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More Cameras for Essex but stats suggest they dont work

pocketgpsworld.comJust recently we had the debacle with Average Speed Cameras on the A127 heading into and out of Southend, now we are seeing another string of cameras being installed on the A130, connecting the A127 with Canvey Island. This is despite figures on the Essex Safety Camera Partnership's website suggesting that cameras have had little effect on speed related casualties.

There is still no word as to whether the A127 cameras are operational or not, but observation of driving attitudes on that stretch of road shows lots of potential dangerous driving that I have never witnessed before. Indeed going to Canvey to get the pictures for this article I witnessed a driver doing 35 in the 50 MPH slamming his brakes on every time he saw a camera. This caused people to swerve to avoid him and enter a stream of traffic travelling at 50. This are not exceptional, but every day occurrences.

This road is better known as Canvey Way and has for years been a notorious accident black spot, though spot is the wrong word to use here as the whole road is dangerous. The 700,000 'safety' project involves shutting lay-bys and resurfacing as well as SPECs average speed cameras and yes you've guessed it yet another reduction in speed for the road.


Now I can understand the shutting down of the lay-bys as this can stop great speed differential when a car is rejoining the road, but as usual the council have buried their heads in the sand and not tackled the real problem of the A130. The single lane road was built 37 years ago as a relief road around the only other access road through Benfleet and now forms the main escape and commute route off the Island for a population of just under 40,000.


Maybe with over double the population on the island the powers that be should have considered either upgrading and straightening the road or providing other access points to the island.

Councillor Norman Hume for South Woodham Ferrers (some 20 miles from Canvey Way) is quoted as saying "Canvey Way is used by more than 25,000 vehicles a day and congestion caused by accidents causes misery to thousands all too frequently. This new 50mph limit, monitored by average speed cameras, will help us to tackle this issue...". Well for a change the safety argument is not being used, but has been switched to congestion. Once again it is blatantly obvious that the councillor has never attempted to use the road during the rush hour. Congestion from the very occasional accident is nothing compared to the daily misery that tens of thousands of drivers experience every day at the "Magic Roundabout" that is Sadlers Hall Farm. Speed Cameras will not make a blind bit of difference here. Having said that the revenue earned from the Speed Cameras could be used to improve the roads, but sadly most of that disappears into the government's coffers (no doubt to help fund failing banks).

It is a pity I don't live in the councillor's ward otherwise he would be asked questions about the steep rise in the number of speed cameras, without a similar decrease in the number of speed related accidents. He certainly would not get my vote if he was running on a platform of installing speed cameras all over the county.

Interestingly the Essex Speed Camera partnership have released figures on their website that shows that speed cameras have very little effect on speed related accidents on the roads. Their own figures from "Speeding in Essex- the facts" seem to show that Southend with the highest density of cameras in the area the number of speed related casualties has increased over the last 4 years, whilst Thurrock is roughly the same. Given that in the 4 years recorded Southend had 23 speed related accidents and Thurrock 64 maybe all the hundreds of thousands of pounds frittered away on Speed Camera technology may have been better spent improving roads and driver awareness.

The sad part of all this is that in the last week we have had news of the stats for 2009 being pushed past those for 2007 with a car ploughing into a group of 13 youngsters and a teenager being knocked down crossing a 70MPH dual carriageway. That is a total of 14 deaths and injuries in just 2 incidents, neither of which speed cameras would have prevented. I have no doubts in my mind that we need to make our roads safer, but education rather than speed cameras is the way to go. Maybe if the income from the Speed Cameras was used to provide positive education for all road users (not just drivers) then there may be more support for their use rather than the hatred they currently inspire.

Image from Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents.

This is an issue for all parties involved with roads to address, Government, Local Authorities, Road Users and Car Manufacturers. Over the last 30+ years we have seen cars improve dramatically not just in safety but also in performance. In the same period we have seen the decline in road awareness skills. Gone is Tufty the Squirrel, The Hedgehogs and the Green Cross Man. Also gone is the Cycling Proficiency test and similar schemes to give kids road sense. These have been replaced with either nothing or computer games like Grand Theft Auto: No wonder the roads are dangerous!!! Kids no longer cycle on the roads they use pavements and never gain any kind of road sense until they start to drive, by then it is too late. Maybe if positive education (rather than shock tactics) started at school and continued throughout life then road users would have a greater understanding of dangers they face and impose. Surely that would be far more preferable to draconian, knee jerk, measures to legislate for a deficiency that has crept in over the years.
Posted by Courierman on Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:43 pm Reply with quote

here's one for you ,Is it becoz we all have the camera DB ?,would that be why they do work ?

Posted by DennisN on Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:43 pm Reply with quote

I went to Southend and Shoeburyness and back on Wednesday. It's been quite some time since my last visit, but it did remind me of my general impression that the A127 and Southend seem to be particularly well blessed with cameras, more than I can think of anywhere else - I'd hardly finished listening to one warning before the next shouted at me.

You must be a very wicked lot of drivers over there. Twisted Evil


If it tastes good - it's fattening.

Two of them are obesiting!!

Posted by theripper on Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:43 am Reply with quote

Hope you got your passport stamped coming all this way.


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