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Camera claims cut

Published: 09 December 2005

The Government’s claims for the effectiveness of speed cameras at reducing deaths on our roads have been widely exaggerated according to an official report.

The report looks at the fourth year of safety camera partnerships, and supports there use in general. However, it does admit that only one fifth of the stated reduction in casualties can be directly attributed to speed cameras.

A further fifth comes from the continuation of the previous downward trend, while the remaining three fifths of the reductions are down to a statistical anomaly called regression to the mean.

In basic terms RTM means that after any spike in the number of accidents – after which a camera is likely to be placed – there is almost certainly going to be a reduction back to the average number, or regression back to the mean. (Click here for the reports own definition of RTM)

Essentially this means that the claimed figure of a 40 percent reduction of casualties for last year equates to a more realistic 8 percent reduction.

The report concludes that the use of speed cameras has been positive and should continue arguing that even the smaller saving is worth their use.

Separately, in an article for a police magazine Alan Gordon, vice chairman of the Police Federation has strongly spoken out against the widespread use of speed cameras and reduction of specialist traffic police units.

"The irresponsible siting of speed cameras for income generation has been a highly effective means of eroding public support for the police. Their benefits are strictly limited to speeding offences and do nothing to tackle the array of other dangerous driving offences."

Click the related link on the right to read how the Government is changing the way speed camera fines are used, which could lead to a massive reduction in the number of new cameras.

You can view the full 164-page camera report here (external site).

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