Speed cameras blamed for rise in uninsured drivers
9th October 2006 | back to article listings BACK send this article to a friend via email SEND TO A FRIEND print this article PRINT

A number of Tory politicians have blamed the proliferation of speed cameras for a rise in uninsured drivers.

Leading the outcry is the shadow transport spokesman, Chris Grayling, who believes that increasing numbers of motorists are prepared to drive without insurance due to the fact that traffic regulations are more often enforced by speed cameras than Police patrols, reports the Observer.

Research viewed by the Liberal Democrats last week found that one in eight of those driving on London's roads are doing so illegally and that illegal drivers are nine times more likely to have an accident than legal road users.

Mr Grayling insists that the rise in hit and run accidents, which have increased by 30 per cent since 1997, can be attributed to the number of people getting behind the wheel without insurance.

"There is a clear link in my mind: I attribute the number of hit-and-run accidents to the number of people who are operating outside the law," he said.

"If you have got someone on the road in a knackered car, without a licence and insurance, having a speed camera by the side of the road makes no sense at all because it can't stop them."

The Conservatives are expected to press for an amendment to the road safety bill in the coming weeks in a bid to increase the maximum sentence for not stopping after an accident to 14 years imprisonment.

Furthermore, they will call for uninsured motorists to face automatic disqualification if caught. A recent study by the Department for Transport (DfT), which covered most accidents that took place in 2005, found that driving above the speed limit was a contributory factor in just five per cent of cases. Indeed, the report found that a failure to look properly was the most common reason for accidents, at 32 per cent.

The figures have given further credence to the claims of groups, such as the Safe Speed campaign, that speed cameras should be scrapped in favour of more traditional policing methods. The AA Motoring Trust has recently asked for "a greater visible police presence on the roads", according to the Herald.

Meanwhile, Kevin Clinton, the head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, commented: "This report shows that we have to re-emphasise the need to continue with the overall campaign against speed. "It is not just about cameras - we have to continue with engineering measures, traffic calming, advertising and speed awareness courses."

A government study states that around two million road users in the UK do not have insurance.