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Young motorists most supportive of safety cameras

August 4th, 2009. Posted in Motoring & Driving News

Young people have a more positive attitude to safety cameras than older drivers, according to the latest survey of driver opinions on safety cameras from the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). The results, published today, show that 17-24 year-olds give the best approval ratings overall while older drivers tend to be the least supportive, with drivers over 45 giving the lowest approval ratings.

Neil Greig, Director of Research and Policy at the IAM, said: “Young people don’t tend to drive as frequently or as far as the average driver, and they have also grown up in a surveillance society, which could explain why they show less objection to safety cameras – older people are more likely to resent being monitored in this way. With this survey we now have 10 years worth of motoring opinion on the most contentious issue on the roads today.

The study also found that women have been consistently more supportive of safety cameras than men, although this support has fluctuated over the years. Support from men has declined from 83 per cent in 2002 to 66 per cent in 2009. “On average, women commit fewer traffic offences than men, so they may see cameras as less of a threat” said Mr Greig.

Very high mileage drivers (those driving over 20 thousand miles a year) were shown to be the least supportive of safety cameras. Mr Greig said: “20,000 miles is an unusually high distance to cover in a year, so the driver would typically be driving on business. Time is money for these drivers, they are more likely to be in a rush so more likely to get caught by safety cameras or be late because of them. They may blame the cameras for being late, rather than their unrealistic schedules”

The data, collected over 10 years, includes opinions on developments in safety camera policy and operations and acceptability of safety cameras.

Safety cameras had a 75% approval rating in 2009, compared with a 92% approval rating in 1999. “Support has declined gradually but consistently over the last 10 years, but overall speed cameras have maintained a good level of approval among the motoring public” added Mr Greig.

“However the firm belief remains that safety cameras are primarily for raising revenue. Until that link is broken it will remain very difficult to convince all drivers that safety cameras really do deliver fewer deaths and serious injuries”

This article has been reproduced with the permission of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists)