Facts & Figures about Speeding
4500 speed cameras were on UK roads in 1999 and
there were 1 million speeding convictions.
This increased to approximately 5000 cameras
and 1.6 million convictions in 2002.
6000 cameras were in place by the end of 2004 with over 2 million speeding convictions for the year.
1 in 5 drivers have been caught for speeding since since 1996 (that's 7 million prosecutions).
£120 million was generated in speeding fines in 2003
Road deaths increased by 2% in 2003 to 3,508 according to data
published by the Department for Transport. The
number of motorcyclists killed rose by 14% to
693. However, casualties overall were down
by 4% which is of little consequence to the
increased number of bereaved families.
Despite 100's of extra cameras and 1000's
of extra fines in 2003 it doesn't make much of
an impact in making our roads safer, quite the
opposite as far as fatalities are concerned.
This is the highest number since Tony Blair became
Prime Minister in 1997.
Figures made available by SafeSpeed show
an impressive 35% decrease in deaths from 1978
to 1988. The spiraling number of deaths
continued to decrease during the pre speed camera
years until cameras were introduced
in the early to mid 1990's. In fact, since the
mid 1990's the number of deaths has stayed about
the same which is proof, over a 10 year period,
that speed cameras do not save lives. If planting
5000 cameras on the streets and issuing over
7 million fines since 1992 really worked then
we would have seen the number of road deaths
continue to fall, but they've just stayed
the same. The question is, why haven't fatalities
continued to decrease since cameras were
Comment: The finger of blame is clearly pointing
at the cameras and those who support
them. If it weren't for advances
in vehicle safety design and medical
treatment then casualties would have
increased considerably since cameras
Less than 4% of accidents are caused by exceeding the speed limit according
data (page 41) published by the Department of
Transport. This destroys the government's
claim that 1/3 of accidents are speed related.
The facts publicised by Safespeed shows
the breakdown of the causes of accidents
from 13 police forces from 2001:
|Cause of Accident
||% of Accidents
|Failure to judge other person's path or speed:
|Looked but did not see:
|Failed to look:
|Lack of judgment of own path:
Excessive speed includes both speeding in excess of the
speed limit and inappropriate speed for the conditions.
However, data from Avon & Somerset (the only
force to supply such data) shows that 70% of
"excessive speed" accidents takes place within
the speed limit. Therefore it's fair to assume
that 30% involves exceeding the speed limit.
A quick calculation (30% of 12.5%) reveals
that just 3.75% of accidents involves exceeding
the speed limit. Source: Safespeed
Comment: If less than 4% of accidents are caused
by exceeding the speed limit then why
does the government continue to focus
so hard on drivers breaking the speed
limit instead of tackling the other
96% of causes of accidents? Doing
so would have a major impact on preventing
accidents. It's simple maths and common
sense; should you focus on the cause
of just 4% of accidents or the cause
of 96% of accidents?
Cuts in Traffic Police have been linked to an increase in road
deaths. In 10 years traffic police have decreased
from 8,900 to 6,500 by 2002. This is possibly
due to the reliance on "robotic policing" with
speed cameras. Read
more in an article published by The
Data acquired from West Midlands Police shows that exceeding the speed limit was the single causation factor of just 4% of accidents in 2001. Hardly the 33% that the government have use to justify the 5000+ speed cameras. The full report and breakdown from the West Midlands Force for 1999 to 2001 can be found at ringroad.org.uk
"We have created a Frankenstein's monster... the cameras are
simply an income generator... it is a
massive job creation scheme", said a council leader from North
Somerset. Read more
about this amazing backlash as reported by The Daily Mail.
More people were killed in road accidents in 2003 in Essex than
in the previous year despite the increase
of speed cameras. Official figures show that
24% more people died even though the government
and police insist that cameras save lives. To
cameras may cost lives if the authorities believe
they are a suitable replacement for good old
fashioned policing. Inspector Nick
Bursten said "In an awful lot of cases
it's not excess speed as in 'doing faster than
the speed limit' which is causing the fatalities." This is was anti-camera
campaigners have suspected for a long time but
the official line has always been that speeding
is 'exceeding the speed limit'.
Comment: We believe
that speeding should be judged in combination
with the circumstances, such as weather, road
layout and traffic density. Drivers should be
more responsible for setting their own lower
speed limit such as on tight bends or in bad
weather, but police must be more lenient if drivers
exceed the limit in good conditions.
Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales (also head
of road policing for the Association of Chief
Police Officers), wants to
see the abolition of restricting camera locations
to accident blackspots. He also wants drivers
to have less leeway when caught by speed cameras,
so a speed of 33mph in a 30mph zone will be enough
to trigger the camera and an automatic ticket.
Chief Constable Paul Garvin said "What we find is that there is
not a single location within the county where
you could say speed cameras would be useful in
addressing a road casualty problem."
Britain's most senior policeman, Sir John Stevens, Commissioner
of the Metropolitan Police, has spoken out against
cameras used for raising revenue. He said "I
don't approve of the use of speed cameras as
money making devices. The proper use for them
is as a measure to lower the accident rate."
Notice that the top man didn't even refer
to them as safety cameras. "I have asked all my traffic
chiefs to make sure that cameras are sited, and
only sited, at places where there is a record
of accidents caused by bad driving and where
the presence of a camera will have a positive
effect in reducing that toll." Talking sense,
Sir John said "I am not after people on a school
run exceeding the limit by five or six miles
an hour. I want my traffic policing to target
the dangerous drivers, the roadhogs and the menaces
driving unlicensed and uninsured."
Britain already has the safest roads in the world per Km traveled
according to the Department of Transport in 2001
7.3% of accidents were caused primarily by excessive speed,
reported The British
Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in 2002.
The UK Government claims that 1 in 3 accidents is speed related. However,
it classes the following causes of accidents as speed related: excessive
speed, failure to judge other person’s path or speed, following
too close, slippery road, in a hurry, aggressive driving, weather and
An AA survey has identified 173 miles of the most dangerous roads in
the UK. Strangely only 4 out of the 5000 cameras
in the country are located on these killer roads.
On rural roads the faster the speed of the traffic the fewer
accidents there are, according to the TRL.
Road safety is getting worse, says the Association
of British Drivers. "And at the same time there
are fewer dangerous drivers being stopped and
prosecuted. Speed cameras address one issue and
one issue only. If speed cameras were the answer
we should be seeing huge falls in national fatalities.
We're not." Mark McArthur-Christie, spokesman.
At least 1000 magistrates have been convicted of speeding in
the past 3 years. Responses from local magistrates'
committees show that 3.2% of magistrates have
convictions. Source: Mail on Sunday 21-Mar-04
The government's guidelines for
erecting cameras says that
the location must have had at least four
fatal and serious collisions in the last
three calendar years. However, the Association
of British Drivers has revealed this is not
the case as many drivers have suspected. The
ABD's detailed report shows that cameras
have been placed where there is absolutely
no history of accidents. The Sunday Telegraph points at 4
further examples where in this case roads
have opened with a camera already in place:
the A12 in London, the Batheaston bypass near
Bath, the A370 into Weston-super-Mare and the
A6 Clapham bypass near Bedford. More
details on the government's guidelines.
Public anger is affecting the police's ability
to fight crime according
to the Police Federation's Vice Chairman, Rod
Dalley. People have stopped tipping off the police
about villains because they believe cameras are
being used as money spinners and not to cut
accidents. "The public is blaming beat officers
for the cameras. We are not getting people calling
in and it is all down to the cameras". A survey
of 400 cameras in Greater London found that 80
are unjustified as accident rates and speed is
so low. Meanwhile front-line officers warned
that people are more at risk because it's cheaper
to put up cameras than send police out on patrol.
Source: Mail On Sunday
Drink driving is on the increase. With less traffic police and
more reliance on speed cameras is it any wonder?
During Christmas 2003, 1 in 10 breath tests
following a crash were positive. Comment: So how does the
government expect speed cameras to stop drunk
drivers? All traffic laws must be enforced,
not just speeding. No wonder other motoring
offenses are on the up.
Speed camera police have raked in £5,100
a year extra in overtime according
to financial accounts acquired by the Daily Mail.
Fines paid by motorists are not only funding
excessive overtime but also office refurbishments.
One police force admitted that 100 officers
carrying out extra speed camera duties
were paid £510,000 between them
in overtime in 2003. Money was also
spent on comforts for staff including
a £460,000 makeover of their offices,
plush furniture, decorating and travel.
Police and office workers netted £1.43million
in salaries for running the Safety Camera
Partnership for Essex. The details come
from Essex county's accounts and contradicts
the government's claim that money from
speeding fines is reinvested in improving
road safety and saving lives. RAC
spokesman, Kevin Delaney, said "This
demonstrates what a boom industry
speed cameras have become." A spokesman
for the partnership scheme said "We are
transparent with our figures. We comply with guidelines.
The figures are fully audited."
Comment: Thanks to the honesty of the partnership scheme it's clear
that the police and office workers are enjoying
perks such as huge overtime payments and refurbished
offices only made possible by money raised
from speeding fines. These audited facts fly
in the face of what the government and police
chiefs claim is done with the money.
The public have turned against us, says Chief
Constable Mike Hedges as he announces his retirement from
the South Yorkshire force. Mr Hedges says that
the public view speed cameras as tax raising
machines. "I believe
we have lost a tremendous amount of goodwill
from the public. I think the biggest mistake we have made is getting
money back. I am most uncomfortable with the focus on the taxation view
which goes with it." He continued, "There is a place for cameras,
but I think we have lost the argument on that.
I think the police service has suffered
some really serious confidence problems and
support from the public as a result." Source:
News and Daily Mail.
Over 400 accidents a year could be prevented by
lighting up unlit stretches of motorway according
to an investigation by Auto Express magazine.
Figures show that 1,273 accidents
occurred in 2002 on unlit sections of motorway
at night. An RAC spokesman pointed out that
allowing motorists to see further ahead
will give them more time to react in an emergency.
Drivers are also more likely to fall asleep
on dark roads. Lighting costs £210,00 per Km
but each road death costs the tax payer
£1million so lighting would work out cheaper,
claims the RAC.
Comment: It's good to hear there are workable ways to save lives
on the road. If the government turned
off their obsession with speed cameras,
which do not save lives, and took action based
on this research then more accidents
and deaths really can be prevented.
US research has established that those who speed moderately tend
to be the safest drivers.
Some countries have recently increased speed
limits on major roads such as Italy
and some US states.
An estimate 5000 people die each year from infections picked
up during stays in hospitals due to lack
of basic hygiene, reports the National
Audit Office. This suggests that hospitals
are responsible for six times as many deaths
than are killed in speeding
related accidents. Would the Government
not save more lives by diverting its
attention to improving basic hygiene
in hospitals? Probably not as speed
cameras make money while hospitals
Since the introduction of speed cameras to the UK in 1993, the drop
in the number of fatalities per year has decreased by one third.
Former police chief who brought speed cameras
to Britain, Peter
Joslin, said "Having been responsible for persuading
government that we should have speed cameras,
I now feel it has gone too far." In an interview
with the Mail on Sunday he said "If the public
are so upset - and there is no doubt they are
- perhaps it is time to take a fresh look. Policing
is about balancing priorities and keeping the
public on your side... I have no doubt about
speed cameras in principle but we have to be
convinced there are in locations where speed
is a danger." Mr Joslin feels that too much reliance
has been placed on cameras. "Traffic officers
are the force's eyes and ears - the people in
the front line. They are the ones who catch joyriders,
drug dealers and robbers. If you have more traffic
police on the streets there is a good chance
of hardened criminals being arrested." On the issue of speed limits,
Mr Joslin called for a fresh look at variable
limits as there was no sense in enforcing 20mph
zones outside schools at weekends or during holidays.
On motorways even 75mph could be too low in good
New Zealand's speed camera
policy won't work according to a police spokesman.
Most accidents in New Zealand involve cars
traveling under the speed limit. According
to LTSA's own data only 16% of accidents
involved a car traveling over the speed
limit. Can Britain learn from this? Read
more on this report.
Speed cameras may cause more accidents according to Dr
Alan Buckingham, a senior lecturer at Bath Spa
University College. The reasons are:
- Lower speeds demand and, therefore, promote lower
- Drivers prioritise speed and speedometer watching
over safe driving
- Speed cameras distract the driver’s attention
as drivers look out for the next camera rather than
the road ahead
- Speed cameras cause sudden braking as drivers
slow down to the posted speed limit
- Speeds are slowed near camera sites so drivers
divert to less safe routes in a bid to save time,
or they may try to make up time by driving at inappropriate
speeds where there are no cameras
- Speeds are slowed and journey times are increased,
leading some drivers to become frustrated or aggressive,
and it forces all drivers to suffer longer exposure
to accident risks
- Initiative to drive at the appropriate speed for
the conditions shifts from the driver to speed cameras.
Therefore, drivers will become less used to taking
responsibility for adjusting speed according to complex,
changing circumstances encountered
Drivers with unregistered vehicles or incorrect registration details
often evade prosecution when caught by speed cameras. It is fair to say
that these drivers may take more risks and drive faster given that they
are willing to flout registration laws and knowing that they cannot be
traced by speed cameras.
One million motorists have no
insurance, no tax, or no driving licence and
are nine times more likely to crash, says The
Department of Transport. Those drivers are
responsible for up to 7000 accidents resulting
in injuries each year. Less police patrols and
more speed cameras mean these drivers are
difficult to catch and prosecute. Read more
about this issue in our special feature.
71 year old Stuart Harding was arrested
and taken to court for telling
drivers to slow down on a busy road. He stood
by the roadside holding a home-made sign that
read "Speed Trap - 300 Yards". Down the road
a police van was in wait with a laser gun to
catch speeding motorists. However, Mr Harding
wanted the drivers to drive slowly to avoid accidents
as families were crossing the road for a car
boot sale. The court said "the use of the sign
was a deliberate and intentional act and by use
of the words 'speed trap' you were assisting
speeding motorists from being prosecuted." The council said 200
drivers were caught at this spot in one morning. That's
about £12,000 in fines. Mr Harding was found guilty and banned
from driving for a month and ordered to pay £364
costs. It is believed the court is the first
in the land to use new anti-social behaviour
powers to ban someone from driving for a non-driving
Mr Harding was trying to prevent accidents by making drivers slow down, but
it's clear that the police favour protecting
their revenue from fines instead of saving lives
by allowing Mr Harding to perform a public service
by getting drivers to slow down and pay attention to
the road. It's astonishing and an insult to Mr Harding
that the court used a
new power created to fight yob culture to punish
a senior citizen for a harmless and good willed
Speeding convictions rose by 229% between 1993 and 2000 while
other driving related convictions (such as dangerous or drunken driving)
A former policeman has spoken out against the misused of speed cameras.
Steve Walsh, a former member of the Association
of Chief Police Officers' team that
helped expand the use of cameras,
claimed that many cameras were being positioned
where there was little danger of an accident
but a high chance of catching motorists. Mr
Walsh said that the government had given the
police income targets which forced them to concentrate
on making money instead of slowing traffic. As
a result cameras were placed on busy roads that
were not accident blackspots. He said "When I was running the system
our aim was to ensure that speed limits were
observed, but if you succeed in getting people
to observe the speed limit then you
no income. Forces were only allowed to join the
'cash for cameras' scheme if they signed up to
increasing massively the numbers of tickets
It was not about road safety." Source: Sunday Telegraph
In Ontario, Canada, speed cameras were scrapped in 1995 when
road deaths stood at 999 a year and have since
fallen to 881. According to the Daily Mail
a political spokesman for Ontario said "speed cameras had no effect
on drunk drivers, tailgaters, unsafe lane changes,
sudden stoppers or vehicles with serious mechanical
defects. These are the biggest killers
on Ontario roads and they can only be stopped
by officers on patrol."
Raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph and remove speed cameras
from many sites, says the Conservative party.
Speedcameras.org is not a political website but
this is an interesting policy that we will
hold the Tories to when they next come to power.
Proof that speed cameras do not save lives has
been revealed by the Mail on Sunday from figures supplied directly from
11 police forces. Data showed that despite an increase of cameras since
2001 there has been an increase in road deaths. While the government
and Safety Camera Partnerships continue to chant that speed cameras save
lives, the figures supplied by the police show that this is simply not
the case. Half of the police forces showed an increase and two forces,
Derbyshire and Hampshire, had a third more fatalities despite doubling
the number of cameras.
|Hampshire & IOW
113 (est to Dec)
268 (est to Dec)
54 (est to Dec)
971 (est to
Three forces didn't have data for the whole of 2003 so we have
extrapolated figures to December shown in small print.