Lives saved by speed cameras

SPEED cameras have saved lives and reduced the number of collisions on Suffolk's roads, according to new figures released today.More than 48,000 drivers were caught speeding in Suffolk over the last year raising almost £3million in fines.

SPEED cameras have saved lives and reduced the number of collisions on Suffolk's roads, according to new figures released today.

More than 48,000 drivers were caught speeding in Suffolk over the last year raising almost £3million in fines.

Suffolk SafeCam has revealed that in the first year of its operation there were significant fewer casualties at camera sites across the county.

The figures show that the annual rate of people killed or seriously injured on sections of road where safety cameras have been introduced has fallen dramatically from 129 in 2003 to 25 in 2004.

The annual rate of collisions at sites where cameras now operate also dropped during the same period, from 173 to 104.

At camera locations in and around Ipswich the number of accidents fell by more than 40 per cent, from 21 in 2003 to 12 in 2004.

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There was also a fall in the severity of injuries suffered by those involved in road crashes.

Michelle Finnerty, communications manager for Suffolk SafeCam said: "These figures are extremely encouraging and are as a direct result of drivers slowing down and sticking to the speed limits.

"We have undertaken extensive educational campaigns to ensure that drivers are fully aware of the dangers of excess and inappropriate speed, including targeting all new drivers through local Driving Standards Agency test centres and working with local US air bases."

There are eight fixed camera sites in Suffolk and 52 locations where mobile enforcement takes place. All are at sites with a history of fatalities or serious injuries in road crashes.

Despite the number of fatalities and collisions falling, police hit out at motorists who continue to speed on the county's roads.

Chief Inspector Alan Pawsey from Suffolk Constabulary said: "Offences at camera sites are dropping as motorists become more aware that they will be caught if they break the law but despite this, over 48,000 people were prosecuted last year for excess speed.

"The camera sites are widely publicised so there's absolutely no need for this number of people to be caught.

"Not only are they increasing their chances of being involved in a collision, they are also endangering other road users."

Suffolk SafeCam is managed by the Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership, which comprises Suffolk County Council, Ipswich NHS Hospital, Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk Magistrates, Crown Prosecution Service and The Highways Agency.

The partnership's website, www.suffolksafecam.co.uk, shows the location of all camera sites and is updated weekly with mobile camera locations.

Do you think speed cameras save lives? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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