Save speed cameras, say safety groups

* Group concerned at camera switch-off * and wants to spark debate about their use * Signatories include RoSPA, the AA and Road Safety GB...

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What Car? Staff
24 August 2010

Save speed cameras, say safety groups

Nine road safety organisations have joined together to air their concerns at the possible switching-off of speed cameras.

The group is worried that cuts in road safety budgets could lead some councils to consider changing how they use speed cameras. As a result, it has published a document recognising that cameras save lives and reduce injuries on the UK's roads.

According to the document, the group agrees that:

• Speed cameras help to save lives - an estimated 100 lives a year in the UK.

• Lives are saved by reducing speeding. Speeding significantly increases the risk of an accident happening; and also increases the severity of injuries in an accident.

• Cameras should continue to be used where casualty statistics show they are needed.

• Switching off cameras systematically would be close to creating a void in law enforcement on the road. Cameras currently account for 84% of fixed penalty notices for speeding.

• Cuts might also threaten many speed-awareness courses that give motorists an opportunity to learn about the dangers of driving too fast.

• While public spending needs to be cut, cuts must be justified by evidence. Cameras pay for themselves and currently make an important contribution to achieving compliance with the speed limit.

Putting their names to the document are representatives of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the AA, the Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers, the CTC (the UK's National Cyclists' Organisation), GEM Motoring Assist, the Institute of Road Safety Officers, the London Road Safety Council, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, and Road Safety GB.

At the same time, RoSPA has issued its own defence of cameras, called Ten Reasons to Maintain Speed Camera Enforcement. It is available on the organisation's website, where RoSPA says speed management is a major part of the UK's road safety strategy and [cameras] must continue to play their part.'

It goes on to say, Both central government and local authorities should carefully examine the evidence of the effectiveness of safety cameras before deciding to cut funding in a way that means they will cease to operate.

Getting these hard decisions wrong will cost lives.'