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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 02:40 
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 29,00.html

Police remove ten speed cameras over safety fears

By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

A POLICE force is dismantling ten speed cameras and removing film from another 50 after the first official admission that badly positioned devices could undermine road safety.

West Midlands Police has found after a review of all its cameras that many fail to comply with strict government rules on where they can be located. The force is expected to be the first of many to remove devices after the Government ordered a national audit of Britain’s 6,000 speed cameras.

The cameras being removed in the West Midlands were installed before the rules on siting were tightened in 2000.

Three were found to break guidelines that cameras must be visible from at least 60m (200ft) away. Two were obscured by a bridge and one was hidden behind a road sign.

A spokesman for the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Partnership, which includes the police and seven local authorities, said that motorists had been braking suddenly after spotting the cameras too late.

“We recognise that there is a potential safety hazard from sudden braking if you can’t see the camera,” he said.

Several other cameras were removed because the road layout had changed or the highway authority had used some other method to slow vehicles. In two cases a dangerous crossroads had been replaced by a roundabout. In another, traffic lights had been installed on an open stretch of road.

The partnership spokesman said that West Midlands had also decided to switch off cameras at locations where there had been no injury in a traffic collision in three years.

Under the Department for Transport’s rules, cameras can be positioned on roads only where there have been at least four collisions involving death or serious injury within a one-kilometre stretch in the previous three years. Once the camera is installed, it can remain indefinitely even if there are no further collisions.

Camera supporters argue that this is sensible because collisions might occur again if the camera were removed. But West Midlands has decided that it cannot justify fining drivers when there have been no recent casualties.

The spokesman said that sites where there had been no collisions for four years would be reviewed to see whether the cameras could be removed. “We hope our approach will convince motorists that we only have cameras where there is a road safety problem,” he said.

Paul Smith, founder of anti-camera campaign Safe Speed, welcomed the initiative and called on other forces to copy it. “We hope this is the beginning of the end for cameras . . . Motorists have been fined more than £700 million since the early 1990s but the roads haven’t got safer.”

Meanwhile, several speed camera partnerships are being forced to delay plans to install hundreds more cameras because the Department for Transport has yet to approve them. Some of the partnerships suspect that the department is beginning to doubt the effectiveness of cameras. Last month the department commissioned a two-year research project to investigate claims that the fall in road casualties at camera sites was due more to the random nature of crashes than to drivers slowing.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:28 
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Quote:
West Midlands Police has found after a review of all its cameras that many fail to comply with strict government rules on where they can be located.

:twisted: No, surely not. I mean the DoT said they checked every fixed camera last year and found that every single last one of them was okay. :twisted: Was this a convenient lie at the time, or did they merely get it wrong?

Quote:
Three were found to break guidelines that cameras must be visible from at least 60m (200ft) away. Two were obscured by a bridge and one was hidden behind a road sign.

And I can think of more like this. There's one on the A3 heading towards the Robin Hood roundabout that lurks behind a big sign. They painted it yellow when they were told to make 'em easier to see, but what was that was supposed to achieve when the sign stayed in the way? There's another one behind a sign southbound near the end of the 50mph section, presumably to catch anyone accelerating early, though the last time I went that way it looked like someone had pulled the sign down a bit. Used to be one on the North Circ at Brent Cross behind a bridge, don't know if that's still there. Hopefully we can look forward to these going to the scrapheap as well.

Quote:
A spokesman for the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Partnership, which includes the police and seven local authorities, said that motorists had been braking suddenly after spotting the cameras too late.

?We recognise that there is a potential safety hazard from sudden braking if you can?t see the camera,? he said.

Give the man a cigar :roll: . Sarcasm aside, this is a good sign. Has the reality of this problem even been publicy recognised by a partnership before?

Quote:
Several other cameras were removed because the road layout had changed or the highway authority had used some other method to slow vehicles. In two cases a dangerous crossroads had been replaced by a roundabout. In another, traffic lights had been installed on an open stretch of road.

Sounds good, but it would have been better if they'd acknowledge that the changes are more likely to have improved the road than the scams ever did.

Quote:
The partnership spokesman said that West Midlands had also decided to switch off cameras at locations where there had been no injury in a traffic collision in three years.

Again, better if they could have brought themselves to admit that RTTM and traffic moving to non-Gatsoed roads might have had something to do with it.

Quote:
But West Midlands has decided that it cannot justify fining drivers when there have been no recent casualties.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

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?We hope our approach will convince motorists that we only have cameras where there is a road safety problem,? he said.

Hell no. Long, long way to go yet. :)

Quote:
Some of the partnerships suspect that the [DoT] is beginning to doubt the effectiveness of cameras.

We can but hope.

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