Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras

The Daily Mail's battle against life-saving technology and defence of unnaccountable law-breaking continued today with a blast at speed cameras that ignores the evidence.

The Daily Mail’s battle against life-saving technology and its defence of unnaccountable law-breaking continued today with a blast at speed cameras. The newspaper’s headline shrieks:

“Speed cameras ‘do not cut accidents’… they create them, study finds”

This is softened  with the strategic insertion of a ‘may’, in the introduction, which reads:

“Many speed cameras have not cut accident rates and may even have increased them, figures reveal for the first time today.”

It turns out that there is no ‘study’ as mentioned in the headline. Rather the government has requested that local authorities release data on accident and casualty rates on stretches of road before and after the introduction of speed cameras. The Department for Transport has collated links to the 75 local authorities that have.

The newspaper then picks three examples in the whole of the country where collisions and casualties increased after the introduction of a speed camera, to justify a headline that the technology harms safety. We should probably not expect evidence-based writing from a media outlet that bashes the disabled with pictures ‘posed by models’.

Unsuprisingly, scientific, statistically robust, credible studies show that speed cameras do work. The Cochrane Collaboration, an organisation that carries out across-the-board reviews of studies focusing on a certain topic and that is recognised by the World Health Organisation, in a 2010 review of 35 studies into speed cameras found:

“All studies reporting speed outcomes reported a reduction in average speeds post intervention with speed cameras… A reduction in the proportion of speeding vehicles (drivers) over the accepted posted speed limit, ranged from 8% to 70% with most countries reporting reductions in the 10 to 35% range.

“All 28 studies [that measured speed cameras effect on crashes] found a lower number of crashes in the speed camera areas after implementation of the program.

“In the vicinity of camera sites, the reductions ranged from 8% to 49% for all crashes, with reductions for most studies in the 14% to 25% range. For injury crashes the decrease ranged between 8% to 50% and for crashes resulting in fatalities or serious injuries the reductions were in the range of 11% to 44%…

“The consistency of reported positive reductions in speed and crash results across all studies show that speed cameras are a worthwhile intervention for reducing the number of road traffic injuries and deaths.”

What is odd about the Daily Mail story is that it was run before the Department for Transport had put out a press release or the local authority data. One possible explanation is the examples were deliberately briefed to newspapers to help stir up transport secretary Philip Hammond’s ‘war on the motorist’ rhetoric, so the government could score some political points – no matter what the evidence or effect on road safety was.

Obviously whether a Conservative-led administration would connive with the ill-informed biases of a right-wing press, whatever the effect on governance or fatalities, is a matter for readers to judge on the evidence they have at hand.

Meanwhile, a cast-iron tip for Daily Mail writers on how to avoid being caught by speed cameras: Obey the law.

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38 Responses to “Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras”

  1. Andrew G

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras http://t.co/xMlcj4W

  2. The Dragon Fairy

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/MUV8llT writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  3. Paul Crowley

    Egregious cherry-picking: Across the whole UK, Daily Mail finds THREE speed cameras where the accident rate is higher. http://t.co/hBebgz7

  4. Political Planet

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: The Daily Mail's battle against life-saving tech… http://t.co/dwWBQEO

  5. Mark Brophy

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/MUV8llT writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  6. Daniel Weekes

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/MUV8llT @DailyMailOnlie @FailyMail @badjournalism @tabloidwatch

  7. Angela Pateman

    This > RT @leftfootfwd
    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/9Ko5V2m writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  8. DrKMJ

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/MUV8llT @DailyMailOnlie @FailyMail @badjournalism @tabloidwatch

  9. puddy pad

    Egregious cherry-picking: Across the whole UK, Daily Mail finds THREE speed cameras where the accident rate is higher. http://t.co/hBebgz7

  10. Alex Braithwaite

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/MUV8llT writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  11. Other TaxPayers Alli

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  12. richardbrennan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  13. Lee Hyde

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  14. HazeW

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  15. Birmingham FOE

    RT @OtherTPA: RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/0v66f6Y #DailyFail

  16. Paul McGlynn

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras http://t.co/CjHIWjl

  17. Julian Swainson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  18. Yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras http://t.co/TjUBRRH #pressreform #dailymail

  19. Rep in the Region

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  20. Mike Hunt

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: The Daily Mail's battle against life-saving tech… http://t.co/CCOQUJQ

  21. lee

    You were going so well.. a simple, and well written piece nicely debunking a bit of typically destructive Daily Mail bullsh*ttery.. but then, right there at the end, you stoop to their level by insinuating some kind of political conspiracy may be behind it, despite absolutely no evidence to suggest one.

    It’s no wonder ‘the left’ isn’t getting anywhere. You’re trying to play their game by their rules.. but they’re always going to be better at it.

  22. Joe D

    I said much the same, only I didn’t think the newspapers deserved my taking any of it seriously.

    Of course, injury rates measure only one of the problems with excessive speed. Injury rates can and do go down even when there is inappropriate speed, because the most vulnerable — pedestrians and cyclists — get driven off the roads by it. Excessive speeds make for places people don’t want to be, work, shop, etc, regardless of whether people are getting injured.

  23. Kay Sillars

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  24. Chris Boyle

    Egregious cherry-picking: Across the whole UK, Daily Mail finds THREE speed cameras where the accident rate is higher. http://t.co/hBebgz7

  25. Roger

    Gosh, who would have thought that a website obviously supportive of public sector non-jobs would have a problem with a story which threatens the non-jobs inflicted on society by speed camera partnerships or the road safety officers that know nowt about the subject matter of their job title. Interesting that you’re concerned about facts when it suits but are quite happy to cherry pick your own data when it suits your purpose. It’s a bit rich isn’t it?

  26. Dell Macefield

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras: http://t.co/UYYW6Bn writes @DanielElton #DailyFail

  27. Robert

    Port Talbot M4 speed Camera was removed about two years ago, because as car came around the corner people saw the camera breaking at once, leading to massive pile ups, camera was removed but people who were use to it still breaking hard and still accidents.

    My own town the police placed three speed cameras on one hill, before the camera we had one accident in four years, since we have had the camera’s the number of accidents in two years have reached I believe it now stands at twelve, people see the first camera think that’s it and then bang they have another, they then break hard bang an accident. The reason given for these camera it’s a black spot, it is now.

    In my area the places these camera should be are out side schools and hospitals where they matter nothing not a single camera.

    Of course it’s a money making racket and if people say no they are wrong.

  28. Mr. Sensible

    Well Lee the government have form on this in other areas; the DWP’s misuse of statistics on DLA to support media prejudices.

    Why do you think I stick to the Guardian and BBC?

  29. Huw Jones

    Daily Mail newspaper makes up bogus data regarding speed cameras http://t.co/OXpnZU0 #dailyfail #speedcameras #morons #twats

  30. Roger

    Mr Sensible reads the Guardian and BBC?!!! ROFL. You couldn’t make it up! Mind you, I do understand if you’re looking for massive left wing bias at the expense of impartiality or quality journalism, it’s definitely the place to go!

  31. Cat

    @Lee

    “you stoop to their level by insinuating some kind of political conspiracy may be behind it, despite absolutely no evidence to suggest one.”

    Ermmm…where have you been living for the past few centuries? The Mail prints the story before the official press release has been released, other parts of the coalition being publicly reprimanded for releasing dodgy stats to the right wing media – http://bit.ly/ncFRgO

    @Robert

    So you want me to ignore the Cochrane review in favour of your anecdotal ramblings?

    “Of course it’s a money making racket and if people say no they are wrong.”

    The speed cameras cost more than they generate in fines – not a very good way of making money.

  32. Iris Herssein

    Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras http://t.co/L4WbD2m

  33. Roger

    @ Cat

    “The speed cameras cost more than they generate in fines – not a very good way of making money.”

    Any proof for that statement then? Are you talking past or present? Speed camera partnerhips, before they were set-up in the early noughties, had to prepare a business case. I know that for a fact. They were run along the same lines as a business. If they made a loss, they ceased to be viable. Cost recovery policing, the favourite type of policing in the UK, relies on, erm, cost recovery. Of course, that could be why many local authorities (partnership members) chose to ditch cameras where they did – because there was no money in it for them. Or maybe it was because they suddenly had a fit of conscience and felt guilty they’d been conning the public for years, pretending they cared about road safety whilst not gritting the roads and leaving roads littered with craters. Ahem…

  34. Anon E Mouse

    Robert – I used to do work at International Rectifiers near Swansea and remember that stupid speed camera on the M4 – the one round that long left hand bend I assume (going Westwards).

    When did they get rid of it fella?

  35. DavidG

    I had to smile at the Hate Mail being mentioned in a piece filed under ‘media integrity’.

  36. Roger

    @ DavidG

    Perhaps no less amusing than a left-wing website labelled as progressive. Partly correct, but replace pro with re and it would be less amusing and largely accurate methinks.

    Also amusing how any critique of a left wing god(e.g. a speed camera, manmade climate change, council non-jobs, oppressed youth not given a train set when they were six, etc…) must be a terrible example of journalism or science, but anything positive about the same topics and based on flawed research or journalism is AOK? Isn’t that grossly hypocritical? The Daily Mail does publish some tosh, but so do the ‘Independent’, Guardian and BBC, all beloved of the happy clapper, champagne socialist, knit your own propaganda fraternity.

  37. The Daily Mail’s poisonous lies must be fought by all trade unionists | Left Foot Forward

    […] Daily Mail cherry picks data to bash life-saving speed cameras – Daniel Elton, August 24th […]

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