Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership is a joint-working initiative to help reduce the number of road crash casualties at recognised accident locations in the West of Scotland.
It was one of eight pilot safety camera schemes established across Great Britain in 2000. Initially, only the Glasgow area was covered in the trial run by Strathclyde Police and Glasgow City Council.
The partnership later expanded across the whole of Strathclyde Police Force area to include the trunk and local authority roads of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Argyll & Bute, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire as well as Glasgow City.
The Partnership operates a combination of fixed, mobile and red light camera sites across the area plus the SPECS average speed camera system on the A77. There are currently 130 safety camera sites in operation.
It operates within the rules and guidelines of the Scottish Safety Camera Programme.
Road accidents are an ever-present part of modern life. In the last half-century more than 300,000 people have been killed and 17 million people injured on Britain’s roads, with tens of millions more involved in damage-only accidents. The price to society of not preventing these accidents - in terms of medical costs, lost output, grief and suffering, damage to vehicles and property, policing and administration – is estimated by the Scottish Government as £1.8m for a fatal crash.
Driver behaviour is seen to be the over-riding cause of crashes, with actions such as lack of attention, driving too close and bad overtaking all being common faults. Speed remains a major contributory factor in crashes and the link with excessive speed increases in line with the severity of injuries sustained by the people involved. Safety cameras have a clear role in discouraging drivers from speeding in areas where there has already been a history of crashes involving death or serious injury.
The heartening news in Strathclyde and in Scotland as a whole is that the road accident trend is decreasing, as the efforts made into improving road safety appear to be paying off - Scotland has exceeded the Government’s 2010 casualty reduction targets and is working towards the Scottish Government's Road Safety Framework to 2020.
Safety cameras and casualty reduction
The effect of speed on the resulting severity of injuries in road crashes can be clearly seen when looking at statistics from safety camera sites.
The Scottish Government published its second Statistical Bulletin on safety cameras in July 2011. This report confirmed the figures already produced by Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership, showing that safety cameras are making a positive contribution to road safety in the West of Scotland
During the three-year period 2008 to 2010, the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites in Strathclyde was around 71% lower than the number recorded during the three-year baseline period at each site.
Safety cameras in Strathclyde have therefore contributed towards around 74 fewer fatal & serious injuries per year.
In comparison, the number of people killed or seriously injured on all of Strathclyde’s roads during the period from 2007 to 2009 was 53% lower than the 1997-1999 average.
It is a fact that the energy built up through a vehicle’s speed can have a devastating effect on the human body in the event of a collision.
Our advertising campaign, ‘It’s 30 for a Reason’ stresses that message. A few miles an hour can make all the difference between life and death to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.
While it would not be claimed that cameras are solely responsible for the difference in the above figures, there can be little doubt that they are having a significant effect on road safety.
Number of Offenders
Cameras are used to reduce personal injury crashes by deterring drivers from breaking speed limits and disobeying traffic signals. With all safety camera sites being published, warning signs on the roads, and highly visible cameras and vans, all efforts are made to stop motorists becoming offenders.
Since the first year of the full Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership in 2003/04, when 57,000 offenders were fined for speeding or red light running at safety camera sites there has been a steady and substantial fall in the numbers taking the risk and breaking the law. Despite an increase in the number of cameras and hours of enforcement over the years, the number of fixed penalties in 2011/12 was down to 11,610.
Much misinformed comment is made about cameras being ‘cash cows’ and there to raise money. From the offender figures above, together with reduction in casualties at camera sites, it is clear that the aim is to prevent offences and the resulting risks to road safety from taking place. As the Partnership is solely grant funded and measured on crash reduction, there is no financial benefit to any of the partner bodies in the number of offences detected or fines paid. All fines paid for safety camera detected offences are processed through the Courts system to government along with fines for other offences - there is no distinction or separation of safety camera-related offences.
Scottish Safety Camera Programme
The Scottish Safety Camera Programme is an evidence-based casualty reduction initiative. There are eight safety camera partnerships in Scotland operating under the rules of the Programme. The Programme aims to change driver behaviour ensuring that motorists are aware of the dangers of excessive and inappropriate speeds.
It does so by ensuring that safety cameras, the collective term for speed and red light cameras, are deployed at priority sites in need of casualty reduction and ensuring that motorists are aware of the need to reduce speed and to drive within the speed limit.
The Programme Office produces a Safety Camera Handbook that provides guidance and sets out the rules partnerships are required to follow, if they are to operate within the Scottish Safety Camera Programme and receive grant funding from the Scottish Government . The latest version of the Handbook can be downloaded here.