How can we make speed cameras a worthwhile investment?

July 12, 2013

There are two sides to every argument. The value and effectiveness of speed cameras along the UK’s busiest roads and accident hotspots is one such hot potato that’s encouraged passionate views from both the for and against brigade.

A recent study, undertaken on around 10% of the UK’s speed cameras, stokes the fire by providing evidence that, despite the coalition stating they were seekng to retire them as traffic measures once it took power, speed cameras are still in place.

Furthermore, the study showed that they have a marked impact on the reduction of personal injury claims through RTAs in the vast majority of places they’re installed.

Of the 551 sites where static speed cameras have been placed and subsequently formed part of the survey, there is more than a quarter, 27%, less chance of accidents occurring.

Conversely, and this is where perhaps the coalition and its supporters were hoping to rebuff the claims that speed cameras are still an effective means of curbing accidents, 21 individual sites were shown to be more prone to accidents and have led to more personal injury cases being submitted since speed cameras have been fitted.

Other than speed cameras, how else perturb speed freaks?

The local authorities are somewhat caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. There’s little evidence to support claims that speed cameras are self-sufficient. Although, one does question what costs are incurred directly from local authority coffers after they’re installed.

Manning hotspots with police cars, hence deploying two members of HM Constabulary, is a direct cost and, where known road safety is dubious at best, there are few other methods at authorities’ disposal to protect against personal injury or worse.

With so many authorities ripping up sleeping policemen due to the damage attributed by road users and insurers to vehicles, there genuinely are few other cost-efficient options.

Claims that local authorities are over reliant on speed cameras by the coalition look solid enough given that so few authorities have actually taken any down.

Conversely, their number has increased as anyone who possesses an up-to-date satellite navigation system in their car programmed to update speed camera information will attest.

Is the government reading other personal injury stats?

From an insurance perspective, there’s no doubt that the single largest cause of personal injury claims is road traffic accidents.

Surprisingly, speed isn’t as high a contributory factor as one may initially assume. Despite the continuing spiral of claims rising from auto accidents, speed accounts for only around 6% of those cases.

It’s common knowledge that the Government is trying to crack down on spurious personal injury claims arising from RTAs.

With the latest evidence largely suggesting that speed cameras do more good than harm, only in isolated instances do cameras seem to increase the likelihood of accidents, surely seeking to cut back on them as a juggling exercise to make local authority budgets work is a bit like robbing Nick to pay David?

No doubt if someone could prove to the government that speed cameras actually return a profit, or even privatise the operation of them to the makers of products like Hawkeye, now in nationwide practise following road traffic accidents, we would not only see all speed cameras in working order, but one on every corner.