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Academic’s research paper stopped decommissioning of speed cameras – saving 800 deaths or serious injuries a year on our roads

It’s not everyday that an academic’s research paper highlights the consequences of budget cuts on road deaths and injuries on British roads and has a real impact on the debate about the value of speed camera. But that is what London University’s Emeritus Professor Richard Allsop’s report “The effectiveness of Speed Cameras “, commissioned by the RAC Foundation, did this time last year.

The impact of his report on the then controversy over speed cameras led the RAC Foundation receiving the Prince Michael International Road Safety Premier award today (6 December) at the annual awards lunch in London.

The emergency budget of June 2010 led to a number of road safety partnerships deciding that speed cameras should be decommissioned to save money. This decision aroused widespread controversy among motorists, a number of whom felt that speed cameras were no more than revenue-raising devices or even had even caused accidents and their absence would not be missed. Local road safety partnerships were at a loss to counter this groundswell of opinion as they had little concrete evidence to refute the views held.

Into the growing debate stepped the RAC Foundation with funding to enable Professor Allsopp to make a through, independent statistical analysis of the facts.  The conclusion of his report made published in November, 2011 was clear: fixed and mobile speed cameras save lives – and if speed cameras were decommissioned 800 more people a year could be killed or serious injured.

His report also refuted the idea that speed cameras were little more than revenue-raising machines. For each penalty notice imposed of £60 in 2006/7 there was a surplus of just £4.

In making the presentation, Prince Michael said, “The RAC Foundation is one organisation which has in recent years produced a number of well- regarded reports which have helped to inform road safety policy, inform the media and the public and above have been vital in helping governments are to make the correct decisions.  Publications such as Professor Richard Allsop’s excellent paper on the effectiveness of speed cameras is a case in point.”

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