Survey Suggests We Think Speed Cameras Are OK. “Great Headline, But Did They Ask You?”
We love stories that either surprise us, upset us, or even better still prove we were right all along. We pick up on stories both from our own experience and from obscure publications or trade sources which many of the public would never see unless we draw your attention to it.
Most recent headline that caught our eye was a report by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) which it refers to as the “annual speed camera survey” in which it reveals that around 82% of people think it’s acceptable for authorities to use speed cameras. That’s a big percentage I am sure you will agree and if you look up the 2011 IAM report, the figure has gone up from 79%, which suggests we are getting to like these awful things? Some glint of light however, as 45% of people still believe that raising money is still the main reason for their use.
The IAM report goes on to say that speed awareness courses are very popular with around 72% of us believing they are a good idea. More headline figures follow as 85% of us think that speed cameras have helped contribute to the fall in road deaths since the 1990’s.
Looking around Britain, well the Welsh don’t like the cameras, with 32% of them saying their use is not acceptable. The survey also showed that Wales has the highest rate of people caught speeding and that over the last 3 years, 27% of drivers were caught speeding or that someone in their household was.
Take a trip over the border to Scotland and 85% of them think the cameras are OK, with just 15% of Scotts thinking they are unacceptable. Better than Wales, only 14% of Scottish drivers were caught on camera, or knew someone who was (so clearly Scotland’s the place to go for a wee blast in the car).
Finally, the motherland, England where 19% of drivers or other members of their household were convicted and despite that, only 20% think the use of speed cameras is unacceptable.
All good stuff, but we asked around our staff and we got absolutely nothing like these figures, so that got us wondering just how many people were asked for their opinion?
A little investigating revealed that in 2011, the survey asked 1028 people; whilst the 2012 survey itself reports that it had 1001 responses. They say the survey has taken place every summer for the last six years and in that time, they have had “over 6,000 responses”, so that would pretty much support the 1,000 people a year figure? The survey also said “each year, we ask the respondents exactly the same series of questions” so that they can look at changes over a period of time.
We wouldn’t want to decry any ones work, of course not, but fact is there are around 28 million vehicles on the roads of the UK and almost 37 million of us hold some kind of driving licence.
My question has to be, do you feel a survey of 1,000 people really justifies statements like “the vast majority of people find the use of speed cameras acceptable” or “women are more supportive of the use of speed cameras than men” and “most people believe that speed cameras improve road safety and also believe that accidents would go up if speed cameras were switched of in their area”
In closing, the survey is claimed by the IAM to provide us with a “snapshot of public opinion” so is this the case, or is this just a great headline? My final question has to be did they ask you?