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back to article Speed cams ditched in Wiltshire

Swindon local council has voted in favour of ending funding for maintenance of speed cameras in the town. At a vote last night the Tory council voted unanimously to stop providing £320,000 in funding for the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership. The council will redirect funding to other road safety projects to reduce …

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Controlled trial?

I hope they take the opportunity to do an experiment that might give some useful information on whether speed cameras really do reduce accidents. When they were first introduced accidents went down dramatically, at least on some stretches of road. Now we might get the chance to see if the effect also works in reverse.

Of course this still won't tell you whether speed limits might improve safety more if observing them wasn't optional (for anyone who knows where the cameras are).

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Hooray!

I don't mind the police doing it, I'd feel fairly caught if I were that bad at keeping a lookout, but the fixed cameras are a nonsense that cause accidents. So often I see overtakers braking dramatically, or I have to slow down from a perfectly legal speed because the driver in front of me suddenly brakes in reflex at catching sight of a camera.

Of course I am a saint with a halo when driving around the country ...

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Course they don't work

Of course they don't work. See a yellow box and slow down for 50metres before speeding up again. Great bit of thinking.

How drivers slowing down for 50m could save anybody's life is beyond me.

It's all down to the stats. Road has 1 death, next year 2, next year 1, next year 6. Stick a camera in, and the next year it goes down to the average of 1 or 2 deaths. The police and council claim the camera has reduced deaths by 83%, when in fact it's just gone down to the average and the spike was just an anomaly.

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Fuck Yeah!

"or driver training"...

My God! Common Sense from a local council! Let's hope this is contagious.

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Anonymous Coward

Bet this piece of news has made Jeremy Clarkson happy...

Stay tuned for his "I kept telling you they were rubbish" speech on the first episode of the next Top Gear season.

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Wow

At last a council which has seen sense, speed cameras ONLY slow traffic at the camera site - then they just speed up again. Though I am loathe to say this as I hate them, speed humps are about the only thing I have seen that slow traffic down, but speed bumps don't generate revenue....

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Will they also abolish

those camera vans on the A417 - you know, the white vans with blacked-out rear window that sit in the layby OR on the bridge over the main road.

Thought not.

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Pete Greenhalgh for PM

Anyone else think Councillor Peter Greenhalgh, who is a friend of mine, should stand for PM? Or would this kind of common sense thinking not be welcomed in Whitehall?

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Probably less to do wtih road safety...

...and more to do with the fact that it's costing them £320,000 p/a to maintain the cameras, and any 'proceeds' go straight to central government coffers.

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This is why

They need to be hidden and unannounced to work. If you knew (as I understand is the case in Germany) that you could be caught speeding [i]anywhere[/i], then people would be more inclined to observe the limits. Or at those who didn't learn would pretty soon get a ban.

But the Clarksons and Suns of this world forced them to be bright yellow so that they became useless. This was the plan all along; make them useless (in the same way that store detectives would of little use if they had to wear Ronald MacDonald outfits and shout "I'm a store detective" every five minutes to be allowed to catch shoplifters), and then get rid of them, fired by the mistaken belief that they are somehow entitled to speed as much as they like.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jim Booth

Co Durham has NEVER had fixed speed cameras

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Good

Nice to see a rare dose of common sense, speed cameras can cause as many accidents as they prevent, even the law abiding folks, as they stare at the speedo trying to make sure they don't break 30mph. This will only get worse if the rollout of spec average speed cameras happens on motorways, great idea to have people looking at their speed at 70mph and not the road, absolutely brilliant.

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@ Jonathan McColl

The guys in the mobile speed camera vans are, almost invariably, NOT police officers, but employees of the local 'Safety Camera Partnership'. I've yet to recall any fatalities at the motorway sites they regularly operate in my area, which, IIRC, was where these fecking things were supposed to be used. Not to generate cash.

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Common sense?

"Nice to see a rare dose of common sense, speed cameras can cause as many accidents as they prevent"

Er, do you have any evidence for that?

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Coat

my mate - up to 120 MPH every day, there and back

with his nose stuck up the exhaust in front all the way in Wiltshire (yes, firefox, Wiltshire is a word. So is firefox but you think that's mis-spelt as well?) Seriously scary when he gives me a lift.

He's been stopped once in X years so far. It's ridiculous. The only way to deal with it is to make sure the price is too high to tazz on at 100+. Why bother with laws when you don't enforce them.

Mine's the one with the smell of fear still leaking from the armpits

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Whatever next? stop arresting criminals?

Of course speed cameras aren't a 'tax on the motorist' - there's a simple way to avoid a fine - it's called not breaking the law, and sticking to the speed limit.

What next? abolish prison sentances because they're unfair on criminals? let everyone break the law whenever they like because they feel like it?

Excessive speed kills. Perhaps the Clarksons of the world should go and explain to the relatives of the family killed in the recent, and very tragic pile up on the M6 why cutting back on speed cameras is a good idea, and why it's unfair that the police fine people for breaking the speed limit.

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Michael

To keep traffic speed down why don't we simply get someone to walk in front of each vehicle with a red flag to warn of the vehicle's approach? That would make the roads safer.

Or, do as has been done here in Cambridge, put in so many traffic lights that unless you have a Typhoon fighter there is no chance of reaching walking pace before the next set of lights stops you.

To be fair to the Council they haven't done that everywhere (yet). In other places roads have been turned into crazy golf courses with the addition of various obstacles lumps, bumps, chicanes, posts etc .

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Never worked anyway

Glad to see that some councils are starting to see sense. There is a fixed camera on the A9 near Gleneagles. There was a set of skid marks leading up to the camera a few months back, then they swerve to the verge and into a lampost. Save lives, I think not, the driver died at the scene. Most of the camera on the A90 also have skid marks leading up to them on a regular basis. As other have said, all people do is slow down until past them. Most drivers on the roads are responsible enought to be able to drive at a speed which is comfortable for them and at which they feel safe and in control of their car. Many tests have been conducted in other countries that show when speed limits and other "driver aids" street signs, traffic lights etc are removed, accidents drop and traffic flows freely.

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Pathetic

Speed cameras were originally designed to stop people speeding. Speeding being defined as faster than the locally declared speed limit. ALL speeding is dangerous, because ALL speeding vehicles are driving in a way that other road users cannot predict, and therefore ALL other road users need to drive more defensively ALL THE TIME just in case some idiot decides he has more right to get there sooner than other road users. It is deeply antisocial behaviour.

I agree that clearly marked bright yellow cameras in well signposted locations are worse than useless. ALL SPEEDING IS WRONG ALL THE TIME. It makes ALL roads more dangerous.

Anyway, ten year from now speeding will be a thing of the past. Petrol prices might be down a bit because the credit crunch has hit demand, but the global supply of oil is now past peak. In ten years, no-one will be able to waste money driving too fast, fuel will be far too scarce.

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Anonymous Coward

@Will they also abolish

Possible because they have the same effect of causing traffic to slow down on sight.

What they need to do is to redeploy these vans either in places where they cannot be spotted or "disguise them". Speed enforcement will only work if people think they can be caught anywhere. Salutary lesson is someone I know who drove down the M4 to Pembrokeshire for a holiday at high speed and came home to discover *3* separate speeding tickets waiting for him

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Anonymous Coward

No offense

But if you're doing 50, and have to brake to 30 to avoid getting flashed and cause an accident, isn't it technically your fault for speeding in the first place? To be fair, you knew the rules before you decided you were above them.

That being said, speed limits on motorways, and to an extent, dual carriageways are a joke. Leave other roads as they are, but stick the motorways back to no limit.

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Coat

Swindon's not Wiltshire

At the risk of being extremely pedantic Wiltshire is still going to have its speed cameras. Swindon is a separate authority. So Salisbury, Devizes etc etc will still have them.

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Morons

And when the death toll rises - who will be to blame? Drivers, obviously, but these councillors as well.

We need EVSC and we need it ***NOW***. All drivers caught speeding should face a mandatory 1 year ban and 10% of their salary fine. Prison and a 30% salary fine for the second offence.

SPEED KILLS, people. The evidence is irrefutable, you are a brain dead moron if you think anything else.

8 people die a day on our roads - most of those caused by speeders, probably of the same ilk as anon coward @ 1002's. Hey, anon coward @ 1002; do the right thing for society, report your "mate" as a dangerous driver. He's not much of a mate if he keeps putting your (and other's) life in dager by driving in such an irresponsible manner.

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Paris Hilton

@ KarlTh

Actually it was some safery groups as well, who wanted them painted in bright colours, to bring attention to accident black spots, but hey whats wrong with an ill thought out rant with no factual basis

and there was rumblings of a potential court case if there was an accident where the victim (or perpetrator was caught on camera seconds before, and obviously in our health and safety conscious world that wouldn't do

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Keep them mobile and hidden

I quite agree with the above comments, it's absurd to insist that cameras be visible as this has precisely the effect stated above, of making drivers slow for 50 metres or so. Any road feature which causes sudden decelleration is going to cause accidents. If a pedestrian stupidly runs out into the road it may not be your fault if you hit them, but the extent of their injuries and whether they live or die is down your speed. Life is too precious to throw away because we're in too much of a hurry to get from A to B.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh wow what good news....

yeah I am being sarcastic.

What they are saying is that people are not speeding where the cameras are so they will use mobile models as they catch more people.

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Why oh why....

Do people insist on saying "Speed Kills". Speed does not kill. Bad driving kills - Full stop.

Doing 90 on an empty motorway won't kill anyone. On the other hand I know some built-up areas where driving at the speed limit is just bloody dangerous. You have to use common sense and adapt your driving to the environment around you. If you need speed camera's and signs to tell you what to do then you probably shouldn't be driving in the first place.

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@"whatever next?" AC

As the Swindon councillers realised, excessive speed is a minority cause of accidents (about 6% according to the gov's own figures). If Swindon are going to reallocate their money towards better road design and driver awareness, then I applaud their efforts.

Your line about the M6 pile-up shows the typical "think of the children" pig-ignorance about speed; speed had nothing to do with it, and the accident happened in "heavy, slow traffic" according to the beeb. Would a speed camera have saved those people? Would it f**k.

(we really need a Maude Flanders icon).

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This may turn into a rant...

I don't have a problem with increasing the speed limit on motorways, just wanted to get that out to start with. I think that fixed cameras there are not such a hot idea.

Fixed cameras in an urban environment at least make accidents around them at a slower speed. I think that the most dangerous part of speed cameras is making them clearly visible, because this makes people do the whole, brake when it's coming up, accelerate away like a nutter form of driving. Much better to have a sign saying 'speed cameras for 1 mile' and concealing them and move them, people would be a whole lot better at keeping to the speed limit then.

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You sure about that?

Posted by AC @ 10:05

Perhaps the Clarksons of the world should go and explain to the relatives of the family killed in the recent, and very tragic pile up on the M6 why cutting back on speed cameras is a good idea, and why it's unfair that the police fine people for breaking the speed limit.

-------------------------------

It was my understanding that the traffic was slow, due to an earlier accident, so please tell the assembled masses how a speed camera on that part of the M6, would have prevented it from happening?

Thanks

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@AC 10:05

Where is the suggestion that excessive speed caused the crash on the M6?

Seriously, stop ambulance chasing for stories which you want to fit your worldview and actually show some evidence. A Family has just died, a lorry driver has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, but as long as it helps me defend a position in lieu of any actaul evidence then I can hijack the emotional trauma for my own purposes.

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I think we need a new handle...

...available for anon posters to use. It should be "Sanctimonious Coward".

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@"Whatever next? stop arresting criminals? "

"go and explain to the relatives of the family killed in the recent, and very tragic pile up on the M6 why cutting back on speed cameras is a good idea"

Since the lorry that ran them off the road wasn't speeding I fail to see your point?

The cause of the crash was tiredness, caused by a foreign driver. No amount of speed camera's would have prevented this accident. One copper doing his job *might* have noticed the erratic behaviour of the driver, but ofcourse we don't need officers anymore because speed camera's can do their jobs for them!

You response is nothing short of progogandist nonsense, and is an insult to the people who died on the M6 the other day.

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They never stopped accidents

They either caused dangerous driving by breaking suddenly at the sight of one, caused people to watch their speedometers on the approach instead of the road ahead, or just caused a momentary slowdown before they piled on the calories once out of range again.

Total rubbish.

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Stop

@KarlTH

No, you are wrong. The reason why they were painted yellow is that people were seeing them at the last minute and slamming on their brakes. They are not supposed to be a hidden cash raising device, they are supposed to be a high visibility deterrent.

If you want to get people to slow down you have to employ onboard GPS based devices (like the ones proposed in the road pricing plans of yore) or use the average speed cameras over large stretches of road.

The problem with both of these plans is that if people know there is no way of getting away with speeding then they will simply not speed. That's not what the government wants though because that would mean they would get no revenue. What they want is a solution that gives the impression that you can get away with it so that people risk it and then get caught so they can be taxed.

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@AC re: Whatever next? stop arresting criminals?

"there's a simple way to avoid a fine - it's called not breaking the law, and sticking to the speed limit"

Those speed limits were set over 40 years ago. Since then cars have changed significantly. The limits need to change, especially on motorways. Most people already drive over 70mph on the motorways and yet the number of accidents has fallen despite there being more cars on the roads than ever.

I read somewhere a test where current model cars were tested against 20 year old cars for braking efficiency. The new cars had as much as 50% less braking distance as the old ones.

Laws are all well and good but they should be appropriate to the times.

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Coat

franchise

Can I get a franchise please to set up speed cameras for a share in the profit? That'll teach them. The argument by various people above ("speed cams dangeroud because people slow down suddenly on sight of orange box") is void if I get a go at hiding the things, moving them around and such.

Stealth tax my arse: tax on stupidity is what it is. Fine by me.

Oh, mine's the daygo bicycle coat, thanks.

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Speed kills.

No it doesn't. They proved that when they built the first steam locomotives and nobody died from travelling at more than 20mph, despite a lot of eminent fools being sure that speed killed.

Excessive speed kills. True. But define excessive. A ton plus at 3AM on a deserted three-lane motorway is not excessive. 30mph past a school at kicking out time is excessive, regardless of what the speed limit says in both cases.

Oh, and anyone who uses the the word "cyclist" in their handle shouldn't be commenting in this area as none of this applies to the axe-grinding, small-minded, smug, kneejerk reactionary, luddite little twats anyway.

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the problem

the problem with speed camras is not weather they work or do not work it is that now they are SEEN to be meany a revinew genrator so pepol hate them the anser in MHO is to dissacosate the crime form the income maby by donating all speeding fines to charity or maing speeding an fice with a non monryt penilty. that way if concles realy think they are a cost efective way to cut road deaths hty can pay for them the full econic cost

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Re: Whatever next? Stop arresting criminals?

The M6 accident was caused by a Portuguese LGV. Left hand drive (blind spot conveniently on the right), driver not used to British law, overworked and had probably been driving for way more hours than are permitted in this country. Even then I'm guessing that the driver isn't just a convenient hook upon which to hang the outrage.

Nothing at all to do with excessive speed, despite the fact the the idiocracy seem to think speed is the root of all driving evils. If I wanted to read non sequiturs all day I'd read the Mail or Hansard for my daily quota of irrelevant justifications for stupid laws and ideas from people unable to connect cause and effect.

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@Morons

"8 people die a day on our roads - most of those caused by speeders"

government figures would disagree.

"SPEED KILLS, people. The evidence is irrefutable, you are a brain dead moron if you think anything else."

Odd, having just taken the train at 100mph, I'm still alive! Inappropriate speed kills, speed in itself doesn't.

"All drivers caught speeding should face a mandatory 1 year ban and 10% of their salary fine."

Utterly ridiculous, and completely disproportional to reality.

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Anonymous Coward

speeding isn't the problem

It's crap drivers that cause accidents, not speeding per se.

It is blatently stupid to believe that it is only safe to drive at a certain blanket speed, and people who think this presumably believe that there's no need to slow down on blind bends or in the wet because it is safe to drive at the speed limit.

There are plenty of places where it is entirely safe to drive in excess of the speed limit (and 3 inches off someone's bumper is not one of them), and equally there are plenty of places where it is not safe to drive at the speed limit.

The safest way to drive is by observing the conditions and adjusting speed to suit. Spending all my time checking I haven't accidentally wandered 3mph over the speed limit means I'm not looking at the road, so am clearly less safe.

I've been speeding for 20 years, and I've never had an accident nor got a speeding ticket. Why? Because I pay attention to the road rather than to my speedo.

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Coat

RE: Morons

RE: SPEED KILLS, people. The evidence is irrefutable, you are a brain dead moron if you think anything else.8 people die a day on our roads.

So does alcohol, smoking, walking across the road in front of a bus, jumping off a bridge, eating too much fatty food etc. BAN IT ALL!

300 people a day die from smoking so shouldn't something be done about that first??

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Paris Hilton

How many times..

Do we have to hear the same crap peddled "speed kills". This argument is just as lame as "if you have nothing to hide".

SPEED DOES NOT KILL. If speed was a killer NO ONE would be allowed to speed, including emergency services. This message has been hammered into us by the same government who cant even give you un-massaged figures of road deaths and supposed reductions due to speed cameras - give me a break.

You can kill someone at 5mph just as easily as you can at 60 mph. If anything is to blame, its the inept driving ability of the idiot behind the wheel.

Paris - because only she would believe the shite the government peddles.

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Re: @Jim Booth

"Co Durham has NEVER had fixed speed cameras"

Neither has North Yorkshire, but nip a few miles down the road into Leeds and you can't move for the bloody things.

I don't have a problem with speed cameras *providing* they're used for road safety purposes - unfortunately, they're not - their prime purpose seems to be revenue generation. However, I do agree that speed limits on motorways (or motorway-standard roads) should be removed or at least made 'advisory' (isn't this what they do in Germany?)

Then again, City of York seems to have followed Cambridge's example of putting so many bloody traffic lights in place that it's faster to walk than drive or cycle, thereby rendering speed cameras redundant anyway.

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Speed does NOT KILL

It anoys me every time someone reels out the old 'Speed Kills' line.

In some places the speed limit is 20mph. At others is is 70 mph.

If speed kills (and speed alone) then the speed limit shoudl be universal.

As no-one is suggesting that it is plain that Speed does NOT kill, speed is simply ONE of the factors in an accident.

If you have an empty motorway and good conditions, 100mph in a well maintained, modern car is not inherantly lethal.

If you have a busy motorway in the pouring rain 50mph may be dangerous.

Stop taking the easy target of an absolute speed and instead get actual police officers patrolling the roads and stopping the idiots who drive too fast or too close for the individual road conditions.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?

So the argument is that they don't control speed, so scrap them. Why not use ones that do control speed? Hands up those who've driven over the limit in an area with "average speed" measurement in force?

I agree that the cameras aren't always effective, but to just get rid of them is a green-light to all the people out there who think one of the following:

a) My time is more imortant than someone else's safety.

b) Going fast is fun, my skills are brilliant so everyone is safe!

c) I'm not paying enough attention to know what the speed limit is.

The majority of these cameras are in urban areas, enforcing speed limits of 40mph or less. I think this a classic bit of pandering to popular opinion, good for headlines and popular with the people who read the Daily Mail. I don't even think that the cameras will vanish, £320k doesn't sound like the total budget required to operate them, only part of it; council funding may well be replaced by money from other sources (e.g. central government, who presumably get the "profits" from cameras).

I love the phrase "tax on motorists" though, as if breaking this particular law is totally acceptable and we shouldn't be inconveniencing anyone who does; fuck it, why not call them "heroes", like the metric martyrs, and give them money?

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The other way of improving road safety

20 years ago, most of the roads near home had no speed limit. Now most of the big wide major roads are 30 with a few 40's. 20 years ago I paid attention when driving. Now, there is a real danger of dozing off at the wheel.

Some of the narrow windy back roads still have no limit. Occasionly you can find a boy racer's wreck in a ditch. More please!

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About time too.

I agree with cameras but in very specific places. There is a strech of road near me where speeding will cause problems and people know this. A silly few kept trying it though and now there is a camera and it has helped so this is a situation where they are really usefull.

Another one not too far away is at the start of a section of dual carriage way. Conifer trees on the council owned land dont get trimmed and obscure it from oncoming traffic. the road turns from a 50 to the national speedlimit about 100 yards from the camera. There are no houses or junctions nearby but it seems the camera is there simply to catch people who speed up before the road widens. How is this not a revenue generator? Most seem to be like this in our area except for the one i mentioned at the start.

@By Anonymous Coward 10:05 GMT - The tragic accident you mention happened in slow moving traffic. Like the vast majority of accidents nobody was breaking the speedlimit so in that situation cameras wouldnt have made any difference.

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@ AC:1022

8 people a day do die on our roads, you're right. The "old" government line was that 33% of accidents were caused by speeding, so this would equate to ~20 people a week (so it's not "most" caused by speeders)

A recent study by the same government however, said that only ~5% of accidents are directly down to speed in excess of the posted limit, i.e. ~150 people a year. There was a further breakdown of the remaining 95%, but I'd bet most of them are "not looking where they're going" , "pullout our without looking" or "pissed pedestrian walked out into the street without looking".

A speed camera won't get someone driving under the posted speed limit, and we don't have "driving like an arse" cameras, which is where the problem actually lies.

However, a watchful copper *would* spot someone driving like an arse, and would hopefully do something about it. Unfortunately, they're all back at the nick, filling out forms.

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