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Will Susan Beck ever reply?


Susan Beck appears to be head of the "safety" camera spin machine. We wrote to her with sensible questions about the details of the foundation claims for camera enforcement. We think it reflects very badly that they have not yet been able to reply.

You would think that if this policy was based on sound facts or research that she would have been able to reply immediately and in detail. The lack of any reply is just one more nail in the coffin of the "safety" camera scam.

Our present road safety policy is based on lies and spin. Read about the lies (here)

See their spin: (NSCL) website.

new a third letter to Susan Beck added 10th November 2003

30th July 2003
Ms S Beck
National Safety Camera Liaison
Executive Centres,
Beckett House
14, Billing Road

Dear Susan,

Do speed cameras save lives?

It was a pleasure talking with you yesterday on the telephone. 

I have previously sent a letter, similar to this one, to Mr Richard Brunstrom in his capacity as head of the ACPO road safety committee. I have not received an adequate reply from Mr Brunstrom (click here), and I hope you will be able to better answer the main question.

There are speed cameras being rolled out everywhere we look, but I can find no evidence whatsoever that the speed cameras have saved lives, will save lives, or even might save lives. In fact I find quite the opposite. Our fatal accident rate is showing a very worrying trend indeed.

I've examined TRL report number 323, which has "excessive speed" as a definite contributory factor as 6.0% of the population of contributory factors.

I've looked for other sources of accident causation data in the UK and found the West Midlands Accident Review, which makes “excessive speed” a very minor factor indeed in accident causation.

Where speed is a contributory factor it is often combined with another factor which makes speed enforcement irrelevant, including for example, reckless driving, unregistered or stolen vehicle, drunk driving, Police driver on call, and especially inappropriate speed within the speed limit. One wonders if there are any excess speed accidents left that could be assigned to normal motorists exceeding a posted speed limit. 

I've examined TRL 421 and TRL 511, which are not worth the paper they are written on. In fact they are blatant, non-scientific propaganda, and I am extremely ashamed of the TRL. I have written to them pointing out some of the serious shortcomings in the reports and their replies so far have been inadequate. You can view this correspondence at:

I've examined the web sites of the safety camera partnerships and I find hopelessly inadequate statistics, which never allow for the "regression to the mean" errors or national trends. When these errors are corrected the claimed "benefits" simply vanish.

I've spoken to Police accident investigators who tell me that driver errors other than exceeding the speed limit are responsible for the vast majority of road accidents.

As you know, I have written to Professor Heydeckler asking for some clarifications concerning the report of the two-year pilot. (click here)

I heard you on BBC Radio Wales this morning saying: “We only want to save lives.”

So my question for you is:

What evidence do you have that these speed cameras (and the policies which support them) even might save lives? Any real evidence at all would be welcome.
As you know I maintain the Safe Speed web site, and I intend to publish your reply there.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Paul Smith

8th August 2003
Ms S Beck
National Safety Camera Liaison
Executive Centres,
Beckett House
14, Billing Road

Dear Susan,

Accidents caused by speeding

I am sorry to write again so soon – and obviously before you have been able to reply to my letter dated 30th July 2003. I promise that I have no intention of bombarding you with letters.

However something has come up which I consider important, and you may well be able to assist.

In the Shropshire Star recently, Mr McAvoy of the West Mercia Safety Camera Partnership was reported as follows:

Mr McAvoy maintains that the statistics used by the Government to prove speeding causes one third of road accidents are genuine.” 
I quite understand that Mr McAvoy intended to say something rather different. But his statement has raised an interesting question:
What percentage of road accidents are caused by speeding?
Despite my extensive research, I don't know the answer. I do know answers to many related questions such as the percentage of accidents that have inappropriate speed or excessive speed as a cause or contributory factor, but the answer to the exact emboldened question eludes me. To me the crucial words are “caused by speeding”. I'd be perfectly happy to accept the percentages of injuries, casualties, serious injuries or fatalities, so long as they are “caused by speeding”.

Can you help? Please also provide your reference source.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Paul Smith

10th November 2003
Ms S Beck
National Safety Camera Liaison
Executive Centres,
Beckett House
14, Billing Road

Dear Susan,

Lies and non-replies

I have written to you personally on two previous occasions, but you have not had the common courtesy to reply. (letters dated 30th July and 8th August this year).

Neither have I had a reply to my most straightforward question in my letter of 10th September 2003 and copied to you. [click here] It was you that proposed Professor Heydecker as “able to answer questions”. Please ensure I receive a proper answer as soon as possible.

Recently I visited your new web site at Some of the “Q&A” questions caught my eye, and I would appreciate proper answers to my numbered and emboldened questions below. 

“Q25    The ABD claims that despite 4,300 cameras having been installed since 1991, the downward trend in fatal accidents has tailed off since 1994. This, they say, is a clear indication that the sole purpose behind more cameras is financial.

While there may be around 4,000 camera housings in place, the number of active cameras is far fewer. There are comparatively few working cameras due to the resource implications for the police and local authorities. That is why the netting off financing system is being made nationally available. We fully expect the downward trend in fatal and serious injury accidents to continue at a greater pace as better use is made of cameras.”

1. When exactly do you think we will see the downward trend in fatal accidents to resume?
“Q32    Isn’t the 70 mph motorway speed limit out of date ? Should it be raised given the improvement in road and vehicle design since the limit was introduced in the 1960s ?

The motorway speed limit is being kept under review. There are many issues to consider such as putting at risk the excellent casualty record on motorways, emissions and noise. There is also the question of enforcement given that a majority of drivers exceed the current speed limit.“

2. If the motorways have an “excellent casualty record” despite the fact that “a majority of drivers exceed the current speed limit”, why should high levels of speed limit enforcement ever be necessary to achieve “an excellent casualty record”?
“Q45    What will happen to the receipts earmarked for local partnerships when enough cameras have been provided ? Won’t the partnerships be saturated with funds that they won’t need ?

Once capital costs are recovered and cameras are operating successfully in all areas that have a history of speed related casualties, then any surplus will go to the Treasury so preventing the partnerships from being saturated with funds.

The number of fixed penalty offences should reduce, as more drivers reduce their speeds…”

3. In what year will the number of fixed penalty offences reduce? 

Your camera-based approach to road safety ignores and undermines the principles behind the UK achieving the safest roads in the World. The ongoing roll out of speed cameras is coincident with a loss of the national trend in fatal accidents. If the previous trend had continued we would now have 2,200 roads fatalities each year and the toll would still be reducing.

In short, I believe the policies that you support are responsible for the loss of 5,500 lives to date.

4. Please explain in detail what has caused the loss of trend in UK fatal road accidents. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Paul Smith

CC  John Thurso MP
 Tim Collins MP [this page]

 Space for reply - we're waiting

Let's make speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving

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Created 6/09/2003. Last update 10/11/2003
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