London, 29 Jan 2004.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release

ABD Welcomes Exposure Of Flawed Speed Camera Rules

The Association of British Drivers supports the analysis by Safe Speed, reported in Motor Cycle News on 28 January, showing that the Department for Transport's guidelines for the siting of speed cameras are fundamentally flawed. This is because they only allow cameras to be installed where a substantial proportion of drivers exceed the speed limit - indicating that the speed limit is too low.
Malcolm Heymer, a retired professional traffic engineer, explains:
"Decades of research into driver behaviour show that speed limits are effective only if set at the 85th percentile speed, that is, the speed that 85 per cent of drivers would not exceed in the absence of a speed limit. Research also shows that drivers who choose to travel at around this speed have fewest accidents - they are the safest drivers. Within the fastest five to ten percent of drivers are some who are using speed recklessly or carelessly and they are the ones who should be targeted for enforcement.
He continues:
"The government's guidelines only allow a speed camera to be located where the measured 85th percentile speed is well above the speed limit, so even drivers who are travelling below the speed of the safest drivers are being penalised."
Roads and Traffic spokesman, Mark McArthur-Christie, comments:
"The Secretary of State has asked for evidence of cameras being placed in contravention of the hypothecation rules, and there are many, but fundamentally it is the rules themselves that are at fault. They insist that cameras are placed where speeds are highest, but this may be hundreds of metres from where accidents have actually taken place. So safe, responsible drivers are being prosecuted simply as a result of the inflexibility of speed limits. I'm forced to wonder how many other fundamental mistakes in speed camera policy are awaiting discovery."
ABD chairman Brian Gregory says:
"The rules have been cynically designed to make camera partnerships self-financing, by ensuring that cameras will generate a steady income stream. If they were located where it is actually dangerous to exceed the speed limit, they would catch those driving at inappropriate speeds but would also cease to be self-funding."


Notes for Editors