Just five per cent of road accidents are caused by drivers breaking the speed limit, according to a Department for Transport report published yesterday (28 September).
A driver’s failure to look properly caused six times as many accidents, at 32 per cent. Speeding is part of a much bigger group of factors of 'injudicious action', and accounts for 12 per cent of fatalities, but only five per cent of all accidents.
However, the DfT claims speeding is a factor in 15 per cent of accidents. That figure includes those incidents where the police considered excessive, but not illegal, speed was a contributory factor.
As speed cameras do not restrain excessive but legal speed, the case for them appears to have been undermined still further.
These figures are all from the Road Casualties Great Britain report, published annually. But 2005’s figures are the first to include the contributory factors that lead to accidents. 91 per cent of accidents had their contributory factors recorded.
Paul Smith, of the anti-speed camera group Safe Speed, told Autocar.co.uk that the report reveals an “absolute failure of policy”. “Speed cameras haven’t saved lives; road deaths haven’t fallen as expected.”
Despite the policies of widespread speed cameras (which brought in £120million last year) and a fewer traffic police, a recent British Medical Journal report showed that hospitalisations from road accidents have not fallen for the last decade.
The DfT, as well as the AA, claim the best thing to do is to slow down traffic so that if an accident occurs the chances of injury are reduced – the theme of the Government’s ‘Speed Kills’ campaign.
But the Government’s own figures show that an emphasis on speed limits alone has not worked as well as had been hoped – and that other factors, mainly the standard of driving, are far more significant.