A sample letter intended to verify or expose the claims made by the camera partnerships.
This first letter applies to claimed reductions at speed camera sites only. Further letters are being considered.


The Spin doctors and the PR men have made wildly exaggerated claims for the safety benefits of speed cameras. We set out below a general letter which you can use to attempt to expose any possible unreasonable assumptions that underlie the lies. For more explanation about the possible errors and terms used see (click here).

The letter

Dear Sir

claims of accident reductions at speed camera sites

I read in the (xxxx newspaper / website) that you claim (yyy%) reduction in (zzz accidents / crashes / casualties / seriously injured / KSI / fatalities) at speed camera sites in your area. I find the claims astonishing, and I wonder how carefully you have prepared your figures. I expect a brief but clear and accurate answer to each numbered point. 

1) How have you compensated for site level regression to the mean?

2) Have you properly adjusted your figures to allow for improvements in national trends? (Obviously where there is a national trend in a particular class of accident or casualty, it would be unreasonable to attribute that part of the local improvement to your cameras.)

3) How big are the sites where you claim these improvements? Are the cameras really responsible for the claimed improvements at the more distant points within the sites?

4) What has been the effect of other safety treatments applied at camera sites that may have been installed at a similar time to the camera?

5) What percentage of the entire improvement have you attributed to speed cameras? What is your justification for the figure?

6) Have you measured and compensated for any change in traffic volumes at the camera sites?

7) Have you examined the accident figures for casualty displacement that may have been caused by the cameras? What are your general findings?

8) If the items above have been properly considered, what is the statistical significance of the remainder?

9) Have you chosen to selectively report a favourable class or classes of accidents or road user casualty? How did other groups fare?

10) Have you chosen to selectively report particular comparison periods to exaggerate or maximise the “benefits” you are claiming? 

11) If you look at whole county figures going back at least fifteen years and spanning the introduction of speed cameras, do you see any change in trends over the period of camera introduction? Please be sure to examine separately figures for casualties, serious injuries and fatalities.  Which three-year period shows the greatest overall improvement? Was that before or after the cameras?

I am quite sure that you understand the importance of openness, honesty and accuracy when providing accident information to the public. It is quite literally a matter of life and death - anything less than proper rigour would clearly be completely unacceptable.

I look forward to your considered reply.

Yours faithfully

Download the letter...

As a fully formatted Word 97 document. (click here)

You can also capture the text straight off this web page and paste it into your favourite word processor. To do this drag the I beam cursor across the whole text of the letter so that it is highlighted. Then type Ctrl-C (i.e. hold down the control key and tap the C key), switch to your favourite word processor, open a blank document, position the cursor on the page and type Ctrl-V. This method will paste the entire text automatically.

The method

The letter only properly applies to claims of accident (etc) reductions at speed camera sites. If you are considering a different claim - for example a claim of area wide accident reductions, you really need a different letter. If you're interested in fighting a different claim please let us know. We'll assist in creating a form letter wherever possible to expose any of their lies.

  • Make sure you have an exact copy of the claim as published.
  • Copy the text or download the letter and add appropriate addresses (yours and theirs)
  • Adjust the text to include their exact claim and details of the source publication. (only the first paragraph needs adjusting where marked xxx, yyy and zzz.)
  • Adjust any other text if you prefer or desire. The original letter is our copyright, and we grant you unlimited permission to use it, modify it, and reproduce it as you see fit.
  • Consider who might like to see a copy right from the start. If the original claim was published in the press, we suggest that "cc ing" the editor of the newspaper would be a very good idea. You might also like to "cc" us.
  • It is unlikely that you will receive an adequate reply to the questions raised in the letter. We will be pleased to publish inadequate replies, or any that admit to improper use of figures.
  • Keep exact copies of everything.
Having lit the blue touch paper, be sure to retire to a safe distance to admire the show.
Feedback etc.

If you have a suggested improvement for the letter, please send it to us. If you have a full set of copy correspondence based on this letter or a similar one, we would be pleased to publish it on the web site if it helps to reveal the truth.

(click here) to send us email.

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Copyright © SafeSpeed 2003
Created 6/07/2003. Last update 6/07/2003