|London, 7 Feb 2001.
For immediate release.
In Northamptonshire, the "Marketing Team" for the speed camera project are trumpeting a 28% reduction in fatalities between 1999 and 2000. In reality, it was the 76 fatalities in 1999 that was the unusual figure. The "result" in 2000, 55 fatalities, simply reflects the average annual fatality rate in Northamptonshire over the last five years - 56 fatalities.
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries says:
"This is typical statistical chicanery by the authorities, who are desparate to justify a hugely unpopular scheme by claiming they have saved lives. This scheme is so unpopular in Northants, where the number of speeding tickets has risen from 4000 to 100000, that they are now deliberately targeting through traffic on the M1 and A14 in order to raise their revenue from people who don't live locally and therefore cannot make trouble for the scheme."The whole idea of blanket mass speed enforcement as a means of improving road safety is flawed.
Claims that 1200 people are killed annually by speeding are nothing more than a figment of the imagination of somebody in the DETR, obtained by including things like tailgating, overtaking on blind bends and even misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic when pulling out of junctions.
Research into accident causation invariably shows that less than 10% of fatalities are caused primarily by excessive speed. Than means a maximum of 340 fatalities rather the 1200 suggested by the DETR.
Most of these happen in urban areas due to extreme speeding by a minority of reckless drivers who lose control and mount the pavement. The correct approach is to properly target these offenders rather than to try to catch as many people as possible breaking often inappropriately low limits on the open road in perfect safety.
This approach, typified by this latest ill considered mass campaign, is actually harmful to road safety because it:
1. Ignores the real causes of most accidents - hazard perception, poor road engineering, attentiveness
2. Penalises those who ARE competent in these areas, preventing them from exercising roadcraft skills and turning them into speedometer watching liabilities.
A fresh and more enlightened approach to road safety is much needed.