Anti-camera sentiment

22 January 2008

Anti-camera sentiment

Perhaps these attitudes stem from distrust with the increased use of speed cameras? Considering that the number of fines from cameras has trebled in five years (to nearly two million a year), we guessed that there might be some cynicism about their use.

We were right: amazingly, just 15% of visitors think speed cameras improve safety, and that 82% think they're simply to raise revenue.

It's even more surprising that there's this much anti-camera sentiment when eight out of 10 motorists in our poll reported they have no points on their licence at all, despite the poll also revealing that 75% of people speed occasionally and 16% all of the time.

The Association of British Drivers (ABD) said: 'This is a terrible indictment of Government road safety policy. The penny has dropped with Britain's drivers that speed limits are lowered to unreasonable levels and that most speed enforcement has nothing to do with safety.

'Speed cameras are to blame - they don't address the real causes of accidents and the propaganda used to justify them has led to a completely false view of the relationship between speed and accidents.'

However, the DfT, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and Brake are all emphatic that speed cameras do improve safety.

A spokesman for ROSPA told us: 'There's a large body of evidence that speed cameras are effective in reducing accidents and the number of people killed and injured.

'Perhaps there needs to be more education of the motoring public on the benefits they bring.'

A DfT spokesman added: 'Speed kills. It is a contributory factor in 26% of all fatal accidents in Great Britain.

'We are succeeding in changing attitudes, and in making drivers realise that one of their responsibilities is to comply with speed limits. Safety cameras are there to save lives, not make money.

'Independent research has shown there are 1745 fewer deaths and serious injuries at camera sites each year.'

Of the motorists that do have points, most have just three. Sixty-five per cent of drivers with points think they didn't deserve to get them, however, while just 1.3% of motorists in our poll are on the brink of a 'totting-up' ban on nine points.