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The BBC's Simon Montague
"The police now want self-funding cameras nationwide"
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Head of Road Safety at the AA Andrew Howard
"80% of motorists support speed cameras"
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Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom
"The results have been very dramatic"
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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 17:51 GMT
Speed camera scheme 'saves lives'
Speed camera warning sign
Speed cameras have become a common sight
A pilot scheme which uses money from speeding fines to buy more speed cameras has dramatically cut road deaths, it has been revealed.

In some areas, the reduction in the number of traffic accidents has been as high as 50%, police said.

Eight police forces have been taking part in the trial, which allows the fines to be spent on maintaining and buying new cameras instead of the revenue being passed to the Treasury.

We want to make speeding socially unacceptable

Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom

In one of the areas, Northamptonshire, road deaths have fallen by 28% since the cameras were introduced.

The chief constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom, who is overseeing the pilot scheme, says the results have been "staggering" and public support has been "overwhelming".

'Novel approach'

"Everybody is realising that speed is killing.

"It's killing 3,500 people a year on our roads, and speed cameras can help reduce the appalling toll," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said the novel approach of the scheme, which makes offenders pay for better enforcement, is likely to spread nationwide later this year once a bill has passed through Parliament.

Mr Brunstrom added that the long-term goal of the scheme, which is a partnership between the police and the government, was to bring about a change in public attitude.

We do not believe there should be a blanket bombing of our roads with speed cameras

Roger Vincent, RoSPA

He said: "We want to make speeding socially unacceptable in the way we more or less have successfully done with drink-driving over the last two decades."

The pressure group Brake, which on Wednesday is organising a conference on the scheme in the House of Commons with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Road Safety, is also calling for the introduction of self-funding speed cameras nationwide.

Ticket increase

Other forces in the project have reported similar successes to Northamptonshire.

South Wales police said the number of speeding tickets it issued doubled in three months when the scheme began last year.

Digital speed camera
A digital speed camera in Nottingham
Cleveland and Thames Valley police also reported increases and Strathclyde has hailed it as a useful weapon in cutting accidents.

Nationally, half a million tickets are issued each year to drivers who have been caught on film.

In the trial areas, some of the money raised in fines is spent on increasing the number of static and mobile cameras and also on providing the staff to process them.

Police acknowledge that speed cameras are often unpopular with drivers but say the idea is to encourage motorists to change their perceptions of the appropriate speed for roads.

Gaining motorists' support

Roger Vincent, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), welcomed the initiative but added: "We do not believe there should be a blanket bombing of our roads with speed cameras.

"We need to make sure that cameras are in places where there is a proven speed accident problem, in that way motorists will support the scheme and not feel they are not being persecuted by the authorities."

Peter Brill, of RAC Motoring Services, also believed the scheme should be introduced with caution.

He said: "Speed cameras have to be used appropriately and not just as a way of generating revenue."

Statistics from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions show that a total of 3,423 people were killed on British roads last year.

Analysts estimate that in approximately one third of those fatalities, inappropriate or excessive speed was a contributory factor.

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