Campaigners call for speed cameras to be switched on

This is The West Country: CH Con Nick Gargan. CH Con Nick Gargan.

SWITCHING speed cameras back on will reduce the carnage on Somerset’s roads, campaigners believe.

The county council, which unplugged its 26 machines in 2010, is selling them to Avon and Somerset Police after the Chief Constable expressed alarm at the number of road deaths.

The police say the cameras will make our roads safer at no public cost.

Jane Hofmeister, who set up the Think Amy! driver education campaign after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by speeding motorists in Taunton, welcomed the move.

She said: “Anything which helps reduce speed and unnecessary deaths is good.

“The cameras are another reminder.

“What’s the point having them if they’re not switched on?

“Let’s use them to encourage people to keep to safe standards.”

Following his appointment, Ch Con Nick Gargan expressed “significant concern” at the number of road deaths and asked councils to hand control of the equipment to the police.

Supt Ian Smith said: “We’ve been liaising with all local auth-orities to discuss whether they would consider reactivating their dormant digital speed cameras.

“This discussion is based on national research showing that cameras add value to road safety and on the fact that there’s over £2million worth of camera road safety infrastructure which is slowly eroding on the roadsides.

“We believe the static cameras can be operated in a cost neutral way and reactivating them for use alongside our mobile cameras will help in making our roads safer.”

Somerset County Council leader Cllr John Osman said he was happy to giving responsibility to the police, provided there is no cost to the council.

He added: “I’ve listened to Nick Gargan’s offer to buy and take up the costs of operating the fixed speed cameras throughout Somerset.

“We were advised in 2010 by the police that fixed speed cameras were ineffective against speeding motorists.
“However, the new Chief Con-stable has a new approach and new data and we’re happy to discuss the police purchasing them from us for a nominal fee.”

Road deaths in Avon and Somerset: 2013: 48 (19 involving motorcycles). 2012: 46 (8). 2011: 32 (8). 2010: 42 (7). Figures relate to the period January 1 to September 23 in the relevant years.

Collisions attended by police investigation unit: 2013: 146. 2012: 115. 2011: 120. 2010: 133.

Figures relate to the period January 1 to September 23 in the relevant years.

Speeding convictions (camera and non-camera offences): 2012/ 13: 4,636. 2911/12: 4,949. 2010/11: 2,178.

Fixed penalty notices for speeding (camera and non-camera): 2012/13: 919,813. 2011/12: 48,607. 2010/11: 152,635.

The areas in Somerset where most drivers are caught speeding – the A303 and the A358 at Henlade.

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