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MPs demand more speed cameras

London Telegraph / David Millward | October 31 2006

More speed cameras should be installed on Britain’s roads, an all party group of MPs have said.

At the same time the Transport Select Committee called for an increase in the number of police patrols as part of a strategy to improve safety, reversing a trend which critics say has seen their numbers dwindle.

In their latest report, the MPs backed the increased use of technology and called on the Government to change the guidelines which stipulate that avoidable deaths and injuries have to have taken place before a camera can be installed.

Citing evidence that 42 per cent fewer people had been killed or seriously injured at sites where fixed speed cameras had been installed, they called for funds to be made available so more could be installed.

The MPs also endorsed the increased use of alternative cameras which measure a motorist’s speed over longer distances.

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However the current system, known as Specs (Speed Check Enforcement System) costs several hundred thousand pounds, a figure which has deterred some safety camera partnerships.

A “cut-price” time over distance system is currently under consideration by the Home Office and could, if approved, be on Britain’s roads within months.

In particular, the MPs backed the use of time-distance cameras in residential areas, where they could be used to enforce a 20 mph speed limit.

There was also support for the increased use of “alcolocks”, which would immobilise a car if the driver had been drinking.

These should be introduced as soon as possible, the MPs said.

The call - and the demands for the Government to fund roadside breath testers - come with statistics showing that more than one in six people killed in road crashes are the victims of drivers over the drink drive limit.

But while supporting the use of technology, the MPs were critical of the what Gwyneth Dunwoody, the committee chairman, called the “marginalisation” of patrol officers.

“Their efforts can be facilitated through the introduction of new technologies, but officers must not be replaced by such inventions. Technology must support roads police officers, not replace them.”

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