Speed cameras are ‘lifesavers not cash cows,’ finds report

Speed cameras on Ryhope Road, outside Southmoor School Sunderland.
Speed cameras on Ryhope Road, outside Southmoor School Sunderland.
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SPEED cameras dubbed “cash cows” are preventing deaths and serious injuries on Sunderland’s roads.

Figures covering the past 22 years reveal the presence of cameras on city roads is, in the long run, helping to save lives.

But critics say the figures do not reflect the true picture, and they are calling for cameras to be scrapped and replaced with speed warning signs.

The statistics suggest notorious Sunderland accident blackspots have become safer since the installation of cameras.

Incidents in which people have been seriously killed or injured have reduced dramatically at the five fixed camera points in the city.

Between 1990 and 2000, there were 12 serious incidents and deaths at Ryhope Road, close to Southmoor School. This fell to just three between 2001 and 2012.

There were 14 serious incidents or deaths on the A690 Durham Road between 1990 and 2000. This has fallen to five between 2001 and 2012.

At Shiney Row, on the A183, there were 11 serious incidents or death up until 2000. This fell to six between 2001 and 2012.

On Whitburn Road in Seaburn, incidents fell from six between 1990 and 2000 to just one between 2001 and 2012, while on the B1522 at Ryhope Road, they fell from two to zero.

The figures, from Safe Speed for Life, also show that mobile cameras in the city are preventing accidents.

Most dramatically, incidents have fallen at North Moor Lane in Farringdon, from 15 to just four. Accidents have also halved at North Hylton Road in Castletown, falling from 12 to six.

But not all sites are proving as successful.

At Allendale Road in Farringdon, there has been an increase in the number of people seriously injured or killed from six to eight.

Jeremy Forsberg, spokesman for Safe Speed for Life, said the evidence shows that speed cameras are working across Wearside.

He added: “A few years ago, for the first time, the majority of drivers on our roads were driving within the 30mph speed limit.

“This didn’t just suddenly happen – it happened because there is now an enforcement regime in place. There is now a culture of enforcement which has made people rethink about the way they drive.

“For the past six years, we have also had a programme of education in place through the speed-awareness courses.

“There is no doubt the long-term picture is showing that speed cameras in Sunderland are working in terms of tackling injuries and deaths.”

When asked if drivers are simply slowing down because they know where speed cameras are located, Mr Forsberg added: “These are not responsible drivers, they are breaking the law.

“A mobile camera can catch a speeding driver up to 1km away.”

But Roger Lawson, from the Alliance of British Drivers, claims the figures do not fairly represent the true situation on our roads.

He said: “The fact is the number of people seriously injured or killed on our roads is falling all over – regardless of whether there is a speed camera there or not.

“The is because cars are safer than ever before, so less people are getting injured.”

Mr Lawson added: “We believe money could much better be spent on things like speed display signs, which are just as effective but can be provided at a fraction of the cost.”