Increasing the number of speed cameras will have little effect on the road toll, says a leading road safety campaigner.
Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com says:
“However much the government tries to massage the figures, the reality is that most fatalities occur at speeds below the legal limit.”
Matthew-Wilson says there is some debate as to whether speed cameras work at all.
“Speed cameras work on law-abiding motorists who just needed a reminder that they were over the speed limit. However, virtually all research in all countries shows that speeding fines and demerit points simply don’t work on the highest risk groups.”
A 2009 AA study of 300 fatal crashes found:
“It is apparent that [many speed-based road fatalities] were caused by people who don't care about any kind of rules. These are men who speed, drink, don't wear safety belts, have no valid license or WoF - who are basically renegades. They usually end up wrapped around a tree, but they can also overtake across a yellow line and take out other motorists as well.”
Matthew-Wilson gave the example of Bevan Shane Marino, a South Auckland gang associate who caused a multiple fatality while drunk and on cannabis. His own 3-year old son, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown through the windscreen of the car. Marino was driving erratically and at high speed. His bald left rear tyre shredded and he lost control, killing two German tourists and two of his passengers.
“Perhaps the minister of transport will explain how speed cameras could have prevented this accident?”
Matthew-Wilson believes that vehicle-activated speed warning signs, which display the driver’s speed as the vehicle approaches, are far more effective and far cheaper than speed cameras.
A major study by Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory concluded
“The signs appear to be very effective in reducing speeds, particularly those of the faster drivers who contribute disproportionately to the accident risk, without the need for enforcement such as safety cameras. In this study, a substantial accident reduction has been demonstrated.”