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Can speed cameras ever be as effective as traffic policemen?

Peter Mason claims speed cameras are responsible for the small reduction in road casualties since 2005 (NCE 4 September). This is simply not proven.
The truth is that road deaths have not fallen in any meaningful way since the adoption of the "speed kills" campaign and introduction of speed cameras in 1993.

Prior to this, the UK had an excellent record of casualty reduction with the number of road deaths per billion vehicle kilometres falling from about 95 in 1950 to around 9 in 1995. For many years we had a clearly falling trend which, if continued, would see traffic related deaths down to less than 2,000 instead of the 2,940 in 2007.

With the huge improvements in vehicle safety, casualties should be lower and it is clear our road safety policies are failing. Thousands of speed cameras have taken the place of the traffic cop and UK road safety has suffered as a result.

In September 2006 the Department for Transport released figures showing that only 5% of road deaths were caused by excess speed over the limit. While every single loss on our roads is regrettable, we should concentrate our efforts on reducing casualties in the most effective ways which are better road design, improved vehicle safety and better driver training.

 PETER ROBERTS, peter.roberts@driversalliance.org.uk

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