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back to article Speed-cam fines topped out in 2005

New falling motor-crime figures for 2005 published by the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ? MinJ?) could be interpreted in a number of ways. The Times and the RAC Foundation are pretty sure what they think. "Public outrage leads to first fall in number of speed camera fines" runs the Thunderer headline. “This shows the outcry by …

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Coat

Or Maybe...

people have realised where the cameras are and are getting better at avoiding getting caught by them.

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Speed Limit

The common sense attitude that people think is starting to take place should be extended to the speed limits on motorways.

According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#United_Kingdom ), the speed limit for motorways was set at 70mph in 1965. Over 40 years of motor car evolution has meant cars are safer, have better brakes with ABS, better tyre construction, more stringent MOT's etc yet the speed hasn't been increased.

It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane without technically braking the speed limit. It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past. With the 10% correction on most speedometers required that means roughly 77Mph +2mph for good measure is the current limit, but most people blindly believe their speedometer is correct and so everyone goes even slower.

I do a lot of motorway driving and I can tell you that I feel a lot safer when cars are driving at sensible fast speeds for the conditions with 2+ car distance between each other rather than all bunched up being limited to 70Mph.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Government Statistics..

A 2% drop in fines?

Could it just be that the roads are X% more conjested than before so it's getting harder to speed?

Or maybe we're Y% more aware of where the cameras are located?

Or maybe they just fiddled Z% less of the figures this year.

Without context and a lot of analysis this sort of statistic is meaningless, as are most media stories involving statistics.

Take last week's nationwide story that dope smokers are statistically more likely to be unemployed or homeless. Ignoring dubious quality of the statistics most media spun this as proof that dope messes up your life without considering that the homeless and unemployed may just have more reason to take the edge off their lives with a wee doobie.

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Anonymous Coward

Is the fall due to greater numbers of GPSs

I wonder whether the number of cars I see driving along with GPSs equipped with camera databases has anything to do with this.

The fall in price of GPSs and their consequent greater numbers could easily account for a 2% fall in convictions

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Stop

What the real cause is. . .

I would like to suggest that the real cause is nothing to do with public outrage or automated clamp down. Rather, I feel that it is entirely to do with the money making capabilities of the speed fine scam.

Now that Police Forces and Local Gov parking fuehrers no longer view it as a way of boosting their income, other than lip service to common decency, what is the motivator to make them continue to pursue hapless speeders?

None I would say

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Coat

Actually....

The Germans have been considering imposing a limit on their famously (but inaccurately described) totally speed limit-free Autobahns - only a small percentage of them have no limits.

As an aside - there's a GATSO not far from here which I've regularly seen doing it's double-flash with absolutely no traffic (vehicular, pedestrian or otherwise) within 300 yards of it - the invisible man is due a huge pile of tickets. Always makes me wonder just how accurate the camera really is when it randomly fires like that.

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Tin

Always Amused

I'm always amused at peoples outrage at getting caught by speed cameras - if your breaking the speed limit your breaking the law.

Not many of the people caught by speed cameras would find it acceptable for the level of theft convictions to go down because someone was outraged that security tag detectors go off when you walk through them with the tag still on whatever they're trying to nick.

You break the law you should pay for it and shouldn't complain when you get caught for it, be it by a man or a machine.

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Black Helicopters

I doubt it!

I think someone better measure the statistical effect of GPS Navigation systems warning the drivers of Camera zones. I'd say in the last few years the number of theses systems in circulation has increased dramatically particularly amongst the cameras favourites, private hire cabs and road warrior sales men.

I wonder how much of that 2 percentage points drop can be ascribed to that given the disproportionate share of the tickets these road users ate up.

We should not also forget after several years of miltiant camera based stealth taxing a lot of people are sitting on 9 points which is only one ticket from a driving ban. Therefore they are probably being very very very careful these days or if not careful then at least armed with a tire, some petrol and a lighter.

Personally speaking as soon as my GPS beeps i stuff on my speed limiter which seems to be on loads of cars these days. I haven't got any points as i reckon i am a pretty average driver who doesn't speed on purpose but It's only a matter of time with poor signage and particularly as camera proliferation is like the slash and burn of the rainforest only in reverse and without the benefits.

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Ian

Am I the only one...

...who has no problem with speed cameras?

Despite what many think, road speeds aren't designated randomly, a lot of research goes into a safe and suitable speed for every single road in the country, if people aren't adhering to those safe speeds then what exactly is the problem with enforcement? That's not to say some road speeds are misguided, but people should be campaigning to resolve the problems with those few badly decided speeds fixed than complaining about road speed enforcement in general.

The fact is in many areas speed cameras have massively increased road safety and decreased accidents, to me if the amount of people getting injured is lessened, the amount of pressure on emergency services dealing with accidents is decreased and extra money is gained for public services by fining those willing to make the roads less safe than I can only see the whole thing as a win-win situation.

The only disagreement I do have is the potential for cameras as a tool to erode privacy and civil rights, however that's a different issue and it's still the case that the majority of cameras out there are simply used to catch speeders.

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Police keeping numbers up

Nice to see the police keeping the stats high though

http://tinyurl.com/2xbnjz

90 in a 60 is an instant ban isn't it?

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GPS

I favour the GPS theory, too. These, together with the bright orange paint, have led to people slowing down in the proximity of the cameras but reverting to speeding elsewhere. As somebody who keeps to speed limits all the time, I've certainly noticed an increase in aggressive tailgating during the same period. Of course, the $64,000 question is what have the accident figures done in that period...

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@Anonymous Actually...

From Wikipedia;

"On average, about three quarters of the total length of the German autobahn network has no speed limit, about one quarter has a permanent limit, and the remaining parts have a temporary limit for a number of reasons."

I wouldn't normally call 75% a small percentage.

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Paris Hilton

government revenue generators.

Huh, speed fines have dropped, yet i stupidly managed to pick up 9 points in the space of 6 months in 2006. All thanks to the police tactic of hiding behind a bush in UNMARKED (i thought they had to be clearly marked) vans. Northumbria police don't mark their vans, so if you are fortunate enough to spot one before they get you for doing 78 in a 70mph (yes 78, that 10% + 2 mph rule does not apply in my case), it just looks like any old mini bus. This has happened 2 more times, and I like those letters they send you. They couldn't give a flying f**k whether you drive like a maniac or not. As long as they get the money. They may as well just send you an invoice. Now, because i'm only 1 more fine away from a ban, i drive everywhere with my eyes fixated on the speedo, in sheer fear of being sneakily caught. That a good way of improving road safety, have every driver watching a clock, instead of the road.

It's funny how these things have really shot up under the conservative (i mean, labour) government. Target the motorist. Or the working man, in most cases. Really goes well with labour values. Every other time they've been in power they've been like this. Normally they only get in for 1 term, but the idiots of this country seem to enjoy being taken for fools. Conservative sleaze was a real problem. Still, voting in a government which does absolutely EVERYTHING it can to launch unjustified wars, taking cash for peerages, giving motorists fines to victims of crime (shouldn';t that money go on roads, and shouldn't the criminal pay the victim?) .. the list goes on. Much better to have this sort of government, than a party full of harmless ugly toffs that are all shagging eachother? And still the 'great' British public will vote this bunch of criminals back in power. The English seem to enjoy being ruled by a fist clunking Scot.

Sorry, just fancied a rant.

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Black Helicopters

@Anon Cow.

Is there an MOD base near you as well? The military might be using this GATSO to test their new invisibility cloak.

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More likely...

Wasn't there a review of whether Speed Camera's caused more accidents than they prevented in 2006? At one point the government put a freeze on introducing new camera locations, pending the outcome of the review, so camera's were not being put up in new places.

This meant that people would have learned where they were and hence where to slow down. I think this also affected the mobile camera's for about 2-3 months.

The 2% is probably due to the lack of mobile camera's and new camera locations.

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then again

Could just be that the cameras are actually doing what they're supposed to do, which is to get people to obey the law.

For various reasons, cameras included, I now make a conscious effort to keep to the speed limit. Never out of third in town.

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Re: Actually....

Have a look at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/31/invisible_shed_potter_klingon_cloak_bond_aston_tank/

They've obviously been testing the device on fast cars in your area.

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Re: Speed Limit

Rob Farnell wrote:

It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane without technically braking the speed limit. It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past.

Rob; its an overtaking lane, not a fast lane (in the UK). Drivers in that lane should only really be there if they're over taking traffic on the inner lanes, in which case once the traffic has passed they should move back across to the left. Either the person in the outside lane is overtaking, in which case the driver behind should be patient and wait; or the person ahead is just sat in the "fast" lane believing they should be there due to traffic supposedly moving faster in that lane. Whichever way it goes, one of the drivers is partaking in some bad driving, which has nothing to do with the speed limit.

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Unhappy

@Rob Farnell

> It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane without technically braking the speed limit... It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past...

> I do a lot of motorway driving and I can tell you that ...

It's so depressing... the reason that they are flashing their lights to get past, Rob, is because there's no such thing as the "fast lane", a term generally used by people whose driving skills lack an understanding of how they are supposed to drive on motorways. It's lane 3, or the outside lane. When you have overtaken, return to the left-most lane, and don't think of pulling out to overtake if you will make a faster car approaching in the next lane to have to slow down - ease off your own speed and let it past first.

It's the optimal strategy for motorways, because it permits the greatest throughput of cars travelling at differing speeds, and the Germans have got it spot on - hence the real reason why everyone just loves autobahns (except when lane-hogging Brits mess it up and piss everyone else off).

I love German autobahns for just that reason, which is why a "no speed limit" (but read the other post above) is appropriate. On our motorways, you can forget lane discipline... "I've paid my vehicle excise licence so I will drive how I like" prevails... even if it means everyone jammed into lane 3 and nothing in the other two... :-(

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Dead Vulture

Democratic ?

"obey the democratically-enacted laws of the land"

Umm - thought we were talking about speed limits here? They're usually put through by local councils, in closed sessions, having advertised them in publications that the vast majority of people haven't heard of. Oh, and once they are imposed it's too late to object.

Depends on your definition of democracy I suppose. If you go for the soviet version, then speed limits are democratically enacted. By most other standards they are dictatorially imposed.

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Stop

A little bit of basic maths...

Consider this about the level of GCSE Maths:

If you undertake a 100 mile journey and average 80mph instead of 70mph, approximately how much time will you save (to the nearest minute)?

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The answer is *ELEVEN MINUTES*!

Eleven minutes over 100 miles. Wow, what a saving!

You get a similar saving (ten minute) if you undertook a 20 mile journey around town at 40mph instead of 30mph.

Obviously people's time is *so* precious that they're willing to risk the lives of others because the reduced reaction time and extended braking distances mean they have less chance to do something about a problem before it becomes an accident.

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Research ?

Ian says "Despite what many think, road speeds aren't designated randomly, a lot of research goes into a safe and suitable speed for every single road in the country,"

Sorry this is complete c**p!

If the "powers that be" had even the faintest interest in safety all roads in the country would have variable limits. On most French motorways the limit is 130KMH when it's dry and 110KMH when it's wet. Why? well because anyone who has ever driven a car surely knows you can travel more safely in the dry than in the wet - This is not rocket science.

The motorway limits were imposed by a woman who was so qualified to comment on the subject that she didn't even have a driving license. Back then in 1965 many cars couldn't reliably do 70. Most cars certainly could not reliably stop from that speed. My first car had all round drum brakes. Brake fade was a serious everyday problem above 40MPH. Stopping down hill from 70 usually involved a lot of engine braking and a short lift off the pedal to allow the drums to cool off!

Anyway back the idea of variable limits. There are times when most of the UKs motorway network can safely be driven at 140MPH in the right car. There are also lots of times when 40MPH is highly dangerous. So where is the sense in a 70 mile an hour limit?

Would you adhere to a law which decided that on odd numbered days it was illegal to walk on the cracks in the pavement? Coz most of the UKs speed laws make just as much sense.

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Tim
Stop

Re Jason Irwin's comment - Meredydd Hughes

I'd put money on him getting away with it because in his evidence he will use the global cop get out of jail free statement "I was driving safely"

just wait for it!

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Tin
Coat

@ Dazed and Confused

Never driven in France but whats the limit when the road is 'Mildly Moist' as they put it on Top Gear?

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Coat

Deja Vu

There is no need to have this debate. I thought we had already decided that:

* All vehicles are evil. This includes shoes.

* All people are idiots. Except for us because we're all perfect.

* All speed limits should be 0 miles an hour which is still too fast or The Speed of Light (tm) which is just to slow.

I think that covers everything. Carry on...

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Paris Hilton

Thats (probably) the answer

[quote]

Brake fade was a serious everyday problem above 40MPH. Stopping down hill from 70 usually involved a lot of engine braking and a short lift off the pedal to allow the drums to cool off!

[/quote]

**************************************

Thats probably the best way to make people drive more carefully !!

Remove the safety designed into new(ish) vehicles.

I bet people would use their common considerably more.

And those that don't ?

... Well... Darwinism can be a good thing sometimes !! [/sarcasm]

( Of course, thats not so great for the unfortunate buggers they take out with them)

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WTF

>> According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#United_Kingdom ), the speed limit for motorways was set at 70mph in 1965. Over 40 years of motor car evolution has meant cars are safer, have better brakes with ABS, better tyre construction, more stringent MOT's etc yet the speed hasn't been increased.

In 40 years the motorways have also become a heck of a lot more crowded (though faster speeds would theoretically reduce that).

>> It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane

without technically braking the speed limit.

As others have pointed out - "Fast Lane"?? WTF. Surely the outer most overtaking lane you mean? If you are travelling at 70 off peak, there is little chance that you will have to spend much time in the third lane.

>> It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past.

Yes and those people are very nearly as annoying and just about more hazardous than those who hog the 'fast' lane.

>> I do a lot of motorway driving and I can tell you that I feel a lot safer when cars are driving at sensible fast speeds for the conditions with 2+ car distance between each other rather than all bunched up being limited to 70Mph.

What is a sensible fast speed when you are a 2 car length's distance from the car in front? Again WTF!!

6 metres certainly isn't a safe distance when you are travelling at 30 metres a second (70 MPH). Try adding a 10 to that number, i.e. 2 seconds distance, say 20 car lengths - as a minimum.

I agree that the speed limit should be raised for Motorways - Rob Farnell demonstrates there are many things more dangers taking place on the road which are rarely penalised i.e. tail gating, lane hogging and stupidity.

WRT to urban speed limits, I think they are fine as they stand (with the odd exception, where they have been wrongly applied). If you are attempting to merge onto a 30 MPH road, it is significantly more difficult and dangerous when cars are travelling at 40 MPH.

>> There are times when most of the UKs motorway network can safely be driven at 140MPH in the right car. (Dazed and Confused)

On a clear, straight road, in clear conditions perhaps - all of which are pretty rare in the UK. Travelling at 60 metres/second doesn't allow ther drivers travelling at half that speed much opportunity to see coming - and it would be entirely your fault if they moved into your path - likewise you would have very little oppourtunity to see a stationary queue of traffic.

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@Graham Marsden

>> Eleven minutes over 100 miles. Wow, what a saving!

>> You get a similar saving (ten minute) if you undertook a 20 mile journey around town at 40mph instead of 30mph.

>> Obviously people's time is *so* precious that they're willing to risk the lives of others because the reduced reaction time and extended braking distances mean they have less chance to do something about a problem before it becomes an accident.

You do understand that 40 in a 30 is *significantly* more dangerous than 80 in a 70 don't you (espescially to other road users).

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Jokers and garden gnomes

When scammers at accident blackspots showed subsequent reduced annual casualties they were hailed a success. It was correctly pointed out the same result could have been achieved by installing a garden gnome, since the selection of locations failed to take into account the statistical phenomenon of regression to the mean. In simple terms, if the numbers go up and down from year to year, then if they're up one year, then they'll probably be down next year.

2% reduction would not normally be considered statistically significant. Don't celebrate yet. (But if you do, don't drink and drive. It gives us speed merchants a bad name).

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@ Ian

>> Despite what many think, road speeds aren't designated randomly, a lot of research goes into a safe and suitable speed for every single road in the country, if people aren't adhering to those safe speeds then what exactly is the problem with enforcement?

Right, so a bloke in London in 1965 (who set the 70mph motorway limit) carefully researched and knew exactly how fast I can safely travel on the M42 in a 2.0 Ford Mondeo in November 2007 at midnight in good weather?

Didn't think so.

You're full of it mate.

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Pirate

(MoJ? MinJ?)

Oh, definitely MinJ.

So that if you get busted, you can say "I've just been collared by the minge"!

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WTF ?

@ Tin

>> I'm always amused at peoples outrage at getting caught by speed cameras - if your breaking the speed limit your breaking the law

And of those who weren't breaking the law ? We can be fairly certain that there are some, but the statistics are carefully NOT kept that would say how many ! And then there are the cases where the speed limit is (at best) "unclear" due to confusing signage - and there are plenty of signs placed (very carefully) where the last thing you need the drivers to be doing is looking at the signs and their speedos instead of looking for, oh, how about THE CHILDRUN

@ Ian

>>> ...who has no problem with speed cameras?

>>> Despite what many think, road speeds aren't designated randomly, a lot of research goes into a safe and suitable speed for every single road in the country, if people aren't adhering to those safe speeds then what exactly is the problem with enforcement?

Actually not a lot of research goes into looking up the standard speed limit for a class of road and throwing a few signs up ! Not to mention that the speed limits take zero account of conditions (dry/wet/snow/ice, day/night/low sun directly in face) - so whatever fanciful ideas you might have it is still neccessary for drivers to apply some judgement as to a safe speed.

Not to mention that a great many speed limits are imposed for purely political reasons - and I really do mean 100% political ! Round our way there are now loads of villages that have 20 mph speed limits, why ? Because a few years ago the government handed out pots of cash with conditions attached - one of which effectively requires 20 mph limits. These villages didn't apparently qualify for a 30 mph limit - so on the argument that all speed limits are carefully researched, if they didn't qualify for even a 30 limit, how could they qualify on safety grounds for a 20 limit ? 100% political reasons, driven by the need for local councils to get any cash they can, and being fed by central government with a good wheeze to further hinder the common man (and woman).

The problem with people (like the above two) is that the whole idea that all you need to do is abide by the law<period> creates a situation where driving standards are being forced down actively. We should be pushing up driving standards, not forcing them down ! I have a friend who is a driving instructor, and he tells me that they are now teaching more towards "compliance" than safety - because it is now (apparently) more important to be in compliance with arbitrary rules than it is to be safe.

If the argument for obeying speed limits without question is simply that "it's the law" then that's proof that the limits are nothing to do with safety !

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@ Jeremy Hooks

>> There are times when most of the UKs motorway network can safely be driven at 140MPH in the right car. (Dazed and Confused)

>On a clear, straight road, in clear conditions perhaps - all of which are pretty rare in the UK. Travelling at 60 metres/second doesn't allow ther drivers travelling at half that speed much opportunity to see coming - and it would be entirely your fault if they moved into your path - likewise you would have very little oppourtunity to see a stationary queue of traffic.

I can't currently think of a single bend on a UK motorway which couldn't (in the right car, in the right conditions) be safely taken at 140. Junctions are another matter.

But the conditions need to be right. For example lanes seem very narrow at that sort of speed. To safely pass traffic in lane 1 you need to be in lane 3. If there are two cars in lane 1 and it looks like one might want to pass, then you'd need to slow down! a 70MPH speed difference between adjacent lanes is not IMHO safe. But it's also not safe when lane 1 is at a stand still and lane 2 is running at "normal" speed. That one is an everyday and perfectly legal situation.

The right conditions always include being able to stop in the distance you can comfortably see. This is just as much true at 30 as it is at 70, or even my ludicrous 140.

My whole point is the current blanket 70 limit is purely arbitrary. NO meaningful research was done in setting it. There was no way to meaningfully research how 2007 cars would behave in 2007 traffic conditions back in the mid 60s.

I suspect that the limit was set at 70 because someone said "my car will only do 70 and no bugger has the right to go faster than me"

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70 limit was set because of the "ton-up" bikers.

Back in the 60s those naughty lads with bikes would go to a "caff" and then all go for a "ton-up" jaunt.

PC Plod in the old Morris Minor was lagging a bit behind so the limit was brought in by the government so that "criminals" could no longer escape the police by going faster than the hi tech police car was capable of going.

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Your not joking?

I'm not always amused by people who cry "If you ain't doing anything wrong you don't need to worry!"

Nonsense. They will soon start to scream when they get speeding tickets in the post for speeding they didn't do in places they didn't go to. Or they learn that the government has flogged off their travel data to an insurance company, which now knows exactly what journies they make, even those they thought were private. This government works hard to criminalise the everyday, and soooner or later these people too will be wrongly accused of something. Just because some people who DO deserve fines whine, doesn't mean that the innocent are safe. They too will be trapped by these automated data collection systems one day.

But YOU'RE not going to believe ti anyway, so I'll stop now.

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