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Against the Misuse of Police Waivers

Road Safety Disbenefits

If the offer of speed awareness courses actually improved road safety then it might be justifiable subsequent to legislation being passed to authorise these exceptional practices. But in reality there is no evidence that they have any benefit. Indeed the evidence is directly to the contrary. The Government (DfT) commissioned a study into the effectiveness of speed awareness courses which finally reported in May 2018. This is the key statement in the Executive Summary: "this study did not find that participation in NSAC [National Speed Awareness Courses] had a statistically significant effect on the number or severity of injury collisions". In other words, as the we have repeatedly said, this unethical and legally dubious diversion of drivers to speed awareness courses is primarily about generating money, not about road safety because there is no evidence of any real benefit. You can read more about the IPSOS-MORI report on this blog post: Blog-Report .

Many people argue that the statistics that claim to provide evidence that speed cameras are an effective road safety tool are defective and it is also clear that simple speed display devices are a much more cost effective device to reduce traffic speeds and accidents.

The reliance on automated devices to control behaviour on roads is deeply flawed and the ABD has consistently opposed such an approach. Traffic police officers have been substantially reduced in recent years and this has led to worse behaviour by drivers.

Speed in excess of the speed limit is a relatively minor factor in road traffic accidents. Only 5% of personal injury accidents reported by the police have a factor of exceeding the speed limit as a contributory cause (Source: RAC Foundation/DfT). The emphasis on preventing speed limit infringements detracts from lots of other road safety improvements such as improved driver education, road engineering, more police patrols and other measures.

The only reason this is happening is because of the financial arrangements which incentivises the police to detect more speeding offences. The police have no interest in supporting other road safety measures and might actively support reductions in speed limits when they are unjustified on any technical or rational grounds. These arrangements have very little to do with improving road safety and detract from other road safety priorities.

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