Image by hugovk via FlickrThe UK is the radar camera capital of Europe with 4,309 speed traps in the country by 2007 – up from 1,571 in 2001. There are over 430 speed traps in London alone. By comparison, Germany has some 3,000 cameras and France has under 1,000.
UK media report that despite the massive rise in fixed radars, the decline in road deaths in the UK has been slower than in other European countries, with the government conceding that speeding is a contributory factor in only 6% of road accidents and a causatory factor in some 13% of fatal crashes.
At the same time, papers like the Daily Mail (recommended reading for people who lean to the extreme right of politics, by the way) report that speeding fines are generating over $200 million per annum.
The UK’s Institute of Advanced Motorists believes that there is too much dependence on radars in road safety – ‘Speed cameras are not the be-all-and-end-all of road safety’, their spokesperson told the Mail.
It’ll be interesting to see where that leaves motorists in Dubai and Sharjah, where the proliferation of both fixed and mobile radar cameras has reached epic proportions. I rather suspect that we’re going to see the innovation eulogised by those responsible for it in a blitz of publicity based on non-independently derived statistics – but that would fly in the face of the clear statistics from Europe which clearly tell us that revenue-generating though they may be, radars are not the solution to road safety.