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PR233: Hidden report reveals serious speed camera dangers

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  • Paul Smith
    PR233: Hidden report reveals serious speed camera dangers News: for immediate release TRL report number 595, commissioned by the Highways Agency and delivered
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 16, 2005
      PR233: Hidden report reveals serious speed camera dangers

      News: for immediate release

      TRL report number 595, commissioned by the Highways Agency and delivered in
      early 2004, looked at motorway road works crashes and evaluated the effects of
      various safety treatments. Safe Speed obtained a full copy and found the
      following information:

      * Where fixed speed cameras were installed at road works the risk of personal
      injury crashes was increased by 55%.

      * Where fixed speed cameras were installed on open motorways the risk of
      injury crashes was increased by 31%.

      * Average speed cameras also increased the risk of crashes by 4.5% at
      roadworks and 6.7% elsewhere.

      * Conventional Police patrols reduced the risk of crashes by 27% at road works
      and 10% elsewhere.

      * Speed cameras were associated with an increase in crash severity with fatal
      and serious crashes being 32% more likely where speed cameras were operated.

      * Motorway road works are no more dangerous than open motorways.

      In the executive summary, the seriously damaging information presented in the
      report isn't calculated out - except as an aggregate with Police patrols
      included. The police patrols showed a positive benefit while the speed cameras
      showed a negative effect. These two were allowed to cancel out to show zero as
      a net benefit.

      Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign
      (www.safespeed.org.uk) said:

      "It is outrageous that this sort of information has been hidden from the
      public. We all need the best information to help us to drive as safely as
      possible. Whenever we are driving we have to manage risk - and the more we
      understand the real risks the better we manage them."

      "We have all seen strange driver behaviour where fixed speed cameras operate.
      This report highlights the dangers. We're not surprised to see this
      information - we have know for years that speed cameras were the wrong road
      safety strategy, and it's a huge relief to see the truth coming out so

      "It has often been argued that digital speed cameras (which measure average
      speed between two points) lack the 'obvious' problems of single location speed
      cameras - for example you cannot defeat the camera by slowing briefly - but
      this information shows that digital speed cameras also make the roads
      more dangerous."

      "After thousands of hours of research it became obvious to me that speed
      cameras were having a negative effect on road safety. The evidence used to
      support the speed camera programme has been weak and inadequate - often based
      on nothing more than false assumptions. Now the truth is emerging, I'm
      hoping for an immediate return to former road safety policies - policies that
      delivered the safest roads in the world. Road safety isn't founded in 'simple'
      things like vehicle speeds - instead it is founded in complex and subtle human
      behaviours - we have to help drivers to make fewer mistakes, not force them to
      pay too much attention to one minor safety factor."

      "Many motorists won't be surprised by the news - they have always harboured
      deep suspicions about the speed camera programme - and will be relieved to
      learn that they were right all along."

      "We must get these dangerous cameras off our motorways RIGHT NOW!"

      "The Highways Agency have reported an increase in road worker deaths in the
      first half of 2005. They should read their own research and get rid of the
      dangerous distracting speed cameras."


      Notes for editors:

      Previous Safe Speed PRs, issued before the full report was obtained:


      Safe Speed web page with copy of table 3.18 and calculations shown:
      Editors and journalists may also quote freely from that page until 30th
      September 2005 - after that date contact the office for permission.

      We would love to offer a link to the full report, but we're not allowed to.

      About Safe Speed

      The Safe Speed road safety campaign is primarily the work of engineer-turned
      road safety analyst Paul Smith.

      Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul Smith, 50, an advanced motorist and
      road safety enthusiast, and a professional engineer of 25 years UK experience,
      has carried out over 10,000 hours working on the campaign with well over 5,000
      of those hours researching the overall effects of speed camera policy on UK
      road safety. In addition to those 10,000 hours, Paul has funded to campaign to
      the tune of £10,000.

      We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried out by
      any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall speed
      cameras make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported a
      number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed
      cameras, and the whole "speed kills" system of road safety.

      The inescapable conclusion is that we should urgently return to the excellent
      road safety policies that gave us in the UK the safest roads in the World in
      the first place. Far from saving lives, speed cameras are a dangerous

      Safe Speed does not campaign against speed limits or appropriate enforcement
      of motoring laws, but argues vigorously that automated speed enforcement is
      neither safe nor appropriate.

      Safe Speed is very slimly funded by voluntary contributions to the web site. We
      are urgently seeking improved funding.

      The Safe Speed web site contains more than 350,000 words of road safety
      analysis and information. We are seeking publishers for 'the book of the web

      It has turned out to be quite an amazing story and there are opportunities for
      journalists and broadcasters to explore how all this came about, what it
      means, and where road safety has gone so badly wrong.

      Contact Safe Speed:

      description: Safe Speed road safety campaign
      web: http://www.safespeed.org.uk
      email: psmith@...
      telephone: 01862 832000 24 hours.
      ISDN Audio: 01862 832674 (apt-x100 only)
      mobile: 07799 045553
      note: the mobile does not work well at our office. Always try land line first.

      Location: North Scotland

      We are always available for further comment on your road safety story.

      To be added to our PR distribution list send an email to
      psmith@... or visit our press pages at:

      Recent press releases (since November 2004) are automatically and immediately
      uploaded to:

      NEW! ISDN Audio: 01862 832674
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