“Speed cameras ... do not deter drivers from speeding, are remarkably unsuccessful at saving lives and may well cause accidents of their own” – a British survey has found.

“Speed cameras ... do not deter drivers from speeding, are remarkably unsuccessful at saving lives and may well cause accidents of their own” – a British survey has found.

These were the findings after launched an investigation in Britain after learning that, though the number of speeding drivers caught by cameras had risen to more than 1 million since 1996, there was a reduction of less than five per cent in the number of road deaths.

This is after CARtoday.com reported earlier this year that the British Department of Transport had concluded that cameras helped to keep speeds down, after a two-year study. There was also a 35 per cent reduction in people killed or seriously injured at sites where there were cameras and a 56 per cent reduction in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured.

But now the magazine has claimed that since drivers are unperturbed by the presence of cameras and the absence of traffic officers, thousands of serious driving offences have gone unchecked. The reliance on the speed camera as the only form of policing is believed to be the source of the problem.

Steve Sutcliffe, editor of said that the absence of traffic officers actually put the lives of road users at risk because drunk and drugged drivers were going undetected and more defective vehicles were in use.

Traffic police were being switched to other duties and with the cameras employed in their places, more serious road offences were going largely undetected. This meant that otherwise law-abiding citizens were the ones being repeatedly punished for minor discretions.

Autocar has forwarded its findings to the British government and suggested that a manifesto be put together as a starting point to cut road deaths.

Back home, cities around the country have employed increasing numbers of cameras in speeding and high-accident areas. Cape Town city police chief Mark Sangster said in a CARtoday.com story earlier this year that the city hoped to have more housings ("dummy cameras") with an eventual ratio of one 'live' camera to five housings.


"This is how it works in countries overseas, and it should be effective here, too. The extra housings will also be potential 'live' sites," he said.