Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No shit

Via Dick Puddlecote, I see that someone has woken up to the idea that speed cameras might actually cause accidents.
Eighty-one per cent of respondents to the insurer’s survey admitted to instantly looking at their speedometers, instead of the road, on detecting a speed camera and one in twenty admitted to braking suddenly, risking losing control of their vehicle or a rear-end shunt.

In other news, the Pope is still Catholic and bears do shit in the woods.

And what is the scale of the problem...?
The insurer estimates that at least 28,000 road accidents have been triggered by the cameras since 2001 and nearly one in three motorists questioned said they had witnessed an accident or near miss as a result of other drivers’ erratic behaviour when faced with one of the cameras.

Close to half of motorists surveyed believe the cameras divert attention away from other areas of driving while one in ten claim that speed cameras increase the risk of an accident.

Speed cameras cause accidents by distracting drivers from the road in front of them and causing them to drive erratically.

This is far more likely to cause an accident than travelling at 45mph in a 40mph area.

In other news, water is—apparently—wet...


IanVisits said...

If however, motorists stuck to the speed limit all the time, then they wouldn't be looking out for speed cameras and wouldn't be braking dangerously.

It's not the speed cameras causing the problem - its the stupid motorists trying to break the speed limits while also avoiding getting caught doing so that is the problem.

George said...

Ian, I have been fined for driving at 43mph, thats 3mph over the posted speed limit, now I don't know if your speedo shows individual miles, mine doesn't and as a consequence I now check my speedo for slightly longer than is necessary when passing a speed camera. I am neither stupid or dangerous when driving yet I have 3 points for travelling 3mph over a 40mph speed limit on a dual carriageway where it used to be 60. I suspect I am in the majority.

Anonymous said...

I once did a traffic survey on a short stretch of wide road with narrow, twisty bits on either side. No houses, one pedestrian per hour on a footway well back from the road. Very safe but a 30 mph limit - everybody sped there and it was a great place to pass tractors, etc.
I was wearing black trousers and a white shirt and seated behind my car in a gateway next to a gas box (or something) in the verge.

The number of near accidents this caused was amazing! People would speed by, see me with a clipboard and hit the brakes. One driver in a Jaguar ended up slewed across the road with all tyres smoking! Others would be overtaking then brake and pull back, one nearly being struck by a following car.

More than 30 years later and I still see similar events when drivers spot speed cameras, sometimes even if they are not actually speeding. Road safety indeed!

And don't get me started on how drivers look a road humps, etc when driving instead of keeping their eyes on the footways watching for children and errant pedestrians.........

tris said...

I too got 3 points and a fine for speeding... then my insurance went up ... so it cost me a lot of money.

Admittedly I was doing 43 in a 30 speed limit (although it was in teh country with fields on both sides of the road).

Now I drive at the correct speed, and I think I must be the only one in the town.

AndrewSouthLondon said...

The libertarian analysis is to allow people to do whatever speed they wish, but to prosecute to the hilt any driver found responsible for causing an accident.

If your speeding has caused no one any harm, what is the justification of punishment?

FlipC said...

@AndrewSouthLondon - By a similar logic it'd be okay to walk down a busy High Street firing a gun in the air.

Provided they don't hit anyone what's the justification for them being stopping?

Simon said...


Hilariously, there is a town in Afganistan where they do this all the time. The major industry is gun manufacture. Of course Afganistan has its issues but none of them are related to firing guns in the *air*.

Culturally you would not get away with the behaviour you propose in may urban locales anywhere. You'd be shunned on the basis of being an idiot and causing an annoying noise.

If you did that regularly, then dramatically fewer people would want to employ you and you wouldn't be getting benefit payments to support a bizarre choice of lifestyle that renders you undesireable as an employee and makes your neighbours nervous.

FlipC said...

@Simon - In other words if I were independently wealthy and my friends themselves thought it good fun to fire guns in the air everything would be fine?

FlipC said...

@Simon - But that's an idealised situation. I judge the speed at which I should drive and if I get it wrong and plough into a bus-stop full of people I'll be made to pay the price.

But that level of incorrect judgement is on a par with - I'm really happy so I'm going to take my gun out and fire it the air as I walk down this busy street.

No-one is being set-up to be intentionally hurt it's just a case of poor judgement in both instances.

FlipC said...

Meant "@DocBud" apologies.

FlipC said...

@DocBud - Correct if you drive to the conditions, but one person's determination of the appropriate speed is different to another's. You seem to be expecting a rational consensus to apply.

Take a hypothetical example - I'm driving my new supercar along the standard narrow winding lanes around here. The rational argument is "Hmm narrow and twisty with many blind spots. I'm better slow down" The emotional argument is "Gosh I wonder how my car will handle around all these corners?".

Now one would hope that the rational argument wins, but that's not guaranteed.

Note I also had to add "consensus" because what's rational to one is not to another. I might think it perfectly acceptable to pull out a gun and start shooting in the air to show my pleasure, after all I've done it many a time before and no-one's been hurt therefore it's obviously low-risk.

Anyway nighty night.

BenS said...

Of course, if roads were privatised, you could petition the road's owner to change his speed limits, depending on whether he wants to do so, whether or not it's necessary, where on the road a limit is relevant, blah blah blah.

Avoids a lot of unnecessary 'so you should be able to drive at a million miles an hour past a school!?!!' type arguments.

cufflleyburgers said...

But what the fuck is wrong with firing guns in the air anyway?

paul said...

Bullets fired into the air dont dissolve. They land somewhere else at a lethal velocity.

FlipC said...

@Paul - correct, but they won't necessarily fall onto someone. Therefore the act itself is perfectly okay provided no harm is done.

Anonymous said...

I just cant get on board the "any action that by sheer luck doesnt cause actual harm cannot be prevented or punished" extreme libertarian wagon.
Thats just glorifying an ideal past the bounds of common sense.

Anonymous said...

@BenS: I'd prefer it if people drove at a speed that allowed them to check how fast they were going without crashing into something.

"Checking how fast you are going" = "distraction". Honestly, what tosh.

Stephen said...

do I pull in this person for travelling at 110mph on this stretch of road?

That's an easy one - yes!

The speed is nearly double the NSL for a single carriageway. I can't think of any circumstances in which that would be OK and would not pose substantial risk to anyone else on the the same stretch of road.