London, 3 Oct 2003.
For immediate release.

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"Speed Camera Policy Responsible For 5500 Deaths" says the ABD.

A rigorous analysis of Government-published figures undertaken by the Association of British Drivers shows that since 1993, the significant reduction in broad-based road safety education and police road traffic patrols - in favour of revenue-generating speed cameras - has been accompanied by the loss of over 5000 lives to date.
 
The figures show that as the numbers of speed cameras soared from 1993 onwards, the downward trend in road deaths that had existed for decades was almost completely lost. Had the former trend (a year on year 6% decrease in fatalities) continued, about 5500 people that have died on the roads in the last decade would be alive today.
 

Click graph for large image (1200x730 pixels 29k)

This graph shows:
   The actual number of fatal accidents for 1978 to 1993.
   The number of fatal accidents that would have occured between 1994 and 2002 had the 1978–1993 downward trend continued.
   The number of deaths that have occured in excess of this trend.

It is now widely accepted that the switch from traditional traffic patrols to policing by camera has caused problems on the roads. Drivers who would normally be looking for potential hazards now have to split their attention and concentrate on spotting speed cameras and watching their speedometers. At the same time uninsured, drunk and dangerous drivers now enjoy a greatly reduced chance of being apprehended as traffic police are switched to other duties. Further evidence of this is provided by the steady reduction in those apprehended for careless, dangerous and drunken driving from 232,000 in 1990 to 144,000 in 2000, a decrease of 37% in absolute terms, and a decrease of over 45% when increased traffic is allowed for.
 
A spokesman said
"The figures are even worse than we had expected. Regrettably, they are quite clear and undeniable. I wouldn't want to be running one of the so-called Safety Camera Partnerships when this gets out."
The partnerships operate both the familiar roadside cameras and the increasingly unpopular "Talivans". The partnerships, made up of police, magistrates, and local councils, have always sought to justify their actions by claiming to save lives. The usual basis for this claim is that in locations where cameras are installed, the number of accidents reduces in the period immediately following their installation. What the partnerships invariably fail to acknowledge is that they place cameras at locations where there have been unusually high numbers of accidents in the three year period preceding the camera installation, and where accident numbers would probably have reduced by a simple process of chance. This effect is extremely well understood and is known to statisticians as "regression to the mean" - the tendency for unusually high numbers of crashes to occur from time to time but not to be repeated year in and year out.
 
These fatality figures will be a body blow to the statistical chicanery of the camera partnerships, removing the central plank of their justification and exposing its real cost in human lives.
 
ABD Chairman, Brian Gregory commented
"This makes me so sad and angry. We have been warning for years that speed cameras make the roads more dangerous. How many more will have to die before we return to traditional and proven road safety values based on skills, individual responsibility and consideration? This speed camera madness must end right now"

 

 
Notes for Editors