QUITE simply, in response to recent correspondents, speed cameras are not working and speeding is not an "epidemic" among drivers.

Speed cameras have not reduced the number of deaths on our roads, as it was claimed they would.

In 1997, there were in the region of 200 cameras in use and the annual road death rate was about 3,500. In the eight years since, the number of cameras has risen to more than 8,000; however the death rate has remained at about 3,500. Only injury and accident rates have slightly reduced.

Speed cameras, road humps and chicanes have failed to reduce the death rate because they do not addess other, more significant factors which determine whether accidents occur. Left-wing pressure groups such as RoadPeace and Brake, whose members are mainly made up of road accident victims and can not therefore be impartial, are the ones calling for such road safety devices to be used.

A lot of drivers being caught speeding does not prove that speeding is an "epidemic", or that cameras are effective, but it is because of the draconian way that many speed limits have been lowered without good reason.

With the use of more and more speed cameras, coupled with lower speed limits in most areas, there has inevitably been an increase in speeding convictions. However, in my submission, the flow of traffic safely finds its own pace, whether this is above or below the speed limit.

Research reveals that the highest risk group for speeding and dangerous driving are males under 25, yet the majority of those caught on camera are in the middle age group, leaving those drivers who pose the greatest risk going unchecked. Lowering limits simply incriminates drivers who generally adhere to the Highway Code, does nothing to enhance safety margins or reduce fatal accidents, and causes resentment and frustration.

Pedestrians also have a part to play. Many, mainly teenagers, seem oblivious to the dangers of loitering on the highway. Many simply do not look. Then, when an accident occurs, the assumption is that the driver is always to blame.

Rather than cameras, there are far more effective ways of reducing accidents mainly by changing road design and layout. Taking a picture of traffic flowing above the speed limit - and safely - does not cause traffic to slow.

Instead of a speed camera on Bolton Road, Radcliffe, it would make more sense to slow traffic by use of a roundabout at the junction with Harper Fold Road, and to introduce railings to guide pedestrians to the crossing. Because Bolton Road is blocked at rush hour anyway, the reduction in traffic flow caused by the roundabout would be minimal at the time when most of the serious accidents occur - during the evening, when traffic is free-flowing. So the presence of a roundabout would have a cautionary effect on drivers, bringing about the required reduction in speed.