The coalition declares war on speed cameras. Road deaths go up

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.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

10 Responses to “The coalition declares war on speed cameras. Road deaths go up”

  1. Stuart alder

    Nothing to do with last year being one of the wettest on record, lots of slippery wet roads, and low visibility will have a greater impact that camera removal. This story in nonsense.

  2. Bayesian

    In the Governement document you link to it shows that there were 1760 deaths between Sept 2011 and Sept 2012. How did you come up with 1901?

  3. JC

    “Road deaths have shot up” from 1857 to 1901. What’s the expected variation on a year by year calculation? I know that these are exact numbers, but you would expect to see some variation even if the numbers remained broadly the same.

    Also, why show a graph of total numbers and focus on children? What’s wrong with showing us the numbers for children if that’s your point?

  4. Phil Wagstaff

    Your graph shows a rise of 44 deaths in one year, I doubt that is even statistically significant?

  5. Peem Birrell

    Quick & dirty estimate of the random error (sd) is given by the square root of the number – in this case about 43. Differences of more than 2 sds would be statistically significant, so this doesn’t make it.

  6. Newsbot9

    Well, it’s significant against the falling trend…

  7. Ash

    Nice try, but 2008 was also one of the wettest years on record. Do you see a blip on the graph?

  8. matthewmacleod

    You’ve linked to 2012 figures, which show a continued decrease in fatal road accidents to 1,760. The number of killed or seriously injured children also appears to have fallen in both 2011 and 2012, from 2,502 in 2010 to 2,360 in 2012.

    In any case, the rise in 2011 is statistically insignificant.

    There are plenty of real things to worry about, without making up numbers to support imagined problems.

  9. Felix

    That must be why the DfT’s report states

    “Child KSI casualties remaining roughly the same at around 660. However, child pedestrian KSIs rose by 8 per cent from 390 in 2011 Q3 to 420 in 2012 Q3.”

    Nice try.

  10. Felix

    The trend line since 2002 is downwards, so any rise must be given due weight.

Leave a Reply