By Kelly Lingard, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell

Almost half of Britain's fixed speed cameras do not work, with four regions having no working cameras at all, according to the data from a Freedom of Information Act request by the BBC's Panorama. 

Many police forces have invested millions of pounds into roads policing but because of old technology, the cameras are reportedly no longer fit for purpose.

Enforcement of road laws

There has been a 15 per cent fall in the number of police officers tasked with enforcing road laws full-time since 2016, according to figures obtained by Panorama. In 2016, 34 forces reported having 5,014 dedicated traffic officers which has now reduced to just 4,257.

Whilst the number of road deaths has fallen since 2019-2020, this has largely been reported as a result of the coronavirus restrictions and fewer road users. Prior to this, the number of road deaths each year had plateaued, despite advancements in road safety.

Speed prevention

Speed reduction methods, such as speed cameras and increasing the officers tasked with enforcing road laws, are extremely important preventative measures. The speed that a driver is travelling at when they are involved in a road traffic incident can be a significant factor in personal injury claims, with more significant injuries and even death being a consequence of vehicles going above the recommended speed limit.

We see time and again that a reduction in speed could have resulted in our clients sustaining less significant injuries. The consequences of a serious road traffic incident usually includes the need for life long care and therapies, with many of our clients also being unable to work again.

The President of the Automobile Association (the AA), Edmund King, told the BBC that the deaths were '"a scandal" and "totally unnecessary". He also stated that: "We have safer vehicles. We should have safer roads and safer drivers."

Mr King was also concerned that drivers would "take more chances" because of a lack of enforcement. He stated that: "Cops in cars are essential. We have seen a correlation between plateauing road deaths and the decline in the number of dedicated road traffic officers…We should reverse this decline as traffic police are needed in this national crisis with five people dying on our roads daily."

Safer roads

A Government spokesman spoke to the BBC as part of the Panorama programme, stating that: "The UK has among the safest roads in the world but we are not complacent about these high standards. Every death or serious injury is a tragedy and that is exactly why we commissioned the Inspectorate to conduct a review of roads policing.'"

Conclusion

The review of roads policing is welcomed but more investment in preventative measures to reduce drivers speeding is required to bring down the number of road deaths we see each year. 

'Panorama – Britain’s Killer Roads?' is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families affected by road collisions at our dedicated road accidents section.