Speed cameras are blamed for deaths
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• by Melanie Hammond Speed cameras and traffic calming measures are actually causing accidents and were partly responsible for five deaths last year, according to a report which is due to be published later this month.
The findings of the Dangers of Safety report by the Transport Research Group (TRG) will show that speed cameras and chicanes were key factors in three deaths in London and two deaths in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
According to the TRG's research, speed cameras can cause sudden responses from drivers resulting in loss of control of a vehicle. Examples illustrating the problem include a fatal crash involving a motorcyclist who broke sharply on seeing a speed camera. Chicanos, where drivers are forced to zigzag between points in the road, are also condemned.
TAG director Austin Williams says the study is "work in progress" but claims that "the unsuitable and illogical design of some traffic-calming measures leads to uncertainty on the road". He adds: "A number of fatalities could have been avoided if the inappropriate use of speed monitoring had not been in place."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport says: "We have not had the opportunity to see this report yet. However, we have sufficient evidence of speed enforcement cameras and traffic calming as effective measures for reducing road accident casualties."
She stresses that the cameras are there "as a deterrent" and concludes: If people have had to break suddenly for them, you have to ask why they were speeding in the first place."