Speed cameras 'do not prevent road accidents'

Updated: 

A report into speed cameras in the Thames Valley area has found that they have resulted in "no reduction in the number of collisions after they were installed."

According to the Association of British Drivers (ABD), this makes the proliferation of speed cameras an "abysmal failure."

The independent report, compiled and funded by engineer Dave Finney, concludes that 'speed cameras [in the Thames Valley area] have not made any impact in preventing road traffic collisions.'

That includes all 212 fixed Gatso cameras and 105 mobile speed check sites in the Thames Valley. The report finds that there is 'no relationship between vehicle speeds and the number of collisions,' and that 'reductions in speeds at the camera sites did not result in any reduction in the number of collisions.'

In fact, looking at Gatso sites specifically, despite a 4.7mph average speed reduction after placement of the cameras, a 0.5% increase in collisions was recorded.

Mr Finney argues that the Government is essentially manipulating speed camera effectiveness figures to justify their existence. The DfT's biggest speed camera report, called Four-Year Evaluation (4YE) and published in 2005, states that 42% fewer people were killed or seriously injured at speed camera sites after they were installed.

However, According to author Mr Finney, this cannot be the case because less than 8% of those collisions involved a vehicle that was speeding. In fact, using the statistics published in the 4YE, Mr Finney found that a speed camera site prevents, on average, one fatality once every 197 years, and one serious injury once every decade.

That's of course better than nothing, but nowhere near the dramatic reduction claimed by the DfT.

Chairman of the ABD Brian Gregory responded to the Thames Valley report by saying it "highlights what we have long suspected, that the whole speed camera fiasco has saved no lives."

He goes on: "By diverting attention away from the real causes of accidents [it] has actually cost lives. We are grateful to the government for forcing reluctant camera partnerships to reveal the previously hidden statistics which enabled this report, but they must now acknowledge this abysmal failure and distance themselves from these disastrous policies."

Update: RoSPA's rebuttal of Mr Finney's research can be found here, as well as further comment from Mr Finney himself.