Title: Oxfordshire speed camera switch-off: One month one

Organisation: Safer Roads (Berkshire)
Date uploaded: 15th October 2010
Date published/launched: September 2010

This report looks at changing offence rates at four camera sites following the well-publicised switching off of speed cameras in Oxfordshire on 1 August 2010.

Following a 40% (£559,886.81) in-year reduction in the specific road safety grant to Oxfordshire, the County Council took the decision to withdraw funding from the partnership and to stop the use of fixed and mobile speed cameras, and red-light cameras, on its road network.

A total of 72 fixed cameras were ‘switched-off’ on the 1 August 2010 and the move was well-publicised in the local, national and even international press.

It was agreed that speed monitoring would continue to take place at a handful of sites after 1 August to determine the effect the switch-off had on offence rates. The monitoring consisted of an electronic counter attached to the radar units still operational within the camera housings, and set to the appropriate ‘threshold’. The threshold for 30mph limits has been 35mph for several years in Thames Valley, meaning an offence is classed as a speed of 35mph or greater. The devices do not record average speeds or the number of vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit. The threshold for 40mph roads is 46mph.

This report looks at the evidence retrieved from four sites (six ‘locations’) in Oxfordshire in the 32 days following the switch-off.

The results, although only at a limited number of locations for a short period of time, indicate that motorist do alter their speed choices when they know a fixed speed camera is not loaded.

Even the most conservative analysis shows a 2.9 to 4 times increase in offending at sites only one month after the switch-off. If seasonal variations and more recent offence rates are taken into account then the increases are significantly higher.

Local authorities around the country should bear these results in mind if they are considering a similar approach to Oxfordshire as the deterrent effect of the housing alone is diminished by public announcements regarding their operational capacity.

For more information contact:
Richard Owen
T: 01295 731815

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