London, 15 July 2005.
For immediate release.

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Road Safety Group Welcomes Block on New Speed Cameras
The Association of British Drivers today welcomed the Government's block on the installation of 500 more speed cameras.

Since the inception of cameras in 1992, the ABD has argued that their effectiveness at reducing crashes has been greatly exaggerated, even for the few cameras sited at genuine speed related accident blackspots. The trends in overall numbers of road deaths strongly back this view.
 
It is now being admitted that, during the 1990s, cameras were sited indiscriminately without any regard to accident locations. Even the supposedly tighter rules applying to the camera partnerships take no account of the causes of the accidents — whatever the cause, the camera is the solution!
 
This means that most speed cameras are useless for road safety. In fact they make things worse because they focus the minds of drivers and council safety officers on the wrong things.
 
Road Safety Spokesman, Mark McArthur-Christie said:
"Some drivers drive way too fast, and often in completely the wrong places, but there's a huge difference between driving too fast for the conditions and exceeding the speed limit. There are times in many urban areas where 25mph will be criminally fast, others when 35mph is perfectly safe. All a camera can do is punish the latter whilst ignoring the former. They don't detect and prevent the real causes of crashes — in fact they mask them, leading directly to the wrong road safety strategies."
Using the fear of prosecution to force compliance with limits diverts drivers' attention from the road ahead and its hazards. More seriously, cameras send the message that all a driver has to do to be safe is stick to a limit. McArthur-Christie commented:
"Drivers, like anyone else performing a complex task, have only a certain amount of attention they can invest. To force them to invest that attention on limit compliance has led to a profoundly dangerous 'driving by numbers' mentality where the limit has become the master, not the servant of road safety."
Brian Gregory, the ABD's chairman concluded:
"The American journalist H L Mencken said 'There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.' He could have been talking about speed cameras. We need to draw a clear distinction in road safety between that which is illegal and that which is dangerous. Cameras have completely failed to do this, and their numbers need to be reduced, not increased."

 

 
Notes for Editors