A new report from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) and the Drivers’ Alliance (DA), or as I like to call them, the Jeremy Clarkson Reliance Alliance (JCRA) collates for the first time the full figure for fines raised through speed cameras in 2008-09.
According to their press release, ‘The report features full data for local Safety Camera Partnerships and Magistrates’ Courts for all areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With the boom in speed cameras and speeding fines in recent years the issue has become highly controversial, particularly among motorists’.
I bet it has, I bet it has.
‘The report concludes that British policy should follow the good example of Swindon, which scrapped its speed cameras in 2008 with apparently no increase in road casualties as a result’.
I bet it does, I bet it does.
Amongst its key findings are the following:
– A total of £87,368,227 was collected in speeding and red light offences caught on speed cameras in the financial period 2008-09 in the UK. This also includes fines from magistrates’ courts for speeding offences and neglect of traffic directions in 2008. So don’t speed then and pay attention.
– The total includes £65,748,850 from fixed penalties detected by cameras operated by safety camera partnerships in England and Wales. It doesn’t matter who operates the cameras, they were caught speeding.
– It also includes £19,214,594 in fines from magistrates’ courts for speeding offences and neglect of traffic directions in calendar year 2008 in England and Wales. So don’t speed then and pay attention.
– It also includes £1,641,630 collected for speeding offences by the Scottish Courts in 2008-09. So don’t speed then.
– It also includes £763,153 from fixed penalties detected by speed cameras in Northern Ireland. So don’t speed then.
– The road casualty rate has declined at a slower rate since speed cameras were introduced in the early 1990s, compared to the rate prior to their introduction. It can be estimated that 1,555,244 more road casualties occurred between 1991-2007 than would have if the 1978-1990 trend had continued. Complete speculation. If I’d made it to the newsagents and got my lottery ticket on the Saturday before Christmas 2007, I might be a millionaire.
Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Motorists have long suspected that speed cameras are more about raising money than keeping the roads safe. These findings show that the state has been squeezing a fortune out of people using these cameras, but if anything the rate of reduction in casualty numbers has slowed. The whole country should follow the example of Swindon, which has scrapped cameras altogether. People are sick of being fined under the guise of road safety.” If you drive properly, you don’t get fined. It’s that simple.
Peter Roberts, Chief Executive of the Drivers’ Alliance, said:
“Speed cameras have been a false hope in improving safety on British roads. Close statistical analysis of road casualties shows that, since speed cameras have been the main driver of road safety policy, the road casualty rate has not gone down at the trajectory expected. It is time to rethink road safety policy so that it has broadened focus, not solely based on speed. No more speed cameras should be funded by local authorities and existing speed cameras should be removed.” Which basically means “We want to drive like The Stig. Please remove the cameras because when we saw an advert for the Vauxhall Astra on ITV3 during ‘Midsummer Murders’ and it clearly depicted it speeding through city streets and nothing bad happened. Another advert clearly showed all roads being as clear as a Scottish Glen with no pedestrians, cyclists or any other life apart from Hondas”.
This is a bit weak by anyone’s standards. The simple fact is that if you’ve been caught breaking the law, you pay a fine and/or get points on you licence. They are not a cash cow. Casualty rates may not have come down at the ‘trajectory projected’, but they have still come down (they even created a graph depicting this). Cameras are large, usually painted bright yellow and have warning signs alerting you of their presence. If you get caught you really have only yourself to blame as you clearly can’t drive according to the correct speed limit and road conditions (and please remember that they are speed limits, not speed targets). I guess a bad workman always blames his tools. The fact that £87.3m has been collected in fines on Britain’s roads means there are A LOT of bad workmen.
The brilliant Roger Geffen, Director of Campaigns at CTC, issued this excellent statement.
“CTC supports both a substantial increase in traffic policing and the use of speed cameras – it’s not an ‘either-or’ situation.
“Contrary to media mythology, around three quarters of the public supports speed cameras, and for a very good reason: they save lives and make our streets safer, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people. These groups are disproportionately the victims of irresponsible driving on our roads and streets.
“Speed is to blame for around a third of all road fatalities. Nobody likes to put a monetary value on a human life, yet the Department for Transport does just that. They say that cost to society of a death on our roads is £1.7M. On that basis, the cost to society of the 740 people killed last year by people driving too fast was a cool £1,200M.
“So there can be no justification whatsoever for these self-appointed representatives of ‘drivers’ and ‘tax-payers’ whingeing about £65M of fines being taken from criminals. If they don’t like the laws of the land, let them argue for higher limits – we think most decent-minded people will strongly disagree. But to argue against the enforcement of society’s rules, designed to protect human life, is simply beneath contempt.”
So drive properly then.