back to article Cutbacks strip speed cameras from Blighty's roads

The proposition that speed cameras improve road safety looks likely to be severely crash-tested this summer, as government cutbacks make the likelihood of some counties becoming camera-free zones a near certainty. According to the Guardian, all 72 fixed speeding cameras in Oxfordshire are likely to disappear as the county …

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  1. Chris Green
    Thumb Up

    Drive well, drive safe

    I've witnessed no accident caused by speeding. I've seen near misses caused by (a) driving too close (b) distracted drivers (phones/food/fags/family) (c) sudden unpredictable driving changes (d) lack of indication (e) the slow lane creep of the drowsy/sleepers (f) idiotic maneuvers (g) lack of consideration to weather conditions.

    I'll grant you that going faster reduces your ability to cope with other peoples mistakes, but a blanket limit is counter productive because wherever the driver feels it's unnecessary, it's disregarded and that reaction is easily extended to the point where there's no respect for the rule, in a place where it's actually extremely appropriate.

    I've followed many drivers that stick to the 60 limit on the open road and then refuse to drop below 40 in 30 limits. I'd rather see 70+ mph on the open road (with care) than 40mph in a village/town, where vulnerable pedestrians are much more common and where road hazards abound.

    Thrashing the bad boy when caught, does not enforce the rule, nor (more importantly) engender appropriate behavior in future. More often than not, it encourages worse behavior.

    It does, however, tax the relationship between the individual and law makers/enforcers.

    Teach better driving habits, not compliance and reward those that excel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear.

      Whether speeding causes accidents is irrelevant and nobody other than BRAKE seems to be claiming that it does. The problem is that a small increase in speed can increase the serverity of the accident disproportionately. If you don't understand that you have no place either in this debate or driving a car.

      In certain circumstances excess speed can cause an accident, I can think of one near me involving a T5 with pretty blue lights on the roof. 40 limit on a seemingly safe semi rural road, plod (not attending an emergency) takes a blind crest at about 70. The blind crest happens also to be a bend. T5 goes through the hedge.

    2. Peter Johnstone
      Stop

      @offbeatmammal

      I'm not in favour of the turn right on red concept; I'm in China at the moment on holiday where a turn right on red system is in use. Here, it makes crossing the road difficult as when the green man is lit, you still need to watch out for cars turning right. In China the onus seems to be on the pedestrian to get out the way. Might be good for traffic flow, not do good for saftey.

    3. Peter Johnstone

      @stuwaldy

      Edinburgh Council are also trialling that one. Only problem is that it isn't really that green; Cars will get better MPG on good surfaces therefore fewer emissions and potholes can be a real danger to cyclists. I was felled by a pothole in Edinburgh a few years back - Lucky there was no traffic behind me or I could have been run over.

  2. Atonnis
    Stop

    Looking ahead...

    I'm not so bothered about switching off the cameras...what worries me is that the newly revamped police force is going to end up spending it's time lurking at random spots trying to catch people out.

    Speed cameras are/were a good deterrent and speed control device in areas where there could be alot of mad racing, the A217 is a good example. Now we'll end up with a bunch of 'vulture' police pulling people off of roads and fining them instead.

    The good thing about speed cameras is that they meant that police weren't hassling us all so much. Whenever there's a police van at the side of the road it causes panic and flustering whilst drivers all slam their brakes on, which causes traffic jams further back. Speed cameras were good control instead of money-making police who really do have better things to do.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Money spinners?

    From the interview on R4 this morning then it is the case that these cameras "make money" - the problem is that the costs are incurred by the council but the revenue goes (via the courts) to central government, Councils were happy to put up camera when they received grants from central government to do this .... but now these grants are being cut they only see the costs and are deciding that this is one of the least unpopular things to cut. Of course, as the interviewer commented, this does leave central government with the problem of a reduced revenue stream from camera fines.

    For road safety then perhaps a move back to having more mobile speed checks so people can't rely on their satnavs telling them when to suddenly brake will produce better results!

  4. Matt J

    Whether you like them or not...

    ...logically, you can't argue with them - there is a speed limit, which is the law; if you go faster than this limit then you are breaking the law - and if you do it in front of a day-glo orange box, with warning signs and markings on the road, then you are a stupid law-breaker!

    I personally don't mind the government making money from stupid law-breakers - beats taxes!

  5. Peter Young
    Pirate

    licence to speed

    It's going to be a bit hard on the poor so and sos who get mown down by all the idiots who think that they now have free licence to drive as fast as they like. It's quite simple, the law states what the speed limit is and drivers must obey it. All the rubbish about having to watch your speedo all the time and being a much better driver than the rest of us is just a load of b****. You can't pick and choose which laws you will obey and which you will ignore. If you can't manage to drive within the limit then get off the road and then the rest of us can be a lot safer.

  6. Graham Marsden

    "we would really be risking people's lives"

    Or, more importantly, it would be risking the Safety Camera Partnership's Boss' livelihoods...

    Unfortunately I can't find a reference for it at the moment, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a report saying that those Radar Controlled signs that flash 30mph if you approach them too fast are, apparently, more effective than Cameras for actually getting people to slow down because they're not an attempt to raise revenue, so they get more respect from road users.

  7. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    confused

    Why is it so many people hate the cameras?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Road robbers.

      "Why is it so many people hate the cameras?"

      Typical camera location: 60mph four-lane road, steep downhill, camera at the bottom with 30mph speed limit. Or, if local councl is generous, 40mph.

      No reason whatsoever for the camera nor the speed limit. Except of course stealing money from unprepared driver.

      Camera is a modern version of road robber and it has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money, ie. stealing.

      Road robbers are generally hated, at all times and everywhere.

      1. Dan Herd
        FAIL

        "unprepared driver"

        Nuff said.

    2. captain veg

      non-monetary enforcement

      In Spain I've seen radars connected to traffic lights. Pass the radar at >50kmh, the next set of lights turn red, you must stop. It controls speed very effectively, and no one can accuse the authorities of money grubbing.

      -A.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Greedy bastards

    "road safety partnerships" says it all.

    In plain English: Organizations who survive by "safety" welfare are whining extremely loud when their budgets are cut.

    So called safety is meaningless to these people, money is important.

  9. willowtoo

    Hmmm

    I am growing weary of drivers telling me they are all so much better than me.

    I know that I make mistakes when driving. I don't always pay full attention, I sometimes drive when I am tired, angry, sick and all those other things that perfect drivers don't do.

    I find it next to impossible to know exactly how fast I am going. I can't do the math, well I could but I can't be bothered, but I think my car can change speed by 5 mph in about 0.5s if I try at all hard. Literally, blink and you miss 2 mph.

    Car speedos can, and often do, over indicate by about 5 mph.

    In reality few people can judge speed really accurately. A wide vista makes the speed seem less, a narrow gap will seem faster.

    Speed cameras, and the police make allowances and the speedos indicate high. Anyone caught by a 30 mph camera probably had an indicated 35+. OK, sweeping generalisation, but there is a bit of a gap between creeping above the limit and getting a ticket.

    So far, so reasonable.

    The damage to the image of cameras was really done for me by the change to the rules for setting speed limits. Traditionally speed limits were set by the 85% rule ( Google it ) and this meant the limits were generally reasonable. Now the limits can be set artificially low for political reasons, which goes some way to explain why drivers are abruptly slowing for cameras. They are driving at the "natural" speed for the road, which is probably no more dangerous than the 40 mph that has been artificially imposed.

    As for those who think they can safely exceed the limits. I presume they never drive when they are tired, angry, sick or whatever and don't make mistakes.

    Which, finally, brings me to my point about the drivers who say they never break the limits, have never had a ticket and have never had an accident.

    A typical driver, like me, will (probably) make hundreds of mistakes before a combination of circumstances leads to an actual accident. The distribution of these mistakes will be nearly random and individual accidents impossible to predict. The location of a speed camera may, or may not, make a difference.

    Whether a driver has an accident contains a large element of chance. When another driver pulled out of a junction directly in front of me and then stopped across both lanes the only reason I didn't hit him was that the road was dry. A rain shower would have left me stuck under a 4x4.

    I think of myself as a mediocre driver yet have 30+ years driving/riding ( cars, bikes, cycles), 1m+ km, no points, no convictions, no claims. Better to be lucky than clever.

  10. Ian Oliver

    I really hope they don't remove them

    There are at least two that make my daily commuter far safer. Doing a right turn when going uphill on a pushbike takes skill and care even when you're doing 20mph and the cars 30mph. Before the speed camera, the cars were doing 50-60mph and it was on the slightly lethal side of hairy.

    Do these particular cameras reduce accident frequency and severity? Probably, yes, but what's beyond doubt is that they reduce traffic speeds and so make the roads less noisy and less intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians.

    Ian

  11. M Gale

    Re: License to speed

    An astoundingly good idea. Think about it for a minute.

    You could have two tests available for a normal and advanced driving license. Yes I know, there is already an "advanced driving license", however this one would be a little different. You would learn how the car handles at speed and how to correct and control skids.. but more importantly, you would be taught both where it is safe, and completely bloody unsafe to speed. You would be taught how individual cars behave, as a 3 series BMW is going to take a corner in an entirely different way to a 1.3l Mark 1 Fiesta. Insert various other tests that you can think of here (off road? Ice and snow?)

    The point is, that anybody who has passed this test can then treat the national speed limit as being "as fast as your car can safely handle for the condition of the road". Maybe a few other perks for people who've gone through the bother and financial outlay of the lessons and tests required. Lower insurance premium perhaps? As for how police can tell whether someone has passed the advanced test or not.. well how do they tell if you've passed the normal test?

    One lovely incentive to learn how to drive better, perhaps?

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