PR142: Don't cross near cameras warns Safe Speed
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 8th October 2004 number: pr142

PR142: Don't cross near cameras warns Safe Speed

News: Strict embargo: 00:01am, 8th October 2004

Following press reports this week regarding the dangers of driver distraction posed by speed cameras, the Association of British Drivers (ABD) has issued a press release entitled: "Donít cross near cameras says road safety group". Safe Speed strongly supports this ABD initiative.

Safe Speed explains: Speed cameras are especially distracting to drivers. Irrespective of whether or not they are exceeding the speed limit, almost every driver will be highly aware of the camera, he'll check his speedo, look at the camera, think about the camera, check his speedo again, and many will even watch the mirror just to make sure that they haven't been flashed.

Road safety depends on drivers paying full attention to the road ahead, but speed cameras distract them to varying degrees. If a driver isn't looking ahead, he might not see a pedestrian until it is too late. Most drivers see road side speed cameras as a threat that must be dealt with. Dealing with the threat involves extra speedo checks, and valuable attention diverted from the road ahead.

So the message for pedestrians is clear. They should always choose a place to cross the road where drivers are not likely to be distracted by a speed camera - and that means crossing well away from any camera.

Checking the speedo take around one second - slightly more for older drivers or tired drivers. In one second you travel 44 feet or about 3 car lengths. If you are starting to check your speedo when a pedestrian steps into the road it will take an extra 44 feet to stop. Assuming a speed of 30mph, this brings you to rest at the same point as braking from 42mph without the distraction of the speedo check. Our straw poll survey suggests that 70% of drivers check their speedos THREE OR MORE times in the immediate vicinity of a speed camera.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign comments: "It isn't just checking the speedo that causes extra danger near a speed camera. We see panic braking even from drivers at legal speeds because they just are not certain enough of the speed limit to risk 25% of their driving licence. We are also very concerned about drivers' mental priorities where there are speed cameras. What are drivers thinking about as they pass a speed camera? They're thinking about the camera, aren't they? We'd much rather they were thinking about the road ahead."

Paul continues: "It's often asked: 'why aren't there more cameras outside schools?' Well, on present evidence, the last place I'd install a speed camera is outside a school. We need drivers looking out for kids, not staring at their speedos."


Notes for editors:

A case in Flint (North Wales) last December as reported in the Daily Post:

Safe Speed PR issued yesterday regarding the comments by a Stockport Coroner (includes "Weapons of mass distraction" cartoon.):

ABD PR entitled:
Donít cross near cameras says road safety group

Calculations, discussion, and spreadsheet concerning driver inattention:

Safe Speed PR concerning our ongoing "speedo checks near a speed camera" survey:

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 over 7,000 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 :     
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.

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Created 7/10/2004. Last update 7/10/2004