back to article Wales adopts mobile average speed cameras

The Welsh government is planning to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to cut road deaths. Officials told the National Assembly for Wales Enterprise and Learning Committee that the Welsh government is moving towards adopting average speed camera technology, although not everywhere and not as a …

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And so continues...

The Welsh plods obsession with cars and speeding. They will not be content until the M4 in Wales is a 20mph max stretch of road.

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Alert

Calibration worries?

Is it just me or is anyone else worried that some muppet will forget to tell the cameras how far apart they are once they've been moved? Looking forward to seeing reports of people going 120 in a 40 zone.

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Pirate

the pirates

looking at your speed instead of the road ? yeah that will save lives

FAIL

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\\\

We've all ready got them.

I'm confused. The article suggests they are coming to Wales, yet the Cardiff to Newport stretch of the M4 has been reduced to 50 and littered with cameras on yellow poles.

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Headmaster

A couple of mistakes...

Dear El Reg,

I noticed a few errors in your report, so I thought I would edit it just very slightly. Hope you don't mind:

"The Welsh government is planning to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to bring some extra wonga into the government coffers."

"He said that the first average speed cameras will be mobile, rather than fixed, so that they can be moved around to the best cash generating areas."

"Committee chair Gareth Jones said: "While the UK may have, statistically, the safest roads in Europe we should not rest on our laurels. We believe the Welsh government should grab the opportunity to bring some serious cash in and show we can lead the way in taxing the shit out of law abiding citizens, whilst leaving the Chav contigent free to sell drugs to children and mug old grannies."

There. Fixed it for you. No charge!

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Minimum speed!

It seems that the police see road safety as purely being about speed limit compliance, but tackling driver frustration would go a long way to help too, especially in Wales with all the twisty turny roads.

I'd like to see the police pulling more drivers for driving too slowly for the road conditions - I'm thinking those who only drive at 40, whether in a 60 limit or a 30 limit - so that those of us who obey the speed limits, but like to drive as fast as is safely possible within that limit, aren't inconvenienced by these drivers.

Perhaps having a notional minimum speed on the cameras too and dropping these people a letter when they are well below "average" to warn them that the behaviour is unacceptable would also help to reduce accidents. It must be possible to review the averages to find outliers at the end of the day and this would allay driver concerns that the police just want to automate, automate, automate so they can go after the photographers.

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Revenue

Oh yes.......safety, eh? A likely story. Just as everywhere else in the country, it's just a source of more revenue. Why Wales, anyway? It's all hills, unless they're clocking all the down-hill runs.

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Coat

So long and thanks for all the scofa bread

I avoid all ANPR sites if I can - it's just little law abiding me trying to pretend I live in a free country.

It is VERY clearly time to leave this over taxed, over crowed little prison.

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Go

so

"Evidence has shown that average speed cameras are more effective in achieving driver compliance,"

so of all the ways to spend mony making drivers obay a arbratry speed limite these are the best?

w00t?

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FAIL

Really automatic?

I recall a bus getting booked for driving at 153 km/h on the Hume Freeway here in Victoria, Australia a couple of years ago. After it was pointed out that this was an impossibility for that vehicle, operators checked back and found that its registration was identical to that of another vehicle on the same road, except for two transposed characters.

Nobody explained how their automatic rego plate system had become dyslexic. Normally its human beings who have that problem.

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Joke

Another reason not to visit Wales

"It added, however, that it would like to see "an increase in human interaction" between the police and road users complementing the investment in robot cameras."

That would be the man with the red flag walking in front of each car then?

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Brunstrom?

Oh dear...the very fact that this has the support of the mad mullah of the North Wales Talivan should give anyone pause...

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Police Announce 2010 revenue improvments.

""While the UK may have, statistically, the safest roads in Europe we should not rest on our laurels. We believe the Welsh government should grab the opportunity to affect real change in positive improvement to our revenue stream.", Committee chair Gareth Jones said to his shareholders.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208

How about penalising dangerous driving, instead of just speeding. the two are not mutual but can be very definitely exclusive. I read somewhere recently that in around 80% of accidents the vehicle brakes were not applied, I shall try and remember where I read that and post a link for validation. Either way, speed cameras are not going to help driver awareness, in fact my own experience would suggest that forcing a lower speed on a road that the majority of drivers feel should be higher leads to a massive increase in lack of attention due to false sense of security at the lowered speeds.

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FAIL

Sigh...

I fully agree with average speed cameras through roadworks. They slow cars down to a safe speed that many would not otherwise drive at. I also agree with the Gatso style cameras, and mobile camera vans, at accident blackspots.

The issue I have is that a technology originally developed to reduce accidents at blackpots is now being deployed en masse to manage driving behaviour at the macro level. Totally inappropriate, in my view, and just another way to fleece people.

I'm always suspicious of any new law or policy that attempts to micro-manage behaviour, because it invariably has one or more unintended consequences. This move, in my book, falls right into this category. Motorways are the safest roads, so we should encourage people who are going to drive to use them, and use them as safely as possible. All we are really doing here is suppressing the symptoms and raising taxes. No change there then...

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yeah most effective....

At gathering money.

Also I bet they areexpecting vandalism of static cameras.

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Stop

an increase in human interaction

Hmmmmm interesting

are the Police going to wave and tell you to smile for the camera...

or could they mean more traffic cops to catch some of the idiots driving on the roads.

You know who you are! I doubt it

maybe more cops searching you as a potential terrorist. Or maybe on-the-spot fines for laughing too much when you are driving. Driving with a smile on your face.

Nothing for our advantage I'm sure

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If only...

"The ripping sound is Clarkson removing Wales from his road atlas" - lucky old Wales.

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Flame

Reducing Vehicle Emissions?

Surely if everybody is slowing down and speeding up (since even if you were sat at, say, 40 in a 40, or 60 in a 60, everyone seems to shave 10-20mph when they come to average cameras) then that will INCREASE emmissions?

More to the point, who cares....

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Unhappy

Ach-y-fi!

I trust that the clocks in these various cameras have been synchronised in a manner that meets the approval of the relativistic physics community e.g. exchange of light signals or equivalent, and allowance then made for time-dilation effects while in transit to their respective locations. Can't be having innocent motorists booked for apparently going FTL can we now.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

... that'll piss off the voters then; most of them are already fed up with the speeding tickets as it is.

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Grenade

Who cares?

I never go to the poxy place anyway. They are not going to put SPECS cameras on every little backroad becasue they cost a fortune. I don't use motorways either - its more fun breaking the speed limit and dodging potholes and cyclists...

AC because I don't want the lycra clad nazis after me

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So we reckon Clarkson won't go to Wales now....

That's a start - now let's introduce it world-wide !

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Go

waaaaaaaaah!

wah wah wah persecuting innocent motorists moan moan moan police revenue generator blah blah blah goverment cash cow whine whine whine I speed safely gripe gripe gripe NuLabour sob sob sob it's so unfair boo hoo hoo 1984 bleat bleat bleat tax on driving blah blah blah...

Good for Wales. If it stops law-breakers breaking the law, bring it on. If it pisses off Jeremy Clarkson, bring it on yesterday.

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That's Wales off my holiday list then

I often drive from London to Holyhead to get the ferry to Dublin; guess I'll be taking the long route via Liverpool from now on as constantly keeping my eye on the speedo to keep my average speed legal is just too dangerous; I'd prefer to concentrate on the road.

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Driver Compliance isn't an aim

"Evidence has shown that average speed cameras are more effective in achieving driver compliance," says the report. "We recommend further investment in, and greater use of, mobile camera technology on the trunk road network in Wales."

Except driver compliance isn't what they're aiming to do, they're aiming to reduce road deaths to closer to, say, the Netherlands, which has half the pedestrian deaths and about 2/3rd the cyclist death rate despite having far fewer cameras. (per km journey).

If the driver is expending massive effort maintaining speed limits and watching for cameras, that effort comes from somewhere else, less attention to parked cars, less notice of people on the pavement. You may actually be doing harm there, and find you have to drop the speed limit much much further just to compensate for the harm you are doing.

That data showing the massive swing from deaths to non fatal accidents between 30 & 40 is bad data that's clouding your judgement. Don't forget the aim is to NOT have the accident, not simply reduce a fatal to a non fatal accident. If the cause of the accident wasn't speed, then taking a few mph off the speed won't fix it. Taking a few mph off the limit just to reduce the momentum of the car and hence the death rate isn't a fix either!

You're aiming to stop the accidents, not the deaths. Don't lose sight of that.

Instead of wasting the money on the cameras, they should spend it on corner barriers, cycle lanes and other traffic separations measures like they do in Holland & Belgium.

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Question

Ok, so I get that two cameras are used in combination with the fact that speed = distance over time, but can someone explain how the data is validated? I.e. We are told that the camera "see's" your number plate from a greater distance away than other cameras, but given that you might be obscured by other vehicles in front of you, presumably the camera has an acceptable 'window' of space within which it needs to capture all the passing number plates. This would introduce an unknown variance unless each capture distance was recorded and taken into account to calculate the average speed. In addition, changing lanes would introduce a further variance in distance travelled between two points (i.e. you didn't go in a the straight line).

Have any commenters been sucessfully prosecuted on the basis of these cameras? Have any prosecutions been challenged?

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Already on the M4

There are already average speed cameras on the M4 between Coldra and Tredegar Park and they don't really seem to achieve much, except slowing down traffic for no real reason. At least once a month I drive through that strech of the M4 late at night and you have to go 50 all the way when there are virtually no other cars on the road.

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Great idea

With average speed cameras you can race like a maniac, without slowing down for normal cameras (as they're not there), and then just before end of the race, stop for a coffee for some time. That will definitely stop all teenagers from racing...

Put more fricking Police on roads instead of those silly measures. All GPS units will be updated to reflect this so it will once again not work. How many times have you got into trouble because there was camera ahead and all the traffic was slowing suddenly from 80mph to 50mph? And then back to 80mph. Moronic idea.

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how are they calibrated?

if they're movable, then how do they work out the distance from start to end?

I mean, I'm guessing it will be gps, but is it ?

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FAIL

How long until they drop the speed limits to pay for them?

Enjoy Wales whilst you can, if they drop most of the limits like they have around here you'll struggle to maintain concentration especially when in the long queue behind the dodderer who decides to keep well below the limit.

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Defence

Try ...

We swapped drivers half way between the two cameras, so who gets done ?

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Big Brother

kerching!

Trust the Welsh Police to find a way to monetise the ANPR cameras as they have done with the other equipment out there.

ANPR equipment is very effective* in a static location and that is one of the biggest barriers to them being introduced across the country. They are used around roadworks because there is a real health and safety risk and the people putting the cameras in really want them to be effective*. Elsewhere they are of no use to the safety camera partnerships because the public recognises that they have no option but to slow down and this means they are not very effective**

Gatso cameras, on the other had, are not very effective* because the threat of cameras is often an empty one, the conviction rate per 'flashing' is perceived to be pretty low and people are happy to take the risk. this makes them rather effective**.

By making ANPR cameras mobile and most likely concealed the Welsh police have made them less effective* and more effective**.

*For the public's definition of 'effective'; meaning they make cars slow down.

**For the safety camera partnership's definition of 'effective'; meaning they catch unwitting motorists and generate revenue.

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Bronze badge

Driver Compliance? Really?

I'm not sure about that. I drove through the average speed cameras in the M1 roadworks last week at a law-abiding 50 mph - and plenty of people were hooning past me without a care in the world.

Maybe they were all stolen.

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Unhappy

More stress, frustration and targetted mottorist charging

First, I'm sure South Wales has more cameras per mile than anywhere else in the UK. Maybe we're easy targets that don't fight back or something?!!!

Second, since cameras have been introduced, many driving instructors are telling people to use 3rd gear for 30mph limits to make sure they keep under the limit!! That puts fuel consumption back to what it was like in the 1950's. Oh - and the average speed is now about 18mph in my town, because no-one wants to get caught, so drive around at 25mph, and do 20-mph through the camera's just in case.

Third. Mobile cameras are surely entrapment which used to be frowned upon/illegal. But it's ok if the police/camera people do it?! Strange world we live in.

Fourth. So people loose licenses for doing barely anything wrong. (It's now a 50mph limit between England and Cardiff with some average speed camperas for good measure - I don't really know why, I've seen hardly any roadworks!). Middle of the night, and you have to do 50mph with 3 lanes to yourself. 70's bad enough, it's 130kph/83mph virtually everywhere on the continent. Anyway, drivers loose license, causes extra stress/strain/trauma in families etc. All well and good saying "they should have been keeping to the limit", but it's us the taxpayer paying for them being on benefits now because they've lost their job because they can't drive, and I suppose no-one cares about the families it splits up, and the children. Oh - no - they need to save some lives and don't realize they're breaking 20 times more hearts. This sort of thing causes huge amounts of stress, worry and time wasting. Think about all those conversations in work about whether it's ethical, or not.

Fifth. Time wasting. Apart from the chatting to collegues during work, finding out how to avoid fines, think about all the time wasted if everyone drives 10% slower, 10%less more time on the road, 10% more traffic on the road, oh - and 10% more traffic means you go even slower! (10% in the town where I live is not exadurated)

Sixth. Apart from the speed cameras: traffic calming. I asked my highways manager if they ever consider carbon footprint, and green issues while introducing them. He said they hadn't even thought about it!! The amount of extra fuel, tyres and brakes used on unnecessary roundabouts, and other traffic calming measures, let alone the cost of implementing the things, through the UK could easily build 2 hospitals per year!

Goverment and highways really need to get some perspective on these things. Look at the bigger picture. I use a motorbike now, so at least I don't have to do 20mph through 30mph, or 30mph through 40's/50 cameras. Oh - and if I die on it, that'll be the highways' fault too.

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Big Brother

A Question of Liberty

No doubt mobile average speed cameras do work; through fear that one will get caught if the speed limit is exceeded, and that may be anywhere.

I'm quite sure that when the Hitler Youth and Stasi were keeping an ear open for what citizens had to say, those citizens were careful only to say what was considered safe to say.

The difficult questions are - is such control through fear acceptable or not ? Should we have the liberty to 'break the law' and not be done for that if we can get away with it ?

The system is based upon foundations of, "if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear" and that sounds okay on first reading, "don't break the law and you won't face any penalty". The issue here is that speed limits are arbitrarily set and do not reflect but dictate what speeds are safe to drive at. So while speeding is 'breaking the law', the rationale for it being so is not absolute nor always rational.

While most will drive at dictated speed limits when followed by a police car, as soon as it's gone they drive at a speed set by their own judgement, guided by speed limits. Average speed cameras put an invisible police car behind every vehicle, and I'm not at all comfortable with that.

Where will this end ? Will we have 'guardian angel' invisible police officers watching over each of us for our own good ? <fx>Shudder</fx>

We're not sleep walking into a surveillance society; we arrived there a long time ago.

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Big Brother

Is the evidence valid anyway?

One thing bothers me about average speed cameras - is their evidence actually valid? After all, they are not actually catching you speeding, they are making an assumption that you are speeding given the presumed travel time between two points.

If you are on a straight road with no exits, then obviously you would have a hard time convincing a court that you weren't speeding. But in some places, speed cameras are used on far distance points on complicated road networks and they just ASSUME that you travelled from A to B on the most obvious route, which is not always the shortest. So, it is theoretically possible to be "caught" by average speed cameras when you have not actually been speeding at all!

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Black Helicopters

O dear, I kind of agree

in that Average speed cameras do indeed seem to keep a relatively even flow of traffic through road works etc, I regularly drive via the M42 round Birmingham and through the "Variable" Gantry Cameras where people boot it to the next gantry then slam on the brakes, then boot it to the next gantry etc the M40 roadwork’s where the 50 limit is enforced by average speed cameras you (generally) get a steady flow of traffic

Two other Psychological things I have noticed -

1. The gantries on the M42, people seem to think that even when they are off they might just still be able to "get them" so "most" people seem to hover around the 75 mark, just in case.

2. M6 Toll Road, this is the "Midlands Express way" and you have just paid so you must be allowed to do what the fuck you like, check out the average speed on there, I had to do 120 the other week to get past the guy in front :-)

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Old news

This system has been installed on the M4 around Newport for a couple of months now. It's staying there to monitor the absurd 50mph limit until the WAG can find enough spare change to pay for a decent variable speed limit system.

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Flame

rewritten their statement for you.

it should read

"We are not interested in cutting road deaths as much as we are interested in fleecing more money from an already well raped motorist as we have large holes in our finances. The best way for us to do this is to use mobile average speed cameras. Althouigh, by their very nature, they will require a lot of time and effort to install and configure correctly to assure accurate readings, we will not bother to do this so that from the second the unit arrives at its location, we can start stealing monies. Mwahahahaha."

... yeah fuck you wales, first you make me pay to enter your shitty little country on the M4 bridge and now you want to steal more of my cash with dodgy "road death prevention" initiatives.

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MJI
Silver badge
FAIL

Wales - do they want tourists?

You read about all the anti motorist stories, I am so worried about going there and coming home to a fixed penalty notice (despite being careful), that I have taken the decision to holiday elsewhere.

I do not bomb around flat out, I do try to keep to the limits, but you hear about people done at 31mph in a 30, not worth the risk.

Very few cameras in Devon and Cornwall, I think I will go there.

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41, 42, 43, uh oh, 37, 38

Great, now let's wait for the inevitable pile-ups of vehicles where everyone is staring at their speedo instead of at the road ahead.

I think these are a really, really, bad idea.

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Mobile?

How do they prove with a mobile average speed camera what the distance between the two cameras is - with fixed ones as I understand it they go through a long survey and testing process before a new site goes live to ensure they've got this right.

If you get the distance even slightly wrong, the average speed will be wrong - if you do it on a multi lane road for example, you might measure the outside lane as that's where your cameras are, but if the person drove in the inside lane at all times except for where the cameras were, and the road always bent one way, then would actually have covered less distance than the camera thought...

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Welcome

We've already got 'em, boyo

The M4 round the back of Newport, between J24 Coldra and J28 Tredegar Park, already has average speed cameras to enforce a 50mph limit. They were installed recently after a couple of big lorry crashes shut down access to pretty much the whole of south Wales for a day each time over the last 18 months.

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Anonymous Coward

FFS, here we go again

"to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to cut road deaths"

I would really, really, really like to see the evidence that there is a direct link between cameras and reduced road deaths. If the so-called evidence is the December 2005 published study "The national safety camera programme" I would suggest to actually verify the math in that report. Your conclusions may be unwelcome in the quarters that commissioned it.

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Alert

That should be interesting

I'd love to know how they're going to prove that units are separated by a specific distance when they're mobile.......

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

I thought when I was an adult and left school, that I left behind being monitored all the time to ensure I did exactly what someone else had decided on. But as time rolled on freedoms get lost, and are justified by all sorts of ridiculous claims. Dangerous driving should be caught by police on the roads, checking; but whether someone goes 5 or 10% faster than someone else has decreed, should be no excuse to keep us all under surveillance. This is not the free country I was born into, it just claims the same name.

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Big Brother

How long before they are everywhere?

God, am I sick to death of these average speed cameras! I regularly travel between Hertfordshire and Winchester, and have to pass through 4 sets of the damn things on the M25 and M3. The set at the M25/M3 junction is now permanent.

They've also just introduced them for the long-term roadworks on the A404(M) - my escape route when the M4 is jammed.

I can understand their use at roadworks, even if they are a pain. But using them on normal roads allows them to raise revenue and keep track of where we travel. How long before they are normal sights on all our roads?

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Happy

@Gordon

"I'd like to see the police pulling more drivers for driving too slowly for the road conditions - I'm thinking those who only drive at 40, whether in a 60 limit or a 30 limit - so that those of us who obey the speed limits, but like to drive as fast as is safely possible within that limit, aren't inconvenienced by these drivers."

Hmmm.... Not too sure if I agree with that or not. I hear what you are saying. However, I'm aware that when I drive the mountains of Wales, I probably am driving slower than I normally would. This isn't because I want to annoy everyone behind, but simply because the twisting turning inclines in Wales can be deadly if you are not careful. As I don't know the road, and don't have much experience of driving on those types of roads, I slow down to a speed with which I am comfortable.

Having said, I I thought I was holding people up, I would also pull in where practical to let those faster folks behind.

I'm no slow coach in a car, even lost my licence once for doing... well, 3 digit speed on the motorway, but I don't want to put my car 300 metres down a ravine!

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Silver badge

All this money ...

Surely it would be easier and cheaper to teach people to drive in the first place?

The mind boggles ...

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business opportunity, perhaps...

for detachable registration plates?

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