PR138: Speed camera surveys are flawed
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 16th August 2004 number: PR138

PR138: Speed camera surveys are flawed

News: for immediate release

Figures published today by Brake and Green Flag Motoring Assistance suggesting that two thirds of drivers support the use of mobile speed cameras are "implausible at best" says Safe Speed.

These figures are the most recent in a long history of very doubtful surveys regarding speed camera acceptability. The Department for Transport imposes a set of questions, and the requirement for regular surveys, on every camera partnership. These questions are designed to elicit a particular response - some might say fraudulently so. Professor Mervyn Stone, working as an independent adjudicator for Radio Four, recently described these official survey questions as a "loaded instrument", and said that the questions showed a "disgraceful positive bias".

Perhaps it is illuminating that the recent Brake press release stops short of informing us of the exact questions that were asked?

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe speed road safety campaign said: "It all depends on the questions that are asked, and sometimes on how the sample of respondents was selected. We challenge Brake to commission an honest independent survey asking a fair sample of drivers the following questions:

  • Have speed cameras made the roads safer overall?
  • Do you believe official government figures about the effectiveness of speed cameras?
  • What percentage of road accidents do you believe are caused or contributed to by motorists exceeding a speed limit?
  • Would you concentrate on your driving equally well if asked to travel much more slowly than the speed that you would naturally choose?
  • Do speed cameras ever distract you from the road ahead? (For example, do you take your eyes off the road to check you speedo a number of times when you see a speed camera?)
  • Are speed cameras mainly about money?
  • Do speed cameras sometimes take the enjoyment out of driving?
  • Do you persistently worry about speed cameras?
  • Should most speed cameras be scrapped?"

Frequent public opinion surveys are conducted on the Internet by independent organisations, including the BBC. Typical results show that between 75% and 95% of respondents think speed cameras should be scrapped.

Paul continues: "We should be very worried indeed about the claims that speed cameras are desired by a majority of the public. Not only are flawed and distorting questions the norm, but also the government has spent many millions of pounds in a misguided attempt to make speed cameras acceptable."


Notes for editors:

The third question above, if asked, would reveal the distortion of public opinion caused by false propaganda about the prevalence of speeding as an accident contributory factor. Safe Speed expects that (on average) respondents will suggest that "more than half" of accidents involve "speeding". The truth appears to be about 3%, and the result may reveal a massive distortion in public opinion. Safe Speed believes that false road safety priorities are a serious modern cause of road danger.

Safe Speed commentary on speed camera acceptability surveys:

The Stone report

Why drivers speed - the truth:

About Safe Speed

The Safe Speed road safety campaign is primarily the work of engineer-turned road safety analyst Paul Smith.

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:

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telephone: 01862 832000 anytime.      
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note: the mobile does not work well at our office. Always try land line first.      
Location: North Scotland      

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Created 8/10/2004. Last update 8/10/2004