Public perception of speed cameras is changing. A younger generation has clocked onto the fact that they are safer and decrease the likelihood of accidents
Speed cameras are often portrayed as being forced on an unwilling public by an overbearing state. But a new survey suggests this reflects the views of a vocal minority rather than the public in general.
Of 1,593 adults, 48% believed that speed cameras are helping to improve road safety. 34% did not think that camera technology made any difference to safety, while 10% claimed that this made roads more dangerous.
The survey was commissioned by ITV as part of the build up to a new show featuring real life videos of dangerous motoring practices and accidents.
Men were more likely to disapprove of speed cameras, with 40% of men but just 25% of women wanting fewer cameras. This could be seen as confirming the stereotype of men versus women drivers, although it should be remembered that everyone has their own reasons for supporting speed cameras or otherwise.
Potential Liberal Democrat voters were most likely (at 55%) to believe that roads now are safer as a result of cameras, whereas UKIP voters were the least likely (36%) to subscribe to this view.
Significantly, younger people appear to have a more favourable view of speed cameras, with 54% of 18 to 24 year olds agreeing that current cameras have made the roads safer. This was the largest proportion of the age bands surveyed and defies the reputation of younger drivers for being less cautious.
The reason for this is probably that people of this age group have grown up in an era where speed cameras are normal, and so are more accepting of their presence.
A Turning Tide
While the survey hardly shows a landslide majority in favour or speed cameras, it is certainly encouraging for those of us who believe that speed cameras are a positive thing for road safety in the UK.
The fact that nearly half of respondents believe speed cameras have made roads safer suggests a tipping point in terms of public support for cameras has been reached, and the battle by governments and agencies to win over public hearts and minds is starting to see success.
Moreover, given that more than half of young people are in favour, the future outlook for public perception of speed cameras is bright.