A question that has been on the lips of many motorists may finally be answered this week: Do traffic cameras save lives, or are they just an additional revenue source for cash strapped councils?
Reports are indicating that local authorities and the police are being ordered to share with the public which cameras across the country generate the most revenue. This comes as Mike Penning, the Road Safety Minister calls for motorists to be stop being treated like “cash cows”. Penning is quoted as saying “We want to stop motorists being used as cash cows. For too long information about speed cameras has been hidden in the shadows. This new data will end that by clearly showing whether a camera is saving lives or just making money”.
Historically this information has been very difficult to get hold of, but now authorities will be expected to make public the statistics showing accident and casualties at camera locations, before and after they were installed.
In 2010 speed cameras were reported to have generated a massive £100 million in fines since they were introduced on our roads. With some cameras in the country reported to have generated a whopping £1 million in just one year from fines. With figures like this, many motorists feel this ‘transparency’ move has been a long time coming.
Information such as the number of motorists who are prosecuted for speeding and whether they are fined, appear in court or attend a speed awareness course will be published. It is thought that this level of information will allow “league tables” to be produced which will clearly show which cameras are the biggest earners on our roads.
Many believe that these “league tables” will pile on the pressure for some cameras to be removed altogether.
While many motoring groups and organisations will be applauding the news, there will be some who are not in support of the move. In fact road safety groups and campaigners are likely to be among the few who don’t welcome the changes, with many believing that the cameras do indeed save lives and force drivers to keep within the speed limits.
The debate is likely to continue, and Think Insurance will watch with interest as these league tables are published and cameras across the country are named and shamed.