THE price of a life can surely not be measured. So the latest road safety and speeding camera report from North Yorkshire police is important and fascinating. Researchers found the much criticised safety camera vans, which caught over 217,000 drivers between 2013 and 2016, are saving lives, they reveal eight less people died during that time on 22 of the most dangerous roads in the county.

In that time our rough calculations estimate drivers caught speeding across North Yorkshire have forked out around £20m in fines and speed awareness courses. Much goes to central government, police forces can keep speed awareness course cash after costs, around £35 per course in North Yorkshire. This has gone towards the safety cameras which police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan now fears are struggling to break even. Numbers of drivers caught per hour plummeted from 13 in 2013 when there were six camera vans to less than six last year when there were 12 vans, although the overall numbers of people being caught speeding was 79,137 last year compared to 38,000 in 2013.

There has always been a tendency, a very human one probably, to distrust the cameras, to regard them as a cash cow, vehemently denied by Ms Mulligan. This latest information comes in a report to the Police and Crime Panel and gives much food for thought. But it needs to be trumpeted from the rooftops, and investigated vigorously, as far as we are aware there hasn’t even been a press release. Road safety has forever been the Cinderella of police and highway services, yet in 2016, 31 people died and 399 were seriously injured. So if safety vans are indeed keeping down casualties, this is crucial, and a lot more information, research and openness is required from the police, from Ms Mulligan, and from Highways.