Official Figures released today show that road deaths have risen by 2.25%, a rise that Safe Speed says is caused by bad road safety policy.

Safe Speed believes we must ask a fundamental question: “Why are road deaths rising while speed cameras are spreading like a virus.”

Safe Speed believes that road deaths are following a trend that they have been predicting for several years.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign comments: “We are told that speed cameras save lives, but the figures are hopelessly flawed. Speed camera effects are wide ranging and not limited to immediate and local effects on drivers speed. For example, speed cameras also affect drivers’ safety priorities – and not for the better.”

Paul explains: “It is very important to our road safety system that drivers slow down in areas of danger. I believe that all the indications point to speed cameras eroding this vital driver behaviour, and this is one of the most important factors that has lead to the rise in road death. By contrast keeping to the speed limit is not a terribly important road safety behaviour. Our motorways are the safest roads in the World, yet on some quieter sections more than 90% of cars are exceeding the speed limit.”

The rise in road death cannot be explained away as the result of an increase in traffic. Traffic has seen about a 1.75% increase, but we also have ongoing improvements in vehicle safety, road engineering safety and post accident medical care thought to be worth about a 7% reduction per annum when taken together.

In the pre-camera decade, from 1984 to 1993, road deaths fell by 32% (from 5599 to 3814). In the speed camera decade from 1994 to 2003, road deaths fell by just 3.8% (from 3,650 to 3,508).

Paul comments: “The focus on speed limits is dangerously simplistic. It sends completely the wrong messages. We must give all road users complete and accurate messages about the causes of road accidents, so that we can all guard against the right risks. Normal road users exceeding the speed limit is a real contributory factor in less than 2% of accidents.”