The council of Swindon, England, made the decision to switch its speed cameras off exactly one year ago, following the lead of Oxfordshire, which did the same due to budget cuts.
Caroline Hannah says that her seven-year-old son, Tyrese, could have been saved by speed cameras. Mrs Hannah was walking with her son and his dog when a speeding driver mounted the kerb, narrowly missing Mrs Hannah, but unfortunately crushing and killing Tyrese and his pet. Mrs Hannah has joined with a local charity to get the council to put the cameras back on line.
"I am disgusted with the lack of concern shown by Swindon Council for the safety of the public", said Mrs Hannah. "I want them to know that people do care about road safety. The council should listen to the public who want the right to walk safely in their communities without fear of being mown down by speeding drivers.""They also need to take a look at the research on speed cameras instead of listening to the few fanatics who just don’t like being caught when they break the law. If there were speed cameras on Drove Road my son might still be alive. Instead he was killed by a selfish driver who knew he wouldn’t get caught for speeding."
Mrs Hannah points to a four year national evaluation of speed camera effectiveness commissioned by the Department for Transport in 2005. The study showed there was a 70 percent reduction in speeding at fixed sites, a fall of six percent in average speeds and a 42 percent reduction in people killed and seriously injured. It also reported a positive cost-benefit ratio of speed cameras of 2.7:1 (PDF here).
Despite this, Swindon's bean-counters looked to the cost saving and switched its cameras off. So far, no study has been conducted to see if it has had an effect on the road toll.
What's interesting is Australia has done the opposite. The amount of cameras are increasing, with the Western Australian government in particular, reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars in just one week of switching on its red-light/speed camera combination devices.
In view of the research above, do you think that speed cameras save lives? Is the incentive there to slow down when you see a speed camera?