Accidents rise after speed cameras scrapped

Road accidents involving injuries rose by almost a quarter in Wiltshire after speed cameras were taken out of action.

The cameras were mothballed at the end of summer 2010 when the Wiltshire and Swindon Road Safety Partnership closed with the loss of 40 jobs following a 27% cut in government funding.

Between June 1 and August 31 2010 there were 310 collisions in the county in which someone was injured. Of these, eight were fatal, 54 involved injuries classed as serious, and 248 involved slight injuries.

In the corresponding period of summer 2011, there were 384 collisions in which someone was hurt, an increase of almost 24 per cent.

Six of these were fatal, 65 serious injury and 313 slight injury. The number of speeding tickets issued over the same three-month period rose from 1,316 to 1,528.

The Salisbury Journal obtained the statistics from Wiltshire Police after submitting a Freedom of Information request.

Police say the increase in the number of speeding drivers being caught reflects the increased priority the force has given to policing the roads since the cameras were scrapped.

Insp Steven Cox, head of the Wiltshire’s roads policing unit, said: “It was always our hope that the visual deterrent of cameras and mobile enforcement units would encourage motorists to observe speed limits to the extent where enforcement would be unnecessary.

“But the absence of the unit means roads policing officers have devoted a greater proportion of their time to this issue in order to go some way to mitigating the departure of the safety camera units.”

It has also been revealed this week volunteers with Community Speed Watch teams in the county have caught speeding drivers 15,000 times over the last year.

There are 60 Speed Watch teams in operation in Wiltshire, monitoring traffic and passing details of speeding motorists on to police.

 

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