Decrease in accidents since Swindon’s cameras are switched off

08.50 | 7 October 2010 | | 6 comments

There’s been a decrease in road accidents in Swindon since the town’s safety cameras were switched off, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

The Times reports that in the period August 2009 to July 2010 there were two serious accidents, 14 minor accidents and no deaths along the stretches where the four cameras used to operate. In the previous 12 months there had been one death, five serious accidents and 15 minor accidents.

Anti-camera campaigners argue that the results show that the benefits of safety cameras had been exaggerated, and that drivers are safer when allowed to use their own judgement. Supporters, however, say there is too little evidence to justify these claims, and that many drivers may still be slowing down because they do not realise the standing cameras have been switched off.

Phillip Hammond, transport secretary, said on Radio 4’s Today programme: “Speed cameras are a part of road safety concerns that local authorities need to need to decide on, not someone in Whitehall dictating Labour-style. Of course speed is a factor in accidents but there are many other factors.”

Swindon councillors say the new statistics vindicate their decision. Roderick Bluh, council leader, claimed that Swindon had “never seen a drop (in accidents) like this before”.


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    Up until this month mobile cameras were still operating in the area around Swindon. Only static cameras were switched off. Once the public get used to the fact there are NO cameras will we still see a reduction?

    John Peace, Wroughton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    As I understand it recent statistics state that only some 7% of accidents with pedestrians have a possible cause of motor vehicles exceeding the local speed limit. So some 93% of accidents involving pedestrians do not involve motor vehicles exceeding the speed limit.

    What does that say about the need for cameras.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    People campaign for speed cameras in their community because they have been brainwashed to believe that ‘Speed Kills’.

    Bobbio, Besneville
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    A positive result so far. But as has been mentioned, details of individual accidents are needed to determine the cause of each accident. Some speed camera objectors will be more than happy with the result, whereas those who clamour for more on the grounds of roads safety will cry ‘foul’. Whilst longer term evidence may be necessary in drawing any conclusion, where was the evidence that speed cameras would ever be beneficial other than in the minds of the manufacturers and those with vested interests? It is stated that there are many factors to any ‘accident’, amongst them is the distraction factor, and the false safety factor in believing that if a ‘device’ is fitted and enabled, that one is safe. Road safety is an attitude of mind, clear the mind of clutter, and like the streets cleared of similar clutter, roads may become safer as more attention can be applied to observation of hazards, instead of the likes of cameras.

    Derek, St Albans.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Speaking as someone who wants to keep an objective view on the effectiveness of Speed Cameras, I continue to be disheartened that it is stories like this that fuel the debate. Swindon and other locations may be able to provide us with valuable insight into this issue, but won’t do so unless there is far more detailed and objective analysis of results. If we are really to believe that cameras made it worse in Swindon there is a lot more evidence needed. It is also important we learn to accept evidence objectively obtained and act on it, even if it means accepting an initiative has failed. There is no shame in this providing we have acted intelligently and learnt from the experience. The issue is surely not “black and white”, so it is a pity that the media seem to encourage its reduction to a sort of pantomime in which opposing sides shout “oh no it’s not!” Oh yes it is.

    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    How daft can you get with statistics. Let’s switch off street lights and see muggings and rapes drop because criminals cannot see their victims. So, safety cameras actually increase crashes. fascinating. Why do people campaign for them in their community. Politicians and the Media will say anything that pulls in punters – especially the selfish ones.

    R Lord, West Yorkshire
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