Articles Tagged ‘speed camera - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake comments on figures showing only half of fixed cameras actively catching speeding drivers

News from Brake
Saturday, 4 November 2017

Only about half of fixed speed cameras in the UK are actually switched on and catching offenders, figures obtained by the Press Association indicate. Data released by 36 of the 45 police forces in the UK found that four have no fixed speed cameras at all and 13 have fewer than half actively catching speeding drivers.

Commenting on the new figures, Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "A staggering 1,800 people lost their lives on British roads last year and speeding is a factor many crashes. Speed cameras are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing deadly collisions and so it's critical they are operational. We are concerned to see figures which suggest so many are switched off and would urge they are urgently put back into action."

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Police our roads

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The UK has suffered a gradual and damaging decline in traffic policing, meaning offenders, including drink and drug drivers, mobile phone users, and people who don’t belt up, know there is a chance they will ‘get away with it’.

This is no surprise, because roads policing is not a political priority - it features low down the list in national policing plans by the Home Office.

Technology, most notably average speed cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition, has been implemented and saved many lives - but could be used much more.

Worryingly, fixed speed cameras are being removed in some areas for political reasons, despite the revenue they generate and lives they save. Roadside drugalysers are still not in use. Crash investigations are often inadequate - there are no statutory standards for investigation, and there is no national crash investigation agency. There is also under-resourcing of enforcement of truck and bus safety, which is of critical importance given the size and weight of these vehicles and requires specialist officers using specialist equipment.

Back our campaign to police our roads.

Read more

Road policing in the UK
Speed enforcement
Drink drive enforcement
Commercial vehicle enforcement

Campaign news

Letter to Policing Minister Nick Herbert on police pursuits policy, 1.02.11
Comedian David Mitchell says 'You can't play fast and loose with speed!', 10.05.10
Brake's response to the government's Road Safety Compliance Consultation 27.02.09
The government's Road Safety Compliance Consultation, closed 27 February 2009
Article about police safety campaigns reducing road deaths in the North of England - The Times 29.07.08
Article about poor levels of road policing in the Metropolitan Police's magazine 'Metline' 2.04.07
Parliamentary Transport Select Committee's recommendations on road policing and Government response 6.02.07
Brake's presentation to the Association of Chief Police Officers' road policing conference, 1.10.06
Brake's oral evidence to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee inquiry into traffic policing 8.3.06
Brake's written response to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee Inquiry into traffic policing 14.2.06
Parliamentary Transport Select Committee Inquiry into traffic policing 25.1.06
Home Office's 'National Community Safety Plan' identifying implementation of the ACPO Roads Policing Strategy as a key action 1.1.05

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Save our cameras

Speed cameras are proven to be extremely effective at slowing down traffic and preventing unnecessary and tragic deaths and injuries on our roads.[1] They have been criticised as being an ‘unfair war on motorists’ when in reality they are accepted and supported by the majority of drivers as a legitimate road safety measure, and work. [2]

There is a vast amount of academic evidence showing both the importance of reducing speeds in order to prevent casualties, and that cameras are successful in achieving this. Studies have found that fixed cameras can cut the number of drivers speeding at camera sites by more than two-thirds.[3] 

If we enforce speed limits effectively and reduce speeds, drivers have more time to react and stop in time. Removal of speed cameras is grossly irresponsible and inevitably will costs lives. Read more about speed limit enforcement and speed cameras.

Take action

Click like at the top of this page to spread the word on Facebook
Write to your MP outlining the importance of speed cameras to road safety
Worried about speeding drivers in your community? Report it to Zak the Zebra!

Campaign news

Defending life-saving cameras against bad use of statistics, 25.08.11
Brake response to speed camera data published by Department for Transport, 24.08.11
Life-saving benefits of Scottish speed cameras demonstrated, 27.07.11
Speed cameras switched back on in Oxfordshire, 1 April 2011
Brake comments on story showing many speed camera boxes are empty, 27.01.11
Report shows 800 lives saved by speed cameras annually
, 24.11.10
Speed camera to come back in Oxfordshire, 24.11.10
Wells MP wins Brake and Direct Line's award for speed camera campaign, 04.11.10
Clare Brixey leads a protest in Wiltshire at the decommissioning of speed cameras, 20.08.10
Wiltshire and Swindon Road Safety partnership to close because of cuts to road safety, 04.08.10
Comedian David Mitchell says 'You can't play fast and loose with speed!', 10.05.09


[1] The national safety camera programme four-year evaluation report (PA Consulting and UCL, 2005)
[2] A 2008 AA/Populus survey of 11,388 AA members found that 70% accept the use of speed cameras
[3] The national safety camera programme four-year evaluation report (PA Consulting and UCL, 2005)

Speed enforcement

It’s essential that legal speed limits are enforced, to ensure people are obeying the law and not putting themselves and others at risk. There are two traditional ways to enforce speed limits: speed cameras (fixed or operated by police) and traffic calming. Intelligent speed adaptation (ISA), as discussed below, is a promising technology that could enable greater enforcement of speed limits and greatly improved road safety as a result.

Speed cameras

There are different kinds of cameras:

  • fixed cameras that measure the speed of passing cars and take photographs of those that break the speed limit
  • mobile cameras held by police officers, placed on tripods, or fixed in police cars, that can visit different locations
  • average, or time-over-distance, cameras, that calculate the time it takes a vehicle to travel between cameras and therefore the average speed.

Average cameras have commonly been used on long stretches of fast roads, but it is now possible to use them in towns and villages too, including over small networks of roads such as housing estates [1]. They are particularly beneficial as they enforce limits over a longer stretch of road, preventing law-breaking drivers from being able to speed up again immediately after passing a camera.

Benefits of speed cameras

Speed cameras are not only cost-effective, but carry a significant cost-benefit to the public purse. Installation, maintenance, and administration can be self-funded by fines, if this money is ring-fenced to re-invest into road safety measures (although this is not always the case: in the UK fines go straight to central government, but are not reinvested in cameras or other road safety measures). Cameras will also pay for themselves several times over in the money saved to the economy by preventing deaths and serious injuries: road crashes were estimated to cost the economy £16.3 billion in 2014 due to human costs and costs to emergency, health and criminal justice services [2].

Cameras can catch far higher numbers of speeding drivers than traffic police with mobile cameras, and at much lower cost, freeing up police for other duties that cannot be conducted by technology, such as breath-testing.

Effectiveness of speed cameras

There is overwhelming evidence that speed cameras are effective in reducing speeds and preventing crashes and casualties. For example: 

  • A four-year national evaluation of more than 4,000 speed camera sites across the UK found a 70% reduction in speeding at fixed sites, a fall of 6% in average speeds and a 42% reduction in deaths and serious injuries [3].
  • Researchers at Liverpool University developed a mathematical model which proves that speed cameras substantially reduce crashes, even when accounting for random fluctuations in crash levels (known as ‘regression to the mean’) [4].
  • Analysis of data from 551 fixed speed cameras across England found that fatal and serious collisions dropped by an average of 27% in their vicinity following installation [5].
  • Annual deaths and serious injuries dropped 68% at all 408 speed camera sites in Scotland, when comparing the three-year average post-installation with the three-year average prior to installation [6].
  • A review of 35 international studies into the effectiveness of speed cameras found that speed cameras reduce average speeds by 1-15% and serious and fatal crashes by 11-44% [7]. 
Learn more: Visit Brake’s road safety research library for more research studies on speed cameras and speed enforcement.

Support for speed cameras

The majority of people accept that speed cameras do a good job of reducing speeds and saving lives. In the UK, four in five (80%) drivers support speed cameras and 79% agree cameras have helped reduce road deaths [8].

A Brake and Direct Line survey found almost two in three (62%) drivers said more enforcement, including cameras and traffic police, would persuade them to take more care on the road [9].

There is still a small minority that consider speed cameras and speeding fines an “unfair charge on motorists”. This is clearly not the case, as only drivers who break the law by speeding are penalised – if you don’t break the speed limit, you won’t get caught by a camera.

Traffic calming

Traffic calming, including bumps, humps, bollards, chicanes, markings, and bigger or vehicle-activated speed limit signs, are designed to slow down drivers to within the posted limit, often within built-up and residential areas. Other measures include giving the road environment the look and feel of an area used by lots of people, encouraging drivers to think they ought to slow down, such as making the road surface coloured or rough, or installing wide pavements with benches and flower pots.

Traffic calming often carries a higher initial cost than a camera but, if implemented carefully, can be very effective. In towns and villages in the UK where 20mph speed limits have been implemented, the speed of traffic has dropped most when traffic calming measures have also been installed, such as in the city of Hull [10].

There are also measures that can slow down traffic on country roads, particularly where drivers are failing to perceive danger and not slowing down enough. These include road markings, rumble strips, and vehicle-activated signs. One study found that vehicle-activated signs on country roads could reduce speeds by 5km/h (3mph) and crashes by 70% [11].

Intelligent Speed Assistance

Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that is designed to prevent drivers from exceeding speed limits and is proven to work. 

ISA works by using GPS combined with a digital map of speed limits to keep vehicles to the posted speed limit on each road. However, there are three types of ISA, with distinct ways in how they help achieve speed compliance:

  • advisory ISA gives the driver immediate feedback through a visual, audio or haptic signal if the speed limit changes or they exceed the speed limit
  • voluntary ISA automatically decreases acceleration if the driver exceeds the speed limit, but the driver can override this
  • mandatory ISA automatically decreases acceleration if the driver exceeds the speed limit, and cannot be overridden 

More information 

[1] SPECS3 is now Home Office Type Approved, Transport Business International, 2009 

[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS60003

[3] The national safety camera programme: Four-year evaluation report, PA ConsultingGroup, UCL, University of Liverpool and Napier University, commissioned by the Department for Transport, 2005

[4] Speed cameras do reduce accidents, say researchers,, 2008

[5] Deaths and serious injuries down a quarter near speed cameras, RAC Foundation, 2013

[6] Key Scottish Safety Camera Programme Statistics 2011, Scottish Government, 2012

[7] Speed cameras for the prevention of road traffic injuries and deaths, Cochrane Injuries Group, 2010

[8] Speed cameras: a snapshot of drivers’ opinions, Institute of Advanced Motorists, 2013

[9] Report on safe driving: speed, Brake and Direct Line, 2010

[10] Memorandum by Kingston upon Hull City Council: 20 mph zones in Kingston Upon Hull, Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2002

[11] Methods for Reducing Speeds on Rural Roads, Austroads, 2014


Page last updated: September 2014

Steve Barclay MP named Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Year

PRESS RELEASE from Brake, the road safety charity

Awards recognising the contributions of parliamentarians in tackling devastating road crashes and casualties were presented by road safety charity Brake at its annual reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, sponsored by Direct Line

Steve Barclay_and_ButchersSteve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, received the Community Campaigner Award for his successful year-long campaign for road safety measures on a treacherous stretch of the A47 that had seen a spate of devastating crashes resulting in five deaths in six years.

In spring 2011, Steve Barclay MP, Councillor John Fish and a group of local people launched a campaign calling for a speed camera on the road to be reactivated and improved warning signs.

After the Highways Agency refused to fund the camera, Steve wrote to Cambridge County Council Highways Department twice, met the Highways Agency twice, and met then transport minister Mike Penning MP, asking them to
Steve Barclay, Tina Butcher, and Steve Butcher      look at the issue. On 10 April Mike Penning contacted Steve to say the government had instructed the Highways Agency to pay for the signs and confirmed the speed camera would be switched back on. 

Due to Steve’s campaigning, a new warning sign has been erected and the camera turned back on. Steve is monitoring the situation on the A47, and now campaigning for a crash barrier adjacent to a local bridge.

 He also recently launched a campaign with the bereaved family of Jamie Butcher, who was killed by a dangerous driver in 2011, aged just 22. Alongside Steve Barclay,Steve, Tina, and Hollie Butcher are calling for tougher punishments for dangerous drivers to deter risky driving and ensure justice for bereaved and injured victims. Read more at

Steve Barclay MP says: "I am honoured to receive this recognition from Brake. There is often a sense within rural communities that their voice is not heard and the initial response from the Highways Agency struck me as dismissive. It cannot be right that two simple road signs would cost £30k or that a speed camera already in place could not be switched on in response to local concerns. It is pleasing to see the community work together to have a Minister listen and act on their concerns. I hope this stretch of road will be a little safer as a result.

“I also hope that this recognition from Brake will help the Stop Dangerous Drivers campaign in reaching a wider audience. I am so proud to have been given a chance to work alongside Steve, Tina, and Hollie Butcher in the search for Justice for Jamie, and I am all the more determined to continue campaigning for safer roads, safer driving, and justice for the bereaved and injured victims of crashes."

Read more about Steve’s campaign.
Read more about Brake’s campaign for slower speeds.

The Awards were presented by Julie Townsend, Brake's deputy chief executive, and Tom Woolgrove, managing director of personal lines of Direct Line Group, which sponsored the awards and reception. The reception was attended by Brake's supporters, including parliamentarians, corporate partners, road safety professionals and volunteers working in their communities to improve road safety.

Julie Townsend, Brake's deputy chief executive, said: "Steve’s efforts to champion crucial road safety measures, in his constituency and in parliament, and to give a voice to families devastated by road crashes, is truly commendable. Steve has shown tremendous dedication and resolve to bringing about positive outcomes for their constituents and communities across the UK, by fighting for safer roads and a tougher approach to tackling risky, deadly driving. Efforts like his are critical in making our roads and communities safe for everyone and preventing needless tragedies that inflict such terrible pain and trauma. Brake commends Steve for his valiant work which has, and will continue to, make a real difference to people's lives."

Tom Woolgrove, managing director of personal lines at Direct Line Group, said: "We are delighted to sponsor these awards and play our part in improving safety on our roads. Serious work and effort has been undertaken by MPs this year to promote and campaign on road safety; but more can and must be done. As a major motor insurer, Direct Line Group is committed to reducing death and injury on UK roads. However, we know actions speak louder than words. That’s why this year, as well extending our sponsorship withBrake, we have chosen them as one of our four main charity partners. What’s more, we’re providing our staff with the opportunity to volunteer during work hours, on some quality road safety initiatives, to make our communities safer."

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, April 2012


North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay has been awarded a Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month Award by national charity Brake and Direct Line for his successful campaign to reactivate a speed camera and install signs to prevent further casualties on a treacherous stretch of the A47. Steve has also secured progress on a second campaign to install a barrier between a waterway and stretch of road in his constituency where a young girl was killed.

In April 2011, after nine crashes in three years and five deaths in six years, Steve Barclay launched a campaign with local residents and Councillor John Fish calling for a speed camera to be reactivated and warning signs installed.

The Highways Agency agreed to install the signs, but said the £30k cost would have to be met by the Parish Council because the number of crashes on the road did not meet their stipulated level. At this point they declined to switch the speed camera back on.

Steve then wrote to road safety minister Mike Penning MP to say how disappointed he was that the Highways Agency had not agreed to pay for the signs or reactive the camera.

In September, Steve met David Gingell, Highways Agency divisional director. At the meeting Mr Gingell confirmed that the agency would reactivate the speed camera.

The campaign continued when in March 2012, Steve met again with Mr Gingell and separately with road safety minister Mike Penning MP to discuss the issue of the road signs on the A47. A month later, Mike Penning MP contacted Steve to say the government had instructed the Highways Agency to pay for the signs and reconfirmed the speed camera would be switched back on.

Steve and the local campaigners welcomed this news wholeheartedly as it will help to make this road safer for local residents and drivers using the road. Steve has pledged to continue to monitor the situation closely in case any further action is needed to improve safety on the road.

Steve also secured a visit from road safety minister Mike Penning on a separate road safety issue. The waterway adjacent to Bedlam Bridge is in need of barriers to prevent vehicles running into the canal should they skid, as happened to 9 year old Charlotte Walker who was tragically killed. Having identified this in his maiden speech, Steve persuaded the road safety minister to visit and see the site first hand. As a result of the visit and the campaigning of Graham Chapple and others alongside Steve, the County Council has now undertaken soil testing as a first step to installing the much needed barriers.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: "Brake applauds the persistence of Steve Barclay MP, Councillor John Fish and the community in pursuing the reinstatement of a speed camera and new signs. Their hard work has paid off and local residents will be safer because of it. This is a stretch of road that has seen too many needless casualties over the years, causing terrible devastation to families. We hope these measures will mean no more lives are lost in this way. Local drivers can also play their part to prevent more tragedies by pledging to stay within speed limits, and slow right down for bends, junctions and around homes and schools."

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: "I am honoured to receive the recognition from Brake. There is often a sense within rural communities that their voice is not heard and the initial response from the Highways Agency struck me as dismissive. It cannot be right that two simple road signs would cost 30k or that a speed camera already in place could not be switched on in response to local concerns. It is pleasing to see the community work together to have a Minister listened and act on their concerns. I hope this stretch of road will be a little safer as a result."

Read about Brake's national campaigns for safer roads, including Slower speeds save lives.


Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, September 2010

tessa_Custom Brake and Direct Line have awarded Tessa Munt, MP for Wells the 'Parliamentarian of the Month' award for her commendable actions on behalf of her constituents to uphold necessary road safety measures.
Tessa has been campaigning with local residents in the village of Chilcompton after the removal of a speed camera outside the primary school on the busy B3139 road. Concerned councillors, parents, residents and teachers had contacted Tessa to express how worried and upset they were after the camera was removed by the County Council without any consultation locally. One young pupil sent a lovely letter to Tessa asking her to 'help us cross the road safely.'
Tessa had also been made aware of other groups in her constituency campaigning for better road safety. Another local constituent from Rooksbridge, Pat Ireland, whose husband Gordon was killed by a speeding motorist, had been campaigning against the removal of speed cameras in her village and had already raised £23,000 to pay for the installation of a speed camera on the road where her husband was killed. Tessa supported Pat's campaign and is no stranger to campaigning in support of road safety measures.
In June 2010 the Government announced total transport funding cuts of 25% by the year 2014 including an immediate cut of 40% in the road safety grant for the current year. This funding is used for road safety engineering measures such as pedestrian crossings and road humps as well as for the installation and maintenance of fixed cameras.
Before the cuts to the road safety grant, there had been three cameras on the stretch of road in Chilcompton. The County Council subsequently removed the camera outside the school. Tessa invited Jeff Bunting, the Mendip Area Traffic Engineer at Somerset County Council to join her and some local residents to observe the busy traffic during the school morning rush hour. Tessa has asked the County Council to justify the camera's removal and for the data which informed this decision. She has also contacted Phillip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport and Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government regarding this issue.
Tessa Munt MP for Wells said: ''It simply makes no sense for the Council to remove the camera outside the school where the need is greatest- it's simply wrong. The council has a duty to ensure these children can walk to school safely by providing adequate safety measures. I am putting pressure on Somerset County Council to reverse its decision or provide an alternative and some traffic calming measures. Children are vulnerable road users and we should do all we can to protect them."
Jessica Wigglesworth, Brake's Campaigns assistant said: "Brake would like to congratulate Tessa for her hard work in supporting the constituents in her area to strive for a safer and healthier community. We hope that Tessa will keep up their commendable work in the future."

From June 2011 interim measures were put in place in Chilcompton to help stop speeding near the Village School. Two new ‘wig wag’ signs will also be placed on the approach to St Vigor and St John’s school at the beginning of September 2011. Within two years the villagers will have a zebra crossing near the school and a new signal crossing by the petrol station. This is a fantastic development to a long running campaign!  Well done Tessa!