Road Safety News
 

RAC Foundation wins PMIRSA Premier Award

Wednesday 7th December 2011

The RAC Foundation won the Premier Award at the 2011 Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards ceremony, for commissioning a report that ‘stopped the decommissioning of speed cameras’ and ‘saved 800 deaths or serious injuries a year on our roads’.

‘The effectiveness of Speed Cameras’, authored by Professor Richard Allsop and published in November 2010, highlights the consequences of budget cuts on road deaths and injuries on British roads and made a significant contribution to the debate about the value of safety cameras.

The emergency budget of June 2010 led to a number of road safety partnerships deciding that speed cameras should be decommissioned to save money. At that time there was widespread debate among motorists, a number of whom felt that speed cameras were revenue-raising devices and/or had caused accidents, and that they would not be missed. Local road safety partnerships were at a loss to counter this groundswell of opinion as they had little concrete evidence to refute these views.

Professor Allsop’s report comprises a thorough, independent statistical analysis of the facts, and his conclusion was clear: fixed and mobile speed cameras save lives – and if speed cameras were decommissioned 800 more people a year could be killed or serious injured.

His report also refuted the revenue-raising claims, pointing out that for each £60 penalty notice imposed  in 2006/7 there was a surplus of just £4.

In making the presentation in London on 6 December, Prince Michael said: “The RAC Foundation has in recent years produced a number of well-regarded reports which have helped to inform road safety policy, the media and the public - and above have been vital in helping governments to make the correct decisions.  Professor Allsop’s excellent paper is a case in point.”

For more information about the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards contact Adrian Walsh, director of RoadSafe, on 07887 552708.

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20+ years ago, the DfT supported the safest posted speed limits at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions - see the January 1980 DfT item at the end of this article http://www.abd.org.uk/speed_limits_85th.htm

Since the early 1990s, speed camera revenue overtook the goal of maximum traffic safety and replaced it with maximum citation revenue. This is wrong, and 85th percentile speed limits to maximize safety should again be the principal method and goal. James C. Walker, NMA
James C. Walker, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA & Yorkshire

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Prof Allsop admits in his Q&A page on the RAF Foundation website that "In common with many other safety interventions, speed cameras can have unintended consequences and have given rise to some collisions and casualties that would not have occurred if the cameras had not been deployed."

How odd that this highly undesirable effect was not mentioned in his report.

Any claim of speed camera effectiveness would need to prove that the benefits outweigh such negative consequences. I know of no such proof or even argument from Prof Allsop or anyone else.
Eric Bridgstock

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Anyone interested road safety data, trends, policies and results will find a great deal of useful information and analysis on www.fightbackwithfacts.com - with a great deal more that already exists to be added as and when possible.

One very important omission from the Allsop report was a comparison of cost effectiveness of speed cameras and alternative methods. The above website includes not only highly persuasive evidence that signs, compared on the same basis, are some 50 (yes fifty) times as cost effective as cameras as well as a Transcom web page showing Stephen Ladyman's admission that of 9 times greater.

Why would anyone advocate the continued use of speed cameras given such figures? If you don't believe the figures, see for yourself.
Idris Francis Petersfield

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Professor Allsop's report is based on data from 6 partnerships he labels A-F (table 5). I asked which partnerships had supplied this data but he refused to give this information claiming the partnerships had insisted they are not named.
Dave Finney - Slough

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If Britain would post 85th percentile speed limits (safest type), remove all speed cameras, and return to enforcing traffic rules for safety with road patrols - crashes, injuries and fatalities would drop significantly overall. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA (frequent visitor to Britain to see family in Yorkshire)
James C. Walker, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

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