It could be safer in Swindon

Swindon Councillors are right to look at how the £400,000 a year spent on speed cameras could be better used in order to make things safer. They could also ask whether they need to spend the whole £400,000.

Speed is a factor in well under 1 in 10 accidents, so a safety policy based on curbing speed is not going to stop most accidents. Bad junction design allied to poor driving causes many accidents. I trust the Swindon Conservatives will look at improving traffic flows and helping segregation at junctions to cut the risk of collisions.

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9 Comments

  1. Richard
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It seems as if the assumption is that the money has to be spent, whether it’s on spent on speed cameras or spent on something else.

    Why not simply deduct the whole amount from people’s Council- Tax bills if they promise to drive more carefully?

  2. Andrew Phillips
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree, speed is the government scapegoat for lack of spending on roads and driver/pedestrian training.

    More attention to small infrastructure details around junctions, schools and town centres would help cut down pedestrian accidents.

    Tiny details i.e. all road junctions should have mini zebra crossings where vehicles are obliged to give way to pedestrians, 20mph past all schools between certain times.

    More police emphasis on poor driving rather than speeding, there is plenty of real and anecdotal evidence that the police are not treally interested in admonishing drivers for poor standards they will only stop you if they can get a conviction and therefore meet a targets and the easy ones are speeding, seat belt and phone.

    How often has any driver been stopped for tailgating, failining to indicate, dangerous parking/stopping, hogging the fast lane.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Well made points. The BBC response to this has been a failure of logic 101. They invite a safety fascist on to say that since cameras were introduced road deaths are down and then allow the contributor to imply a causal link without actually demonstrating it nor showing any evidence in support of the assertion. Stunningly bad journalism.

  4. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Swindon Council, let us hope that more follow their lead, I will not, however, hold my breath. Cameras are a source of income, nothing whatsoever to do with road safety. The police love the things, easy money with no danger or even hard? work, look at N. Wales.

  5. mikestallard
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Both my wife and I have been politely – and rightly – stopped by the Police while driving alone in the car along a perfectly safe road. We were both doing 36 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. area.
    Neither of us have every speeded in that area since. We both drove much more carefully after that. We were shamed.
    But being clicked by an idiot automaton while driving perfectly safely at, say 80 m.p.h. on a deserted motorway is simply bad luck: no shame in that.
    We drivers need much more shame, much more trust and much more pride – cameras attack all three.

  6. Martin Baddeley
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    As a resident of a village in the Swindon Borough Council area I am very pleased to learn of their initiative. There is nothing wrong with the use of speed cameras in specific locations where there is real evidence of speeding but their use must be and be seen to be, solely aimed at improving drivers behaviour not just raising money! However nothing much will improve until drivers attitude is changed. So much of the bad driving that we see today arises out of selfishness and lack of courtesy to others rather than a lack of skill. We need to start in the home and at school as well as encouraging existing drivers to improve their behaviour

  7. adam
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Any serious accident is terribly sad. Its a shame we have a government more interested in exploiting the problem for revenue raising than looking at ways to improve things.

  8. Francis Irving
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    "Speed is a factor in well under 1 in 10 accidents, so a safety policy based on curbing speed is not going to stop most accidents" — the goal of reducing speed is not to reduce the *number* of accidents, it is to reduce the *severity* of injuries when there is an accident.

  9. Daniel
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I suspect this has more to do with populist bandwagon jumping than a true interest in safety. However, whatever the motivation, anything that removes _unecessary_ speed cameras should be applauded.

    Note the use of the word unecessary – I wonder though whether the councillers will be queueing up for media interviews when a child is run over outside a school where a speed camera once stood? Sure there will be no evidence that a speed camera would have prevented anything – but it'll be a brave counciller that takes that risk.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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