Essex speed camera plan criticised

PLANS to increase the use of mobile speed cameras in Essex and introduce them on trunk roads such as the A12 and A120 have been criticised by a leading anti-camera campaigner.

By Roddy Ashworth

PLANS to increase the use of mobile speed cameras in Essex and introduce them on trunk roads such as the A12 and A120 have been criticised by a leading anti-camera campaigner.

The extended use of mobile cameras was part of a package announced this week by the Essex Casualty Reduction Board designed to lower the number of accidents on the county's roads.

The programme, called “Drive Casualties Down”, also focuses on areas such as driver education, publicity, drink driving, seatbelt-wearing, and the use of mobile phones while driving.


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But Paul Smith, of the campaign organisation Safe Speed, claimed that the increased use of speed cameras was a failed safety policy and that deaths on the roads of Essex were at a higher level than they were in the late 1990s.

He also added that Department for Transport figures showed that while in 2005 there were 86 road deaths in the county, in 2006 the figure had risen to 100.

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Mr Smith said: “When will our road safety officials finally learn? Speed camera policy has been a disaster based only on false assumptions and dodgy statistics.

“The results have been awful and in Essex alone road deaths are around 30 per year above where they should be. Now they have noticed that the 'medicine' isn't working and they want to double the dose.

“But it's the wrong medicine and it's making matters worse. We need all-new road safety policies.

“We need to scrap speed cameras and base policies on improving the 'human factors' that lead to crashes.”

However Rosemary Welch, network and safety manager at Essex County Council, said she thought Mr Smith had missed the point of the casualty reduction board's campaign.

“People against safety cameras have often said it is about changing a whole range of driving issues, and that is what we're focusing on.

“The police enforcement is not just about speed and cameras - there is a wide range of techniques and operations to change road users behaviour.

“He has picked on road deaths for his statistics, but those are at the extreme end of what happens in accidents.

“If you take the broader perspective and look at all of looking at all accidents and especially those that are classified as 'killed and seriously injured' you will see they are on a long-term downward trend.

“Speed cameras are not an item on their own - they are part of a package to reduce road casualties.”

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