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Appalling misuse of Speed Camera Statistics – now Scotland



The capacity of the speed camera industry to mislead and endanger is astonishing even me. The further I look, the worse it seems to get.

There seems to have been a disease recently of these ghastly organisations feeling that they need to show that they are contributing to safety. The DfT is just as bad, recently indicating that (despite having been informed better many times over many years), it still believes or pretends to believe that speed cameras “slash fatalities and seriously injuries on the road by more than two thirds” and is quite happy to proliferate this dangerous misinformation and even issue “guidance” to local authorities based on it. If any organisations operating in the real world behaved like this and got found out there would be large number of people facing disciplinary procedures, fired, or even locked up.

Very briefly, accidents have fallen steeply everywhere in recent decades – due to a multitude of factors, such as safer cars. Reductions at cameras are further exaggerated by regression to mean. The standard practice now with the DfT and most camera partnerships is to link entire reductions to just the camera ignoring all the other factors – and you only have to consider that only 7.6% of ksis even have speeding as a factor and claimed reductions are typically 60% up to a ridiculous 90% to realise how deluded / incompetent / dishonest these people are.

And the fact that this is the only good thing that anyone can find to say about speed cameras shows just how desperate the industry is. Of course, the distraction all this has caused from honest competent progress with road safety is what is costing the most lives.

Anyone who is stupid enough to be taken in by this nonsense or dishonest enough to propagate it in deliberate ignorance clearly shouldn’t be let loose with a pair of plastic scissors in a padded cell, let alone allowed anywhere near decision making, policy, guidance or delivery of road safety. Unfortunately, it is the DfT and of course, our wonderful “safety” partnerships totally addicted to the £millions they are making from courses, that are the worst in this respect.

Having forced the Kent and Medway “Safety” Camera Partnership, with the help of the Advertising Standards Agency, to remove a lie from the top of its home page about camera benefit, I have found that similar lies and misinformation are widespread.

Just recently, I have realised that Scotland is one of the worst. I have seen probably the worst possible misuse of statistics ever produced by the Chief Statistician of Scotland, Roger Halliday. Worse still, having brought this to his attention, he is showing no interest in either standing up for the statistics or correcting them, adopting the standard practice of most officials in this industry of just ignoring it and hoping it will go away.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00398164.pdf
“The number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites is 68 per cent lower after camera enforcement.” As I’ve already explained above, with only 7.6% available even if cameras did completely eliminate speeding which as we know from the profits alone is far from the case, any camera effect will be completely in the noise compared to the other more significant factors. Even though these statements often don’t indicate that the reduction was due just to the camera, this is clearly how many will read it, and here is some proof:

“Road accident figures in Scotland slashed by speed cameras”
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/road-accident-figures-in-scotland-slashed-by-speed-cameras.1343734596

“The debt the public owes to road safety cameras …. SPEED kills and speed cameras save lives. Those are the inescapable conclusions to be drawn from the latest figures released by Scotland's Chief Statistician yesterday”
http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-view/the-debt-the-public-owes-to-road-safety-cameras.18309225

Of course, the Scottish Camera partnerships love it, you can find it all over their websites. Shame that they can’t come up with any honest and credible evidence of benefit – but not surprising though because there is none. How could there be? Does anyone really, seriously, believe that a yellow box on a pole or a jobsworth sitting in a stripy van can deal with the tremendously complex issue of road safety?

Something has occasionally puzzled me – that any public support for speed cameras could be found. As always an answer turns up eventually – the public are being tricked into thinking that speed camera save lives by misleading nonsense exactly like that published by the Chief Statistician of Scotland.