Graham Hurdle's blog: 3 September 2010 - Do speed cameras save lives?
03 September 2010
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
There were 2222 people killed on the roads in Britain in 2009, the lowest since records began in 1926. But this figure could easily be reduced. All you have to do is implement every idea published by experts. For example, one road safety body says introducing Double British Summertime would save 80 lives, another claims reducing the Drink Drive limit would save 168 lives and the list goes on. If we simply combine these two ideas are we now at a guaranteed 10% reduction?
We also have nine road safety organisations signing a Speed Cameras Communiqué stating that "speed cameras help to save lives - an estimated 100 lives a year in the UK". Where has that figure come from and why is it that these road safety organisations can publish figures without evidence?
If we are going to have a road safety strategy in the UK, let's at least base it on facts, not on what will get the best publicity.
I am not saying I am against speed cameras, but I do think now would be a good time to have an intelligent debate about speed limits and their enforcement. I don't subscribe to the statement 'Speed Kills'. If it did, I and the rest of the passengers on the plane I boarded the other day would be meeting our maker by now! I believe it is "inappropriate" speed that kills, often combined with another dangerous driving manoeuvre such as following too closely.
If we just rely on technology to detect speed, we are only tackling half the problem. Speed cameras cannot detect a lack of separation distance, a driver impaired through drink or drugs etc.
Before road safety organisations start saying it will be a free for all on our roads by opening up this debate, let's just stop and think for a moment. It might just be that drivers go back to looking for hazards not cameras like they did prior to the 1990s. I can hear them now shouting that the number of road deaths before the 1990s was much higher than it is now, but don't forget how much vehicles, road design and even driver training has changed; not forgetting medical advances since the early 1990s, which all have gone a long way in reducing road deaths.
So, have speed cameras reduced road deaths? The jury is still out, until we have a proper debate.
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