Speed cameras appear to have significantly cut casualty rates in one county, new figures show.
Speed camera officials will no doubt welcome the latest casualty reduction figures from Lincolnshire safety camera partnership, following as they do a week of otherwise negative and high profile attention on speed cameras.
Collisions resulting in personal injury fell by a third at the county's speed camera sites, the Spalding Guardian reports, and deaths and serious injuries by 55 per cent.
Despite the encouraging results Brian Porter, chairman of the partnership's board, told the paper: "There are still too many fatalities and injuries on Lincolnshire's roads, and there is always room for improvement.
"Traffic volumes continue to increase, and this brings additional challenges for the partnership, and for everyone who uses our roads."
Lincolnshire has a reputation as one of the more dangerous counties in the UK and has been ordered by the government to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions by 40 per cent by 2010.
A coalition comprised of Lincolnshire road safety partnership, the police, NHS, the county council, the Highways Agency and Lincolnshire Magistrates' Court now operates a number of speed cameras in an effort to cut speeding.
There are now 49 permanent speed cameras along the county's roads as well as 19 mobile camera sites and five mixed camera sites.
Speed camera officials hope that the latest figures will help defend the cameras again claims of revenue raising.
"Safety cameras are doing the job they are meant to do," Andy McNamus, head of casualty reduction in the county, told the paper.
He added: "They are not just a cash grabbing scheme or there to catch people out.
"We publish the location of every camera in the county. They are there to save lives and prevent collisions and that is what they are achieving."
In 2004-05, the cameras cost the partnership £1,639,843, costing £36,000 each to install and then £6,000 a year to maintain.
They went on to catch 27,447 speeding motorists, who each paid a £60 fine, totalling £1,646.820. This resulted in excess revenue of under £7,000, which was retained by the Treasury.
Nevertheless, earlier this week a speed camera distributor admitted to undercover journalists that speed cameras are a "blank cheque".
Jon Bond, chief executive of Tele-Traffic, told reporters from the Mail on Sunday posing as potential buyers from Eastern Europe that if they installed cameras "there will be so much money coming in you won't know what to do with it".
Mr Bond argued that speed cameras are installed to raise money – and the fact that the Treasury, as opposed to local partnerships, retains the extra fines is only designed to disguise this.
"This was done so the government wasn't perceived to be revenue raising," Mr Bond told reporters. "But the reality is that the government is actually raking off even more money than before. They are giving less money to the partnerships than they would have received through the old operation. So it's all a scam - it's smoke and mirrors."
He added: "The Treasury cannot lose and they get the cash while the camera operators are the ones who get all the criticism. Brilliant, really."