Speed camera in UK face axe in cuts: But are they useful in the first place?
Thousands of speed cameras look set to be switched off in the UK after the Government there slashed the money to fund them.
Minsters have pushed through 40 percent cuts to the funding given to councils for road safety. This in turn will limit the amount of money the councils can pass to the road safety partnership, which run the cameras. Oxfordshire are set to turn off their cameras this week and Buckinghamshire says it is likely to follow. There will also be no funding given for new speed cameras.
UK Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said at the weekend that this cut – which specifically ends central funding for fixed speed cameras – was “another example of this government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist”.
There has been mixed reaction to this news across the UK, with motorists and motorist’s groups largely welcoming the measure, with such cameras often seen as merely revenue generators. Swindon Borough Council switched off all its fixed speed cameras a year ago, claiming that they weren’t an effective tool in cutting road traffic accidents as only 6 percent were caused by people speeding. In the first six months after the cameras were switched off accident numbers across their sites remained the same.
However there has been evidence in the past of the effectiveness of speed cameras in other locations. A 2004 study by University College of London, “The National safety camera programme: three year evaluation report” showed that vehicle speeds at speed camera sites had dropped by 7 percent following the introduction of cameras. At new sites, there was a 32 percent reduction in vehicles breaking the speed limit. At fixed sites, there was a 71 percent reduction and at mobile sites there was a 21 percent reduction. Overall the proportion of vehicles speeding excessively fell by 80 percent at fixed camera sites. And perhaps more crucially, 40 percent fewer people were killed or seriously injured.
The gap left by the absence of the fixed cameras is likely to be filled by the police force, which many commentators are saying will end up costing much more to fund.
What do you think? Do you think that speed cameras, specifically fixed ones, are an effective deterrent in reducing road deaths? Are they located in the right areas and at this stage doesn’t everyone know where they are anyway?