Do speed cameras really save lives?

A row has broken out between the Association of British Drivers and the RAC Foundation over whether speed cameras really do save lives.

The foundation has released a report on the effectiveness of speed cameras that concludes that they do in fact 'save lives'.
However, the ABD strongly disagrees and has issued a 21-page rebuttal that brands the RAC report as 'misleading'.

'Our analysis of the report shows that much of the information presented is misleading, that there is no certainty at all about the impact of speed cameras and that much of the contrary evidence has simply been ignored,' said a spokesman for the ABD.

The association says that 'clear evidence' shows that if the same money spent on speed cameras was instead used on speed display devices - that flash up your speed as you enter villages or built up areas - then many more lives would be saved.

'The excessive reliance on speed cameras in the UK over the last two decades has affected road safety aversely,' added the association's spokesman.

'This has been driven - and supported - by the financial interests of the equipment manufacturers and of the safety camera partnerships, rather than by concerns for improvement in road safety.'

The RAC Foundation report, produced by Professor Richard Allsop of University College London, claims that 800 more people a year would be killed or seriously injured if all speed cameras were cut.

The coalition government has slashed funding for speed camera partnerships across the UK which has led to many being axed and cameras up and down the country being switched off.

'The current crisis in funding for speed cameras - and road safety in general - leaves road users at real risk,' claims Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

'The clear evidence is that if speed cameras were to be decommissioned then around 800 more people are likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads each year.

'The government has said decisions on speed camera funding must be taken at local level which is why we are sending this evidence direct to all highway authorities. Councillors are perfectly within their rights to use scarce resources on things other than cameras but they need to know what the consequences could be.'

The foundation claims that scrapping cameras would even be a false economy as the money has already been spent on installing them. But it's clear the ABD and RAC Foundation are never going to agree.

'Speed cameras are far less effective than Prof Allsop's paper claims,' the ABD explains in its rebuttal report. 'Independent evidence shows that vehicle activated signs are 50 times more cost effective than speed cameras; yet the proponents of speed cameras continue to argue for their use.

'It is in the public interest to correct any misapprehensions which may have been created by the widely distributed, but potentially misleading, Allsop paper.'

The RAC Foundation told AutoBlog that it stood by Prof Allsop's report and said it was 'great to see other organisations taking this important subject seriously'.

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