Mounting Evidence Shows Speed Cameras Provide No Net Road Safety Benefits
Mobile cameras increase Fatal and Serious Collisions (FSC) by 30%; more than cancelling out any benefits of fixed cameras
For many years the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has highlighted the failure of all types of speed limit enforcement cameras to effect genuine reductions in road accident rates; despite providing a steady income stream for police forces, enforcement equipment manufacturers, awareness course providers and other vested 'road safety' business interests.
Following on from his analysis showing (at best) zero benefit from London's 1,000 cameras 1
, a new study 2
of cameras in Wales by highly-respected transport statistician Professor Mike Maher has unequivocally confirmed our view. His best estimates, based on official site data, are that mobile cameras increase Fatal and Serious Collisions (FSC) by 30%; more than cancelling out any benefits of fixed cameras.
However, most site boundaries in Wales and elsewhere are so narrowly-defined that they ignore what happens nearby. By analysing FSC data within 1km of cameras, independent researcher, Idris Francis 3
, found that those nearby adverse effects lead to even worse results.
Further, the above studies complement and reinforce the findings of two earlier studies of Thames Valley data by independent researcher, David Finney 4
. Finney established that all reductions previously attributed by analysts and vested interests alike to speed camera effects actually happened before camera installation; as casualty numbers automatically returned to normal from the abnormal levels for which most sites had been selected. That analyst after analyst had chosen to ignore or trivialise this statistical "regression to mean" effect, well understood for more than 100 years, was both inexplicable and surely culpable.
A larger-scale, soon to be published, study by independent researcher, Idris Francis 3
, of FSC within 250m, 500m and 1000m of cameras in 20 English police areas plus Scotland and Wales, consistently finds little benefit (and even that short-lived) within 500m — but from 500m to 1000m adverse effects — more than sufficient to result in net adverse effects after the first few years.
Maher has also expressed reservations about the alleged effectiveness of Scottish speed camera operations 5
, as has the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) 6
The response of the authorities and other vested interests to soundly-based criticisms that their claims were clearly nonsense has certainly been consistent. Since the first official reports from 2002 onwards, they have sought to bury their heads in the sand — in the hope that the damning and mounting evidence that cameras are useless for road safety purposes will simply go away.
Given how very lucrative are speed cameras and their downstream operations; it is hardly surprising that Camera Partnerships and other financially-involved, vested interest groups continue to systematically and cynically misrepresent the reporting of casualty data trends and the effects on them of speed cameras.
The emerging evidence clearly shows that speed cameras are nothing less than a monumental waste of a very great deal of money — that ought to be put to better use elsewhere on: e.g. road and junction improvements, dualling etc.
The ABD today puts all those involved in these malpractices on notice that the game is up, and the gravy train is about to hit the buffers. Every effort must be made to bring to book those who have knowingly misrepresented the evidence, in ways which at best amount to gross incompetence; and at worst to gross misconduct in public office, publishing false information in public documents and obtaining money by false pretences. Objective oversight and control of these hitherto unregulated quangos is long overdue.