Last month, I blogged about how the government had given clear instructions to councils and police forces about the speed camera data they should release. They were also told to do it quickly.
This week, Lancashire’s Partnership for Road Safety – a multi-agency partnership no less – became one of the first to release the data. Lancashire County Council one of the partners, had refused Freedom of Information requests in the past asking for this very information, arguing it would impact on the ability of the cameras to cut crime (ie speeding).
So what do we learn from the data? Well, the partnership has released a pdf for each of the three authorities it covers – Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire and Blackpool – listing the number of speeding offences which resulted in a fine being paid, or a speed awareness course being attended, or led to a summons being issued or which were outstanding or which were cancelled.
Annoyingly, it’s done in three pdfs – one for each authority – so there’s a fair bit of comparing to be done, but it still tells us the details councils and police forces have been very slow to reveal. For example, we now know the speed camera on the A59 in Osbaldeston in the Ribble Valley is Lancashire’s most active, recording 2,569 offences.
We also find out which speed camera has caught offences which were later cancelled – 274 on the A6 in in Walton Bridge, near Preston, out of 1767 offences.
Then there are the cameras least likely to snap you – such as one on Burnley Road, Rawtenstall which managed to catch a total of two – count ’em! – offenders in 2010.
In a separate map, the speed partnership has also released details of the number of recorded accidents and injuries at each site, and the average speed recorded at each site in surveys carried out after the speed camera was installed. Some of these numbers are very interesting – for example at the Burnley Road, Rawtenstall camera, the average speed before it was introduced was below 30mph and fell by an average of less than one mile per hour after it was installed.
The accident statistics also suggest that in three of five years after the camera was installed, the number of collisons causing personal injuries were higher than the year before the camera was introduced.
Of course, there are two sides to the speed camera debate, but it’s only now that we can have an informed debate about speed cameras, because it’s only now that both sides of the debate have all the figures available.
That can only be a good thing – even if the figures will take a fair bit of work to analyse. Still, it’s a start.