London, 30 Nov 2003.
For immediate release.

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ABD calls for an end to Speed Camera Secrecy
There has been much welcome publicity about speed cameras recently, mostly highlighting the points that the Association of British Drivers has been making for years. Clearly the public are rightly adamant that cameras not positioned at accident blackspots must go. The transport secretary Alastair Darling has asked the public to inform him of any cameras which are failing to reduce accidents. This is not enough, given the veil of secrecy around statistics concerning cameras it is not easy for the public to find out this information.
 
The ABD calls on Mr Darling to act urgently to restore public confidence in the system. To establish which cameras should stay, the ABD calls upon the Transport Secretary to compel camera partnerships and local authorities outside of partnerships to reveal the following statistics within three months:
  1. Accident statistics for three years prior to and following installation for each and every camera.
  2. Statistics must separate fatalities from injuries — currently the term KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) is popularly used. This can for example allow a camera to be installed following some half-dozen injuries such as minor whiplash injuries, or a broken toe, which are classed as 'Serious Injuries'. If two or three fatal accidents occur after installation it can nevertheless be claimed that 'KSI' accidents have been reduced.
  3. To show clearly all causation factors involved in every accident. Obviously the speed and whether it was excessive, but also whether the driver was drunk, drugged, on the telephone, in a stolen car etc. Only in places where excessive speed above the speed limit was the prime cause of accidents should cameras be deployed.
  4. To show clearly what other changes were made in the area during the measured period. Many 'successful' cameras were installed together with road engineering measures, this is not evidence that a camera has reduced accidents.
When the truth has been established, Mr Darling should act immediately to compel partnerships and authorities to immediately remove any cameras that have failed to reduce accidents or are positioned where no accidents primarily caused by excess speed have occurred.
 
A full survey should then be made of all accident blackspots in the UK. The removed cameras should be redeployed temporarily at any sites where excessive speed above the limit has been a primary cause of more than four fatal accidents but more importantly, a longer term plan of road engineering and education measures must be put in place to iron out the problems.
 
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said:
"If Alastair Darling wants the public to inform him about speed cameras, he needs to ensure that the public are informed of the truth with no masking of the facts. The ABD trusts that he will seize upon this opportunity to ensure the truth is revealed so that the UK speed camera policy can be turned into a genuine 'safety camera' policy' where cameras are used to save lives."
ABD Road Safety Spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie said:
"A huge industry has built up around speed cameras. When so may jobs depend upon a revenue stream coming in it can understandably be tempting to mask the truth about a poorly performing camera which is nonetheless bring in finances. The government needs to look long term at whether it is advisable to continue with such financial incentive. In the short term it must ensure total transparency where accident statistics are concerned."

 

 
Notes for Editors