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"Safety" camera partnerships LYING about speed camera effectiveness

This is primarily about the Kent & Medway Safety Camera Partnership, but I’ll also mention Humber, Lincs, Wales, Scotland and Dorset, actually the same misinformation can be found to some extent on most scp websites.


“Mobile safety cameras have also played a significant role in saving lives, slashing the number of KSIs at safety camera van sites by 67%, down from 188 prior to the mobile cameras being introduced to 62 between 2009 and 2011”

NO. Mobile “safety” cameras have NOT slashed the number of KSIs by 67%. Look at any chart showing KSIs in the UK and you will see that there have been large reductions following a pretty straight line going back to 1970:




What KMSCP have done is to compare KSI numbers at camera sites in the 3 years before they were installed up to 10 years ago to numbers in the last 3 years and claimed the ENTIRE reduction to be due to their cameras and nothing else, when in fact the reductions have come from at least 10 factors and have occurred to a comparable degree in all areas, with and without cameras. Also consider that as only about 10% of injuries even involve speeding, even as a secondary factor, any claim above this is not really credible anyway EVEN IF SPEEDING WAS ENTIRELY ELIMINATED which it clearly has not been at all.

So why would such road “safety” “professionals” make such a basic “mistake” that even a child might have spotted? Is it because of unimaginable levels of incompetence, or have they intended to deliberately mislead? Having spent about 10 years looking at similar nonsense from the Dorset authorities, I believe it’s about 50/50:

http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog115.aspx Dorset lied to win an award, claiming that entire reductions were an outcome of “no excuse”, and then blamed an increase on the weather!!

In fact, we’ve now had a second year of road death increase in Dorset under “no excuse”, quite a number of absurd speed limit reductions and perhaps 50,000 people paying about £100 to go on a “driver awareness course”, (one of those deaths a direct result of the presence of one of their cameras, at one of their most inappropriate and profitable locations). The results say it all.

While I’m on the subject of Dorset, I see that Poole Council are now in the middle of yet another disaster, I’m starting to wonder if they are running some kind of experiment to see how bad they can get before people simply lose it: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10039644.Report_slams_controversial___1m_Poole_road_scheme/

A good way to solve mysteries is to look for motives. And you don’t have to go far to find a massive one: MONEY. “Safety” partnerships used to be able to take money from speeding fines directly, under a “hypothecation” scheme: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/hypothecation.html

Easy. But even the DfT realised that things were going wrong and ended this scheme in 2007 as it realised that local authorities would be biased towards using highly profitable speed cameras compared to other “perhaps more cost effective methods” http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/how-the-figures-were-skewed/.

It didn’t take long for the “safety” partnerships to figure out a way to keep the £millions rolling in: simply take money off drivers instead of prosecuting them, by offering obscenely profitable “driver awareness courses”, this sadly looking like misusing the law for their own personal benefit (perverting the course of justice) as jobs were lost in some partnerships due to lack of funding.

Now, it doesn’t matter if cameras are effective or not at SAVING LIFE, they are still keeping loads of people in secure employment – and those people include road “safety” policy makers. Even though the people promoting these lies must be either morally bankrupt, or as I mentioned earlier incompetent beyond belief, with a questionable future the pressure put on them to lie must be substantial. But really that’s “no excuse”. Those lies, because they will result in flawed road safety decisions, are costing lives.

But it goes further, this isn’t the only reason they need to lie. Cameras are actually incredibly ineffective at ROAD SAFETY, in fact, the probability is that they cause more accidents than they prevent http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/neg.aspx

and the public suspect that they are in fact about just making money. Yet again, there is an easy solution: Just ignore the public when they complain, if the questions get too tricky just declare them “vexatious” so you don’t have to even answer them, and release massively misleading information about how effective cameras are! Never mind if more people are dying on the roads than there would be if we were doing it properly.

And there’s a bonus: that misinformation will be seen by the public and councillors who are easily lead which will result in them even asking for more! How much better can it get?!

I might appear somewhat cynical but I have been looking at this for a very long time and it genuinely is the only explanation that fits. The DfT, who for a long time were seduced by the speed camera salesmen now have possibly realised the mistakes but don’t want to admit it. So no matter how hard you try, you won’t get any communication or action from them about it. And you only have to look at the Virgin fiasco for example to realise how wrong they can be. And when you tell them the financial motivations around cameras that they tried to stop in 2007 are stronger than ever, they just push their fingers more firmly into their ears. Problem solved.

And it’s not just Kent and Dorset, the lies and misinformation  are coming from other areas too:


“Figures from the report show that, in the eight years since safety camera enforcement began, there has been a 59 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured at the core safety camera sites. In real terms there are 411 people alive and well today that would have been killed or seriously injured if safety cameras had not been introduced.” Sickeningly, it goes on to use wildly incorrect DfT valuations to claim a saving of £73m: http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/humberside-safer-roads-false-claims/


“In North Wales, we have reduced collisions where people were Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) at camera sites by 48% and reduced the KSI collisions by 61% in Mid & South Wales.” (my emphasis of the word “we”)

Those partnerships attempting to avoid a direct lie will normally instead offer misinformation clearly intended to deceive:


“John Siddle of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP), said: “Since the camera was commissioned in 2002 only one serious and one slight injury have occurred, an 89 per cent reduction.”


And in Scotland:


“The debt the public owes to road safety cameras” “Yesterday's figures show that the number killed and seriously injured in the past three years on stretches of Scotland's roads where safety cameras have been installed is less than a third of the total for the three-year period in those areas before the cameras were put in place: 108, compared with 337 casualties in accident black spots.” http://www.scottishsafetycameras.com/Key-Statistics-published.aspx

This whole industry is truly sick and it is time that the government acknowledged it and did something about it rather than giving the impression that it simply has nothing to do with it, sweeping it under the carpet with such statements as (“it’s a matter for local authorities”).

The reason that I am distributing this to an increasing list is that I am a real-world engineer with formal safety responsibilities, and I know that if I see something that is dangerous, I have a duty to try do something about it, not ignore it or exploit it, as these ghastly organisations do. If the management of roads has come to this, how much other appalling waste and incompetence is this country suffering?