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High visibility speed cameras may increase road deaths

Government plans to increase the visibility of speed cameras and ban dummy warning signs on roads where there are no cameras may increase deaths and injuries on the road, according to a letter in this weeks BMJ.

Speed cameras will now be painted yellow and must be visible from a distance of up to 100m. Police forces will also be forbidden from erecting warning signs on roads where there are no cameras.

These measures seem destined to placate the angry minority of motorists who believe that drivers should be warned about impending cameras, giving them the chance to slow down, argues Paul Pilkington, a specialist in public health at Avon Health Authority. But this view is not based on evidence of health benefits. Hidden cameras are associated with net falls in speeds, crashes, and casualties when compared with visible ones.

The introduction of high visibility speed cameras is a mistake, he says. We need evidence that they are more effective than hidden cameras. If they do not reduce collisions, deaths, and injuries more effectively they should not be introduced.

Road safety policy should be based on evidence of health benefits and not on pressure from a vocal minority, he concludes.


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Contact: Emma Wilkinson
ewilkinson@bmj.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
9-May-2002


Page: 1

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