SAFETY cameras have cut road deaths and serious injuries in Scotland by more than two-thirds, a new report has revealed.
Across 166 sites, an average of 92 deaths or major injuries a year were recorded before fixed cameras were put in place, compared to 36 in 2011.
There were similar reductions in serious accidents at mobile camera sites, and where they were installed to stop people driving through red lights.
Overall, the number of people injured fell by more than half –from 1,400 before the cameras were in place, to 684 afterwards.
However, the percentage of vehicles going above the speed limit at 40mph, 50mph and 60mph sites is rising, the report found.
A survey, which accompanied the Key Scottish Safety Camera Programme Statistics 2011 report, shows some people are still critical of the cameras.
It found that 59 per cent agree that cameras are an easy way of making money out of motorists. And 52 per cent of the people questioned believe there are too many road-safety cameras.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland was critical of the rise in drivers speeding past fixed cameras in 40mph, 50mph and 60mph zones. There has been a reduction in people speeding through mobile cameras at all limits, and past fixed cameras in 30mph and 70mph zones.
Kathleen Braidwood, road safety officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “It is really disappointing that there has been a percentage increase in vehicles exceeding the speed limit at 40mph, 50mph and 60mph fixed camera sites, particularly because in Scotland we have so many rural roads that carry these speed limits.
“We know that three out of four road fatalities happen on rural roads. We really need to think about how we are driving on these roads”
Last month, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said it was “shocked” by motorists, after a three-day campaign caught 1,837 drivers breaking the limit – the equivalent of almost one every two minutes.
However, the Scottish Government insisted that, overall, the country’s roads are becoming safer.
A spokeswoman said: “We welcome these statistics showing that the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites has dropped by 68 per cent since their introduction.
“Despite the fact Scotland recently recorded the lowest road casualty figures since records began, one death on our roads is still one too many.”
The Scottish Conservatives called for a stronger focus on other types of crimes. Chief whip John Lamont said: “Of course any measure which makes our roads safer is to be welcomed.
“But many people will look at these figures and wish the authorities were as enthusiastic and prolific at cracking down on other crime.”