The clip speed camera bosses and the BBC wouldn’t allow us to see

Published: 27 October 2008

Video said to show speed cameras causing crashes has been obtained by MCN after the BBC and camera bosses refused to supply it.

Two clips show cars crashing due to sudden braking as drivers realise they are being targeted by a speed camera. The BBC reporter says of one: “He jams on his brakes when he sees the speed truck, smacks into the barrier and amazingly slides in between those two cars there.” The reporter calls it "a very lucky escape indeed for all the drivers involved". The camera's own speed reading shows the car had been travelling at 83mph.

Commenting on the second clip the reporter says: “The same thing here, the guy jams on his brakes and goes up the embankment.”

The report was originally shown on TV in April. The crash clips appeared later on the BBC News website but vanished after critics said they showed cameras cause accidents.

The corporation and Norfolk speed camera bosses then refused to hand over the footage, rejecting Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for it.

The BBC cited an exemption in the FOI Act for information held for journalistic purposes, while Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership claimed it couldn’t locate the footage. 

A statement from the corporation said the clips had been removed from its site because the report contained a claim that one in three fatal accidents was caused by speeding, which had since been called into question.

In one version of the BBC report to emerge, false claims have been highlighted. At one point the reporter claims an estimated third of road fatalities last year were caused by speeding. The clip pauses and a written message appears stating: “Department for Transport statistics [say] 12% (not 33%) of road fatalities have speeding as a factor. Not the cause – merely a factor.”