Speed Cameras -Life Saver Or Money Maker

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Speed cameras…Life Saver or Money Maker?
We’ve all either had run-ins with the speed cameras along the road, or we know someone who has. These sneaky little demons have a way of catching us speeding at the least-opportune times, often to the tune of 60 pounds or more, depending on the area. But do they really make the roads safer, or are they just a money-making scheme for the government?

The Effect on Road Traffic Accident Statistics
There is no way around it, following the speed limit will prevent accidents. Cameras are one way to control speeding, which in turn will lower the number of deadly accidents. It appears that with the introduction of speed cameras, there has been a positive effect on the number of deaths and serious injuries from traffic accidents. According to a study quoted in the Guardian and conducted by Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, "A four-year evaluation of their effectiveness concluded that 100 lives were saved every year."

Running Cars on Road
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Additionally, a second study by the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership, which was conducted country-wide and collected three year’s worth of data, found that at sites where speed cameras had been installed the number of deaths and serious injuries related to accidents decreased by 69%.

However, data from Oxfordshire, where the cameras were switched off for six months between August 2010 and April 2011 due to funding cuts, revealed that the number of serious injuries due to traffic accidents in the area near the cameras was the same for both the six months the cameras were switched off and the same period the year before.

Could there be other factors at play besides just the cameras? While it’s clear that there is a positive correlation between the cameras and decreased accidents, it may not be clear that these numbers are related to the cameras. It may also be possible to achieve the same results with other measures, such as more law enforcement officials or restructuring the roads to allow for more cars to pass safely. Whether the cameras have a direct impact remains to be seen.

A Close Look at the Fines
If there is any positive impact on accident rates due to the cameras, there is certainly a positive impact on the Treasury. Just one camera in a 30 mph area in Poole, Dorset generated 1.3 million pounds every year since 1999.

The potential for corruption is also present. For example, in San Diego, USA there was a case where the company providing the cameras received a commission based on the number of tickets issued, meaning that speeders simply generated revenue for a private company. In that case, a judge ruled that using the cameras as evidence was inadmissible because of this commission.

If you find that you receive a ticket from one of these cameras, whether you decide to pursue the case in court is up to you. To help you in deciding whether you have a case, it may be best to meet with road accident solicitors to get legal advice and determine whether you have a case. And if you were driving erratically, perhaps it may be best to own up and pay the fine, as speed does kill.
Daniel Griffin
About the Author:

Daniel Griffin - Current affairs Journalist and freelance writer concerning all things current.

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