Accidents rise after speed cameras go
11:30am Wednesday 30th December 2009
ACCIDENTS on Swindon’s roads have continued to rise since speed cameras were scrapped but the number of speeders has halved.
Swindon Council leaders claim the figures prove they made the right decision by deactivating fixed speed cameras at the end of July.
But motoring groups and opposition politicians have warned that it is too early to claim Swindon’s roads are now safer.
According to figures released by Swindon Council there were six injuries on Swindon’s roads between August and October of this year. Two of these were serious injuries, while four were slight.
Over the same period in 2008 there were four slight injury accidents and one fatal.
The council also said that over the same three-month period in 2009 1,033 motorists received prosecution notices after being caught by mobile cameras. The figure for 2008 was 2,227.
Council leader Rod Bluh said: “These figures vindicate our position that money being spent on speed cameras could be better used in other areas.
“We know that we have a problem with the number of accidents on our roads rising and that is why we want to tackle the problem by using that money in the most effective way. Our actions have also led to a change in Conservative national policy on this issue.”
But South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove said it was ridiculous to champion the figures as proof that Swindon’s roads were now safer.
“It just means more people are getting away with it,” she said. “This doesn’t mean Swindon is any safer – it just means, as we feared, the boy racers are now able to race away to their hearts content.
“I’m very sorry the council sees this as a triumph because I can see very little to boast about in these figures.”
Motoring groups were also cautious about reading too much into the statistics.
Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said: “The accident rate is improving everywhere. The death toll on the roads is coming down.
“I would be very loath to read anything into these figures. Casualty figures can bounce up and down.”
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “Just as it would be a foolish politician who decided to install speed cameras merely to raise revenue, it would be a reckless one who concluded that cameras had no part to play in road safety on the basis of what has happened in Swindon.
“The town’s experience seems to offer absolutely no statistical assurance that fixed speed cameras do not contribute to preventing death and injury on the nation's roads.”