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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 10:54 GMT
Speed cameras 'cause road deaths'
Speed camera in London
Drivers caught speeding on camera are liable for hefty fines
A government policy to cut speed on Britain's roads is making traffic safety worse, claims a motoring group.

The Association of British Drivers said the continuing year-on-year fall in deaths had slowed since the Speed Kills campaign was launched in 1993.

The pressure group argues speed cameras have made road safety worse and punish drivers who stray above the limit.

However, road safety campaigners Brake told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the claims were "selfish claptrap".

BBC News Online sets out the two opposing views on the speed camera debate.

Mark McArthur-Christie, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers (ABD)

I think what's happening here is that Brake and the ABD are coming at the same problem but from different angles.

What we're suggesting is that there is a lot more to safe driving than sticking to a posted speed limit.

We used to talk about the three E's of road safety - education, engineering and enforcement.

Now what we have is one E, which is enforcement and it's just enforcing speed and a lot of other offences are passing by the board.

What seems to be happening is that road safety, rather than getting better, is actually getting worse.

And at the same time there are fewer dangerous drivers being stopped and prosecuted.

Speed cameras address one issue and one issue only.

If speed cameras were the answer we should be seeing huge falls in national fatalities - we're not

Speed cameras aren't getting people who are driving too fast for the conditions.

What they're getting is people who just for a couple of seconds maybe are creeping a few miles over a limit.

If you look at the statistics, the trend up until 1993 was a 7% fall in fatalities.

Since 1993, when speed cameras and specifically the Speed Kills policy came in, it is down to 2.9%. That's an incredible increase the number of fatalities.

If that trend (pre-1993) had continued from 1993 to date there would be 5,000 fewer deaths.

The Speed Kills policy has made road safety worse.

What we're suggesting is that driving slower in the right place is crucial to road safety.

It's idiotic for drivers to go haring through villages, haring past schools where very few of the cameras are. They're on straight A roads.

If speed cameras were the answer we should be seeing huge falls in national fatalities. We're not.

If they're going to be placed anywhere it needs to be where they can do the most good.

Mary Williams, chief executive of road safety charity Brake

The whole road safety community is extremely alarmed by the self-serving, selfish claptrap that comes out of these fringe individuals' mouths when they're talking about speed cameras.

Although it is true that crashes are caused by bad driving and we do need driver education, the bottom line is that cameras are there to reduce speed.

If you're driving badly but you're going at a slower speed the chance of a crash resulting in a fatality is far less.

If you drive at 30mph and you hit a child - and children will run into the road chasing a ball - there is a 50% chance that that child will die.

If you look at the speed camera sites where the casualties have been analysed there is a 36% reduction in casualties at those sites.

It's ridiculous to look at the overall figure of road casualties because you've got all sorts of things such as drink-driving which affect casualty rates.

Mark McArthur-Christie is talking absolute nonsense and I would challenge him to say these words to Sarah Turner whose 12-year-old son was killed crossing the road outside his school.

There is no doubt that at the casualty sites where these cameras are placed casualties are coming down.

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20 Oct 03  |  UK
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29 Oct 03  |  Bristol/Somerset
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24 Sep 03  |  North East Wales
Cardboard camera tricks drivers
02 Sep 03  |  West Yorkshire


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