TVP "Do you know the facts?"
Speed cameras – do you really know the facts?
Everybody has an opinion on speed and nobody sits on the fence but do you really know the facts?
We were killing more people on the roads in 1926 than today even though we now have thirty times more vehicles on the road. Great Britain has the safest roads in the world bar none. Portugal for example, has the worst record in Europe with 3 times the fatality rate of Great Britain, and the USA is four times worse than us.
Most modern countries have enjoyed the same advances in medicine, vehicle technology, road engineering, safety features, etc so we must be doing something over and above what they are.
Even so it is a sobering thought to know that your chances of winning the lottery are 1 in 13,983,816 whereas the odds of being killed in a road crash are – 1 in 200!
Over twenty years ago the fatality figure for the Thames Valley Police area was more than 300 a year, now it is half that but still the second highest in the country after the Metropolitan Police area. The Force has committed itself to reaching the government’s casualty reduction targets for 2010 – we are one of the best performers nationally so far.
It is reassuring to know there are more people alive today than would have been thanks to those involved in road safety. The following information will put the record straight over some of the points people raise in relation to speed cameras and speed limits.
Why enforce the limits at night? – because the collision rate is four times higher than during the day and nearly a fifth of Thames Valley Police fatalities happen between midnight & 6 am when there is a only a fraction of the traffic on the road.
It is inappropriate speed that kills – so who should be the one to decide what is and is not appropriate? Shall we leave it down to individuals? Maybe not; let the experts decide, the engineers in the councils working to safety guidelines.
Speed doesn’t cause accidents – agreed, but Traffic Research Laboratory work tells us that a 1 mph increase in speed is associated with a ten per cent increase in the risk of being involved in a fatality. Ninety five per cent of all crashes involve an element of driver error and invariably it will be more than one factor coming together that creates the crash, speed often being one of them. The biggest problem with speed is down to physics – the higher the impact speed the more it hurts.
‘I got a ticket for doing 33 mph’. This is not the case, the Association of Chief Police Officers has produced guidelines for speed enforcement which start at 35 mph and Thames Valley Police is marginally above that.
‘I didn’t know what the limit was’. Work is being done to promote what is called ‘intelligent’ roads. These somehow give cues about the limit to those drivers who are trying to comply, but get caught out when, for example, they have missed a limit change because the signs are placed at cluttered features and the driver is concentrating on manoeuvring, etc
‘The cameras should be placed where we can see them’. Highly visible cameras only modify driver behaviour around the camera. From a road safety point of view we want drivers to comply with the limit all the time and only hidden cameras will do that. As an analogy, would a store detective be better off with a yellow jacket so the thief knows where they are?
Inaccurate speedos – the legislation referring to ten per cent accuracy went out years ago, modern cars have speedos which are allowed a tolerance that can only read fast not slow. So if your speedo says 30 you will be doing 30 or less but not faster.
Enforcement vans in bus stops etc. - we have permission to stop everywhere we do and in the case of bus stops, agreement from the bus company. What we are lacking in many authority areas is for them to action our request for ‘police only’ type markings.
Cameras are only cash cows – if only that were true, we’d have top of the range BMWs for traffic cars! No, the Treasury get the lot. The police, along with the other 12 partners, only get back what they spend and they can only spend on government approved things which are linked with speed cameras. The force would be delighted if it could spend it on driver education, community speed schemes, road safety campaigns, road safety enforcement, speed indication devices, enforcement equipment for the Force, and a host of other initiatives to do with road safety but the rules specifically disqualify us from doing so.
‘Everyone is against speed enforcement’ – wrong. 80% support camera enforcement. What does give the impression that the vast majority are against us is a vociferous minority who feel they should be above the law and allowed to go at a speed they deem appropriate, and a concerted media campaign.
There are 2 million people living in Thames Valley. Thames Valley Police don’t get 1 million letters complaining about our enforcement regime, in fact we only get a handful a week, so where is the majority? What we do get inundated with is complaints about lack of enforcement and speeding in communities. The basic fact is; fatal accidents are bottoming out, serious accidents are dropping as are slight injuries so we still need to do more to reduce that awful toll.
Traffic enforcement is about road safety and saving lives and we are making a contribution to the casualty reductions.
Edited by pH, 08 December 2004 - 04:31 PM.