Interesting result

THE first town to switch off its speed cameras is celebrating the decision after accident rates and fines plummeted.

There have been no deaths on Swindon’s roads since the fixed cameras were turned off in August last year.

In the past 12 months, the town has had just two serious accidents and 14 slight accidents.

This is compared to one death, five serious and 15 minor crashes the year before. The council raked in £80,000 less than the previous year, issuing 1,341 fewer speeding tickets.

What would be ionteresting to find out is whether that\’s within the normal variability or not: is it an unexpected result or just part of the normal statistical variation?

7 thoughts on “Interesting result”

  1. I live close to Swindon, so have a vested interest a bit I suppose. I can hardly think that the reduction in accidents is a consequence of the camera removal, I think it is most likely to be natural variation. But it does show that removing them didn’t end the world, and result in a massive rise in accidents either, which is what the ‘Speed Kills’ brigade would tell us.

    I would say that the council has spent some of the money from removing the cameras on more of those smiley face speed indicators. Lots of those round Swindon now, and I think they work – a the velvet glove of a request to slow down is much more effective than the iron fist of the speeding ticket.

  2. I live in Swindon. Drive daily. I would also add that on some of the central dual carriageways we have 50 MPH limits, so the driving speeds are faster than in other towns, in my experience. People drive at a speed they feel comfortable with and think is appropriate.

    As sobers says, even if it is merely within natural variation, getting rid of the cameras seems to demonstrably have no net effect. no effect except, of course those 1,341 fewer speeding tickets means perhaps 1,000 fewer people harbouring grudges against the police for sneakily making them petty criminals. Tens of thousands of people with a better respect for the council and the state for not feeling persecuted every time they get behind the wheel.

  3. I’m a Swindon resident as well, and can safely confirm that the removal of the speed cameras has not turned the town into a J.G.Ballard-style charnel house.

    Speed cameras should have been about road safety and about saving lives. Instead they were turned into a money spinner, and that’s why no one (except councillors and police) actually rates them.

  4. On the other hand if they really were ‘money spinners’ then it means taxes have to be higher now – which will have negative incentive effects on production or income.

  5. I think I would feel safer driving around Swindon, knowing that the eyes of other drivers are likely to be on the road and not scanning the horizon for cameras. It would also allow me to pay full attention to driving.

  6. I’ve always said that if road safety campaigners were genuine in their desire to reduce speed (because they insist its the speed that causes accidents) then they would have promoted schemes such as I believe they have in Spain – when you enter a village or town there are traffic lights linked to a speed gun, so if you are going too fast the lights turn red and you have to stop (presumably you could then have a camera for people who jumped the lights). But this would raise no revenue, as people would soon realise if they wanted to get on they’d have to keep to the limit. So of course no-one (in power) ever suggests such a thing.

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