues. No camera should ever be removed without a clear education or engineering solution to replace it."
Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said: “As far as can be seen, each partnership has published the information in a different format. It is therefore almost impossible to draw any real conclusions about the effectiveness or otherwise of cameras in any specific locations. It is also unclear as to what individual citizens can understand from the tables provided.
“I would urge the Department for Transport to look to a common format for any further publication to ensure that this is more than just a token exercise.”
Julie Townsend, Brake campaigns director, said: “Rigorous academic studies have shown fixed speed cameras are exceptionally effective in reducing speeds, crashes and casualties.
"These studies have also demonstrated that speed cameras pay for themselves several times over by preventing costly casualties. They are therefore a proven way to improve safety without costing the taxpayer.
“The information released today is incomplete and has not been academically analysed to produce an overall picture. Without this work, it’s impossible to make general statements on speed camera effectiveness using this data.
“Given the extensive evidence we already have on speed camera effectiveness, and on the relationship between speed and crashes, the Government’s focus should be on persuading drivers of the importance of staying within the law and making roads safer by slowing down.”
Click here to read the full DfT report.