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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
UK drivers face more speed cameras
Speed camera
Speed cameras have been criticised by motoring groups
Motorists are to be confronted by more speed cameras on UK roads after it was announced that the government intends to expand a controversial pilot scheme across the rest of the country.

Initially another four police forces will join the scheme, which will allow police to use speed camera fine revenue to buy more cameras.

We are committed to reducing death and injury on the roads

John Spellar
The four forces pressing ahead with the initiative are Derbyshire, Lancashire, North Wales and Staffordshire.

A report on the pilot scheme, announced on Monday by Transport Minister John Spellar, hailed the use of speed cameras a resounding success with the number of people seriously killed or injured in the pilot areas falling by 47% around the camera sites.

However, Mr Spellar told the BBC the government was not trying to catch motorists out, but was merely trying to reduce the number of road accidents.

Impact of speed cameras
Deaths and serious injuries slashed by 47% at camera sites
Eight pilot areas saw serious injuries and deaths fall by 18% in total
Drivers speeding at camera sites fell from 55% to 16%
Mr Spellar revealed details of the number of accidents and road casualties in the eight trial areas, compared with figures compiled prior to the trial.

Announcing the extension of the scheme he said: "Too many people die each year on our roads and I am glad that the pilots have been so successful in reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries."

Earlier Mr Spellar made it clear that the new paperwork created by cameras catching speeding motorists would be handled by support staff and not police officers.

He said: "It frees up policemen for the all-important job of fighting crime. I believe that this scheme cuts accidents but also helps the police as well."

'Saving lives'

The police forces involved in the pilot scheme are Thames Valley, Essex, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Cleveland, Glasgow, South Wales and Nottinghamshire.

Car crash
Cameras are believed to reduce road crashes
The Association of Chief Police Officers is said to be keen on more cameras, but the Metropolitan Police is thought to oppose the plan because it would turn motorists against the police.

But pressure group Transport 2000 says that in recent opinion polls, seven out of 10 motorists believed speed cameras saved lives.

Its assistant director, Lynn Sloman, said: "The speed camera trials have saved lives - we know that 109 people have escaped death or serious injury in the eight police trial areas as a result of cameras.

"Deaths and serious injuries at some camera sites have fallen by as much as 60%."

The eight areas are more than halfway through the two-year trial that will end in April next year.

'Running scared'

But Ms Sloman stressed that "such a successful scheme should be ready to go nationwide.

"We can only conclude that some ministers, and some local authorities and police forces, are running scared of the motoring lobby."

New legislation allows the police to keep money raised from speed camera fines as long as it goes into buying more cameras or running existing ones.

While recognising the desire to cut down on speeding drivers, motoring groups are concerned that cameras are merely becoming revenue-boosting devices.

The BBC's Simon Montague
"In future, police will have to make cameras more visible"
Transport minister John Spellar
announces the extension of the scheme
Rebecca Rees of the AA
"We do welcome these proposals"
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