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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