West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership

Other Frequently Asked Questions

This section deals with other common misunderstandings and concerns about camera enforcement.

 

A speed camera has flashed me. When will I know if I am going to be prosecuted? 

A Notice of Intended Prosecution must be sent to the registered owner/keeper of a vehicle (as shown on DVLA records) with a view to it reaching them within 14 days.

 


I was flashed by a camera but I was sure I was travelling within the speed limit?

If you weren’t speeding there is nothing to worry about. Some cameras face forward and some face rear so it could be a vehicle behind you or one that’s coming the other way that has triggered it. All the types of equipment we use have been put through a rigourous test process by the Home Office which can take years. This ensures it does not go off by itself or take inaccurate measurements. As a double check, lines are painted on the road, or secondary sensors are installed in the surface so vehicles speeds can be calculated from these as a double check.

 


How do you know that the equipment is accurate?

First and foremost, all devices used are statutorily Home Office Approved for the purpose. This is a demanding process, first entailing extensive user operational trials on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in different Police Force and Partnership areas. If successfully completed, the submitted equipment is then subject to rigorous scientific examination by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch.
There is a requirement for all devices to be recalibrated by or on behalf of the manufacturer at least once a year. Devices are also recalibrated if substantial work has been carried out making this necessary.

Other checking arrangements vary with the type of equipment, checks being carried out as frequently as appropriate. Checks are also carried out on each occasion a fixed camera is loaded or unloaded. Some devices (in particular fixed systems designated as 'automatic operation') have independent secondary check facilities. Others (in particular mobile systems designated as 'attended actively operated') confirm the opinion of a trained operator that the vehicle was exceeding the speed limit.

 


What information is exempt under Freedom of Information Act?

  • Information that could lead to the identification of an individual
    (details of specific offences other than your own)
  • Information that would undermine a sites road safety function.
  • Information held for criminal investigations
    (prosecution evidence may be obtained from the Crown Prosecution Service once a summons has been issued)
  • If you feel information is being withheld unreasonably, you can find full details of the act and who to complain to at http://www.ico.gov.uk

 


Why do we need camera enforcement in West Yorkshire? 

The West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership concentrates enforcement at locations identified due to a history of collisions involving killed or seriously injured casualties. Cameras remain a useful tool in the battle to reduce the harm that road accidents do to the individuals involved and the wider community.

 


What are the criteria for getting new cameras installed in West Yorkshire?

These have changed over the years but since April 2009 we have been working to the following conditions based on the number of accidents where someone is Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) and a points system where each KSI accident scores 5 points and slight injury accidents score 1. Fixed camera lengths automatically qualify for mobile enforcement as well and both can be used together.


For General Fixed Cameras
At least 4 accidents causing death or serious injury in the previous 5 complete years prior to commissioning of the site.
And
A score of at least 36 points per km if the speed limit is 40mph or less and 30 points per km if the speed limit is over 40mph.
And
Surveyed traffic speeds showing 1 vehicle in 10 is exceeding the speed limit by 10% plus 2mph outside of peak periods for 40mph limits and below, or by 5mph for limits above 40mph.

 

For Camera Route Systems
For long stretches of road with persistently high accident rates.
Between 5km and 20km long
And
At least 1 KSI collision per km in the previous 3 complete years prior to commissioning of the site.
And
A score of at least 8 points per km if the speed limit is 40mph or less and 6 points per km if the speed limit is over 40mph.
And
Surveyed traffic speeds showing 1 vehicle in 10 is exceeding the speed limit by 10% plus 2mph outside of peak periods for 40mph limits and below, or by 5mph for limits above 40mph.

 

Red Light Cameras
Deter and detect red light running
At least 1 accident causing death or serious injury in the previous 3 complete years prior to commissioning of the site.
And
A score of 10.
And
A history of accidents resulting from red light violations.

 

Temporary Cameras at Road Works
Protecting road workers and users while temporary lane or speed restrictions are in place.
No accident or speed criteria required.

 

Mobile Enforcement
Liveried enforcement vehicles parked in conspicuous locations on signed lengths of road.
At least 1 KSI collision per km in the previous 3 complete years prior to commissioning of the site.
And
A score of at least 11 points per km if the speed limit is 40mph or less and 9 points per km if the speed limit is over 40mph.
And
Surveyed traffic speeds showing 1 vehicle in 10 is exceeding the speed limit by 10% plus 2mph outside of peak periods for 40mph limits and below, or by 5mph for limits above 40mph.

 


Aren’t Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) more effective than cameras?

VAS are cheaper than cameras and do have a positive effect on accident reduction, though their performance is based on small reductions for small amounts of money. Sometimes a small reduction is enough. The apparent discrepancy in cost is largely due to cameras requiring ongoing staff costs that VAS do not need. This assumes that prior to cameras, speed enforcement cost nothing and would return to nothing if cameras where removed. This is not the case but it does make it almost impossible to make a like with like cost comparison.

A DfT commissioned report called TRL548 looked at (amongst things) changes in accident numbers at 19 sites where VAS signs flashing the speed limit were installed. The annual rate of serious and fatal accidents fell at these sites from 0.55 per year to 0.22 per year. Or to put it another way, from 1 every 2 years to 1 every 5 years.

The same study also has 3 sites with before and after figures for camera installations. At these sites, the rate goes from 1.4 serious or fatal accidents per year to 0.4 per year. Or from roughly 2 every 3 years to 1 every 2 years.

So while the percentage change at VAS and camera sites in this study are similar, it would be risky to presume that VAS would solve a problem at sites with a poor accident history as the VAS sites did not have very large numbers to start with. As we are in the road safety business rather than the research business, we would not wish to start such an experiment, as it could ultimately result in loss of life.

 


Is this not just a money making opportunity?

The Casualty Reduction Partnership does not keep any of the money from fines, though it does retain a proportion of the cost of driver improvement courses. Money for new camera sites is provided by the relevant Local Authority, in the same way that other highway improvement schemes are designed and funded.

When you consider that the average cost of an accident is over £100,000, cameras start to look like a money saving opportunity.

 


Why aren’t you out catching ‘proper’ criminals? 

Speeding is a criminal offence, all be it one that is more widespread than most. As it can be detected automatically or by civilian operatives, this frees up Police resources.

 


Isn’t speed enforcement just another tax on motorists? 

It is not a tax; everyone pays taxes, but careful drivers who stick to the limits don't pay. Only drivers who break the law pay, and for them the solution is easy - stick to the speed limits.

 


Do cameras prevent accidents? 

Yes. It has been argued that the reductions seen at camera sites is the accident rate returning to it’s ‘natural’ level following an abnormally high period. While it is hard to quantify what would have happened if nothing had been done, we can make a best case prediction of likely future accident rates based on past history. It is very rare for fixed cameras to return a rate that isn’t substantially better than the best case prediction.

 


Don’t cameras cause accidents? 

It is sometimes said that cameras are a hazard because drivers are concentrating on their speedo, not the road ahead. Analysis of accident data after cameras have been installed shows this is not the case, probably because a competent driver will have an approximate idea of how fast they are going without staring intently at the speedometer. As drivers we regularly take our eyes off the road immediately in front of us without crashing, for example when checking mirrors or blind spots. Or how about when reading road signs? or observing other potential hazards such as pedestrians on the road side?

 

 

Disclaimer

The information given on this website is compiled by West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership from a variety of sources and every effort is made to ensure it is accurate. However, no liability will be accepted by West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership or its agents if it isn't.