November 4th, 2006

Quick, Quick, Slow

Posted in Not the Job by 200

Speed Cameras. There’s a subject which is always good for a laugh.

I guess you are either a ‘money-making con’ or ‘essential road safety tool’ person. I don’t really agree with the current road safety "Speed Kills" type of policy & think the whole thing could do with a radical makeover.

Speed cameras have few fans among the motoring public. If you can’t get the driver onside it is very difficult to change attitudes with rigid enforcement alone. That’s why drugs enforcement doesn’t work. Mind you, I’ll tell you what does appear to work & that’s average speed cameras.

With normal speed cameras, they just measure your speed at a specific, and very short location. People race along the road until they approach a speed camera. They wang on the brakes just before the camera, tootle through at the correct speed whistling hymns & then slam the accelerator pedal screeching as their arse-end tries to catch up with the front of the car & knocking little old grannies flying in their path just 30 yards after the cameras. With average speed cameras you have to drive at about the speed limit for the entire distance between the cameras.

I was in Scotland for a holiday earlier in the year & they had them on the main dual carriageway in & out of the town. Almost without exception,  everyone slowed down to 40mph through the length of the road covered by the cameras. The only ones who didn’t slow down could be seen half a mile further up the road travelling at 20mph whilst desperately trying to work out how long they had to travel under the limit to bring their overall average back into line with the speed limit.

The Highways Authority just needs to put average speed cameras everywhere and the problems with speeding are solved.

Except that it seems cracks are appearing in the way average speed cameras are set up & used. The Daily Mail reports a fiendish & very clever way to avoid getting done for speeding through average speed camera sections of road. Apparently, according to the mail,  you won’t get caught if you…. wait for it…. drum roll….er, change lanes.

I have no idea whether there is any truth in the story at all. I won’t be putting it to the test to see if I get a ticket either. Suffice to say that if the mnaufacturers of the system have specific guidelines for the use of these cameras, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out the cmera safety partnerships have ignored them. 

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  1. bj says:

    most of the people really intent on driving too fast already have GPS detectors or have a blue light on the roof and think they are immune from the laws of physics and being an inch from the car in front is OK cos they managed to pass what passes for an advanced driving test these days

    broadly speaking i think have it right in most motoring issues

    current road policy is not helping road safety at all, i would have more sympathy if an occasional cyclist was up in court for riding through a red light, an occassional person got done for driving too close to the car in front, and if driving to the conditions became the mantra rather than “speed kills” which is clearly nonsense

    would also be good of speed limits were set by advanced drivers rather than loony concillors

    UK is laughing stock of Europe on its mistargeting of the wrong people for criminal action

    November 4th, 2006 at 00:49

  2. ted says:

    Average Speed Cameras are the bees knees. A 28 mile stretch of the M77/A77 south of Glasgow has them. The road used to be a nightmare with boy racers doing 85 to 90 mph or more. I’ve used it a few times since the speed cameras went up. Brilliant. Everyone drives a 70 mph. Much more relaxed without having nutters going past at the speed of light.
    As far as I’m concerned they can cover every road in the country with them. If you drive to the speed limits it doesn’t matter.
    And to anybody who thinks speed cams are a mone makin scheme well drive at the limit and they won’t make any money from you.

    November 4th, 2006 at 02:38

  3. bj says:

    ted you are an idiot

    do you realise how many cars have false plates, or are bought for the new owner never to bother telling swansea their name/address?

    and of course such cameras will never stop the real dangerous stuff, people driving at the limit regardless of poor conditions, driving far too close to car in front etc

    if you cannot take the normal interaction of driving i suggest you should hand your licence in

    this just makes the criminal justice system a laughing stock, taking folks licence and job away for doing nothing unsafe at all, and yet if you kick the crap out of a copper (for instance) you will suffer way less penalties

    November 4th, 2006 at 09:43

  4. tes says:

    Is everybody who holds a different opinion to you an idiot then? It must be great to be all knowing and have the one true voice.
    Where did I suggest that having speed cameras meant no need for traffic police to deal with other ways to drive badly.
    Anybody who loses their licence through points from speed cameras has only themselves to blame. The sooner there are enough cameras to get more of them of the road the better.
    You seem a bit touchy? Been caught once or twice speeding have we?

    November 4th, 2006 at 22:45

  5. the sleepy response officer says:

    As far as I’m aware average speed cameras work on an ANPR basis and so changing lanes will have no effect whatsoever…

    BJ you do seem rather touchy. If it helps restore your faith I have stuck cyclists on for going through red lights and anyone driving up the chuff of someone can expect a court date for driving without due care and attention.

    Love or hate the speed limits you have to realise that driving is as far as I’m aware the number one killer of people in this country. We don’t have a high murder rate despite what the media show you.

    I agree speed alone doesn’t necessarily kill – and I have never given someone a ticket for just speeding there is normally an aggravating factor.

    But the fact is that you can prove speeding beyond reasonable doubt, but you’ll be a rich man if you can come up with idiotdrivercam. Police, yes are a better answer but not a cost effective one. Would you rather we tried to catch burglars or stick you on for speeding? I think we both know the answer to that one.

    The worst driver in the world who’s passed our driving test, obeying the speed limit, not on a mobile, drunk or otherwise should be able to avoid an accident.

    I’m no lover of speed cameras and I have points on my licence from one, but they serve a purpose and as pointed out if you get caught… you’ve only got yourself to blame.

    November 5th, 2006 at 12:48

  6. bj says:

    oh dearie me

    roads are dangerous yes, UK is a lot safer than many comparible countries though

    and over emphasis on speed and speed detection is not the way to improve road safety

    road design, like other public sector projects, goes through fashions, and like the tower blocks of the 60′s many of the current fashions in road design will be shown to be bad design

    you know if i had ever heard of a single road engineer (some of who are responsible for design of black spot after black spot) in court for causing death by doing his job terribly i would have some sympathy with you

    people who drive too close are hardly touched by current road police, and dangerous cyclists are pretty much immune from the had of the law too, granted there may by one or two exceptions, but on a broad general level they are pretty much immune, the criminal justice system chooses to ignore them

    as for jay walking, the countless people who now think they have a perfect right to walk in front of cars, cause car to do an emergency stop, and walk off without a care in the world, while if an incident happens there is next to no chance of pedestrian being prosecuted for causing an accident

    all these and other aspects of the way the roads managed are not good ways of attacking the issues regarding safe use of the road system

    re “The worst driver in the world who’s passed our driving test, obeying the speed limit, not on a mobile, drunk or otherwise should be able to avoid an accident.” if you think about this for a short while you will realise its nonsense, it is this attitude that causes people to continue doing the posted limit while its foggy or icy etc, and causes countless deaths

    November 6th, 2006 at 12:59

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