N.B. The figures on this page come from the Home Office, so cover England & Wales only.
Speed cameras have been the source of a great deal of argument about whether their true role is to generate revenue or save lives. On this page, we examine the actual data.
Data for Scotland is recorded slightly differently, and can be found under "Criminal proceedings in Scottish Courts" within Scottish Executive Publications.
Northern Ireland only adopted speed cameras in 2002.
The government tell us that "speed kills". They use this claim to justify more speed cameras. In recent years, the number of speed cameras in England & Wales has increased massively, to at least 5,500 in 2006.
As a result, the number of fixed penalty notices issued, and prosecutions carried out, has increased dramatically and is now approaching two million per year.
'Safety' Camera Partnerships repeatedly claim that their speed cameras are successful in slowing vehicles down.
If speed cameras are genuinely effective in saving lives, if speed is genuinely responsible for a third of accidents as the government claims, we would expect to see a strong correlation between speeding convictions and deaths.
The following chart shows the actual correlation, from the Government's own statistics:
England & Wales
N.B. The Fatalities graph is magnified by 100 compared to the Prosecutions graph — at the same scale as the Prosecutions, the Fatalities would be less than a third of a pixel in height.
Source: Home Office (Up to 2005) / Ministry of Justice (From 2006)
(e.g. Motoring Offences and Breath Test Statistics England and Wales 2003 — Page 15 [pdf 600k]);
and Road Accidents Great Britain / Road Casualties Great Britain (DfT)
Data is typically not published until one or two years after the end of the year.
The massive increase in speeding prosecutions has not led to a massive reduction in fatalities. It hasn't even led to a significant reduction in fatalities. In several years where the number of prosecutions has gone up, the number of fatalities has also gone up (1999, 2002, 2003).
When you take into account that over this period vehicle safety has increased significantly due to increased adoption of safety features such as airbags and ABS, speed cameras cannot even be said to account for a tiny reduction in fatalities.
The figures prove beyond doubt that speed cameras do not save lives.
Speed cameras merely generate a huge number of fixed penalty notices and prosections that produced an income for the government of over £114,000,000 in 2004.
Speed cameras are nothing but
Click for larger version that you can use as wallpaper.
The ABD calls on the Government to abandon a policy which is nothing more than a stealth tax, and to replace speed cameras with genuine road safety initiatives:
In other words, a return to the 'Three Es' of Engineering, Education and Enforcement that were responsible for making our roads the safest in the world.
- Spend money on roads to engineer-out accident blackspots
- Invest in driver training & education
- Restore traffic police to their pre-camera levels