SPEED cameras across West Yorkshire have slashed road accidents.
Official figures today revealed a massive 72% reduction in accidents at camera sites across the county - the best figures in the UK.
And despite driver criticisms of the cameras, after millions of instant fines, they were hailed as a boon to safety.
Nationally there has been a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured at sites where speed cameras have operated in the last three years.
An independent study published by the Government revealed that for the three years ending mid-2003, the cameras helped the annual death toll go down by 100.
Cameras in Wakefield Road from Moldgreen to Waterloo have cut accident casualties from an average of 29 per year to just six.
And those in Woodhead Road, Lockwood, are claimed to have cut the figures from 42 to 12 victims per year.
Steve Thornton, a spokesman for the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, was delighted with the figures.
He said: "It is early days but it shows there have been speeding problems in the county that needed tackling."
The study, by University College London, also showed a 33% fall in injury accidents at camera sites as well as a 35% reduction in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured compared with pre-camera statistics.
The study also showed that the benefit to society through casualties saved was about £221m a year.
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said today: "These figures prove that cameras save lives. The number of people speeding has come down and there has been a significant reduction in deaths and injuries at camera sites."
There has been much criticism of speed cameras in recent months, with some motorists claiming they are a merely a money-raising device and the Police Federation expressing concern that public confidence in the police is being eroded.
And drivers are still unhappy. Mark McArthur-Christie, the Association of British Drivers' road safety spokesman, said: "The quality of life for Britain's safest drivers has been drastically reduced.
"Millions of tickets are being handed out in circumstances that are nothing at all to do with those that cause accidents."