Monday, May 04, 2009

Speed cameras

The Telegraph has a view on speed cameras that I have to agree with.
For decades, this country has had some of the safest roads in the world. Ministers argue that festooning our highways with speed cameras makes them even safer. The evidence suggests otherwise. While we have installed more speed cameras than anywhere else in Europe, the decline in road deaths in Britain has actually been less marked than in other, less camera-obsessed countries.

This should come as no surprise: speed cameras, for all the protestations of the Government and police, have always had more to do with revenue generation than with road safety. Official figures show that excessive speed is a factor in just six per cent of accidents. How many cameras are usefully sited near schools and in residential areas – where they really would aid road safety – compared with the number on open roads, where motorists are tempted to drive quickly because it is safe to do so? Very few.

The suspicion that drivers are being hounded with an assiduity that is not brought to the pursuit of burglars, muggers or hooligans has helped diminish respect for the police in the eyes of the law-abiding majority. That is a high price to pay for this money-grubbing policy.

As a driver, I really think that speed cameras are actively dangerous. Why? Simply because you end up watching your speedometer, rather than the road ahead*. Not to mention the inevitable braking at the speed camera's start point (even people who are travelling at, or below, the speed limit almost always brake) that can easily lead to a shunt (especially if you are looking at your speedo rather than... Well, you get the idea).

Your humble Devil got caught speeding a couple of weeks ago by some coppers with a camera (that reminds me, I must pay the £60 fine. Bah) and, yes, I was speeding. I was going faster than the 50mph speed limit but on a six-lane carriageway with good visibility all around. The policeman was unimpressed when I pointed out that I prefer to watch the road, rather than the speedo.


CryBaby said...

There's a speed camera not so far from where I live. Someone kept spray painting the camera lense every week I would see someone there, fixing/changing it. It went on for so long, they eventually took the camera down.

Totally agree, this is a money-making scam. Shame on them.

jaydeeaitch said...

That's the Devil's insurance up next time round then.

Dick Puddlecote said...

The most dangerous are the cameras on traffic lights, set to snap anyone going through at the moment they turn red. As soon as these cameras were set up at two junctions near me, accidents happened regularly as scared drivers started performing emergency stops the moment they turned amber.

One guy had his Zafira turned into a concertina by doing just that (even leaving skid marks). He hadn't noticed the fully-loaded car transporter behind him who had already judged, quite rightly, that there was plenty of time before the red light and didn't expect anyone to do something so damn stupid.

If the Zafira had been carrying kids in the back, well ...

Dr John Crippen said...

Or, DK, you can play the 6 month game. Do nothing. Don't pay. Wait. If they don't come after you for six months, you win.


Lola said...

A Durham Chief police bloke (I think) got into hot water by pointing out that the vast majority of his serious accidents were old people turning right, and not speeding, and therefore quite correctly deduced that cameras were a waste of time.

As an highway engineer in previous life I am certain that cameras do not do a damn thing to make 'roads safer'. I am totally sure that they are all about control and revenue.

Alistair Watson said...

One issue that must not be ignored is the fact that the police rarely exercise their discretion when speed cameras detect a minor infraction. It follows that the general public are entitled to insist the police are prosecuted for the smallest offence no discretion to be exercised. What is good for the goose..

microdave said...

"The policeman was unimpressed when I pointed out that I prefer to watch the road, rather than the speedo."

So presumably if you had hit the car in front whilst checking your speed, they would have been happy to nick you for driving without due care & attention? - Heads you lose, Tails you lose....

Of course when every car has an aircraft style "heads up" display we won't have any excuse!

Anonymous said...

I'm fed up to the back teeth with motorists being persecuted. The Govt recently proposed reducing the National Speed Limit from 60mph to 50mph. It looks like they're going to go ahead and try.

If you feel strongly about this, I'd urge you to sign this petition:

Number 10 NSL Petition

Anonymous said...

Sorry, link didn't work in last post. I ought to have tested it in the preview. Doh! It should have been:

Number 10 NSL Reduction Petition

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, there is no better target for a campaign of civil disobedience than these cameras.

Render them useless and beyond repair. Let the government start replacing them, and keep replacing them until the message sinks in that we have had enough. We don't want them, nor the CCTV, nor the number plate recognition cameras either.

I wonder how your local representative would respond if we insisted on having a good number of cameras installed at Westminster just so WE could track THEIR every movement??

At least that one would be entirely justified.

As for the policeman, remember that common sense, much like very many other human attributes that were finely honed by trial and error over our evolution, has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness a long time ago.

Your remark, while 100% correct, would be lost on many, and that is an indictment of the society in which we live.

BenS said...

Oh dear

Rob said...

And of course they (fixed cameras) only catch people speeding on that tiny part of the road they cover. Everywhere else people know they can speed with impunity knowing there aren't any traffic cops to catch them.

Wearysider said...

Might want to check this out?
Association of British Drivers challenge legality of most speed cameras in useI also follow Neil Herron blog (metric martyr and parking appeals) he's posted quite a bit on the subject of speed cameras.

Anonymous said...

DK. Why are you paying the fine just like that?

Haven't you asked for the calibration cert of the speed camera/gun and the training details of the officer using it? Do that first and make sure they're in order before you plead guilty by handing over you're money and licence.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Haven't you asked for the calibration cert of the speed camera/gun and the training details of the officer using it?"The fuzz showed both of those to me without my having to ask...


DavidG said...

DK - if you want serious knowledgeable advice regarding your ticket, go here

Longrider said...

The policeman was unimpressed when I pointed out that I prefer to watch the road, rather than the speedo.You are quite right. The speedo is a tool, you should be aware of it, not concentrating on it to the detriment of road hazards. If you are travelling at a speed such that you can stop in what you can see to be clear, then you are travelling at a safe speed. That is what matters.

Unfortunately, the corrosive "speed kills" (it doesn't) message has pervaded peoples' thought processes to the detriment of common sense.

Besides, it's a cash cow.

Anonymous said...

When you pay the fine, why not take an example from Mark Edwards from Ilford and pay it in 6000 1p coins. It may be petty, but why make life easy for the skewed system? And it would provide a strangely childish satisfaction.

Holes in the tarmac said...

As usual with law enforcement, speed cameras (and all the rest of panoply of anti-motoring efforts) are aimed firmly at the law-abiding citizen.

The kids who steal cars to race them round don't care about speed limits or road humps, and those who don't have insurance or road tax can ignore them too.

But the people who meet the demands of the law? Ah, well we can get you ;cos we know where you live.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are rules from the Royal Mint as to what "legal tender" is and is not.

Coins are legal tender throughout the United Kingdom for the following amount:

£2 - for any amount
£1 - for any amount
50p - up to and including £10
20p - up to and including £10
10p - up to and including £5
5p - up to and including £10
2p - up to and including 20p
1p - up to and including 20p

Doesn't mean you can't try it on, however.

"Both parties are free to agree to accept any form of payment whether legal tender or otherwise according to their wishes."

Centaur said...

If you want to enjoy some schadenfreude, how about this:

"The boss of Britain's biggest speed-camera firm has been caught driving at 102mph while driving to a meeting in the city."

Corrupt, hypocrytical, stealing snotbags, the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

There was a woman killed recently on a road near our house on which drivers regularly speed. Been saying to my wife since we moved here “ a pedestrian will be killed in this road”. The city has speed cameras – exactly as stated in this article – blatantly positioned for revenue, not safety. Blood on their hands.

UK Voter said...

As an experienced driver, having driven in excess of 1m miles, I have to admit that the most challenging part is, concentrating on your speedo rather than the road.

For example, average speed cameras on contraflows, how many people struggle to keep in the narrower lanes, whilst trying not to upset the drivers behind by keeping your speed within the limits and constantly taking you eyes off the road to monitor the speed? Then calculating how much slower you need to go because you inadvertantly went over the limit. Whoever came up with the idea needs locking up!

Anonymous said...

DK, you might want to look at that ABD page. Basically, for a speed measurement device to be legal it has to have been sanctioned as such by a Statutory Instrument issued by Parliament.

To date, no such SIs have been issued.

Therefore, no speed camera device is legally sound evidence, and the case should therefore proceed without the speed camera evidence (and will then collapse.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

FYI, speed cameras being installed on the Dartford Crossing as we speak.

Mind how you go.

marc said...

You got caught. Tough shit, pay up sucka