Britain tops European league for speed cameras

April 16, 2009 | By | In Statistics

Number of speed traps here triples to beat all of France's and Italy's sites added together.

Britain now has more speed cameras than any of its European neighbour-countries. The Daily Mail reports that the number installed has almost tripled within six years. Figures from the Department for Transport show that in 2001 there were 1571 cameras.

By 2007, the last year for which figures are available, the total rose to 4309. This means that Britain now tops the Euro-league, according to research from speed camera alert system Wayfinder. Germany and France, which have more roads and more cars, have 3000 and 1000 cameras respectively. Italy, meanwhile, has fewer than 2000. London has the most, with 439 fixed sites, while Lancashire has 345 and the Thames Valley, 247.

Although the number of road deaths in Britain is at a record low, it has declined at a slower rate than elsewhere in Europe. While speeding fines bring in more than £102m a year for the state, driving too fast is, according to Government statistics, a factor in only 6% of accidents and 13% of fatal crashes.

The Department for Transport insists that cameras save lives, quoting independent research which indicates that there are 1745 fewer road deaths where cameras are sited.

However, the Institute of Advanced Motorists told the Daily Mail that cameras weren’t the ‘be-all and end-all' of road safety. If a camera is well positioned it can reduce accidents – but only if the driver and car are properly licensed, insured and otherwise road-legal. ‘The real problem is that cameras are playing too big a role,’ said a spokesman for the institute, ‘at a time when the number of visible traffic police has dropped off.’

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