Friday, August 20, 2010

Sorry, but you're wrong

Speed cameras, two words that polarise opinions to a certain extent from those that see them simply as revenue raisers to those who think they reduce speed and save lives.

A bereaved mother will lead a protest against a county council's decision to axe speed cameras.
Claire Brixey's son Ashley, 20, was killed in a crash in Limpley Stoke, Wiltshire, in 2004 when the car in which he was a passenger landed upside down in a swimming pool after the driver lost control.

Ms Brixey, who lives in Standerwick on the Wiltshire/Somerset border, has been a road safety campaigner since the crash.

In the protest on Friday in Trowbridge, she will urge Wiltshire County Council to reverse a decision to end its road safety partnership scheme.
Yet government statistics reveal that speed cameras are totally ineffective at preventing the vast majority of accidents. Exceeding the speed limit was attributed to only 3% of cars involved in accidents. 97% of car crashes have nothing to do with breaking the speed limit.

Ms Brixey said: "I cannot just stand by while the council puts an axe to vital road safety services that save so many young lives here each year. They need to know how appalled local communities are about this. Most people fully support cameras and feel safer with them turned on.

"When I heard in the news the Government saying they were ending a 'war on motorists', I thought that all they were doing was enabling people to break the law and endanger lives by speeding.
You would think that Ms Brixey, as the loss of your son is colouring you view, however as for public support for speed cameras, well, there are two parts to this lie (and yes it is a lie, though Ms Brixey clearly believes it)...
In the first place the government and various supporters and vested interests have put huge resources into trying to convince the public that speed cameras are a good idea. It's not at all surprising that the non-driving population accepts the claims at face value - why would a non driver question the claims at all? Obviously they have convinced some drivers as well. What a shame they didn't put those resources into a real method for improving road safety. It is highly illogical to suggest that road safety can be improved by lying to the public about specific road dangers.
Part two of the lie involves the survey methods (and particularly the survey questions) which have been designated by the Department for Transport. The questions are quite obviously loaded to elicit the desired response.
With loaded questions and a misled public it should come as no surprise that they are able to claim that public opinion supports speed cameras.
SafeSpeed: analysis of official surveys of speed camera approval (click here)
Admiral Insurance: (independent survey)

Ellen Booth, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: "Increasingly, decisions being made on speed cameras are more about politics and less about facts.

"The fact is that speed cameras reduce speeding and save lives."
BRAKE is a fake charity with its own entry at ... unfortunately, the fake charity site is down at the moment, however it is known BRAKE spend 50% of its income on salaries and the majority of its money comes from public funding, to no doubt tell the government what it wants to hear. However speed cameras actually appear to cause more accidents than they prevent, as speed cameras have triggered at least 28,000 crashes since 2001, according to new research.Anyone who drives will have noticed that people on seeing a speed camera will automatically brake, even if they are going below the speed limit, putting the vehicle behind in occasional danger. Accidents were reducing before speed cameras came along, cars were being made safer for drivers and pedestrians if hit, so speed cameras were not really a major cause in road safety, though most drivers had them twigged as revenue raisers early on in their lifespan.
So, sorry for your loss Ms Brixey, but you're wrong, speed cameras may save some lives, however as a cost effective solution to road safety, they make no sense at all, they don't reduce speed save in the narrow area they cover, they don't reduce accidents (and seem to cause a good few) and now that government funding is being removed from them, it seems councils don't think they are that effective either. Speed is not the problem, unsafe driving is and always will be the problem and artificial limits on speed are not the solution, some drivers can be perfectly safe driving at 100 mph on a motorway, yet others can frighten the life out of you at 30 mph on a built up area, it's down to ability and concentration, usually not speed.

2 annotations:

JuliaM said...

It's hard not to feel sorry for her, but wouldn't she be better off assisting with yesterday's campaign instead, the one attempting to tell young people to be careful whose car they get in?

Peterloo said...

Most accidents are caused by bad driving, stupidity or plain bad luck.

I will not enter a 90 degree bend at 70mph because I know that I will end up in a field/house/wall.

I will not step out into the road in the path of on-coming traffic because I know I will end up in hospital.

It is a natural human response to do exactly what you are told NOT to do. So do not drive above this speed, will result in people driving faster.

Educating people to realise that driving in the real world is not the same as it is in the likes of The Fast and The Furious will save a lot more lives.