The coalition declares war on speed cameras and road deaths go up
Since the coalition came to power and began turning off speed cameras, the number of people killed on Britain’s roads has started rising again after a prolonged period of decline.
Even worse, the number of children being killed on the roads has started to go up, figures released yesterday reveal.
There was an 8 per cent rise in the number of children killed or badly injured on the roads last year, with 420 fatalities or serious injuries compared to 390 in 2011.
This comes after a 61% fall in the number of children killed on British roads during the five year period leading up to 2010.
When the coalition came to power, it promised to end the ‘war on the motorist’, and it stopped central government funding for new speed cameras. It also allowed councils to axe funding for cameras in order to make savings.
‘In the coalition agreement the government made clear it would end central funding for fixed speed cameras…This is another example of this government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist,’ declared road safety minister Mike Penning as local councils turned their cameras off.
Since then, road deaths have shot up after a prolonged period of decline, adding to the increasing evidence suggesting a correlation between road deaths and the removal of safety cameras.
In Scotland, a 2011 report found that the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites was 68 per cent lower after cameras were installed.
And 2010 figures from the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership show that at the 212 fixed camera sites across the wider Thames Valley region there was a 38% drop in vehicle collisions compared to the three years before cameras were put in place.
Head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Kevin Clinton, told Left Foot Forward that reducing the number of cameras might also mean many fewer motorists taking speed awareness courses.
The coalition may have ended the so-called ‘war on the motorist’, but if you happen to be one of the increasing number of people who have lost a loved one on Britain’s roads, knowing the government has acted in the face of all the evidence to placate the motoring lobby probably doesn’t provide a great deal of comfort.