The Department for Transport (DfT) has "unwittingly" misled the public over the benefits of speed cameras for the last four years. That was the shock admission yesterday by a DfT spokeswoman, when finally cornered by the Department’s own research. She also told us that they have finally agreed to put matters right by adding an …
A recent BBC article on this topic referred to Swindon council's decision to remove all of their speed cameras, save those at known blackspots. Although it's still a bit too early to say for sure, they did give this quote:
"A spokesman for Swindon council says that in the first six months after the cameras were switched off accident numbers across their sites "remained the same"."
Suggesting that Speed Cameras have a neglible impact on accidents, at best :)
switched off, not removed
I am no advocate of speed cameras (quite the opposite), but the fact that the speed cameras were switched off wouldn't make any difference to the way most drivers react when seeing one, as there is no outward sign it is switched off (unless it is "bagged" as well)
the release would better support the theory that spped cameras do little for safety if they were removed altogether
Swindon was kind of a misleading story. "Council Switches Off All Speed Cameras" was the sort of headline most of the media lead with, but since the LA in question only had about half a dozen speed cameras on it's turf the story wasn't quite so impressive as the headline.
I knew someone would misquote that report. You got two things right - they bagged the cameras, and accidents stayed approximately the same. However you missed out one rather important fact - they installed speed bumps etc.
In other words, speed bumps are as effective as cameras, OR, speed cameras are as effective as speed bumps (and other engineering work).
So, given that we know that accidents are reduced by approx 20% by engineering or cameras, do we want engineering or cameras, or are we happy with people being injured or killed when some of them need not necessarily be? If we do want to take measures to reduce speed do we want engineering or cameras?
Engineering is good in that it *forces* you to slow down (except for those stupid spilt bumps that any decent sized car fits easily around) although it can also damage your car even when driving slowly. Cameras are good in that paying out money is a proven disincentive to do many things, but you get the 'tards that slow down to 20 mph under the limit for no obvious reason.
I personally think they should have a mix, and hide all the cameras thereby solving the idiots overbreaking issue. Plus you don't get ppl speeding because there's no engineering to prevent it and no visible cameras to deter it. Plus cameras make money, which can be ringfenced for engineering. Bonus!
In anticipation of the ppl with a sub 80 IQ stating "but I only speed when it's safe and I shouldn't be penalised" - lolz.
Slowing right down
People slow to well under the speed limit when it's not obvious what the speed limit is. Ideally it should be displayed near the cameras, if not on them.
The problem with speedbumps
Speedbumps seem like a good idea until you have some broken bones in your body and have to travel down a road with them on. Having just gone through this experience I'm now a much bigger fan of speed cameras.
I don't really see the big deal about speed cameras. If people don't want to drive within the law then why don't they just hand in their driving licenses? "Drive on the road and work within some rules" is a pretty simple deal, it's strange to me that so many people get confused by it.
Not this old chestnut again...
Hmm. The only IQ that is suspect here is yours. Given that in other locations on the globe it is perfectly acceptable to drive at speeds beyond the highest posted speed limit found here in the UK (on the right road, of course) then clearly speed limits can some times appear to be rather arbitrary - and unsurprisingly, they mostly are.
Smart people spot this incongruity and indeed find it irritating. Is there something about the laws of physics in the UK which makes it unsafe to drive over 70 mph on an empty motorway, for example?
The bottom line is that laws which force a behaviour change upon any right-thinking person should always cause at least some reflection. And if we decide to break those laws, so be it. We know the risks. Only sheeple such as yourself would blindly obey any and all dictat from above.
*sigh* @ Sarev
Other ppl do it so why can't I? Great argument there!
Nothing wrong with driving at 80mph on an empty motorway, but how do you *know* it's empty, without the slightest possible doubt? You don't ofc. You *think* it's empty, like those ppl that *thought* there was nobody coming the other way.
The speed limits are there to limit the devastation that unfolds when someone ****s up as they inevitably will. Until we're all perfect drivers then we need speed limits. You can argue all you like about what they are, but that they don.t apply to you? Do grow up.
"And if we decide to break those laws, so be it. We know the risks"
Great, so *you* decide to take a risk by speeding and someone else dies. Nice. You don;t have the right in law or morals to risk someone elses well being. That's the issue that escapes your massive IQ. Integer overflow ftl eh?
Insulting people will not win your argument, having said that you appear to be a complete numbskull.
Implying that smart people find speed limits irritating and that those who obey them must be mindless government drones is a rather over simplistic view often put by people who think they are above laws they don't like.
I personally might or might not agree or abide with speed limits or any number of other restrictions but that doesn't make me any smarter or less so than the next person. As it stands speed limits are applicable to everybody for whatever reason and just thinking you are smart is not sufficient reason for exceeding those limits. That should be easy enough to understand.
Something about the laws of physics....?
Well, yes actually. 70mph is around the kind of speed where aerodynamic effects start to play a role in the car's handling. A car is effectively a crude aerofoil shape: flat on the bottom and curved over the top. This can generate lift and reduces the amount of lateral forces the tyres can generate to steer the car or keep it stable. Empty motorway or not.
80 mph. Ok not too bad, but imagine with a 30mph headwind...effectively 110mph. Mark Webber knows lots about this after launching into the trees at Le Mans one year caused by lift forces! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow3rxq7U1mA
Now there's now real chance of having an accident like that in a road car, but less grip doesn't help your chances of keeping it on the black stuff, especially if it's wet.
But of course, you knew all that. You're not just bombing down the M4 at 90mph on a windy day in the rain, completely oblivious to the possible dangers. No, not all.
And don't start talking about how it's fine to do whatever speed you want in Germany. Their accident rate is far higher as a result.
Was driving through Swindon today - speed cameras there but covered in large sacks. Unlike Cheltenham where they had a speed camera van sitting by the side of the road at 9pm
@ Chris W. Get your head out of your rear end. He only replied about intelligence because of the poster before him saying people who choose to speed have a low IQ. Or was that too hard for you to comprehend?
"but how do you *know* it's empty, without the slightest possible doubt?"
How do you know without the slightest doubt that you won't be hit by a falling anvil when you exit your house? You don't!
Sorry, but ripping someones argument apart then giving a similarly flawed argument in response is just silly.
People accept the risks they take every day. By driving you accept that you may be wiped out by someone who chose to speed. It's up to the individual to decide if that risk is worthwhile to them. Speeders risk hurting themselves and others and facing the penalties for that. Regular drivers accept the fact they may be wiped out by speeders.
Fact remains that in MANY countries people drive a LOT faster and have better safety records. Germany is pretty good example (could be the better training they receive).
This makes some people willing to take the risk to speed.
A law that makes no sense is a law that people will disobey. Doesn't matter how hard you shake your finger.
"Smart people spot this incongruity and indeed find it irritating. Is there something about the laws of physics in the UK which makes it unsafe to drive over 70 mph on an empty motorway, for example?"
Actually, yes there is. The safety features, barriers, design of corners, etc. are designed around 70mph being the maximum speed. Thus if you hit a barrier because you have a blow out, and are travelling at that speed, it is unlikely that you will penetrate the barrier and end up in the path of oncoming traffic.
Travelling faster increases the chances of the barrier failing.
So, yes, there is something about the laws of physics that mean that its unsafe to travel faster than 70mph.
No right solution...
I agree about speed bumps being a pain (literally!). However, given the unique way these 'safety' features are funded balanced against the pitiful state of road maintenance these days, they may as well not bother with speed bumps - potholes seem to work just as well, even if they are a little more haphazard. Amusingly, I've seen a few speed bump equipped roads where the speed bump is the only surface in good condition.
Speed cameras have a bad reputation because of poor implementation and legislation. There are too many, in blatant revenue earning locations (wrapped in self-justifying 'policies'). They have been used as an excuse to reduce traffic patrols by the police (I ain't seen a camera administer first aid at an accident). Plus they don't sit well with the current fining/points system - a straight fines system combined with a flat 'go 20mph above the limit, lose your license' approach would be more effective (both revenue wise and deterrence wise).
They are a distraction as drivers spend more time looking for cameras than actually looking what they are doing - hidden ones doubly so. I wonder what the stats are for fender-bender accidents in camera locations, or in the surrounding vicinity - they don't seem to publish those.
I question the value of either solution in the grand scheme of things (especially through routes), but do see some valuable use in places where low speed is critical (outside schools, most residential streets).
Harsher penalties, stricter driving tests (maybe limited to only a couple of attempts, instead of letting half-wits try a dozen times), maybe a re-assessment every so many years, and an increase in the minimum age would improve driver discipline to the point where eliminating these expensive engineering and technical solutions is possible.
Germany is pretty good example
Check pages 29 vs 44 for Gemany and UK accident counts. As a percent of motorway accidents vs total accidents (for 2003):
Germany = 22646 / 354534 = 6.4%
UK = 8746 / 214030 = 4.1%
and for fatal motorway accidents it's worse again:
Germany = 811 / 6613 = 12%
UK = 217 / 3508 = 6%
So Germany has a 56% higher proportion of motorway accidents and a much higher fatality rate. That's NOT a better safety record.
"I don't really see the big deal about speed cameras. If people don't want to drive within the law then why don't they just hand in their driving licenses? "Drive on the road and work within some rules" is a pretty simple deal, it's strange to me that so many people get confused by it."
Because a lot of us don't care. We want the freedom to drive at the speeds we think are appropriate (we are adults after all and not dribbling morons) without having to pay £60 for going 35 where the man says it should be 30!
It doesn't really make any difference at the end of the day. The vast majority of us drive at 80 or 85mph on the motorway and 35 mph round town, where we think it is appropriate to, slowing down for speed cameras and then speeding up, with no consequences and with nobody getting hurt.
you also need to compare the number of miles of motorway and the number of journey miles on those motorways if you want to do a true comparison.
The point that you seem to miss with your "driving at 70mph is safe, driving at 71mph+ = death" argument is the fact that the UK speed limits were created back in the day when cars were rather more rudimentary and had much longer braking distances. Perhaps it's time for the UK to move forward?
The speed limits were created back in 1965 when your typical Ford Anglia had a top speed of 85mph and rather shoddy brakes. Research shows that most drivers on the UK motorways drive at 85mph and yet the motorways are, by far, the safest roads. Perhaps your "speeding is evil" argument needs to be rethought with some 21st century facts and good old common sense?
@ Real Ale
Mr Real Ale. Whilst I agree with your user ID, I disagree with some of your arguments here.
Motorway barriers are generally placed (in my experience, at least) either side of the carriageways. The difference in lateral momentum between a blow-out at 70mph and a blow-out at 100mph is minor. The momentum of a car at 100mph is also significantly less than a 44-tonne truck travelling at a legal 56mph. Obviously, if they started putting barriers across the motorways then the difference in speed would become significant , mostly down to stopping distances though (at what distance should these lateral barriers be visible?)
Additionally, the engineered design-speed of motorways in the UK is, and always has been (since the very first miles were opened up over half a century ago) 100mph. That is why cars don't fly off the motorway at every corner, even though they are mostly driving at over 70mph.
The 70mph limit was chosen as this was about as fast as a typical car could go in the early 60s, with 50bhp, drum brakes and cross-ply tyres, and this would reduce the speed differential from the Aston Martins and Jags who were burning up and down at 150+ to a more manageable amount.
The problem of lift at high speeds exists with SOME cars, mostly due to poorly-designed cooling air flow (the MG TF, for instance, exhausts cooling air underneath the front subframe and thus tends to become nose-light at about 120mph but will still take UK motorway corners at 140mph albeit less confidently). However the earlier poster forgets the venturi effect that is also present at the low altitude of a car's underside, which tends to suck the car down on to the road surface, and also the downforce generated by other body components (the bonnet, and rear spoiler if present).
@Suspicious Git. Yup, miles travelled is relevant. Surprised you didn't go and look. From the same EU source as above:
Germany 6613 fatal accidents / 682161 million km = 9.69 fatal accidents per 1000 million km
UK 3508 fatal accidents / 503318 million km = 6.97 fatal accidents per 1000 million km
_Still_ not safer.
@Adam 10. Yes. Some cars have more problems with lift at high speeds, but lift is still an issue for everyone else. From "Competition Car Aerodynamics" by Simon McBeath, p44. Production cars which do not carry airdams and spoilers generate around 70 - 80kg of lift at 100mph. That's net of any downforce generated. Ok, maybe that's not as big an effect as I was expecting, but my point is that once you start travelling faster than 70mph, the aerodynamic effects start to become increasing relevant, and the more you'll rely on the car's aerodynamics to keep the car under control. We not talking about motorway corners here... Imagine an emergency lane change at over 100mph? Or some oil on the road? As most people think that spoilers generate downforce (they don't, they reduce lift) I'm not confident that the average UK driver has the necessary knowledge and skills. They just _think _ they do.
As for high speed blowouts... this one's a classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naa3qhFUlUE
@Suspicious Git: Actually I have to apologise. In turns out that Germany has 4 times as much autobahn as the UK has motorway. That makes the accident rates pretty much the same.
On relfection, looks like I should concede the aerodynamics point as well. The effect isn't significant enough to argue against raising the limit by 10-20 mph. And the motorway design should cope without any trouble.
Let's go for it. 80mph for the win! That's what everyone is doing anyway.
Mines the one with humble pie recipe in the pocket.
"Regular drivers accept the fact they may be wiped out by speeders."
Really? Of all the dangerous behaviour on the roads I see every day, virtually none of it is speed related. Most of it is simple incompetence or rank stupidity from people who simply shouldn't be on the road.
I accept that I face a substantial risk that I'll get wiped out by another driver but it'll be some clown rounding a blind bend in the middle of the road, joining a motorway well below traffic speed, failing to see my not inconspicuous family saloon and pulling out of a side road in front of me or simply not using mirrors and sideswiping me on a dual carriageway or roundabout.
No cameras, speed bumps or anything else will get these people off the road. We need a return to properly trained traffic police with discretion who can tell the difference between those driving dangerously and those driving quickly.
i think that with the whole speed camera issue, there is a hidden danger. i don't believe speed cameras make much difference to road safety, but they are very prominent and often in the press etc. people hate them as a general rule.
if we now suddenly get rid of a lot (or all) of them, some people will undoubtedly speed in areas where they used to be simply because they can now get away with it. i think we will see an increase in accidents in the immediate few months after speed cameras are decommissioned.
had they never been introduced in the first place, the rate of accidents would still be around the same as it is today and we would not face the problem of removing them and creating temptation to speed simply because the camera is not there any more.
when will politicians learn that prohibition of anything, banning things and not trusting people's own judgement only creates more problems than it solves? this has been proven time and time again, yet still the people in power like to think they know better than everyone else and need to dictate how people "should" go about living their lives.
"i think that with the whole speed camera issue, there is a hidden danger. i don't believe speed cameras make much difference to road safety, but they are very prominent and often in the press etc. people hate them as a general rule."
Read your local paper for a few weeks and you will see something interesting. Every time a road safety issue crops up (you know the sort of thing, dangerous road near a school, playground or park) you will see that the campaigners are demanding speed cameras.
As a general rule people are opposed to speed cameras on the routes that they regularly travel, but are in favour of them near their homes. I supposed you could call it the IMBY principal.
The whole issue that started this particular debate is that the published statistics were not accurate. The problem is that they could never be accurate. Speed cameras are generally introduced as a package of measures aimed at improving road safety, so how can you measure the efficacy of the speed cameras?
The government muddied the debate even further a few years back. Remember when the government announced that some naughty safety partnerships had been applying the rules incorrectly in order to install cameras? And that there concern was that these partnerships were doing it in order to make money. A big chunk of the media went bananas claiming that the government were admitting that the cameras were nothing more than a stealth tax. Except they were doing no such thing, or at least not in the way the media thought. If the problem was as the government described then the simple solution would be for the government to authorize every decision to install a camera, that way they could police the alleged fiddling of figures. The solution they implemented was to take the revenue from the cameras away from the safety partnerships and feed it straight into the treasury. So what the government really did was realise that they could get the safety partnerships to pay for the installation and operation of the cameras while the treasury got the revenue. They were not concerned about dodgy cameras at all.
Why did this muddy the waters? Because most people noticed the original headlines about the review, but by the time the "solution" was implemented the media had lost interest and the "solution" didn't make for big banner headlines in the red tops anyway. So people recall that the government said speed cameras were bad, they don't recall (mostly because nobody told them) that the government didn't mean any such thing.
About 5 miles from me speed camera have reduced the death toll and accident by about 80%.
Or so they will tell you.
The fact, the reduced the speed limit by 20mph, chnaged sections from a dual carriageway to single, closed ALL the central reservations except one, increased the length of slip roads by about 50m each, clealry had no effect on this.
I'm not anti speed camera, but they should be in logical places (nr schools (during term time), parks, nr shops etc).
Yes I got done by one, for doing 60 (in a 50) on an empty strech of road on a clear sunday evening, with only the odd other car coming the other way, whilst in a sports car. I could easily done 130mph and not been a risk to myself or others
No doubt there are lots of accidents at 8am / 6pm mon-fri on wet december days to justify it.
But the moral of the story is boys and girls is, feel free to drive like a twat, just don't speed!
@I got done by one, for doing 60 (in a 50)
You broke the law. You knew you were breaking the law. Serves you right.
By any chance the...
Why don't we stop wasting road fund license, and petrol duty etc, on propping up the expenses of the state, and instead spend it on getting a world class road network which isn't riddled with sink holes and craters?
A decent road surface that would enable cars to brake more effectively would be worth all the speed cameras in the UK.
Removing adverse camber would go a long way too.
Clearing blind spots and improving visibility...
That sort of stuff.
Speed cameras are a source of revenue, it's just the cash they generated wasn't spent on maintaining them.
Spending all the money in the world on road speed punishment devices is never going to eliminate accidents, until they invent an "idiot camera" or something which picks up on those pricks who chug along in their 4x4s on the phone and utterly oblivious to the world.
On many motorways the probablility of having an accident is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend on it. That would actually indicate that going faster would reduce your risk of an accident....?
@ AC 20:04
Laws are only relevant when the majority of the people accept them as such. If the law's an arse, people will ignore it. The non-payment of "Hat tax" of recent centuries for one.
The point made is that speed limits are there to protect you...IF the limits are relevant. Whacking on a 30mph on a 3 lane motorway, with no obvious hazards is just gonna piss people off and they will ignore it.
And quit with the holier-than-thou trolling; you've sped in your driving life without killing anyone I guarantee it, so don't judge others so hypocritically.
Change of party in controll
and all sorts of things fall out of the woodwork :-)
And other stuff gets swept under the carpet.
One imagines a sort of conveyor in the floor and walls that takes what one administration sweeps under the rug, and positions it ready to fall out of the woodwork under the next administration.
Change of party in control?
Probably worth remembering that speed cameras were introduced in the UK in 1992, under John Major's conservative government.
A reduction of 21% in road deaths is completely trivial when compared with the trauma of an average motorist being required to obey the law for about 20 metres. Get rid of them all!
Mine's the reflective one you'll see overtaking a transit parked on double yellow lines next to a crossroads with the mopey bastard sitting on my back wheel trying to get as close as possible before clipping me with his wing mirror as he overtakes.
You just can trust the English anymore
Even our own government lies through their teeth and get away with it. Respect = GONE!
This totally shames the pro-camera lot.
Maybe we should stop listening to knee jerk reactionists, and apply some common sense. (Haha haha like common sense exists in this country!)
Every other mini-hitlers out their need to take note.
I dont really understand how you can say this shames the pro-camera lot. It shames the DfT for absolute certain, but where else would the pro camera lot go to get there facts?
If i want facts about people dying in hospitals i would go to the NHS. And if the figures they tell me and release to the public state something that backs my argument of course im going to use them. If it turns out the NHS has been lying in its figures, well thats hardly my fault, is it?
Speed cameras can be very beneficial when used correctly but i think we all realise that the vast majority of speed cameras in the UK are not used properly and are only used as cash cows. So, its time to say "So long and Good riddance to dodgy speed camera usage"...
Shaming the DfT
Doesn't it also reflect rather badly on the Office for Government Statistics? I thought they had some sort of oversight in these matters, and the speed camera stats were certainly controversial enough to warrant an investigation.
If I've mis-understood the OGS's role, then perhaps there *should* be a body charged with making sure that government stats stand up to scrutiny.
Next village to me two of them have been spectacularly torched.
Oh I was so upset I nearly plotzed with laughter!
I wish I knew who it was .....so I could buy them a can of petrol and some matches and a map of locations!
If you like torched cameras...
...do a quich search for the TufTuf club. They're a Dutch group who used to blow them up. I gather that they would even spray them pink beforehand to give the police a chance to catch them!
JC* himself evangelised their works in one of his sermons to the masses.
*no, not /that/ JC: it was Jeremy Clarkson.
I still think they are a good idea
They take pictures of people who break the speed limit, so they can be prosecuted.
They can hide them in pillar boxes for all I care (apparently they do in other countries). Double the fines and ban the drivers I say.
It is, after all an entirely voluntary scheme, where everyone has the option of not speeding if they wish to avoid the punishment.
bet you think the eCRB checks were a good idea as well
I do concede they do have their place for enforcement but then again enforcement hasn't worked..... not all societies ills can be cured by computers, camera's and databases.
my local school has ramps on the road outside.. most people avoid that road like the plague. Much more effective IMHO
Oh dear, here we go again...
Firstly let me say that I have *NO PROBLEM* with cameras *WHERE THEY ARE ACTUALLY NEEDED*, but many of the rules on where they are placed are nonsense and bring the whole system into disrepute because all that happens is that drivers slow down for the camera, then speed up once they're past it.
Hiding them just makes the situation worse and still does *nothing* for dealing with people who drive in an irresponsible manner, using mobiles, failing to indicate or look before turning or changing lanes, tailgate, don't make proper observation at junctions and all the other things which *really* add to the dangers of being on the road.
I'm sure I've read a report which said that the radar-controlled signs that flash 30mph if you're approaching them too fast have been much more successful in reducing speeds, but I have been unable to track it down, so if anyone knows where I can find it, I'd be most grateful.
I don't think the majority of drivers object to cameras being used to catch those who are endangering other road users, unfortunately the ones we're discussing here don't have that level of discrimination. As was said in an earlier reply, the time of day, weather and traffic conditions play a major factor in the likelyhood of a collision occurring - just because the limit on the Motorway is 70Mph doesn't mean you should use that speed in a torrential downpour.
The "speed" (not "safety") cameras simply operate in your simpified mode, either you're over or under a set speed - that in itself does not equate to increased safety - they do not 'catch' drivers who cause accidents through poor standards or plain stupid acts of driving.
I've not been 'caught' by one of these or the average speed cameras, but then I try to ensure that I observe the limits - even if some of them seem quite unjustified. What I'd prefer to see is a reduction in the camera numbers but a hefty increase in the number of traffic patrols which *can* tell the difference between a 'dangerous' driver and one who makes 'rapid progress'.
Think about the difference between driving too fast and speeding, clue they are not the same.
I do believe that ways to prevent people driving too fast are generally a good idea, speed cameras do not necessarily do this.
Of course you could come back and say that if I think that a speed limit on a road is too low then why don't I do something about getting it raised. Thing is that due to the spurious figures being touted, the only way speed limits will be changed is down, even on roads where there it is obvious that an increase or the status quo is appropriate.
"They take pictures of people who break the speed limit"
No, they don't. They take pictures of vehicles which may have broken the speed limit. Slight difference, with potentially major implications for the person listed as the registered keeper for the registration number captured by the camera.
>whole system into disrepute because all that happens is that drivers slow down for the camera, then speed up once they're past it.
Think about what you wrote then ask yourself why do drivers slow down when they see a speed camera. There are two possibilites. 1.) They are already driving above the speed limit and then brake sharply when they see a camera or 2.) They are unaware of the speed limit on the road they are driving and so slow down just in case.
If those drivers weren't breaking the law already or were aware, as they should be, of the speed limit then they wouldn't need to slow down when they see a speed camera..
Because there are a million and one other things that are bad practices does not mean that drivers who break speed limits are above the law. As David Lawrence wrote, nobody is forcing drivers to disobey speed limits, it's their decision, if they get caught then they should accept it.
Think about what you wrote then ask yourself why do drivers slow down when they see a speed camera. There are two possibilites. 1.) They are already driving above the speed limit and then brake sharply when they see a camera or 2.) They are unaware of the speed limit on the road they are driving and so slow down just in case.
3) They are knowingly driving at both a safe and a legal speed (remember just because it is legal does not mean it is safe), and they see a "safety camera", which must mean that this is a dangerous stretch of road, (why else would it be there ?). Taking this into account, they determine that the safe speed must be lower than they are currently travelling, (again just because it is legal doesn't mean it is safe), and slow down accordingly until they are onto the safer stretch and then speed up to a safe speed, still within the limit, for that road.
"Should accept it"..
Excellent straw man. Really.
Nobody forces anybody to bend any law on the statute books, but I can pretty much guarantee everybody breaks at least one with alarming regularity. However, it's also known that there should be "shades of grey" and that prosecuting some things under certain circumstances are not actually to the benefit of the general public. So, they're not enforced, as there is no benefit to society for doing so. They're there so that when people blatantly abuse the system, you can pull them up and throw the book at them (Tax evasion for Al Capone?).
The main cause of accidents (from the reports taken) are lack of attention, or dangerous/careless driving. If you got a camera that would spot the lunatics on the roads (you know, the ones that overtake streams of traffic on a bend as they want to arrive somewhere 30 seconds earlier, or travel 10 cm from your rear bumper on the motorway because they want to go at 110mph rather than the 80-85 that most of the traffic is doing), I have the strong suspicion that nobody would bat an eyelid (and many would be strong advocates, with a strong statistical and scientific backing).
However, it's nice and easy to pick up on one (contributing, not primary causative) aspect, and come down hard on it. If it didn't produce so much revenue, I don't think it'd have taken off quite so much, but it has proven quite the cash cow, despite the placing regulations preventing them being placed in the positions that really cry out for them (you know, where people travel under the speed limit because, in their good judgement, the road simply won't be safe to use at the rated limit). Yes, it's the law, but slavish adherence and turning the world into black and white to justify adherence is really just laziness, or maybe not really understanding the real problems.
Re: or 3
This case should never occur. If you don't know the road you are traveliing down, which is the only reason you wouldn't know what the road is like beyond the speed camera, then you should already be driving with extra due care and attention. Mainly driving at such a speed that whatever unexpected event occurs in front of you, you have time to react and stop, regardless of posted speed limits.
There is a debating fallacy known as the False Dilemma where you present someone with two options 1) and 2) as if they're the only ones available and then imply that they have to pick between the two, ignoring the fact that the correct answer is "neither of the above".
Let me give you an example. Last night I came back to Portsmouth from London on the A3. As you leave London this piece of road seems to have speed cameras about every half mile and initially a limit of 40mph which then goes up to 50mph.
Now I'm sure those limits are all sensible and good when the road is chock full of traffic during the day time, but at 2am the road is virtually *EMPTY* and there is absolutely *NO DANGER* in Making Progress along it, but you cannot, simply because of all the bloody cameras.
So you have a choice: trundle along at 40mph or make progress (illegally, of course) then slow down when there's a camera.
Which do you do?
What a pathetic example. You trundle along at 40 then when permissible at 50 or believe you have a God given right to break the law then pay the fine if you get caught. Also, you could try a different route.
What's the big deal, obey they law or suffer the consequences. As I and others have pointed out you cannot pick and choose which laws you feel like complying with, if you don't like speed limits do something to have them changed or stick to them. I don't see why so many people find it difficult to understand.
"What a pathetic example."
WHOOOSH! (The sound of my point going way over your head)
Try reading the bit about "False Dilemma" again...
You might then try looking up "Straw Man" as well.
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