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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Speed cameras 'not on worst roads'
Yellow speed camera on a busy road
Some think the cameras are aimed at raising money
More speed cameras are being sited on low-risk roads than on the worst accident blackspots, according to research which has been disputed by the Department of Transport.

There are 24 cameras on the 50 safest roads and just 18 on the 49 most dangerous, according to Autocar magazine.

Most dangerous roads
1. A989 near Dalwhinnie in Perth and Kinross
2. A537 between Macclesfield, Cheshire and Buxton, Derbyshire
3. The A12 near Romford, Essex
4. A4137 near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire
Source: Autocar

When the 40 overhead camera sites on the low-risk M25 were added, it said, the total number of cameras on the safest roads rose to 73 - four times as many as on the most dangerous roads.

The Department of Transport said it had "some serious reservations" about the validity of Autocar's figures, adding the statistics could be read in a completely different way.

Even using Autocar's own figures the total length of the safest roads listed is 1,340 km, while the length of the dangerous roads is 828 km.

Using the Autocar figures, there is a speed camera on average every 58km on the safest roads, and more frequently - every 46km - on the dangerous roads.

'Revenue raisers'

The magazine blamed police forces for failing to follow government requests to put speed cameras on dangerous roads with a high accident rate.


Cameras are there to save lives, not to be revenue raisers

Transport department

Autocar editor Steve Fowler said the government had claimed cameras should be sited where there was a history of speed-related accidents "and that they are not there as a means of raising money".

"This research does not support that statement," he said.

But Department of Transport research showed a reduction of 47% in the number of people killed and seriously injured at camera sites, compared to the previous years without the cameras.

A spokeswoman said: "The government would be delighted if no-one incurred a speeding fine. Cameras are there to save lives, not to be revenue raisers."

Dangerous roads

The magazine based its research on the danger of roads on an AA study into more than 830 roads nationwide.

The most dangerous road was reckoned to be the A889 near Dalwhinnie in Perth and Kinross.

This 8.4 mile stretch of road had an accident rate of 875 fatal and serious accidents per 1bn vehicle kilometres between 1997 and 1999 - but has no speed cameras.

There were also no cameras on the second most hazardous road - an eight-mile section of the A537 between Macclesfield in Cheshire and Buxton in Derbyshire, which had an accident rate of 496.

The third most-dangerous roads - a 2.5 mile stretch of the A12 near Romford in Essex - does have five cameras. But there are none on the fourth most-hazardous road - the A4137 near Ross-on-Wye in Hereford and Worcester.

See also:

14 Aug 02 | Politics
27 May 02 | Wales
21 Apr 02 | England
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