London, 1 Apr 2003.
For immediate release.

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Put Safety Before Cash, Says ABD
The Association of British Drivers today called on the Government to replace speed cameras with electronic warning signs after an official study shows that warning systems do far more for road safety.

The Transport Research Laboratory report[1] was carried out under contract to the Road Safety Division of the Department for Transport. While speed cameras are claimed to reduce accidents by 14%[2], the study shows that electronic speed limit reminders reduce accidents by 58%[3] and electronic bend & junction warning signs reduce accidents by 26%[4].

"We congratulate the Government on commissioning this important study," said ABD spokesman Ben Lovejoy, "and call upon it to abandon its cash-for-cameras scheme and replace them with these life-saving devices. Doing so will prove that the Government really is interested in road safety rather than revenue generation through speeding fines."

Electronic warning signs are activated by approaching traffic. Instead of photographing cars, they flash up a warning sign. Examples include a reminder of the speed limit when entering a village, and warnings of junctions and bends. They are not linked to cameras, and drivers are not prosecuted - instead, the signs alert drivers to dangers, and also embarrass them into slowing when entering villages.

The TRL study was the largest of its kind ever conducted, examining the effects of four different electronic warning signs at over 60 locations, and measuring the impact on accident rates over a three year period.

The report concluded that electronic warning signs achieve substantial accident reductions, can operate at thresholds well below speed cameras, remain effective for years and have much lower operating costs than cameras.

"The findings make sense," commented Ben Lovejoy. "While cameras can only fine drivers after the danger has passed, electronic warning signs can alert drivers to dangers in advance. This is good news for anyone who lives on a road with tight bends, hidden junctions or simply in villages where drivers do not reduce speed as they enter. We trust that the Government will now demonstrate its commitment to road safety by replacing the less effective speed cameras with these cheaper and more effective warning systems."


Notes for editors:
[1] TRL Report 548: 'Vehicle-activated signs - a large-scale evaluation'.
The report can be downloaded from: http://www.trl.co.uk/static/dtlr/pdfs/TRL548.pdf
[2] A claim which is not backed up by the evidence: despite widespread use of cameras, road deaths actually went UP last year
[3] See section 5.2.1 of the report
[4] See section 5.2.2 of the report
[5] Photographs of Electronic Warning Signs can be found in the TRL report

 
Notes for Editors