ABD Calls For End to Speed Camera Spin
Transport Minister Alastair Darling has announced that all camera partnerships will have to publish details of accidents occuring at speed camera sites before and after installation. If the government really intends to provide full and complete data this news will be welcomed by the Association of British Drivers who have relentlessly campaigned for this for years yet have been repeatedly obstructed by the camera partnerships and the government from obtaining this information. Recently opposition parties and the Police Federation have joined our call for the truth. Of course, the timing of this announcement is highly convenient as the results will not be seen until after the June elections thus avoiding damage to the government's credibility.
The ABD still has doubts about how this information will be presented. The government and camera partnerships have a long and distasteful history of presenting road accident statistics with a strong hint of spin. This must now end. The ABD calls for the following statistics to be made available in full for each and every speed camera site, fixed and mobile:
1. Figures for at least three years prior to camera installation (five is preferable) and for every year following installation.
2. Separated figures for deaths and serious injuries. The practice of using the easily manipulated and misleading 'KSI' (killed or seriously injured) is not acceptable because it can mask increases in deaths where relatively minor injuries have reduced.
3. Details of the causes of each accident, in particular the speed of travel of vehicles involved and whether the driver was sober, drug free, licenced, in a legally registered, non stolen vehicle.
4. Details of any engineering work carried out at each camera site which may have affected accident rates during the period measured.
5. Distance from the camera site that accidents occured.
6. Traffic Volume Data
7. Speed survey data including the 85th percentile speed.
ABD chairman Brian Gregory commented:
"This should be an opportunity for the public at last to be allowed to see for themselves whether cameras really are having any effect on road safety and to evaluate whether prosecuting 3 million drivers a year has had any worthwhile effect on casualty reduction. There is only one way to evaluate the success of a speed camera. Firstly one has to rule out the effects of other road changes — then one has to look at the death rate before and after for a statistically significant period of at least three years. There is also the issue of 'regression to mean' to take into account — i.e. cameras are installed where an unusually high number of accidents have occured. One would usually expect accident rates to naturally return to the average for the site in following years without intervention.
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
"It's a pity it has taken so long for the government to listen. One hopes this is not simply an electioneering ploy and that we will see the true and full figures not just a fudge of meaningless combined KSI figures. The use of this term shows great disrespect to those killed or seriously maimed in road accidents by lumping them together with relatively minor injuries such as fractured fingers or toes. Camera partnerships and the government have for far too long been allowed to get away with using such terms and picking and choosing which cameras and which years they use to claim 'success' — most famous being the 'two year pilot study' repeatedly parroted by politicians and pro-camera groups despite even its title showing it to be statistically invalid".