Camera Partnerships must come clean on real causes of accidents says ABD
Road safety group the Association of British Drivers today called on the UK's Camera Partnerships to end their culture of secrecy. The ABD believes that Camera Partnerships are potentially covering up causes of accidents and trying to avoid damaging scrutiny that would show exceeding speed limits is not their main cause.
Government guidelines on camera placement state that ANY accident, no matter what the cause, can be used to justify a camera - even if it does not involve speed in excess of the speed limit. Camera partnerships are allowed to place cameras up to 5km from accident sites. That is why the ABD wants to see all camera partnerships publish detailed, basic data on their websites including:
- The causes of each crash (this data is available from forms completed at crash sites by police officers), including how many are caused by exceeding a posted limit
- The number of accidents per annum per camera site for five years before installation and to date, split by slight, serious and fatal crashes
- The revenue raised by each camera
- The distance between the accidents that have justified the camera's placement and the camera itself
- Details of engineering work carried out at the same time as camera installation
"We simply can't get real figures out of the partnerships," says Mark McArthur-Christie, the Association's Road Safety Spokesman. "When we ask for hard data we're just fobbed off with stonewalling, buck-passing, excuses and irrelevant averages." The Association has found that accident causation data or real results are seldom released by camera partnerships - in fact, they appear not to know what causes the crashes they use to justify camera placement.
In recent correspondence with the Speed Camera Partnership for Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire, the ABD attempted to find out the causes of the 17 accidents which led to a wide, clear, newly-built dual-carriageway being posted at 50mph with the limit enforced with cameras. In its three-month correspondence, The Association was variously referred to WS Atkins, Highways Maintenance, the Highways Authority, the Police and finally back to the Camera Partnership. Despite one camera being removed and then later replaced some months later, the Partnership even claimed "we are not aware of any removal, replacement or re-siting of this camera." The ABD has still not been given the causes of the accidents.
In fact, in a final letter, the Partnership wrote "Contributory factors (to accidents) are subjective, and not all accidents will have details filled out by the police…" The Partnership seems either not to know what causes accidents that are used to justify their cameras or are simply refusing to tell the public.
"Road deaths are rising nationally and we need to get the truth on cameras — fast. It's time for the public to see the real data that shows cameras are not working, not spun averages and statistical manipulation," says Brian Gregory, ABD Chairman. He continues, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The only weapons the partnerships have are the cameras that fund their continued existance, so they're presented as a catch all safety solution. But if they've nothing to hide, let's see them publish the real figures - they should have the data at their fingertips."