Friday, August 31, 2007

Speed kills, speed cameras save (destroying cameras = more road deaths)

I must respond to the story ‘The Toughest Speed Camera in the World’ (Bristol EveningPost, 30 Aug) detailing the large number of cameras in Avon and Somerset that are damaged/destroyed and also to the several people who commented online on this story on the Posts website, condoning, excusing and/or failing to condemn this gross irresponsibilty. Compare and contrast the website of those celebrating destruction (Motorists Against Detection really are MAD in more ways than one) with those wanting cameras for road safety (

‘On average, nine people are killed and 85 injured each day on the UK's roads. This figure would probably be higher if safety cameras were not used. By reducing speeding and making the roads safer, they save about 100 lives a year.’ (

All those who deliberately damage speed cameras (better called safety cameras) show great insensitivity as they are often put up at locations of death and injury. ‘Safety cameras are generally installed on roads: with a history of road traffic collisions; where there is evidence of a speeding problem; or where there is local community concern. The Police may also use cameras to enforce speed limits.’ Why don’t these extremely anti-social people acknowledge the thousands killed and and tens of thousands injured on UK roads each year?

Safety cameras are practical memorials where people have been killed. Every time someone vandalises a camera, they are showing their contempt for the people whose death may well have led to the camera being there in the first place. Presumeably they don’t care about the individual stories of pain and tragedy which these cameras are trying to stop from being repeated. Speed should not come before life and metal should not come before before flesh. Personally, I find it shocking that our society has often waited until there are deaths to take action, instead of being more proactive and preventive. It is a logic which we would never accept to the same extent for other modes of travel.

Road casualties should not be the forgotten victims in society. Road violence should not be a forgotten crime. There are far more road deaths than murders in a major city, yet the law on speeding is very weak indeed. Cars driven dangerously are potential killing machines, yet the police spend far too little time dealing with dangerous driving. Horrendous road deaths and injuries are not simply twists of fate, but preventable acts of social neglect.

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