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back to article Lies, damned lies and government statistics

Apparently statistics are all down to personal opinion. Except, of course, when you are a government spokesperson, in which case they are the gospel truth. Despite expert evidence – and public exposure - that the “official estimate” of casualty reduction due to speed cameras is seriously overestimated, the Department for …

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Dawdlers

We need to look back at the real cause of the accidents. It is **NOT** always speed !

It is either people not paying attention or making stupid mistakes out of frustration.

WHY ? Dawdlers. The 'I must be a good driver cos I'm doing 22 mph in a 30 mph limit' idiots that hold up lots of people who all have places to be at prescribed times. There was a time when dawdling was actually an offence. Now everyone wants us to dawdle. So those of us that have to get somewhere get up and set off several hours early just to allow for these people. We are all tired and frustrated by this - in some circumstances this leads to mistakes. If the dawdlers were not there, this would not happen. Ergo : make dawdlers retake their driving test, but make it much more stringent. If these people cannot drive at the speed limit or as conditions dictate - eg. rain, ice, etc. then they should not be driving.

Now on to my next pet hate : the 'speed indicators' that warn you when you exceed the speed limit. Except some retard has set them for 0.000000000000001 mph above the speed limit, so even correct speed traffic gets flashed. If I am doing about the speed limit, and I am paying attention to the hazards on the road ahead then I am a far safer driver than the dawdling twit '22 mph - must be a good driver' halfwit with his/her nose glued to the speedometer. I will be far less likely to crash as I will see approaching hazards. The halfwit on the speedo will just end up with it embedded in their skull when they crash as they are not looking where they are going. And I have to pay taxes for their treatment. What is the point of these stupid devices except to boost my ego as I exceed the speed limit on my push bike (not for long - pant) ?

Now my last pet hate : the scum that use their mobiles while driving. I have to thank all of you idiots at least in part for the current state of affairs. You weren't paying attention when you had that accident were you ? No you were too busy pissing about texting a mate. Except you couldn't admit that could you ? So now thanks to your part to play in this sorry tale we all have to suffer. A lot of you are still doing it now. If you're in an accident with a mobile using driver, I suggest you insert it as a suppository in that driver. Shame mobiles have shrunk since the 80s ...

What is needed is a common sense approach. I am sorry for any family that has lost loved ones in accidents. I truly am. But as I describe above, speed in most cases is not really the problem. Blatant speeding is, but speed cameras will never stop that, and it is only a *VERY* small part of the issue.

What we need to do is get people paying attention behind the wheel again, and driving at a speed suitable for the conditions. So as far as speeding is concerned, about the speed limit give or take as long as you're paying attention to hazards is OK. Hmmmmm a bit like the olden days when the rozzers followed you for a bit to make sure you **really** were paying attention. What we really need is a zero tolerance attitude to not paying attention while driving.

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@AC

"We need to look back at the real cause of the accidents. It is **NOT** always speed !"

Let me show some factual data to backup that statement (whilst remaining on topic). The ‘Contributory factors to road accidents’ (dft_transstats_612594.pdf) report corroborates the general argument that the effectiveness of speed cameras is significantly overstated. It shows the percentage of KSIs caused by exceeding the speed limit, the ONLY behaviour a speed camera can possibly change, is surprisingly small: “Exceeding speed limit was attributed to 3 per cent of cars involved in accidents” (page 11). That figure includes joyriders and those who improperly register their car; neither will get an FPN via a speed camera, yet these are the most dangerous driver groups of all.

I feel it is wrong for dawdlers to get such level of blame. They are well within their moral right to drive at speeds lower than the speed limit, so long as proper lane discipline is used. They may not even know they are doing it, speedos are allowed to overread by quite a lot (10% + 6.25mph). Of course you get the occasional ‘pace car’ (or cycle) who seeks to block people passing them; this of course leads to further poor behaviour.

I’m not convinced that mobile users are having a significant impact on the fatality rate. If they were then there should have been a significant drop in fatalities when the legislation banning hands-on use was enacted. There was no such drop. Furthermore, the contributory factors stats show there is no impact from mobile phone use.

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@Steve

Please excuse the delayed response, but for the past week I have been on holiday in Croyde and thus have not only stood at the *exact* point that the photograph in question was taken, but also ridden my motorbike along that road, so please also excuse me when I say that, unlike Anony mouse above, you clearly have *no* clue what you are talking about regarding the possibilities of speeding there unless you wish to have a very rapid encounter with an entirely unforgiving stone wall or an oncoming vehicle.

As to "irony", I do entirely understand it, I also note that you don't seem to like it when it's used to point out that the arguments you use are as flawed and spun and silly as the ones that you are decrying.

The fact that you then accuse Anony mouse and myself of being "SCP staff" simply because we disagree with you shows the shallowness of your arguments.

FYI I have often in other forums stated my objections to unnecessary cameras indeed, riding down to Croyde I was very lucky not to get caught by a camera van when I was doing a perfectly safe overtaking manoeuvre at 75mph on a dual carriageway, but neither do I therefore subscribe to the "bigotry" that all cameras are thus seemingly the Devil incarnate.

"Safe Speed" might have some good points to make, unfortunately the way they (and you) present them does their cause no benefit.

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Back @ Graham Marsden

“not only stood at the *exact* point that the photograph in question was taken, but also ridden my motorbike along that road, so please also excuse me when I say that, unlike Anony mouse above, you clearly have *no* clue what you are talking about regarding the possibilities of speeding there unless you wish to have a very rapid encounter with an entirely unforgiving stone wall or an oncoming vehicle.”

It appears you wish to remain with your cherry-picking! It also looks like I have to repeat myself (see 1st para of 11th August 2008 12:59 GMT). I even gave the postcode of the actual location such that the reader could Googlemap it and form their own opinion, so much for ‘no clue’! Now if you care to answer the comments given within that post instead of saying “oh no it isn’t” in classic panto style then perhaps we can progress that issue – irrelevant as it is.

Actually, I fail to see why the reader should trust you given your clearly disingenuous behaviour, so I think the reader will forgive me for disbelieving your oh-so entirely coincidental choice of holiday location.

“As to "irony", I do entirely understand it, I also note that you don't seem to like it when it's used to point out that the arguments you use are as flawed and spun and silly as the ones that you are decrying.”

Yes you understand irony; the point was that you did it!

Exactly what about what was “flawed and spun and silly”? The RTTM argument? (you know, that thing we were debating until you tried to divert the debate). What I don’t like is your continued refusal to explain your claims and your attempt divert the debate – yet again!

I made the effort of explaining how illogical yours input was, also making further reference to the page in question (remember that graph I pointed out), yet you conveniently dismiss all these and make the same generic claim without any further substantive logic or evidence. And here it is: you are still remaining with your cherry picked example whilst avoiding the actual issue at hand – the exaggerated/fabricated claims of speed camera effectiveness. This nicely brings me onto the next point:

“The fact that you then accuse Anony mouse and myself of being "SCP staff" simply because we disagree with you shows the shallowness of your arguments.”

No I didn’t, please don’t misrepresent my words (which ironically is what SCP staff are doing, as per the debate). My exact wording was “and your continued insistence to totally evade the underlying and fundamental point further demonstrates your bigotry! Are you SCP staff?”, so where exactly was the bit that connects it to our ‘disagreement’? I think the reader is smart enough to realise that you’re desperately grasping at straws – “shallowness” indeed! Of course people can feel free to disagree, but no-one can be surprised when I scrutinise their opinion (to see exactly how we disagree) and make an example of anyone who I can show to be acting disingenuously.

“but neither do I therefore subscribe to the "bigotry" that all cameras are thus seemingly the Devil incarnate.”

Neither do I. To apply that to my input would be a misrepresentation of my position. I have already explained my opinion in the matter (8th August 2008 16:31 GMT). Given that, would you say that the claims of SCP staff are ‘the Devil incarnate’? (Remember, this is the point of the article/thread).

“"Safe Speed" might have some good points to make, unfortunately the way they (and you) present them does their cause no benefit.”

“Might”? What about RTTM?

The Safespeed campaign makes some excellent arguments, such as what we’re meant to be discussing: RTTM (here’s a very relevant webpage for you: www.safespeed.org.uk/rttm.html ). The real problem here is that there are some who simply refuse to discuss the issues (for whatever disingenuous reason), then they try to divert the blame to safespeed/others for their refusal to discuss it. I suspect you don’t like the way my argument is presented simply because you cannot fault the actual argument at hand, the one demonstrating the SCP manipulation! (well look at your input so far – all cherry picked, all irrelevant, none substantiated [by means of reason or evidence]).

So are you going discuss the issue at hand: the difference between the claimed and the actual level of speed camera effectiveness, or will you instead continue to refuse to discuss it and try divert the topic - again?

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@Steve

Googlemaps does *NOT* give you an accurate impression of what the road is like *when you are on it*. The fact that I and Anony mouse have been there and can state this for a fact (unlike you) once again shows you don't understand this.

Trying to discredit me by asserting that I am being (in your opinion) "disingenuous" and then making comments like "I think the reader will forgive me for disbelieving your oh-so entirely coincidental choice of holiday location" is simply gutter smear tactics.

If you want more proof, I can post my holiday snaps, taken on Croyde beach and around the surrounding area. I can give you a verbal tour of the area. You can even phone up the staff at Mitchum's campsites and ask if I stayed there last week (and, indeed, the last three years). For further corroboration, ask them if I was one of the people who had to move from their Beach Site to their Village Site because the weather was so bad on Monday and Tuesday!

So I think the reader might be able to make up their own minds as to who is more credible in their opinions of whether a) speeding is possible at the location shown or that b) a speed camera would be desirable or even necessary there.

As for the rest of your arguments, you attempted to discredit Anony mouse and myself with your implication that by disagreeing with you we must be "bigoted" and the subsequent implication we must be "SCP staff", which is just pathetic.

As I have already said, the way you are presenting this and the attitude you have adopted does *NOTHING* to make myself or anyone more inclined to consider your arguments or those of the self-styled "Safe Speed" organisation worth paying attention to.

If you would care to take that chip off your shoulder you might do better in convincing people that your case has some merit.

Oh, and, no, my apologies, you didn't say cameras were "the Devil incarnate" you accused SCPs of being "EVIL" which is nonsense. You also made the fallacious argument at the same time that cameras "cost lives" which is equally ridiculous and is a perfect example of the "spin" I referred to before and repeating the word "disingenuous" doesn't make your arguments any more valid.

In closing let me re-iterate the point I was trying to make which you seem to dislike so much: "Safe Speed" might have some good points to make, unfortunately the way they (and you) present them does their cause no benefit.

Please, feel free to have the last word, I have better things to do.

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The end?

"Googlemaps does *NOT* give you an accurate impression of what the road is like"

Oh no, it just gives you a wonderfully clear overhead aerial photo so the strength of the bends can be measured without optical illusion or subjective bias. The fact that you’ve not even acknowledged my reasoning (1st para, 11th August 2008 12:59 GMT ), despite my subsequent prompt, leads me to conclude that you can’t justify your statement and hence don’t know what the road is actually like.

“If you want more proof”

Sorry, what was the other ‘proof’? Besides, your being in the area doesn’t prove you were at the point of interest.

"smear tactics..... discredit....."

Care to remind us exactly what your input has been throughout this thread? Your very first words within it were "I find it ironic that you refer to "Deception" and then say you're a member of the so-called "Safe Speed" site which is notorious for its own spin and using cherry-picked statistics to make its case."

Is that not a deliberate attempt from you to smear and discredit? Was this not your one and only intent in this thread? This was before I had first addressed you so you can’t blame my attitude towards you for your response. It wasn’t my presentation or attitude which you took issue with, indeed your first post made no mention of those (8th August 2008 19:43 GMT); it was merely because I am a safespeed member, nothing more.

“Trying to discredit me by asserting that I am being (in your opinion) "disingenuous"”

I didn’t just assert it, I justified it (3rd and 5th para, 11th August 2008 08:50 GMT). Your continued insistence to never get on topic only reinforced this.

You claim that my presentation and attitude are somehow wrong, that my arguments are ridiculous, fallacious, nonsense and spin, but you never ever explain how, you just keep saying that it is – is that not the very essence of disingenuous behaviour?

"As for the rest of your arguments, you attempted to discredit Anony mouse and myself with your implication that by disagreeing with you we must be "bigoted" "

Really? More smears on your part? I implied no such thing, only you did so (17th August 2008 21:46 GMT). Prove me wrong - can quote my offending text and explain the connection?

"you accused SCPs of being "EVIL" which is nonsense."

So why is it nonsense? I gave my reasoning (within that post: 8th August 2008 16:31 GMT) so you can't claim it is nonsense without some sort of supportive logic which counters mine - no?

"You also made the fallacious argument at the same time that cameras "cost lives" which is equally ridiculous"

Why is it ridiculous? I already gave my reasoning (same post): "misallocation of resource towards their own ineffective measures", so how is this not costing lives? How is the argument fallacious?

I suspect that you knew I was going to make you squirm by asking you those questions. It is pretty clear that, despite my previous prompting, you have no answer for them, so can anyone really be surprised that you’re now choosing to duck out of the debate? Prove me wrong!

This irrational, illogical and disingenuous behaviour is typical of those who dislike the safespeed campaign: usually those who don’t drive, or are SCP staff!

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BBC article

I just read this and thought of this thread

“Speed camera torched in attack”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7569853.stm

I’m not going to allow myself to be diverted into a debate on the issues of speed camera vandalism by those less than ingenuous; what I would like to demonstrate is another subtle instance of RTTM, among other issues.

"In the past 20 years people have been killed on this corner so that's why it was put in - since then nobody has died.".

I can well believe the statement to be true; however, the bloke clearly implies that the camera is responsible for the subsequent fall in casualty rate. I hope we all now understand that the camera will only have been installed after a random, and more importantly: temporary increase of casualties (it’s most likely that none of these were due to drivers exceeding the speed limit [12th August 2008 09:01 GMT]), so it is a given that the accident rate will substantially fall again even without the camera.

The camera won’t have been there for long anyway, perhaps even only 1 year, so it’s not surprising that there are fewer events in the relatively shorter later timeframe (camera partnerships first formed in 2000).

Then there is the long-term national trend, where the overall national casualty rate was falling anyway (thanks to improvements in car design and post crash response and care)

I should also point out that that very same stretch of road has also benefited from other newly installed safety features: “Ilchester Road pedestrian crossing has been installed to provide a safe crossing for the northern pedestrian route across the A37. It involves a light controlled junction and is one measure that compliments the re-routing of HGV’s onto this route as part of an HGV Management Plan.” (www.somerset.gov.uk). This is another instance of ‘bias on selection’ – other unrelated safety features making the camera site (up to 5km long) more effective than the camera itself actually is. Funny how those other critical safety features weren’t mentioned at all, huh?

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ps Graham

I never accused anyone of being SCP staff; I merely asked if you were (yes there is a big difference). Claiming the words "Are you ..." are part of an accusation is yet more misrepresentation. This was a satirical question designed to highlight the similarity of behaviour between yourself and the SCP claims. The implication that you "must be" (your words) is entirely your own inference, and a fallacious one at that. I would have thought this was obvious; clearly I had overestimated you - my bad!

Go off and do your 'better things' - you couldn’t have handled this thing any worse!

.

Is ANYONE up for defending the SCP claims of the effectiveness of their speed cameras?

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