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Return of Oxfordshire speed cameras welcomed
A road traffic collisions expert has welcomed news that speed cameras in Oxfordshire that were switched off last year due to spending cuts have been switched back on.
Joanna Bailey, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP and spokesperson for road safety charity, Brake, was speaking after Thames Valley Police announced that 72 fixed camera sites and 89 mobile sites in Oxfordshire were to resume operations.
"Switching these cameras off was always madness," said Joanna. "The fact that they have been switched back on is great news for communities living across the county who have suffered from increased vehicle speeds and dangerous roads as a direct result from a decision that was seen by many as irresponsible and foolish."
The cameras were switched off on 1 August 2010 after Oxfordshire County Council cut its funding to the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership deciding against paying its £600,000 share of operating costs, after the government cut its road safety grant.
Data released by Thames Valley Police revealed that in the six months after the cameras were switched off, 83 people were injured in 62 accidents at fixed camera sites.
Furthermore, 18 people were killed in road collisions across the county, compared with 12 deaths in the same period for the previous year - the first rise in road deaths in four years. In addition, the number of people seriously injured rose by 19 to 179.
"We all know that speed kills," said Joanna. "We also know that speed enforcement works as a deterrent to those motorists who drive without thought for their own or others' safety. Research suggests cameras prevent 800 fatalities and serious injuries each year. Put simply, speed cameras save lives.
"While it is appreciated that following the spending cuts, Oxfordshire amongst others, had to decide between the costs of running cameras and road maintenance," said Joanna, "these figures clearly illustrate how the switching off of these cameras led to a significant increase in both fatalities and serious injuries.
"Although there are many areas nationwide where councils faced with similar problems have managed to keep their cameras on," continued Joanna, "speed cameras are still being switched off in some parts of the country. We would strongly urge local authorities to do everything they can to ensure the safety of motorists and help prevent further needless and devastating deaths and injuries by keeping their speed cameras running."
How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for families and victims of fatal road traffic collisions.
If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
Read more at Oxford Times
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