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”.