Currently reading: 'Speed camera axe risks lives'
The AA has claimed buget cuts for speed cameras will put lives at risk
1 min read
7 September 2010

Scrapping speed cameras will put lives at risk, the AA has claimed.

The organisation has written a letter to transport secretary Philip Hammond about the issue, and has arranged to meet government officials.

The news comes after Oxfordshire County Council’s decision to turn off all 72 of its speed cameras after a budget cut of £600,000 – and other local authorities are set to follow suit, with further cuts expected to be implemented in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Steve Sutcliffe blog: Is this the end for speed cameras?

The government has also said that funding for new cameras will not be forthcoming.

According to the AA, there is a “void” in road safety policies, and it claims that motorists’ views are “not being reflected accurately” and that “ultimately, lives are at risk”.

Speed cameras have raked in roughly £100m a year in fines since their introduction in 1992, which has lead to arguments that the devices are nothing more than revenue-raisers for the government.

Ben Foulds


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7 September 2010

There may be additional accidents with the reduction or abolition of speed cameras, however this has to be placed in the unprecidented context of the amount of public service cuts anticipated across the UK. My local police force are suggesting cuts of around 25% of all operational police officers over the coming years BEFORE the Comprehensive Spending Review is published.

Whilst the cameras MAY reduce speeding, and may therefore reduce accidents, there is the administration of such systems to take into account and with the anticipated amount of budget cuts, it may be that the cameras are not economically viable. This raises the issue of what price is safety, at what price is a life?

Currently many of the public services which we have come to expect as a given are now being brought into question - provision of care for the elderly, community based services, provision of schools in rural locations, safety of the public through reduced policing, the total closure of some government departments, etc. Whilst there are some who argue that groups have to embrace more dynamic and creative methods of providing services at reduced cost, there is a point when it is less a metaphorical cut to services with a scalpel and more chunks coming off with a chainsaw - at this stage, you know that something could go badly wrong. Hopefully some initiatives (such as lollypop people with cameras fitted) may help some vulnerable sections of our community (school children before and after school), others (such as those in rural locations who have speed cameras to reduce unacceptable speeding through villages which could put the whole community at risk, or school kids outwith school term in urban locations) may not be as fortunate.

It appears that the government are de-centralising budgets so as to put any decision to reduce cameras onto individual councils or partnership organisations by reducing their funding, rather than saying as a government that they are "reducing speed cameras to save money". I sincerely hope that all organisations (political or otherwise) will carefully examine any proposed removal of speed cameras on a case by case basis to ensure that the public are not being placed at far higher risk by the removal of such cameras, but fear that even this meticulous process may not be economically viable.

Another way of looking at the issue could be increasing individual responsibility as a citizen. As a citizen, you wouldn't want someone blasting past your house driving like their hair is on fire. So, if you embrace a respect for others, this would in turn suggest that you drive carefully and within the speed limit in built up areas. Certainly I am very aware of keeping within speed limits, especially in built up areas and doubly so in areas of high population (city centres) or areas where there are signs of vulnerable people (elderly, young) present. I'm sure that the government would promote this for other policy areas as well - e.g. policing - treat each other with respect. Obviously this would reduce cost for the government, but is unworkable (and inherently dangerous) for people who do not have respect or are disrespectful to others.

7 September 2010

I am yet to beleive speed cameras save lives . I would accredit lower death rates on our roads to improving automotive safety . ABS ESP airbags better brakes etc etc . Oh and cars are also safer when in collision with pedestrians by having "softer" impact zones .

There will always be nutters who kill pedestrians irrespective of whether the cameras are there or not ie drunks druggies joyriders etc .

So I for one am as convinced by the safety camera argument as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or come to think of it global warming. Its all rowlocks !

Ie formulating a political policy to meet a (misguided ) political need .

7 September 2010

In my opinion, the best sollution would be to retain cameras in proven accident areas and high risk places such as near schools and remove them from all others. Many cameras are installed on roads which clearly have no need for them other than for fine collection. But, removing them altogether may not prove to be the safest option...

Alternatively, more police presence might help! :)

7 September 2010

A friend of mine phoned the AA last week and berated them for supporting speed cameras - and threatened to give up his AA membership. Edmund King phoned him within 30 minutes and stated the example of the Oxfordshire camera that has been turned off (and speed has increased at that point). However, as my mate rightfully points out, speeders have been simply slowing down at camera points for years, and they haven't stopped them. And a unscientific 'study' such as this one camera isn't enough to support them. He's not re-joining the AA, and neither am I. Have they forgotten what the AA actually is? It was revealed many years ago that speed actually contributes a really tiny amount to accidents. It's distraction and road design we ought to focus on.

7 September 2010

THey could always just leave the speed cameras turned off/unplug them, and leave the actual units there, rather than shout to the world that they're "no longer working". That way, nobody would know whether they're working or not, and therefore may not chance the speeding. Just an idea :P

7 September 2010

[quote Old Toad]I would accredit lower death rates on our roads to improving automotive safety . ABS ESP airbags better brakes etc etc .[/quote]

Quite rightly too! All the speed camera partnerships ignore this fact and claim that any accident avoided is because of their cameras.

Two interesting things I've seen recently. Firstly the BBC report which contained accidents caused by mobile speed traps. They had on video people crashing because they seen one of them stalking on a bridge etc. It's a difficult video to find as it keeps getting removed from YouTube.

Secondly, there's also a report by TRL about the number of accidents caused in roadworks by speed traps. It goes up by a significant amount if there's a fixed camera or a mobile speed trap van.

Therefore we have proof that cameras cause crashes. Pure and simple.

7 September 2010

Highland tourer makes the perfect point - what's the price of a life? Cameras are being turned off because they've become uneconomic. There's no point saying we need more police because there's going to be a reduction in numbers. There's no point in saying we need to make cars safer - what about the cars already on the the road? (not forgetting the argument that less technology in cars makes them slower!) There's no point in saying we need to improve the layout and structure of roads - there's no money to do this. (and no labour either given the redundancies that are being planned). As Highland tourer implies, even the cost of life is in decline.

7 September 2010

So the AA joins the list of people/groups that are largely out of touch with those they claim to support. Others on the list would iclude, Greenpeace, The current UK government, The FA.....

7 September 2010

[quote Freelance journo]as my mate rightfully points out, speeders have been simply slowing down at camera points for years, and they haven't stopped them.[/quote] And that's why cameras don't work. They put up signs telling you they're there, they paint them bright yellow, they paint white lines on the road (there are cameras that don't need the lines), they put lists of them on their websites, you can buy maps with all the cameras marked, you can buy detectors, and a dozen other things that tell you where they are. Of course they don't work! Hide them. Move them without notice. Make it illegal to print maps with locations on or in any way tell people where they are. Put up no signage and don't paint them day-glow-here-I-am. Increase the fines so it really stings. Do all this and I guarantee you that speed cameras would work. In the end it all comes down to political will and the fact that there isn't a politician left in this country that has any. And as for the 'speed doesn't cause accidents' argument: crap!

7 September 2010

Speed cameras definately do have their place - outside schools for example, but there are far too many placed in seemingly 'fine collecting' locations, it's these cameras that deserve to go. As has already been suggested I'm sure the actual cameras will remain, they just wont be turned on so it'll be a bit of 'camera roulette' if you arent sure of the area.

With regard to local government spending cuts as per usual council's etc have dealt with the situation with a knee-jerk reaction claiming impending doom and widespread job cuts for all.

Having dealt with different council departments over the last few years it's glaringly obvious that many many jobs could be done with less staff (and some are admittedly woefully understaffed), perhaps there should be slight benefit reductions (do some council employees really need 50 days holiday a year????), asked to work slightly longer hours and the relevant departments should be given more power to get rid of the idiots who have little regard for the quality of job they do and simply turn up and do nothing every day. In private industry these individuals are spotted within weeks and ousted, unions etc seem to make this very difficult for local government.

I get particularly annoyed when friends empployed in local government departments talk of cuts with contempt as if they are shocking and uncalled for. I work(ed) in private industry (construction) and have lost my job 4 times in the last 3 years - why should anybody else be protected from the state of the economy? Welcome to the real world, it's not changing for a few years yet unfortunately


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