Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Safety Camera Partnerships (RTS 43)


  1.1.1  I first became involved in Road Safety in March 2000 as the appointed Marketing Manager for the Northamptonshire Safety Camera Partnership;. Eight areas (Cleveland, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Northamptonshire, South Wales, Strathclyde and Thames Valley) were selected by the then DETR to take part in the Safety Camera Project, under "pilot status" reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads. Under a means known as "netting-off", revenue from speeding fines was permitted for the first time to be reinvested back into camera enforcement and keeping the public informed through education and awareness strategies. I introduced a radical approach to the Northamptonshire Project by proactively informing the public of where enforcement would take place and on which roads, in order to bring about a change in driver behaviour at recognised collision "hot-spots". This was accomplished by using PSA's (Public Service Announcements) on local radio during peak driving time. Alongside these PSA's entries were made into local papers offering information of when and where enforcement was occurring. Intelligence lead enforcement on whole routes was adopted. These stretches of road were known as "Red Routes"2 and descriptive leaflets about these routes were designed and distributed at the same time as the commencement of the PSA's. During the pilot phase of this project, Northamptonshire was the only partnership to employ a totally dedicated Marketing and PR person, however all eight pilot areas demonstrated successes in dealing with the public and managing the effectiveness of introducing the projects locally.

  1.1.2  National Roll out was announced by the Government in August 2001, and in line with the wishes of the Safety Camera Project Board, I was appointed as National Communications Lead representing all the existing and new partnerships throughout the country. This appointment was made in recognition of the need to have consistent and dedicated PR/Communications to support the national roll out program.


  2.1.1  Evidence now exists to show that with the increased use of speed enforcement together with targeted education and awareness strategies a change in driver behaviour can be achieved.3 The number of motorists exceeding the legal speed limit at enforcement location drops from 55 per cent to 16 per cent.3 Average speeds at these same locations also reduce by 5-6 mph.3 Surveys carried out by the Essex partnership revealed that over 70 per cent of the local population think more should be done to reduce speeds. It is recognised however, that a habit known as "camera surfing" can be possible if only fixed site enforcement is concentrated

on. This can be tackled by introducing mobile enforcement cameras together with intensive education and awareness strategies. Clearly, slowing motorists down at known "collision hot-spots" and thus resulting in fewer casualties is a success. Tackling driver behaviour at other locations must be addressed and this was done successfully in Nottingham, by the introduction of "average speed" cameras, resulting in compliance of the legal speed limit on a stretch of road historically abused for over 10 years.

  2.1.3  All eight partnerships can demonstrate that locally the projects were understood and compliance of the speed limits on the recognised "Enforcement Routes" was high. Mobile enforcement was introduced in all partnerships with the exception of Thames Valley and Lincolnshire. Cleveland took a very robust approach to the project and carried out only mobile enforcement. All of the pilot areas were successful in terms of reducing speeds and the number of casualties at known collision "hot-spots". Motorists from outside the pilot areas however, who it could be argued were not affected by the local PR and educational programs revealed knowledge gaps. Giving rise to a collective partnership determination to raise the awareness nationally of the Safety Camera Project.

  2.1.4  Overwhelmingly there has been public support for these projects. Contrary to a small minority in the national press, local press has been positive and continues to be so. In South Wales the scheme is now being rolled out further resulting in total coverage of the South Wales region. Over 70 per cent of those surveyed in the pilot areas agreed that fewer accidents are likely to happen on roads were speed cameras are installed. Over 80 per cent of the same poll recognise that cameras are meant to encourage drivers to keep to the limit not punish them.3 Excessive or inappropriate speed accounts for around one third of serious or fatal road collisions. Lincolnshire and latterly Northamptonshire have introduced Driver Improvement "Speed Workshops" to tackle behavioural tendencies as part of an accepted "diversion scheme". These schemes are expected to deliver longer term improvements in driving behaviour.

  2.1.5  There is a natural correlation to be drawn from the increased risk of detection (ie More speed cameras) and the driving behavioural patterns of motorists. 89 per cent of motorists say a speed camera will make them think about the speed at which they are travelling1 50 per cent of motorists would be happy to see more speed cameras as a means of slowing motorists down at recognised collisions "hot-spots". 70 per cent of motorists understand that intelligently placed cameras will save lives1. Motorists adjust their average speed at known "enforcement" sites and demonstrate a willingness to comply with the legal speed limit in order to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

  2.1.6  It can be demonstrated therefore, that the introduction of more speed and red light cameras at known collision "hot-spots" linked to focused education and awareness campaigns can bring about a reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads. The success of the eight pilot areas is testament to the fact, when overall 109 fewer people were killed on the roads during the year 2000.3


  3.1.1  If we are to eradicate the nuisance of speeding from our roads and in so doing bring about a dramatic change in driver behaviour we may also need to concentrate on "human tendencies" and general"bad driving habits". For years the Government has adopted television advertising campaigns to try to alter peoples' behaviour. For example, the DTLR has recently run it's Christmas don't drink and drive campaign linked to earlier Think campaigns at the beginning of the year. Drinking and driving are now socially unaccepted and this change in behaviour must be attributed to the extensive campaign launched by the Government some 20 years ago. Other Government departments also now use the television to effect public opinion and understanding, such as The Inland Revenue, The Department of Health and the Department for Social Services.

  3.1.2  It could be argued therefore, that with the success of these campaigns a more direct campaign concentrating on "Improving Driving Behaviour" could be considered. The Ministry of Defence for example, promote the use of television advertising/documentaries as a means of improving driving standards for all serving personnel throughout the world. It may be useful for the committee to consider this bench mark as a case for "best practice" when looking at solutions to the wider issues of improving driving behaviour.

  3.1.3  The documentaries have been running for over 20 years. During transmission it is noted by the Master Driver (responsible for all driver training in the Forces), that a shift in collision coincidences is noticeable. For example when the documentaries concentrate on speeding as the main issue, collisions involving inappropriate overtaking become the norm. Similarly, when the focus on speeding is removed, speeding tickets are issued.

  3.1.4  The documentaries cover a broad range of topics and in the early 80's and into the 90's these documentaries were called "Think and Drive", that has now been altered and updated to be more people focused. They are called "You're the Driver—REMEMBER". Clearly there are positive messages in both these titles.

  3.1.5  The documentaries offer advice, information, useful tips and guidance thus resulting in greater audience ownership and understanding. By "telling" this message longer term behavioural change and a sustainable difference in habits and tendencies is achieved. Video footage of these documentaries is available from Jonathan Marks, Senior Producer of BFBS Television.

  3.1.6  May it please the committee to consider that a national approach to altering driver behaviour through the use of the most widely used medium of all, namely the television would be a recommended way forward on behalf of all the Safety Camera Partnerships. Clearly this would support the work the partnerships are doing locally and give rise to a joined up approach to the issues. With the national roll out of the Safety Camera Scheme, the appointing of a National Communications Lead and with the necessary changes made to primary legislation to allow for the revenue from fines to be re-invested into greater camera enforcement and publicity we are ideally placed to make a real difference to the safety on the roads in our country. With the Government's Safer Roads Strategy in mind and because currently on average 66 people die on the roads in the United Kingdom each week, it is the wish of the partnerships that the committee consider a National Public Service Campaign via the television concentrating on improving driving standards of all road users delivering safer roads.

Susan Beck



  1.  Direct Line Survey—2001

  2.  Red Routes adopted by Northamptonshire Partnership concentrating on 50 known routes in the county which had a history of two killed or seriously injured victims on it each year for three years. Defined by distance, more than half a kilometre in urban areas and more than one kilometre in rural areas (copies of Red Route leaflets can be provided for the Committee on request)

  3.  DTLR Executive Summary Report, Safety Camera Pilot Project 2001

  4.  Essex Partnership Survey Chart (appended as annex 1)

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