Essex speed cameras criticised

A MOTORISTS' pressure group has claimed annual figures show that speed cameras have had no effect in reducing the number of deaths on the roads of Essex.

By Roddy Ashworth

A MOTORISTS' pressure group has claimed annual figures show that speed cameras have had no effect in reducing the number of deaths on the roads of Essex.

But yesterday a spokeswoman for the organisation that operates the county's speed cameras said they were only one of a number of measures used to try and improve road safety.

The first speed cameras in Essex were deployed in 2000 after 1999 saw a total of 108 fatalities on the county's roads.


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In 2000 they were hailed a success when the number of road deaths dropped to 86.

But just a year later, the figure rose to 123 and in 2006 the number was 100, up 11% from the previous year where 90 road deaths were recorded.

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Yesterday Nigel Humphries, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers (ABD), said the figures revealed that speed cameras were not driving down fatality figures as had been initially claimed.

“The figures show that the cameras have not made any difference,” Mr Humphries said.

“The cameras were introduced in Essex in 2000, after 1999 had been a particularly bad year. They trumpeted them as a great success, but since then the figures have gone up.

“At best, these cameras have made no difference to the number of deaths on the roads of Essex.

“The county would be better off with more flesh-and-blood policeman tackling the problem of dangerous and careless driving.

“There also needs to be another hurdle for young drivers to jump over before they can drive high-powered vehicles, such as the 'pass plus' scheme that exists now - it should be compulsory.

“We would also like to see compulsory training for high powered cars, especially for younger drivers - at the moment the only thing stopping them driving them is the insurance cost, rather than the law.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Essex Safety Camera Partnership - made up of Essex County Council and Essex Police - said the 99 cameras used on Essex roads were having an effect in their localised areas.

“Safety cameras can only have an effect in places where they are. In Essex they are only on 3 per cent of the road network,” she said.

“We are trying to encourage people to stick to the speed limits all across Essex. Safety cameras are only one part of the toolkit.”

She added that other measures to cut down on accidents included traffic calming measures, roundabouts and road-widening schemes.

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