The UK government on Sunday officially terminated the policy of concealing safety and revenue information for individual speed camera locations. The Labour government had held this information secret, but Road Safety Minister Mike Penning, a member of the Conservative Party, insisted on making it readily available to the public online.
“We want to improve accountability and make sure that the public are able to make informed judgments about the decisions made on their behalf,” Penning said in a statement. “So if taxpayers’ money is being spent on speed cameras then it is right that information about their effectiveness is available to the public.”
Each local jurisdiction has until July 20 to provide a website address to the Department for Transport (DfT) where the information will eventually be uploaded. The DfT website will serve as a centralized index pointing to the data maintained by each local authority. The department requires posting of annual collision data for each fixed camera location dating back to 1990. The number of tickets and driver education courses generated by each device must also be reported.
“In relation to offense data the department considers there is a strong justification in terms of public transparency and accountability to publish this information site by site for fixed camera sites,” the department explained.
For mobile cameras, each local authority must release its strategy for deciding where to place cameras. Releasing collision data for mobile locations and red light cameras is considered optional.
A working group of parties with a stake in speed camera use determined that the collision information would be reported using “STATS19” data with killed and seriously injured figures combined into one “KSI” statistic. DfTadmitted in 2009 that police undercounted serious injury accident after the installation of speed cameras in their STATS19 KSI figures. The revelation followed a British Medical Journal (BMJ) expose that showed injury accidents were not decreasing after cameras came into widespread use (view 2006 BMJ study).
A copy of Penning’s letter to local authorities is available in a 40k PDF file at the source link below.