Do speed cameras cause crashes?

Alice Nicholson

By: Alice Nicholson

Recent studies have suggested that speed cameras actually cause car crashes, as drivers attempt to avoid being caught speeding at the last minute.

Research shows that 80% of UK speed cameras lead to ‘hard braking activity’  - which is when a driver slams on the breaks to avoid a fine. Hard braking is technically described as a change of speed of 6.5mph or more over one second. This amount of speed means that a bag placed on the passenger seat would be propelled into the footwell.

Dangerous driving ‘black spots’ are being created as motorists slow down before reaching fixed speed cameras. A study carried out by driver date firm Wunelli found that incidents of hard braking were on average six times more likely to take place just before speed cameras, and at some sites it can be 11 times as likely.

Instead of encouraging drivers to keep to the speed limit, it appears that speed cameras instead encourage poor driving behaviour. The study looked at data of over a billion miles and determined the top 10 speed camera sites which are most likely to trigger hard braking.

Paul Stacy, Wunelli founding director, said: ‘I’m not in favour of speeding and not averse to speed cameras. But these findings really put into question the value of speed cameras as a road safety tool. Instead they appear to encourage poor driving behaviour. After hard braking, drivers often speed up again.’

The 10 speed camera sites most likely to trigger hard braking

10: Watergate Bank, Consett Road (A692), Gateshead

9: Western Avenue (A40), Ruislip, west of A4180 junction

8: A4010, High Wycombe

7: Chester Road (A556), Mare, Knutsford, Cheshire

6: Garstang Road, Bilsborrow, Preston

5: Iver Lane (B470), Uxbridge, Middlesex, London

4: B5206, north of Shevington, Wigan

3: Leighton Buzzard Road (A4146), north of Hemel Hempstead

2: Rochdale Road, Middleton, Manchester

1: M4, eastbound, near Boston Manor train station, London