Enforcement cameras have been stealing the limelight in recent months. The government has announced that fines resulting from the use of speed cameras will be used to finance more cameras, following what has been classed as a successful pilot scheme.
What effect will this self-funding initiative have on claims? Government statistics conclude the average number of drivers exceeding the speed limit at the sight of a camera is reduced from 55% to 16%, that there were 35% fewer collisions and the number of fatalities fell by 47%.
Overall, the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) estimates that when all costs are added up, the reduced number of casualties so far has already saved us an estimated £27m. If this government initiative filters fast and furiously throughout UK police forces, can insurers expect to see a change in their claims profile?
A reduced number of claims because of the use of speed cameras can only be seen as a positive. However, having taken a look at Town & Country's claims database, the introduction of speed cameras will not assist the highest proportion of motor claims.
I started looking through previous statistics which confirmed my gut feeling – that a staggering 62.3% of claims administered by Town & Country Assistance were when the vehicle was travelling between 1-10mph (although many of these would be minor bumps or scrapes). On this basis, an increase in the use of speed cameras would have little impact.
If the priority is about saving lives, the first stop should surely be the NHS. The UK apparently loses 50,000 more lives a year than Germany through cancer alone. This compares to 4,000 lives lost on the roads here – half that of France with the same population. Of those 4,000, they say around 1,000 relate to high-speed incidents. It never ceases to amaze me how police have what seems to be virtually unlimited resources to pursue motorists and yet they are in retreat in every other area of law enforcement. Who sets their priorities and against what agenda?
The debate continues about the validity of hiding speed cameras to catch out unsuspecting, speeding motorists.
I feel cameras should be clear for motorists to see and deployed where they will save lives, not raise revenue. The insurance industry is under a lot of pressure from a wide-ranging negative feeling from motorists: fuel prices, car prices and insurance premiums, to name just a few. Hiding cameras will only compound their resentment.
The DTLR is scheduled to publish quantified results and cost recovery statistics on the use of speed cameras in October this year. It will make interesting reading.