|PR132: The Great Speed Camera
News: For immediate release
For over three years Safe Speed has been
working tirelessly to analyse the road safety trends in speed camera era.
And the trends have been truly awful.
National annual road deaths fell more in EACH
of the three years before speed cameras than they have in the TEN years
The most important road safety indicator of
all, the fatal accident rate (i.e. the number of road deaths per billion
vehicle kilometres), gradually slowed during the speed camera decade, and
finally in 2003 went into reverse. This follows a former trend spanning
at least 50 years during which the fatal accident rate fell by between
5% and 7% per annum with clockwork reliability.
In 2003 the fatal accident rate rose by 1.3%.
This is thought to be the first genuine rise in the history of UK motoring.
Britain is now the slowest improving country
in Europe in terms of roads fatalities according to the Department for
Transport's preferred indicator.
If the former trend (1978 to 1993) in the
fatality rate had continued, over 6,800 people who have died on British
roads would still be alive, and annual road deaths would be down to about
2,200 (not 3,500 and rising)
The difference between the expected and actual
trends has been termed "the fatality gap". The fatality gap now represents
over a third of annual road deaths.
At the same time that the trends have gone
so badly wrong we have seen an explosion of speed camera fines. In fact
speed camera fines are presently doubling every three years.
After over 5,000 man-hours of effort on the
subject Safe Speed believes that the loss of trend, and the 6,800 extra
deaths have been caused by bad road safety policy, and that the bad policy
has been founded on speed cameras.
It is absurd and fraudulent to claim that
speed camera saves lives when the trends have been so bad.
We know that vehicle safety, road engineering
and post accident paramedic care are improving and are making similar crashes
significantly more survivable each year. And we know that these effects
are much greater than the annual growth of traffic.
Safe Speed has uncovered and exposed a
series of official lies forming the very foundations of speed camera policy.
It isn't true that we have many crashes caused
by otherwise responsible motorists exceeding a speed limit.
The claims of speed camera effectiveness entirely
depend on a well understood statistical artefact known as "regression to
the mean". This has been pointed out to the main authors of the recent
DfT report, yet still they persist in the deception.
It isn't true that a 1mph reduction in average
traffic speed will lead to a 5% reduction in accidents. This too has been
pointed out, yet the deception continues.
It IS true that pedestrians are much more
likely to die as impact speed increases from about 20mph to 40mph. But
in the real world the proportion of pedestrians dying in injury accidents
with motor vehicles points to an average impact speed of just 11mph.
(at 40mph 90% die, at 30mph 50%
die, at 20mph 10% die, but in the real world, in 30mph AND 40mph speed
limits just 1.5% of pedestrians injured die)
Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed
road safety campaign said: "It is absolutely outrageous that modern road
safety policy is founded on nothing more than oversimplified beliefs and
bad science. It is even more outrageous that the government and the camera
partnerships are trying to gloss over the abject failure and convince the
public that their policies are working. False road safety information is
extremely dangerous and is very likely to cause loss of life because the
wrong policies are followed."
Paul continues, "The speed camera fiasco
amounts nothing less than the great speed camera con trick. Every motorist
should write to their MP right now demanding proper answers to the following
1) What proportion of road accidents
in the UK are caused or contributed to by otherwise legal motorists exceeding
a speed limit?
In a recent report for the BBC Radio "Today
Programme", Professor Emeritus Mervyn Stone said (regarding the partnership
based speed camera programme): "The emphasis on political acceptability
has led the program down a cul de sac in which essential public trust has
been lost. The mistakes already made should be openly recognised, and the
program should be subjected to a root and branch rethink."
2) How large is the regression to the mean
benefit illusion incorporated in the recent official report of speed camera
It should came as no surprise that Safe
Speed says: "Let's make speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving."
See the Safe Speed web site for further
Notes and links for Editors
FATALITIES FIGURES FOR GB 1950 to 2003
The same spreadsheet in a zip archive:
The spreadsheet includes exact web references
to official data sources and a range of interesting graphs.
FRAUDS IN CLAIMS FOR SPEED CAMERA EFFECTIVENESS
Previous Safe Speed PRs:
Recent Safe Speed letter to Professor Heydecker:
Professor Heydecker admits the error on
Safe Speed regression to the mean primer:
DfT Report: "The national safety camera
programme: Three-year evaluation report":
DfT Road Safety Good Practice Guide:
Professor John Adams (UCL) quoted in The
Times, 25th June 2004
Professor Mervyn Stone (UCL) See...
OFFICIAL LIES IN UK ROAD SAFETY:
Introduction and overview:
The 1mph lie:
The truth about accident causation:
GENERAL SUPPORTING INFORMATION:
How road safety really works:
The real reason why responsible drivers
Overview of the real effects of speed cameras:
Academic support for Safe Speed analysis:
Safe Speed's case against speed cameras:
The trends in serious and KSI accidents
are unreliable as trend indicators:
And see throughout the 320,000 word Safe
About Safe Speed:
Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul
Smith, 49, an advanced motorist and road safety enthusiast, and a professional
engineer of 25 years UK experience, has carried out about 5,000 hours of
research into the overall effects of speed camera policy on UK road safety.
We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried
out by any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall
speed cameras make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported
a number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed
cameras, and the whole "speed kills" system of road safety.
The inescapable conclusion is that we should
urgently return to the excellent road safety policies that gave us in the
UK the safest roads in the World in the first place.
Safe Speed does not campaign against speed
limits or appropriate enforcement of motoring laws, but argues vigorously
that automated speed enforcement is neither safe nor appropriate.
Contact Safe Speed:
email : email@example.com
telephone: 01862 832000 anytime.
mobile: 07799 045553
note: the mobile does not work well at
our office. Always try land line first.
Location: North Scotland
We are available for press and media interviews.