Published: October 9, 2013
Widow backs calls to switch speed cameras back on across Somerset

A woman whose husband was killed by a speeding motorist near Burnham-On-Sea has this week welcomed calls by the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police to turn speed cameras back on across Somerset.

Fixed cameras were all switched off a couple of years ago to save money but now Chief Constable Nick Gargan, and the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, want them turned back on to try to prevent more tragedies on the roads.

Pat Ireland, pictured, whose husband Gordon was killed while crossing the A38 in a collision with a car in Rooksbridge in 2008, has joined the calls for local councils to switch the speed cameras back on.

"With my husband, one moment he got out of the car and said 'I shan't be a second' and then the next he was no loonger here," she said.

"You can't imagine it - it was devastating. It really is. We are always on about getting the speed camera turned back on - they are much needed."

Avon and Somerset Police say 48 people have died on the area's roads during the past year - two more than last year and 16 more than 2011. The number of motorcyclist deaths has more than doubled from 8 last year to 19 this year.

Fixed speed cameras and cameras monitoring junctions were switched off in 2011 after the government stopped funding the Safety Camera Partnership.

The police had asked councils to take over the running and maintenance cost of the cameras but local authorities argued they were too expensive to run adding many needed to be upgraded at a significant cost.

Chief Constable Mr Gargan said in a recent statement: "I've not seen any evidence of any value that say speed cameras harm - I have seen evidence that on balance they can help and reduce casualties."

"Excess speed makes accidents that much more likely and makes the accidents that happen more dangerous. It's the job of the police and its partnerships to work together to provide a range of deterrents. If vehicles are travelling at sensible speeds then fewer people will die."

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