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February 28, 2009


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John Frewen-Lord

Deaths and serious injuries were dropping year on year in the UK until about 1999 - the year that speed cameras were introduced in significant numbers. After then the rates started back up - which of course the police and authorities tried to fudge over. Rates have since stabilised to around what they were in the late '90s, 'proving' (if such things can be proved by such statistics) that speed cameras have absolutely no effect on road safety. In the mostly rural county of Lincolnshire where I live, last year/this year rates are put up on roadside signs. The disparity between different years (sometimes double or more, sometimes half or less) shows that accidents are actually a rare (and statistically insignificant) event. Quebec's proposals sound like a tax grab, just as speed cameras are in the UK.


The only studies (not anecdotes) I have seen show that photo radar works and that includes an extensive British study that took a lot of different factors into consideration.
I fondly remember the short time photo radar was in effect in Ontario. Traffic flowed smoothly, less aggressive driving, less tailgating, very few speeders weaving through traffic. Of course that Ontario situation did not last long enough to draw any significant scientific conclusions.
A US study of red light cameras showed a significant reduction in T-bone crashes, but initially there was increase in less dangerous rear enders.
It would seem that photo radar is a less intrusive means of enforcement than pulling people off a busy multi-lane highway. Safer for the motoring public as well as the police officers.
Enforcement will never totally eliminate dangerous driving.
The reality is that the vast majority of people are good drivers who look out for others as well as themselves other wise a lot more people would be dying because of the ignorant, the arrogant, the suicidal and the rest of us who cannot say that we have never made a mistake.

Bill Trent

Dear Mr. Kenzie,
You mention poor condition licence plates in Ontario and Quebec. Why have the provinces not started a replacement program like in Florida? I understand licence plates are replaced every seven years regardless of condition.

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