CAMERAS which have detected over 217,000 speeding drivers across North Yorkshire in the past four years leading to millions of pounds paid in fines and for training courses have saved up to eight lives according to new figures.

It’s estimated North Yorkshire police received up to £4.4m through speed awareness courses between 2013 and 2016 with 128,022 drivers attending courses, a further 89,000 drivers were found to be doing higher speeds than the threshold for courses and fined £100 with three penalty points. A new report to the Police and Crime Panel reveals numbers of drivers stopped for speeding nearly doubled during the four years.

It says researchers from Newcastle university brought in to investigate the potential road safety value of the cameras found there had been a reduction in deaths. Dr Neil Thorpe and Dr Lee Fawcett looked at 22 of the most dangerous sites in the county with records of deaths and serious injuries.

Deaths reduced from 46 to 33 over the four years, and while they said they would have expected a cut of around five fatalities because of other factors, a further eight are believed to be because of the cameras.

They add:” The remaining reduction from 41 casualties to 33 casualties we attribute to the mobile safety cameras themselves, giving an estimated treatment effect of eight casualties. In terms of percentage reductions, we estimate a 20 per cent reduction in casualties owing to the mobile safety cameras.”

They say this tallies with research conducted by the College of Policing which found a 52 per cent reduction in vehicles speeding coincided with a 19 per cent reduction in collisions.

The report also reveals the number of speeding enforcement hours spent by police in the vans across the county has increased dramatically from 2,866 in 2013 to 13,645 hours during 2017 with the force now using 12 speed camera vans. They say the vans are preferred to fixed cameras because they can be moved around, although routes are advertised beforehand and drivers do not get used to locations.

Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan says there are plans to undertake a new road safety survey in 2018 to hammer home the importance of road safety, and assess public reaction to work undertaken.

The report adds: “The evidence shows that this programme of work is having a positive impact. Work continues to improve these initiatives and expand them across the area. As technology develops and becomes more widespread, North Yorkshire Police are proactively seeking out ways to incorporate it into their work.”

It's understood the Chief Constable, Dave Jones, is looking to develop further equipment in the vans introducing low-light cameras so the time the vans can be deployed can be extended and increasing potential uses with motorcycles, which account for a large number of fatalities and serious injuries.