back to article Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills

Following last week’s round-up of road news by El Reg – and a number of reader comments about the new “average speed” cameras that are being rolled out across the UK - it's nice to see Jeremy Clarkson taking up the subject in his column in the Sun. (Just kidding- we know this has been a bugbear of JC since the dawn of time). …

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  1. owen bullock

    technically no, legally yes?

    I read that article at the weekend and chortled to myself as I imagined thousands of motorists getting nabbed after following Clarksons advice.

    I wonder however, if he's referring to the fact that although technically the system can handle as many lanes as you have, I heard that each camera is only type approved for two lanes. So if you switched from lane one to three, it may be a loophole? (He still got it wrong though)

    Anyone more clued up care to add to this?

  2. Mycho Silver badge
    Go

    Changing lanes

    The changing lanes rumour was around for the really old speed cameras which relied on road markings. Supposedly some speeders would see the road markings and change into an unmarked lane so as to avoid the cameras.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Nottingham...

    In Nottingham there are more specs than Notts Residents! It used to be the case that the Specs Cameras, could only view and process a small 1mx2m (approx road area) box view and would track only one plate at a time passing through the window. hence could only manage 1 Lane, However some Cameras (eg A610) have been upgraded and now have two cameras in one box, they are able to 'watch' both lanes independantly.

    It remains true that it is one camera per lane, but it takes a very sharp eye to spot one or two cameras in the yellow Box. and is unknown if they cross reference.

    Do what the rest of us do; Spray on Mud, Broken Plate, Clone, Or the Very Expensive and night only! IR ReactoLight LCD Cover.

  4. Adrian Jackson

    Another suggestion for driving at a desired average speed...

    Drive at about that speed for the whole section of your journey.

    I'm in favour of replacing all existing speed cameras with this variety - they do away with a lot of the (entirely valid) complaints of those who *really* just think they should have the right to break the law - normally caused by the behaviour of such people in an attempt to get away with breaking the law for as much of their journey as possible. They prevent idiots slowing down drastically and dangerously because they've spotted a speed camera, they avoid the evil trick of placing speed cameras in locations that seem carefully selected to catch people still slowing down from the change from 50 to 30. And they stop people speeding (unless they want the points on their license and the fine, obviously...) Where's the problem?

  5. Paul Hayes

    myth

    this myth has been around for a good couple of years now, probably as long as the SPECs cameras themselves which have been used on motorway roadworks for a couple of years.

    I dare say all the cameras on a stretch of road go to one processing unit which doesn't even take lanes into account, just reg numbers at one gantry with times and then a list of numbers at the next one with times. The system would be totally useless if it was as simple as changing lanes to fool it.

  6. Craig Powell
    Go

    Equal distances

    To be fair, if you did drive equal distances above and below the speed limit by the same amount, you wouldn't actually do *more* than the legal average speed. Apply that to "120mph for one mile then pull over and stop for one mile" and you're in trouble, though.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    what we need is

    Some kind of turret mounted, auto targetting paint ball gun system, that happens to accurately and effectively spray each camera with a volley of paint balls. (Or a hail of pellets.)

    To generally make our feelings known...

  8. James Duncan
    Flame

    Simple explaination...

    Jeremy Clarkson is an imbecile. I also recall when he wrote an equally imbecilic column about the low risks of identity theft (complete with his details) resulting in theft from his bank account.

    Fail.

  9. Andy Turner

    Trying to fool the system by speeding then slowing down..

    ..it's unlikely to really work once these things are everywhere because you'll never know which gantry is paired with which and they don't even really need to be paired, you could have three cameras A, B and C and it could work out your average speed between A and B, and also B and C, but also A and C.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    J C is the new Alf Garnet !

    Long stretches such as the M1 widening in the Midlands takes intermediate measurements too so better not mess about with speed.

    No plates on the front of bikes tho ;o))

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point?

    "Debate continues as to whether this speed system improves driving – or encourages bad habits. There can be little doubt that Jeremy Clarkson does the latter, as he is alleged to have suggested that the best way to deal with this new technology is to pull over after the first camera: take a five-minute break; and then zoom through the second at 120mph.

    We do not advise you to try this. We also point out that if anyone wishes to achieve a particular average speed, they can do so by driving for equal periods of time by the same amount above and below the desired average. This does not work if you try to drive for equal distances in this manner. ®"

    I think this is exactly the type of statement that The Great JC loves provoke. You do realise that he may just possible have made that comment with tongue firmly inserted in cheek?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Proof of Identity..

    I'd guess that an increase in average speed camera will almost certainly increase the amount of registration-plate cloning that goes on.

    In any case most drivers' instinct is to try and drive AT the limit in an average speed camera zone (which in my experience tends to be positioned somewhere where the 'natural' speed is much higher than the enforced speed; say motorway roadworks with two empty lanes and not a workman in sight) causing the drivers to spend all their time with their eyes glued to their speedometers in paranoid terror lest they stray a mile-per-hour aboev the limit whatever the circumstances and consequently not giving their full attention to the road or the traffic around them.

    Scrap all the cameras both new and old and put more police in cars (and mobile camera units if you absolutely *have* to be that anal about speed limits) - no automatic system can spot the truly dangerous drivers - the inattentive, distracted, incompetant, stupid, careless and aggressive drivers that cause the accidents that a bit of excessive speed only makes worse after the fact. Proper enforcement of laws against careless and dangerous driving would save many, many more lives than speed cameras ever will - but of course proper traffic law enforcement costs, rather than makes, money.

  13. Jamie
    Linux

    One main gripe with Speed Cameras instead of Police.

    They do not nail stupid drivers.

    Coming back on the M4 on Friday from Reading had this car up my ass while driving down the motorway for about 15 miles. Eventually he weaved in and out of traffic in the middle and outside land to gain the distance of about 3 car lengths on me before getting back into the inside lane and causing a car to have to lock up to avoid hitting this idiots ass.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    re: There can be little doubt that Jeremy Clarkson does the latter

    There can be little doubt - only if you believe people will take Clarkson seriously on such matters - which I doubt even the youngest boy racer would fail to pick out a tongue in cheek comment - even if the author wishes to to try proving a point

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Hmmm...

    How about this for a money spinner: Custom Built, Full-HD LCD screen to place over your number plate - will display randomly generated numbe/letter combinations...

    I'm some bod in China would make one for you

    That should free us from a few of Stalin Gordo's oppressive shackles.

  16. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Down

    Why can't they just...

    ... issue speed guidelines to people?

    i.e. 70mph is a sensible speed for this Dual Carriageway. Driving under it is fine, driving over it is only fine if you judge it to be safe.

    You crash over the speed limit and your insurance could be voided or only pay out half as much.

    Or they could even just limit this behaviour to blackbox equipped cars (with a more stringent MOT to keep them safe for higher speeds) driven by Advanced Drivers. Gives more people an incentive to become better drivers (sorely needed) and properly maintain their cars, brings in more money from the government through VAT, extra-strength MOTs and adv driver training so it's not a total loss. AND cuts 3 hours travelling time off going to see my grandparents!

    Have you ever looked into the window of the car next to you in an average speed camera zone? Everyone spends 3/4 their time looking at the speedo, trying to get through this "slow bit" as fast as possible without being clocked. Not a safe behaviour to encourage!

    Thumbs down as I'd have thought Clarkson would have known switching lanes doesn't help.

  17. David FitzGerald
    Go

    Drive between the lanes!

    The cameras are trained on the centre of each lane, so straddle two lanes on the exit of the SPECS zone and you won't be spotted.

    I have this on good authority from someone involved in the design of these things.

  18. David Cornes
    Stop

    Clarkson knows better

    These things are pretty much game-over for those trying to beat the camera I think.

    Can't say I feel too much sympathy: myself I've only seen them to date on stretches of roadworks on the motorways, enforcing lowered limits through contraflows etc, where there's an obvious safety incentive to slowing down the speed freaks. I just set the cruise to 40 sit back and enjoy the ride... ;-)

    My main concern with these things is the rise of Big Brother watching your every move: once the camera's caught your NP, does that get erased later or kept for other potential uses?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    tosspot!

    "...Geoff Collins, marketing director of Speedcheck Services Ltd, which manufacture the SPECS system..."

    mummy! mummy! - when i grow up i want to start a company that helps the government spy on people and extort money from them!

  20. Alan Parsons
    Happy

    Need front plates

    The very best way to deal with this technology is to ride a motorbike, which being devoid of forward facing plates, is immune.

    Another trick is to sit in the blind spot of a large HGV such that there is no line of sight from the camera to your plate for one of the sets of cameras. This takes skill but is entirely manageable.

    Another solution would be to replace the two screws in your front plate with high power infra-red LEDs. This would be invisible to the naked eye, day or night, but would likely render your plate as a pair of high intensity circles of light to a camera. This technique has been used to create "anti-papparatzi" sunglasses ( a mere google search away ) for obscuring one's face from digital CCTV.

    For every 'electric thumb' jammer there will be made a 'new electric thumb'

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Just wondering...

    As these things don't use road markings (well, not the ones I've seen), how is the distance(s) from the cameras measured and recorded?

    As it is the time between the two images which is being used rather than the time between the two cameras, any differance could introduce an error in calculated average speed...

  22. Graham Marsden

    The thing is...

    ... these cameras actually *work*!

    Rather than fixed speed cameras making people slow down at a particular point, (usually slamming on their brakes, then accelerating hard once past) or limit signs that get ignored, these do actually make people control their speed.

    They are currently in place on parts of the M27 in Hampshire where there are carriageway widening works underway and you can travel along there without having to worry about Mr Clarkson and his ilk suddenly hooning up behind you way over the limit and then trying to muscle you out of the way because you're stopping them from getting to their destination ten minutes quicker.

    PS Yesterday I saw a perfect number plate for Mr Clarkson, it was on the back of a Ferrari and had been re-spaced to say EGO 2 BIG!

  23. Tom Doggett
    Stop

    Broken records

    Instead of wasting so much energy complaining about getting caught for doing something illegal, why not lobby to get the speed limits adjusted? I'm not talking about 30mph through built-up areas, but, say, introducing variable motorway speed limits so that if it's not busy and not raining you can do 80/85.

    "you must travel at 37 if you accidentally do 43 for a yard or two."

    Rubbish - a yard or two at 3mph over the speed limit is not going to result in you getting fined.

    I'm not pretending that I drive perfectly and never break the speed limit, but there is a calculated risk with speeding. There are some areas where you are less likely to get caught - open motorways for example - and some where you are more likely to - e.g. around roadworks. You know there are speed cameras around, so if you speed you should accept there is a risk you might be caught.

    Too many people sit around moaning about what's wrong in the world instead of trying to suggest what might be right. How about some give and take? Reduce urban speeds to 25 but increase motorway speeds to 80.

    And in the meantime, if you don't want to get caught by a speed camera, you know what to do - and you might even save some money on petrol too :-)

  24. jubtastic1
    Happy

    Other safe alternatives

    Tailgate a truck, buy a Motorbike or throw away your number plates as we seem to have retired actual road policing for vastly less effective but very profitable dumb cameras.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still see a problem...

    So, my car gets caught doing an average speed of 45mph between two points in a 30 zone. So how exactly does that prove that I was speeding? Obviously I turned off the road into the field by the side and indulged in my past time of off-road rallying. A quick burst of 100mph off road driving and I return to the road destressed in time for the second camera without ever having exceeded the speed limit.

    The burden of proof is in my favour: it is up to them to _disprove_ it. And of course since the first I hear of it is several weeks later when receive the letter in the post the huge ruts I carved into the field during my rallying have disappeared...

  26. Mo
    Go

    There is another way to beat these cameras…

    …stick to the speed limit.

    Shocking, I know.

    You could spend the money you would have spent on a fine on lobbying MPs to call on the DfT to adjust speed limits where you think they're too stringent.

  27. Evil Graham
    Happy

    If you believe what you read in the Sun

    Then you deserve to be fined.

  28. Mick Sheppard
    Black Helicopters

    Safety

    Based on the figures from TRL595 road works with cameras have more personal injury accidents in them, per km driven, that road works without cameras.

    Based on talking with friends and colleagues they feel that they spend more time looking at the speedo when driven through average speed camera zones than they normally do. This would seem, antecdotally, to provide a reason for the results. If you are driving a car that doesn't have cruise control along a road monitored by average speed cameras you pay less attention to the road than normal. Seems obvious that this would increase the accident rate, but that would be common sense something that governments don't have.

  29. Stuart
    Coat

    what if...

    you "change lane" onto the hard shoulder....will the cameras be covering that area of the road?

    Mine is the one with the blurred number plates....

  30. James
    Coat

    Hard to believe

    that JC or El Reg managed to tackle this subject without having more to say about the fact these cameras capture *every* passing car.

    Why not roll out the satellite tracking now & be done with it?

    Mine's the bike jacket for the vehicle with no plate on the front!

  31. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Clarkson == tosser;

    The problem with other speed cameras (Gatso, Truvelo, etc) is that they measure the instantaneous speed of a vehicle, their locations are well known and they are highly visible. The upshot of this is that the only people these cameras catch are the unwary. Speed twunts, like Clarkson, merely slow down for them, then speed up again and, they make bloody sure their GPS has its camera database up to date and their laser/radar detector is in good working order.

    In other words, *traditional* speed cameras do nothing to deter aggressive driving and may even encourage it for those who think the best way to give a speed camera 'the finger' (as if the camera actually cares) is to creep past it at 5mph below the limit and then floor it once past.

    Now, along comes a speed camera system (SPECS) that cannot be avoided. You *have* to drive at an average speed <= the limit. Clarkson's reaction? Toys get lobbed out of his gas guzzling baby buggy.

  32. Steve
    Coat

    unfallible

    (sp)

    Drivers who pull close in behind trucks at the cameras are proof these things improve road safety!

    Mine's the one hidden underneath another!

  33. Tim Jenkins

    It's not a game

    You could just OBEY THE LIMIT, and, possibly, save a life. The child running out into the road as you 'zoom through the second at 120mph' will not be in a position to debate the matter...

  34. michael

    mr clarckson dose have a point

    I rember one set of these had a servies in them of I would pull of at it have lunch and then not give a toss how fast I went

    of corse given the fact it was down to 2 lanes from 4 ment I could bearlty make the 50mph speed anyway

  35. Nick Askew
    Happy

    They work

    "Debate continues as to whether this speed system improves driving – or encourages bad habits."

    Debate no more. The Dutch have had these installed for some years and generally the traffic does seem to obey the limit through the zone.

    Tailgating is also very rare because there is no point. Actually, Jeremy, here is a way that could work. As you enter the zone you get yourself in front of a huge lorry, then slam on your brakes at the right moment so that the lorry is right on your tail. Should not be too hard after all most lorries love nothing better than to spend the day sitting a couple of feet of the arse of the lorry in front. Now you will know that the first camera has not seen you and you can go as fast as you like towards the second camera.

    I'm sure the possibility of death under the wheels of a lorry is only a small price to pay if it means getting away with a speeding fine.

  36. AF
    Thumb Up

    I'm loving my speed limiter

    I got a new car recently, and in addition to the cruise control it also has a speed limiter. When I'm going through an average speed section (or even just around town) set the limiter to whatever the limit is and job done - unless I kickdown, I can't accidentally accelerate over that speed.

    It doesn't brake for you, though, so you still have to keep an eye out going downhill, but otherwise I fear neither speed cameras or hitting kiddiewinks with too much force.

  37. Jerome
    Boffin

    Problem solved

    Forget about changing lanes just the once. If you weave around from lane to lane sufficiently often, the extra distance traveled will mean you can go at an average speed of well over 70 MPH without getting nabbed.

  38. Tom

    MythBusters did a good episode about the US versions a while back

    While over here they focus strictly on the speeders and the instantaneous bit, it was possible to beat the cameras.... with a jet car going in excess of 300 MPH. Seems the relevant question is whether or not the vehicle traverses the image field more quickly than the detect and click mechanism on the camera takes.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing to be achieved...

    ....by driving above then below the enforced speed limit.

    "We also point out that if anyone wishes to achieve a particular average speed, they can do so by driving for equal periods of time by the same amount above and below the desired average"

    if you time it right you'll still get to the second camera at the same time as you would if you'd maintained a constant speed.

    average speed cameras are easy to get through if you stick it in cruise

  40. Matt Eagles

    PC Brigade are at it again.

    Once again Clarkson and the PC Brigade are whining about the Government breaching motorist's human rights. The right to drive as fast as you possibly can may well be in the Human Rights Act but that doesn't make it something that right minded individuals in Britain should be doing. As soon as Clarkson and his Leftie cronies are removed from TV the better.

  41. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Happy

    Trolling

    Clarkson has newspaper columns to fill and a reputation to uphold, without constant mutterings he can't upset those who bleat the loudest and give him the opportunity to respond.

    He can pretty much pre-write the responses at the same time as writing bits for the Sky/Fox/Sun (Murdoch). Job for life, all he needs to do is stir the pot now and then.

    We used to call it 'trolling' - the 'merkin term for trailing a bright lure in the water to attract fish to the hook. Works a treat, pick your target and work it correctly and there's plenty of thrashing around.

    Older people would call it 'setting up Aunt Sallys'

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. Rick Eastwood

    You get what you deserve

    I love Top Gear but If you follow the advice of Clarkson then frankly you need to be taken off the road. He's there to sell the papers, tv programme, dvd, books etc etc hes currently trying to flog.

    Im no anti speed nazi but come on clarkson isnt the paragon of all virtue when it comes to advice on speeding.

  44. John Curry

    Apparently, all you have to do to beat them is...

    ...drive at or below the speed limit. Novel idea isn't it. Apparently it'll also give you a much better MPG ratio, will spare you a fine, and miraculously prevent people being killed by your lack of courtesy for those around you.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Handbrake turn

    I believe the current recommendation amongst boy-racers is to pull a handbrake turn just before the 2nd camera, race back to the first, pull another handbrake turn and then go flat out down the straight. Max speed say 150, average 50.... sorted!

    Mines the one with flame-retardant lining and kevlar inserts.

  46. Richard Cartledge

    Nottingham SPECS

    The SPECS in Nottingham have two different types of camera in the box, one is for ANPR and the other is HD CCTV for images used to identify people etc.....

    The same camera hardware cover both lanes now as were originally installed. The only update was the software after HOTA was given about 18 months ago.

    The software is also learning how to recognise vehicle make and models and colour by analysing the image and comparing them to DVLA records.

  47. Paul
    Go

    The square on the hypotenuse or something like that

    If changing lanes you would cover a different distance than the straight line distance between cameras. Loophole?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Diplimatic amunity

    Do like I have seen in London and get an Arabic numebber plate.

    Read them digits you over stuffed robocop.

    I wonder if they are embasy cars?

  49. Saucerhead Tharpe
    Boffin

    A great way to avoid getting done

    Is not to speed, or am I missing something here?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: What's the problem

    Personally I'd do away with all speed cameras AND speed limits and replace them with advisory maximum limits. I would also encourage all drivers to take a sliding scale of advanced driving courses which they would be encouraged to maintain on an ongoing basis. The encouragement would perhaps be in the form of much lower insurance or tax rebates (better still do away with tax and increase the cost of fuel and just have skill rebates).

    With any camera system people will learn the process to game the camera, eg Gatso camera, hit the brakes, and that's not safe per se. Also they don't help when people are "legally speeding", ie travelling under the posted limit at a speed which is too fast for the overall conditions, and this is dangerous, compared with travelling at 100mph on an empty, dry motorway with good weather, for example.

    Stephen Haley's excellent book "Mind Driving" is recommended, along with getting along to your nearest RoADAR group (see www.advanced-driving.co.uk for local clubs)

  51. EvilGav

    @Adrian Jackson

    So, your suggesting that the most important thing to be watching, all the time, is your speedometer ??

    How silly of me, I thought it was more important to watch the road.

    Speed cameras in any of tehir forms don't work, for the fact that people are paying attention to their speed more than the road and because too many drivers today are driving at the speed-limit and not at an appropriate speed for the road (there are many instances where driving considerably below the speed-limit is preferable e.g. a small lane in a country village, limit 30, stupid to drive at that speed).

  52. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    @Craig Powell

    "pull over and stop for one mile" - hahahaha.

  53. Waggers
    Dead Vulture

    Why all the "sadly"s?

    Sadly, there's nothing sad about the fact that the system, sadly, works. If you seriously can't, sadly, get behind of the wheel of a car without, sadly, committing a criminal offence (that's what speeding is, sadly, in case you'd sadly forgotten) then, sadly, you shouldn't be driving. Sadly.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Paul Hayes

    I agree with what you´re saying, but this system has been type approved by the Home Office...

  55. Chris Ovenden
    Stop

    @Nottingham AC

    "Do what the rest of us do; Spray on Mud, Broken Plate, Clone, Or the Very Expensive and night only! IR ReactoLight LCD Cover."

    Anything , ANYTHING but actually drive at or below the limit.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Equal Distances

    How do you "stop for one mile?" Craig?

    Still doesn't explain variable speed limits where you pass a 50mph and then a 40mph soon afterwards. So then what is the average?

    You can always use Anne Robinsons excuse "I have not driven through here before and didn't know there was a speed camera". But she still got banned but only for 6 months.

  57. Matt Webster

    RE: Myth

    <Quote>

    The system would be totally useless if it was as simple as changing lanes to fool it.

    </Quote>

    I totally agree... but then again, given what I've seen of the N3 project it's not difficult to imagine each camera running completely independantly of each other!

  58. Sulehir

    @Craig

    Sorry to be a pedant, but could you explain how you pull over and stop for one mile? I would have thought stopping would involve not covering any distance at all.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Adam Foxton

    i.e. 70mph is a sensible speed for this Dual Carriageway. Driving under it is fine, driving over it is only fine if you judge it to be safe.

    Driving under the speed limit NOT fine if you it is way under the speed limit. I was stuck behind an idiot doing 40mph this morning in the outside lane while trying to pass a slow farm vehicle doing a little over 35mph. The speed limit was 60mph. The result? A queue of half-a-mile with some very irate drivers, myself included.

    Either drive at the limit or let others pass and THINK for Christ's sake!!

  60. Adam Davis

    No, its not a game Tim Jenkins

    What is said child doing running out into the middle of the Motorway anyway?

  61. N1AK

    @Adrian Jackson

    The arguement you and a number of people who defend speed cameras is completely valid. And of course it is also true that many people myself included argue against speed cameras at the same time as being habitual speeders.

    My reasoning is not that it suits me (believe that if you will) but instead that the statistics regarding speed cameras simply don't show a link between presence and road safety in the vast majority of cases (unless you choose to intentionally analyse them in a statistically flawed way which is current goverment practice).

    Bluntly put I do not believe that exceeding the speed limit is by itself dangerous driving, speed cameras treat it as such, come with other costs and don't detect the vast majority of genuinely bad driving.

  62. P. Lee Silver badge

    Want to buy...

    A couple of very high-power infra-red lamps

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Eagles

    "As soon as Clarkson and his Leftie cronies "

    Clarkson a Leftie?? Are you sure? I think his politics reside somewhere between Mussolini and Ghenis Khan.

  64. ChrisB

    If breaking the motorway speed limit is such a big deal

    Why don't the government specify that every new car sold is fitted with a speed limiter set to 70mph?

    My guess is that they're not bothered about the speed people drive at.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jamie

    Well there's your problem! The guy who had to stop shouldn't have brought a donkey onto a motorway.

    The good thing about variable speed cameras is that for them to be effective you have to catch all the entry and exit points a particular distance. Country roads will be free of them for a while yet, so I'm just sticking to them instead. Speeding has never been more fun! Of course, I have to drive even faster to make up for the windey roads :-(

  66. ChrisB

    @Jamie re: One main gripe with Speed Cameras instead of Police.

    Surely the car that was following you for that distance would have pulled out into an overtaking lane and overtaken you?

    Or are you one of the many people who illegally drive in the outside lane of motorways regardless of whether they're overtaking other vehicles?

  67. Dan
    Boffin

    Elf-n-safety

    When did El Reg's readership get all Judge Dredd? Use your brain and drive according to the conditions. Do you really think 30 is safe outside a school? You'll still kill a child with that 1.5 tons of metal you're in. Even the 20mph 'school zone' limits can still be too quick. Likewise, if I'm on a non-congested motorway, in a well-maintained car which I know well, in good conditions, and I'm switched on and not obsessing with the speedo or dicking around with phone/satnav/food/drink/passengers, how is 85mph dangerous? It's safer than going too slowly on the same road. Like all laws, speed limits can never be exactly appropriate for all circumstances.

    Scientist cos you lot all just appear to be too dim to understand this today.

  68. Matt Finish
    Go

    Blurred vision

    Sorry to disappoint you... I visited a company that makes ANPR systems, they had arabic plates in their lobby. Mud, arabic lettering, reflective paint - all tested regularly and well within their cameras' capability.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Maintaining constant speed

    If you can't drive at a near-constant speed without checking the speedometer every 2 seconds, then you need to brush up your driving skills or shouldn't be on the road. It's not exactly tough, keep your food steady on the gas and pay attention for changes of gradient. Or if you really can't drive, buy cruise control. It amazes me how people claim they should be allowed to speed because they're such good drivers, then in the next breath admit they're not able to keep within the speed limit.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    It's about saving lives stupid...

    To all the comments concerning the simplest way to not get caught - don't speed.

    Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that.

    (i) I don't want to live in a surveillance society.

    (ii) I don't want a fully automatic judge-jury-and executioner. How many speeding tickets ever pass through human hands? How much of the process is fully automated.

    (iii) When so many people do break the law you have to start questioning the law.

    (iv) Speed does not kill, but inappropriate use of speed can be contributory. How can thousands of Germans drive at 150+mph every day and their accident rate is not proportionally worse?

    (v) If you deskill the drivers (i.e. don't allow them to think), then you end up with loads of drivers with poor driving skills. Hence the drive everywhere at 38mph brigade...

    (vi) Poor but slow driving is considered good, yet fast and good driving is considered bad?

    (vii) It's actually easier to drive fast now, than it was 20 years ago. In the good old days there were no fixed cameras, you had to be alert for policemen. Now, they are so rare, you can drive as fast as you like away from the main revenue locations.

    P.S. Pirate, because no red-coat is taking me alive!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Solution

    Electromagnetic pulse generator installed in boot, aimed skyward, combined with James Bond-style number plate that flips over to reveal a different plate or blank plate.

    How about an organized slowdown to perhaps 1/3 the posted speed to protest these? Traffic would be in a snarl in no time.

    Isn't the world Orwellian enough without these things?

  72. Jon H
    Go

    speed limits being lowered

    "The cameras are trained on the centre of each lane, so straddle two lanes on the exit of the SPECS zone and you won't be spotted."

    So how come there are only 2 cameras for a 3 lane motorway? I doubt one lane is missed so the cameras must cope with more than 1 lane.

    What I'm miffed about is the reduction of the speed limit on many roads. For decades, it was deemed safe and legal to drive at 60mph on many country roads yet in the last few years and with no new developments along these roads, 40mph speed limits have appeared. Why? Cars are significantly better now at avoiding accidents (eg brakes) and if you do end up hitting someone, they're safer for all involved. So why was it ok for my Dad to drive his 1960's Ford Anglia at 60mph but not for me in my modern safe car?

    And why am I forced to slow to 20mph past some schools at 2am on a Sunday morning during school holidays?

    I think motorway limits should be raised, if you can do 60 on some tiny country roads, then surely you can do more than 10mph extra on a motorway?

  73. This post has been deleted by its author

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    How would it react to...

    Here's one for Top Gear and Mythbusters...

    3 different cars all with the same plate and 1/2 mile apart through the camera system...see how it copes, could be something the boy racers round here will try soon enough

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ EvilGav

    No, I don't think Adrian was suggesting that at all. It's true, though, that you do spend too time looking at your speedo when you're seriously worried about getting a ticket. The appropriate speed thing sounds fair. but has the same flaw that all the arguments involving judgement have - loads of people let their ego override their judgement because they're such great drivers and know they can handle speed and have lightning reactions. In the rural area where I live limits have been moved out to ludicrous areas, but I've been told that this has as much to do with extending a village's planning area/limits outward as anything else. Anyway - while it seems cameras are making people look at their speedos more they're doing it because nowadays there's more chance of being caught not obeying the law. If you were trying to obey the law before this would have no effect on your driving. Finally, saying cameras don't work because people are paying attention to their speed *is* silly. That's the whole point.

  76. David

    @ Mick Sheppard

    "road works with cameras have more personal injury accidents in them, per km driven, that road works without cameras."

    But presumably the road works with cameras are so policed because the risk of accidents is considered to be higher. So the comparison is pretty much worthless.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not an urban myth

    It's actualyl about continuity of evidence, the makers of the cameras will obviously tell you that they work no matter what, but the issue isn't a technical one, it's a legal one.

    Us Focus ST owners were discussing it recently at focusstoc.com/forums

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Parsons

    Done it, first time I was too chicken to "speed".

    Second time I went above the limit by a good 20, and never got anything.

    Not that I would do 70-80 in a 40 etc, but it definately makes it much more comfortable to get through.

  79. John Curry

    @EvilGav

    "Speed cameras in any of tehir forms don't work, for the fact that people are paying attention to their speed more than the road and because too many drivers today are driving at the speed-limit and not at an appropriate speed for the road (there are many instances where driving considerably below the speed-limit is preferable e.g. a small lane in a country village, limit 30, stupid to drive at that speed)."

    Appropriate speed? Hmmm, let me think - do you mean something like a limit set out by an expert body which gives you an indicator as to the absolute limit which you should do on a particular road? That sounds awfully like a speed limit to me.

    Your country lane example proves a point - that is the absolute maximum you can risk doing on that road. But you should drive at less than that in order to be safe, especially in less than ideal conditions. The point of that limit is to show you that in absolute ideal driving conditions, with a car in it's prime, and an experienced driver, you can do 30 miles an hour. Anything other than that means you should be going slower.

    Imagine a world where you can just do 70 in the right hand line, and not have some absolute idiot tailgating you and flashing because they want to go faster.

    Morons...

  80. Mark

    Re: Hmmm...

    Just use an IR interference lacquer over the license plate. Transparent to visible light, invisible to IR.

  81. Dave Ashton

    Excuse

    There isnt actually any excuse for all these reasons to speed or to get round the technicalities, your energy is misdirected. (Ironically JC probably came up with a much better way during last years season - half way, stop, pullover, read the paper for half an hour, then do 120mph past the remaining cameras). However, just try the bizarre excuses in court for a laugh ("i nipped off to do some offroading half way along the contraflow"). And of course, courts always let you off if you have an amusing story.

    If you have to do 50 in a 70 for a few miles, so fucking what? Grow up. You'll get to your destination a few minutes later. Enjoy the few minutes of not having to brake every 3 seconds because the twat in front doing 85 wont get out of the way. Also, why not enjoy the few moments where the chances of killing a roadwork guy are drastically reduced. After all, they only put these averaging speed cameras in because there is a warehouse full of them somewhere and they're just gathering dust.

    However, its quite entertaining, in a rather smug way, to watch the people who dont understand what 'averaging over a distance' actually means and who fly through at 80. On the M6 yesterday, doing 50, I must have been overtaken about 30 times by some very fast cars, in about a 3 mile stretch.

    incidentally, I got home exactly 1 minute later than planned. Next time, I'm gonna mow down one of those guys who puts the cones out! That'll shave off a few seconds.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark_T

    Shhhhhhhh! Quiet!

    One of the benefits of a completely car orientated government is although they completely overlook motorcycles to our annoyance in many respects, they have managed to implement a complete network of front facing cameras to get great photos of our faces, well eyeballs through the visor, but no number plate to go with them!

    It's one of life's great pleasures!

    The other is my 10 year old car which has an average speed function on the trip computer... Reset it as you enter an average speed zone, and if you get held up in the middle by a man dropping a cone a little bit wonky, you can see just how much you've got to play with by the exit... Usually resulting in me zooming past everyone a good 200 yards before the final camera...

    And before anyone flames me for driving like a Clarkson, I obviously don't do this when there are people working in front of me, I have common sense, but 99 times out of 100 there are 3 miles of cones, and 1 guy scratching his arse waiting for his cup of tea about 2 miles in.

    If they really want to reduce accidents, maybe they should take those damn flood lamps off of the lorries that carry the keep right arrows! They're so bright you loose any kind of night vision you once had, and a guy in a high-vis jacket is reduced to nothing more than a small silhouette!

  83. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    stop for one mile

    It works if you spin the middle side topwise.

  84. This post has been deleted by its author

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Graham Marsden

    They WORK in making people slow down.

    They WORK in removing the concentration of the driver from the road onto his dashboard.

    They WORK by making the road less safe.

    But granted, atleast the rear end dent is only going to be caused at 40mph

    More accidents, but less fatalities... WOOO...

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tom Doggett

    Everyone wants the speed limits increased, there are people campagining for it, also there is a lot of support for it. Its obvious.

    But with the "allowed 90mph" on the motorways, is anyone realy going to go "ah yes, 85mph is what we need", does that mean we can now do 105mph? I doubt it... so whats the point.

    It would be nice to see higher posted limits, but its doubtful, just lower limits, and in places where the roads are nice and big... this doesn't make sense so we are not expecting anything sensible.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    I don't use a Camera Database.

    I use something called AWARENESS to spot the cameras.

    Something that a lot of drivers are missing... but will never get caught for. Unless they are unaware speeders... then they deserve it.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Wasted money

    I thought the approved method of preventing speeding was to make petrol so expensive you couldn't afford to burn it up by travelling over 50mph.

    Talk about ignoring the real problem

  89. Aron A Aardvark

    National speed limit outdated

    The idea of a national speed limit in the UK is now outdated and should be scrapped. Free flowing rural motorways and dual carriageways should have an upper limit of 80mph. Busy and jam-prone stretches should all be covered with variable systems. If that costs too much, then a lower limit of 50mph should be fixed.

    Abolish all cameras as well. I can't believe so much money can be justified on monitoring speeding motorists.

  90. Roger Garner
    Stop

    They do work...

    ...but the retard drivers that slow down to 60mph to go past the 70mph static Gatso ones now do 60mph the whole way through the stretch of the average cameras... and *STILL* brake to go past the cameras!

    Seriously people... you're only in trouble if you going OVER 70mph the WHOLE way through the average check...

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    last time i saw a set of the SPECs

    it was on the M1, where there were road works, so no one got to get above the speed limit anyway!

  92. Eddie Edwards
    Pirate

    It is too a game

    "The child running out into the road as you 'zoom through the second at 120mph' will not be in a position to debate the matter..."

    Nor would he be if you were doing 70mph when he ran out into the motorway.

    What I want to know is why is some irresponsible little shit running out into the motorway in the first place? If he goes through someone's windscreen it could kill them, through no fault of their own. And the 8 pts of leaked blood is going to be a real skid hazard for anyone following behind.

    I say ban pedestrians completely then we wouldn't have this potential killer on the roads at all.

  93. krakead

    @Matt Eagles

    "As soon as Clarkson and his Leftie cronies are removed from TV the better."

    Clarkson a leftie? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Idiot.

    Anyhow, while all you sheep are happy for nanny to tell you what to do, some of us prefer to think for ourselves. Clarkson may be a bit of a twat, but I'd rather have him making policy that the current mob.

  94. Tom

    Easy way to avoid the cameras

    Surely, to avoid number plate recognition cameras the solution is very simple; tailgate very closely to the car ahead so your number plate is not visible.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    They may work but ...

    They may work but they are also dangerous because people do spend more time looking at their speedometers and slowing down because they think they may have gone a tad too fast. Maybe the powers that be don't care about a few mph over the limit, but that really just shows what a nonsense arbitrary speed limits are, and is anyone going to chance it ?

    The main reason for SPECS is to force people to drive under the set speed limit. The question is "Why" ? Then, does it actually make those roads safer or not ?

    Such "safety improvements" and zero tolerance don't always work for the best - Emergency services can wait behind me in a traffic queue because I'm not jumping a red light with a camera monitoring it with all the hassle that may bring.

    If people die as a result; blame the Government.

  96. Onionman

    Sactimonious hypocrisy

    So, to all the people who say "Stick under the limit and you'll be OK". Feeling is it's about 20% of comments on here.

    Do any of you, ever, under any circumstances, creep over the limit? Would you prefer that to be witnessed by a copper who might use his judgment, or by a camera that would just stick a fine in the post?

    The same copper might just see the guy driving at the speed limit but 6" from the car in front. Then a dangerous driver WOULD get his come-uppance. The camera, of course, would ignore him.

    Really, seriously, which would you prefer? Try thinking, rather than knee-jerking. Copper checking your driving is safe or speed camera strictly checking you're keeping below the limit?

    O

  97. Charles Tsang
    Paris Hilton

    Unfortunately Speed kills

    I've an in-law that works for the department of transport.

    Having spent many years in computing, he found it very refreshing to be now in the business, as he put it, of "saving lives".

    Speed does kill.

    Not every time, not every place, but faster driving will *statistically* have more fatal accidents.

    So by enforcing the speed limit (whether by SPEC or GATSO or just funny lane markings (like darts)), reduces fatal accidents and thus saves lives.

    It used to be that for Police/Councils had to show statistics for a road section to justify the placement of a GATSO camera. But that seems not to be the case anymore.

    But concentrating on the SPEC, doesn't anyone else find that there are less of those "stopping for no reason jams" on those averaged sections now?

    heck, I'd rather hand over control of the car to the motorway agency control and then turn around and make a nice cuppa and read a book until it was time to assume control. I'm pretty certain that all computer controlled lanes would result in faster travel times on the motorways.

    Paris, cos like 90% of drivers, she'd consider herself an average driver.

  98. Steve Evans

    @Adrian Jackson

    Sounds like you've swallowed the government statistics...

    Speed does not cause accidents. Bad driving (which can, but does not have to, include inappropriate speed) causes accidents.

    Speed (sorry, safety) cameras are a strict letter of the law device, that take into account absolutely nothing but your speed. Unlike a real policeman (if you remember what they look like), who could judge if you were being silly using years of experience.

    Take for example a camera on a 30mph stretch near a school.

    Situation 1: Pouring rain, 3pm in the afternoon, school kick out time, car doing 29mph (I know, fat chance of doing >1mph with all the 4x4s about, but go with me on this one).

    Situation 2: Same road, 2am, lovely clear and dry summer night, car driving at 35mph.

    Now which one of those is going to get the speeding ticket? Number 2 because he's doing 35mph past the camera.

    Now which of those if most likely to have an accident and hurt someone? Number 1.

    I looked carefully at the statistics for a camera near me, the headline said that it had reduced accident, and upon study, yes it had, by about 2 a year (which to be honest would have been eaten up just be standard random variations). However, dig into the figures a little deeper and you find although the total number of accidents had fallen, the fatalities had actually risen! Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I find a few more dents, scratches and bruises highly preferable to deaths.

  99. Keith_C
    Stop

    @ John Curry

    Expert body eh?

    This is a 30mph road:

    http://tinyurl.com/57ncgb

    This is a 60mph road:

    http://tinyurl.com/5lkus2

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Saftey - Mick Sheppard

    "Based on talking with friends and colleagues they feel that they spend more time looking at the speedo when driven through average speed camera zones than they normally do."

    Until you, your friends and apparently a host of others can judge your speed without the need to constantly monitor the speedomoeter then I suggest you all refrain from driving.

    As a few others have pointed out, the way to avoid a fine is to stick within the legal limits. If you want to travel at more than what is legally allowed then you are doing so intentionally and if caught should accept the punishment.

  101. Scott
    Coat

    "Your breaking the law"

    Sorry usually on the side of most El Reg readers thought i'd try being a gov-clone with no brain off my own....

    "Think of the children!!!!!!"

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IR

    Surely most people are likely to speed at night when there is less traffic on the road, so why not use a sheet of transparent plastic over your number plate that only blocks IR light then all that the cameras will see is a big black rectangle where your number plate should be.

    This method should be invisible to the human eye so you wont get pulled by a copper for having an illegal number plate.

    Obviously this wont work in daylight.

  103. Adrian Jackson
    Go

    A couple of responses

    N1AK: Well, obviously it partly *is* that it suits you, or you wouldn't do it habitually. :) At the end of the day I have no objection to anyone believing that the law on speed limits is wrong, and could do with being re-evaluated. I probably wouldn't disagree with you, as it happens, even though I'm not a habitual speeder.

    The thing is, though, whether you agree with that law or not, it's the law. And complaining about measures to enforce that law rather than the law itself - which is what a lot of anti-speed-camera-activism is about - seems a little silly to me.

    On the question of whether speed cameras help, I'm inclined to agree that the current ones don't (or at least don't help much) because they do nothing to prevent those who want to speed from doing so except at single points, and *increase* the danger from people slowing down dramatically to avoid getting caught by them. I'm inclined to believe that average speed cameras are a lot better on both fronts, though.

    EvilGav: If you can't maintain a constant speed without staring at your speedometer, perhaps you shouldn't be on the road. If you can't check your speedometer occasionally without suddenly losing all vision of the road, then you definitely shouldn't be on the road, and you ought to consult your optician to boot. You appear to have some sort of degernative eye condition.

    Oh, and on an entirely unrelated note, I'd like to point out that this is the first (and possibly the last) time I've seen Jeremy Clarkson referred to as part of the PC brigade. And unfortunately I was drinking tea at the time. Someone owes me a new keyboard. :(

  104. Lukin Brewer

    If you don't like the speed limits...

    Solution A: argue that they shouldn't be enforced (i.e. that speed limit signs should serve a decorative function only).

    Solution B: lobby to get the speed limits changed to something that you can live with.

    Why is it that no one seems to go for solution B?

    BTW, advisory speeds can only work smoothly if there are separate lanes available so that those who choose to ignore the advice do not have to match the road speed of those who do, and vice versa.

  105. This post has been deleted by its author

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Do what we do in the US...

    Look Ethel, one o' dem speed camera thingies! BLAM! BLAM!

    Works for me^Wa friend of mine.

    My city just put up red light cameras too. They're costing a lot more in maintenance than the city expected, for some reason...

  107. Simon Brown
    Paris Hilton

    I don't resent speed cameras

    They're a bit of a pain but if you don't speed you don't get caught.

    I appreciate having the average speed cameras in roadworks - I'd rather not be speeding where there is the risk of workmen being on the road.

    No what I object to is the total f@ckwits who slow down in front of speed cameras - to WAY less than the limit. My favourite right now is on the North Circular as you come round from Henley's Corner to the New Southgate exit. 50 mph all the way. Except in front of the speed cameras where most people seem to slow down to 40, or even 30, usually quite suddenly. If you haven't noticed the speed limit signs, all the way along the road, on both sides, in big letters, you have no business being on the road in the first place.

    A friend of mine runs a splitter van and she had a similar experience - guy 2 in front of her, on motorway, gets to speed camera, in the outside lane, jams on the brakes to slow down from 70 to 30. The fellow tail-gating him just about managed to slow down in time but, not quite realising why everyone was skidding to a halt, she couldn't brake hard enough and hit the car between them which bumped the front guy. And then he just drove off without leaving details, leaving her to carry the can.

    (can someone confirm that if you run into the car in front, regardless of reason, you are responsible - even if the front person emergency brakes for seemingly no reason, from 70 down to 0)

  108. RW
    Pirate

    Get rid of speed limits?

    I remember coming down a freeway on-ramp leaving Las Vegas for Los Angeles many, many years ago and noting a big sign that said "RESUME SAFE SPEED".

    The state of Montana for many years had no speed limits on its highways.

    There's a school of thought that says attempts to regulate traffic -- speed limits, traffic lights, stop signs, and such -- actually make traffic flow less smoothly than it you leave it all to the drivers to decide.

    Sure, there'll be a few morons who try to zip along at a high speed, but existing speed limits don't stop them anyway. Every stretch of road has its natural speed if traffic is left to itself and, surprise! surprise! this natural speed is slower when traffic's thick. Imagine that! What would the nanny state say?

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Shouldn't it be

    Automatic ANPR recognition

    I thought the comments very time this happened would be sinking in by now...

  110. Guy Herbert
    Pirate

    This argument ought to have been settled...

    ... or at least clarified, by someone who is actually capable of understading the basic maths involved.

    I refer you to the late Chris Lightfoot, passim, but especially:

    http://ex-parrot.com/~chris/wwwitter/20040106-dont_take_a_curve_at_50_per_we_hate_to_lose__an_argument.html

  111. me
    Paris Hilton

    ...or one could also

    "take a five-minute break; and then zoom through the second at 120mph."

    For all you slower cars, take a 2 minute break and then run at 80mph!

    Paris-cause she loves anything that's fast.

  112. fixit_f
    Stop

    Not fair

    I'm sure this is what everyone is thinking but I'm up for a rant.

    SPECS cameras aren't new at all - there's been one on Tower Bridge for a good four years now. I know because I got clobbered doing 35 miles an hour over it at 6am in the morning shortly after it went in. The fact that it's a 20 limit is fairly unclear as is the fact that it's an average speed camera - apparently the City of London police have special dispensation from the Home Secretary to avoid "defacing a national monument" by putting up eyesores such as traffic speed signs of the correct size or "average speed camera" markings, while still keeping the penalty 100% enforcable in law. This special dispensation is of course in no way being utilised to turn the whole operation into a cash cow for the police - I got 3 points and a 260 quid fine, despite causing no danger to anyone at a silly time of the morning with a clear road and no pedestrians. They even had the nerve to make me fill out means testing forms in court and then the judges put static noise on over loudspeakers to stop me hearing them deliberating over how much they reckoned they could sting me for.

    There's a lot of bl**dy awful drivers out there, but most reasonable people are capable of driving to the conditions. Such drivers might for example go slightly over a limit of 30 on a completely clear road in a not particularly built up area, but will perhaps judge it appropriate to stick below the limit of 20 when driving past something like the entrance to a school, or perhaps around a blind bend. It's common sense. Experienced drivers are capable of judging conditions for themselves and setting their speed accordingly, and the police themselves acknowledge this amongst their own officers:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/4559173.stm

    But wait a sec - let's imagine that you're doing 159mph down a motorway like that fella was, happily "testing his car out." What happens if somebody comes out of a blind sliproad and swerves across a couple of lanes of traffic without looking over his shoulder? I know it's unlikely, but it is perfectly possible - so logically that's an excessive speed to be doing on the public road and I don't see how any arguments over how highly trained he is make any sense. A situation that he couldn't anticipate or react to could conceivably have cropped up in just the same way that it crops up for the average Joe - in fact his training should have told him that in the first place. To take this further, I have heard first hand from police who assure me that it is pretty commonplace to speed through urban areas on blues and twos to get back to the station quickly for inappropriate reasons such as end of shift. I don't want to start some sort of daily mail "immigrants and swans" type rant, but the government and police are clearly taking the piss out of us here with double standards like these. Speed cameras are being used by some forces (such as the city of London police) to generate income and the safety benefits are pretty incidental to them. Having said that, most forces are pretty reasonable and SPECS installations (for example around roadworks on motorways) are clearly marked, but their safety value is debatable as your attention is drawn more to the speedo than the road.

    I'm starting to sound like Jezza myself now. But we are governed and policed by pricks and I'm sick of it.

  113. Richard Ormson
    Unhappy

    @ Lukin Brewer

    >Solution B: lobby to get the speed limits changed to something that you can live with. Why is it that no one seems to go for solution B?

    Because the majority of limits are set by local councils - who have bought into the speed kills argument wholesale and won't even consider evidence that contradicts this (such as limits they have previously lowered resulting in increased accident rates - have a look at the A4 East of Reading for example).

    The best that can be done is reduce the rate at which councils lower limits by submitting written objections. Getting them raised is a lost cause until it becomes apparent even to local government that existing policies aren't working. Don't hold your breath on that one.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    You live in the wrong place

    So thank you for reminding me just how outright frustrating, mindless and dull driving had become in the UK. Too many wasted hours in too much traffic doing nothing at all useful but look at the tail lights in front of you. Life's too short. Fortunately I now have no reason to drive, so I no longer have a car. Great thing the internet - work from anywhere. Mine's the one labelled beach bum.

  115. Adrian Jackson
    Stop

    A couple *more* responses

    But only because I'm a glutton for punishment, and I want a second shot at spelling 'degenerative' correctly - not sure what happened there.

    @Steve Evans: Care to point out where I swallowed the government statistics? Because it seems to me you're responding to something I never said in the first place - perhaps it's a similar eye condition to the one that makes people incapable of checking their speed without staring intently at the dashboard to the exclusion of all else for a minute or two. I'm not arguing the merits of a speed limit, just that given that there *is* one, people are bound by law to stick to it, and a lot of the anti-camera rhetoric is just an attempt by selfish people to justify their own belief in their right to break the law.

    You're making the same mistake as a lot of other people, though, by making a ludicrous argument that enforcing a speed limit somehow makes it impossible to also penalise dangerous driving below the speed limit, and that everyone will somehow be morally obliged to travel at the speed limit and no slower regardless of road conditions. The fact of the matter is that it isn't possible to automate identifying those people who break the law by driving dangerously and slowly. It *is* possible to automate identifying those people who break the law by speeding, though. Average speed cameras have a decent chance of doing it (unlike the single-point cameras).

    @Onionman: I've occasionally crept above the speed limit for a variety of reasons, sometimes deliberately, because it was the right thing to do at the time. An average speed camera wouldn't have been a problem on any of those occasions.

    And again, you're making a false dichotomy between catching speeding drivers and catching dangerous drivers below the speed limit. Nobody who advocates driving at (or below) the speed limit is claiming no attention should be paid to dangerous driving if it's below the limit, so you might as well ditch that particular straw man.

  116. wulff heiss
    Boffin

    easy workaround

    if you travel in pairs, just go like that

    [car1][car2] thru the 1st checkpoint and switch on the 2nd.

    just one problem.. driving with <10cm security distance which would be required could be fined, too :)

  117. Robert Long

    What actually is the issue?

    I drive at or below the speed limit; what's so hard about that?

  118. Terry Barnes
    Stop

    Staring at the Speedometer

    If you can't drive at a steady speed without staring at your speedometer you've got no business being on the road. Being able to drive within the confines of speed limits is kind of a key part of driving.

    In response to earlier posts - yes, it's true that speed cameras don't catch people driving badly, but that's because their purpose is to catch people speeding. Paracetamol doesn't cure cancer and safety boots don't protect you if someone drops something on your head. Should they be banned too? Or are people saying that a solution to a problem is only acceptable if it cures all the world's ills at a single stroke?

    As for the person who said that Clarkson is a leftie and represents the mythical PC brigade. Are you insane?

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The embracing of eastern block type oppression.

    No one goes for solution B because one is never listened to anyway. Don't believe me? Then try the government's petition site and read how you are wrong, they are right, and your view isn't going to make any difference.

    I'm just sick and fed up with it all. Sure one can argue that it is correct for police to try to ensure laws are complied with, but the fact is that many laws, traffic restrictions being the obvious example, are simply not agreed with by the majority of the population: and so if this really was a democracy, would not be there to be enforced. And knowing this the police should concentrate on laws the population does agree with, not spend time on those they do not.

    Be honest, how many folk really stick to 70 mph on the motorway (besides me of course). Most seem to do at least 80 mph, and if someone is doing 90 on a clear stretch, what should it matter? And then in slightly more built up areas one sees overly cautious limits seemingly more designed to cover the backs of those who decided them, than to be realistic. How often do you drive down what seems clearly to be an 55 mph limit road at least only to find someone you don't even know has set it to 40, 30, or even 20 ?

    But that's not the worst part of course. The worst part if the incessant monitoring of decent citizens just in case they can find someone not complying. What sort of world is that those in control are creating? Are we living in a community, or a prison with guards? What price compliance? Is Judge Dread just around the corner? Is that what all hope for? Why not let decent folk lead decent less stressed lives instead of hounding all and sundry with petty rules and technological surveillance? I don't think any authority has any moral right to inflict that on citizens; regardless of any hoped for end result. Ends do not inevitably justify means.

    Whatever Clarkson said, more power to his elbow.

  120. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah

    Drivers!

    Don't waste time stopping under speed cameras to trick the software and hide your speeding ways! Simply fit different number plates to the front and rear of your vehicles and blaze through those speed traps unmolested!

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jeremy Clarkson

    Like Roger Willis before him (who?) Jeremy Clarkson's media persona is a character he invented mainly to annoy those with no sense of humour. And yet people who otherwise seem to be quite bright continue to take his every utterance at face value. There are lots of journalists out there who write in a way that provokes irrational reaction in those who do not think quickly and clearly. Your reaction to the writings of people like Clarkson should teach you more about yourself than it does about the writer.

    On the subject of lane changing if SPECS were not approved for use where vehicles have changed lanes then shirley it can't be used to prosecute? If it is now approved then it it can. Obviously. The sales weasel's assertion that the lane changine issue has never been true in "technical" terns is a red herring (aka a lie). If it's not allowed in law then the technical capability is irrelevant.

    There have also been problems with similar systems distrubuted around urban areas. Getting nabbed by cameras on two different roads does not (or at least did not) have approval mainly because the system could not prove the route you took between the two cameras. Even if the system were to assume the shortest possible route.

  122. EvilGav

    @ John Curry and others

    The 70mph speed limit on m-ways was set, largely, due to the test run of the Shelby Cobra LM500 on the new M1 back in the mid-60's, when it was alleged to have topped 180mph.

    The average car at the time couldn't even reach 70mph and certainly took a lot longer to stop than today.

    All current speed limits are based on arbitrary rules and bear no relation to the changes in technology in the intervening 40 years since they were introduced. Indeed, the technology and examination has improved, yet the limits have gone down, not up.

    As for the increased risk to pedestrians, here's an idea - get off the fucking road. When I were a lad and we had Tufty adverts, the onus was on pedestrians to make sure it was safe before benturing their frail form onto the road, today it appears that, no matter the situation, the driver must be at fault. I've seen kids wearing headphones walk straight into the road with nary a glance to either side, who turn and look at you like you're in the wrong when you beep your horn at them (you know, letting them know you're there - i'm sure I read somewhere that thats what my horn is for).

  123. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Need front plates

    How about finding a neighbour with the same model and swapping one number plate?

    Or buy 2 cars of the same model (and colour.)

  124. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    @Steve Evans

    A policeman friend of mine was asked to look into the complaints raised by parents about the driving around a local school at kicking-out time. He and a couple of colleagues turned up and dished out tickets to anyone causing an obstruction and/or driving in an inconsiderate or (in one case) dangerous way.

    All but *one* of the original complainers got tickets, including the one for dangerous driving.

    So be careful what you wish for.

  125. David Neil
    Stop

    @Simon Brown

    "(can someone confirm that if you run into the car in front, regardless of reason, you are responsible - even if the front person emergency brakes for seemingly no reason, from 70 down to 0)"

    Yep, theres a reason we all had to memorise the safe stopping distances when we sat our tests

  126. Slimey
    Go

    Me two penneth

    http://www.abd.org.uk/safest_roads.htm

    Those same statistics apply to the pro/anti-speed lobbies and prove nothing in terms of speed to accident ratio's.

    The true problem with our roads is so damned complicated that the arguments run on for years and in the meantime the governments carry on with legislation that screws us all over, whilst we are arguing. i.e. Tax increases!

    Firstly, the speed limits are all wrong. Many haven't been reviewed in years. Many take accidents instead of common sense to be altered (how many places have a 2 mile or less stretch of 30 limit road sandwiched between 60 limits?). When are sensible limits going to be applied to the conditions, rather than 'national speed limits'?

    Actually the latter is one of the funniest points (and I don't mean ha, ha) of this whole argument. How many people actually know what the national limits are? How many actually know what the white circle & black stripe sign actually means? I've driven along national speed limit dual carriageways before now with rafts of people driving at 50, who give me dirty looks as I pass them at 70. I once did a straw poll in our office and I think 5 out of 20 people thought the NSL was 50 mph!

    When I refer to sensible limits, I don't mean increasing them all. I mean applying sensible limits according to the roads location, conditions etc. not simply it's type. All housing estates should be 25mph MAX regardless of location, and be policed to stop the Evo/Impreza/Saxo brigade storming around them (and getting rid of their illegal exhausts too). Likewise mororways should be maxed according to their location, length/width, density of junctions etc. There are stretches of the M1, M6, M5 that could safely take a 90 or possibly even 100mph limit, and there are stretches of the M25 or M42 that should never have a limit higher than 60. What about day/night variable limits?

    I used to use the M42 every day and to be frank, once they'd put the new variable limits in, it flowed much better at a constant 50 than it ever did without them.

    Secondly, the cameras (as stated by others) don't improve safety and prevent accidents in and of themselves, because the quality of driving is irrelevant. They only improve the number of fatalities because the accidents still happen but at lower speeds. They are a cash cow first and foremost. There are cameras near me in a 30 zone that rarely gets an accident, but is a main route into and out of town. Yet on a 40 stretch nearby, where there have been multiple accidents, there are no cameras.

    I have no problem with cameras in roadworks as they do work (providing the reduced speed limit is reasonable - why are some motorway roadworks under virtually identical conditions given different speed limits?). But static camera's should be replaced with proper policing. Camera's are reactive and capture an offence already committed. Police often prevent bad behaviours simply with their presence. And cameras never catch dangerous driving that doesn't include speed, such as tailgating, changing lanes without warning, drivers not allowing traffic to merge/bombing up the outside lane and cutting in late at roadworks etc.

    Last thing I'll add is a couple of questions? Why aren't all modern cars fitted with indicators? And why are some people incapable of realising it's not always foggy?

  127. Steven
    Go

    @ Keith_C

    That section of the A13 is actually a 40 but I take your point although I seem to recall about a year after construction was finished they still had the 30 signs up for the majority of it ;)x

  128. spam
    Boffin

    Speedo?

    I don't look at my speedo going through SPECS cameras, I look at the small print on my GPS. Have to put on my glasses to read it. Everything outside the car is a blur but it doesn't matter because as long as a keep within 1 mph of the limit I can't possibly crash - right?

  129. Chris
    Black Helicopters

    Meanwhile, across the pond

    A woman in a suburb of Washington, DC was issued a speeding ticket by a live cop for doing 42 mph in a 30 mph zone. The ticket carried an $80 fine and one point on her license.

    A few weeks later, she gets another ticket in the mail after a camera caught her doing 39 on the same stretch of road, at the same time as the ticket she already got. (OK, there was a one minute difference and a 1000 yards distance, but it was the same offense.) This one was $40 and no points (The Bill of Rights, you know). She wanted to claim double jeopardy (also forbidden by the Constitution) and get out of one of them.

    The mayor of the town that owns the camera says he'd be willing to waive the fine, but she wants to pay that and fight the other one in court. Not sure how she'll fare, but I don't think her chances are good.

    -Chris

  130. WonkoTheSane

    @Jon H

    Look closely at the 20mph signs outside the school.

    Chances are these have a black circle instead of red.

    This means that they are ADVISORY limits, and not legally binding.

    (This told to me by a police officer.)

    Why don't Govt realise that of the 26 million drivers in the UK, 99% can vote them out?

  131. Peyton

    This sounds like a great challenge

    How to turn your license plate into a captcha - that a human policeman can read (so you don't get in trouble with them) but will fool the cameras.

    Admittedly, this would be easier in the States, as our license plates are already a lot more cramped and less easy to read, and most states like to put little pictures on there to make it appear that everyone from their state is happy, thoughtful, good at inventing airplanes, etc.

  132. Frank Bough
    Alert

    This line says it all

    "Until recently, the only HOTA available applied to cars maintaining their lanes."

    So Clarkson actually IS/WAS right, but I still wouldn't rely on it if I were you...

  133. Jamie
    Alert

    Bad drivers and @Onionman

    A few people have made comments about speed cameras being dangerous because:

    > drivers to spend all their time with their eyes glued to their speedometers

    >they spend more time looking at the speedo when driven through average speed camera zones

    These people really shouldn't be allowed to drive. How about changing driving licenses so they only last 5 years and then you take another test. I think driving is probably a privilege rather than a right.

    Re "Sactimonious hypocrisy" [sic]: I have had a few speeding tickets. I'm not whinging about being "taxed". I broke the law; I got a fine. Get over yourself.

  134. Michael

    @ AC

    "Finally, saying cameras don't work because people are paying attention to their speed *is* silly. That's the whole point."

    I simultaneously agree with, and disagree with you.

    The stated purpose of the whole charade is to make roads safer (not to slow people down, explicitly). Their chosen method of making roads safer is to slow people down, but there's a problem. Their efforts to make roads safer by making people pay more attention to their speed, causes them to focus too much on their speed, and not enough on driving, potentially making them MORE dangerous than if they were driving faster, but were more focused on the road.

    However, the real truth is that it's not about making anything safer, it's about making money. It's another of those hidden taxes that gives the government an excuse to take your money.

    The great fallacy is that speed == danger. That's not really the case. Speed isn't what kills you, it's the sudden deceleration. Cameras create a situation where drivers pay more attention to their speedometer (you can say all you want that they shouldn't, but the facts are still what they are), which means they have less attention to give to the road, increasing the likelihood of a crash. I'd rather have people driving faster and paying more attention to the road, than slower, speedo-focused people all over.

  135. Jamie
    Boffin

    @eastern block type oppression

    "traffic restrictions being the obvious example, are simply not agreed with by the majority of the population: and so if this really was a democracy, would not be there to be enforced"

    Yeah! How dare they make us drive on the left. It must be because they are commies! Why can't I choose which side of the road to drive on?

    You really don't get the idea of "representative democracy" do you?

    If all laws were simply made on the basis of what "the majority" want [and it would be interesting to know how you determine that - what *is* a fair voting system] then we would still have the death penalty for murder, child abuse, sheep rustling, etc. And no doubt unlimited detention without trial for terrorists and pedos.

    Not a world I would want to live in. I think anarchy would be preferable.

    p.s. I agree that our current democratic system is far from perfect. Some form of proportional representation might improve it (but also introduce its own problems). But it is probably not significantly worse than any other.

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Brown

    I'm almost certain that the case is there is no excuse for running into the back of the vehicle in front.

    The law reasons that if you couldn't stop in time you were driving negligently by not leaving enough braking distance to cover all likely circumstances, (and lets face it, some jerk braking hard for no reason is a fairly common occurrence).

    By the same token the guy in your story that braked in that manner could have been done for dangerous driving too, so you'd all be screwed.

  137. Duckorange
    Black Helicopters

    Echoing earlier posters...

    ...there are so many lorries on the M27 which have come up from the docks, you've got no problem hiding behind one as you go past the cameras. Unfortunately, as all three lanes are filled with either lorries or holidaymakers up from the New Forest, it is impossible to do any faster than 45 mph and prove Clarkson right or wrong.

  138. Jonathan McColl

    The way ahead

    One chap up there said the SPECS camerata weren't on 'country' roads: that shows you have never driven the thirty (30) miles to Stranraer on the A77 under their golden eyes. There are stretches when one can hit 80 (in theory, that is, for how could I know?) but I have never managed the journey in half an hour or less, so I prefer these ones to the other kind that catches you in a snapshot at a weak moment.

    As for a solution I could live with I'd rather be trusted not to drive inappropriately and have National Stupidity Cameras set up to catch the idiots, or have what appears to be the French policing system of making the law obvious but only deal with you when you bust something and then throw the book at you pour encourager les autres. No: work it like First Aid certification and membership of professional organisations, and link appropriate behaviour to continual lifetime training and membership of the AIM with the papers available to show a policeman who stops you. Not that you'd be stopped if you were that good!

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @these cameras actually *work*!

    I beg to differ - every road works I've been through recently, the driver I've been following at the time has spotted the SPECS camera, slowed down dramatically (to like 2/3 of the posted limit) for a couple 100 yards then sped up again to obviously over the limit.

    Duh.

  140. Tim J
    Thumb Up

    @Matt Eagles

    Most amusing Matt!

    I see from other responses that your comment about the loony lefty Clarkson managed to fly well over a few heads here - whoosh! (like a speeding Clarkson on the so far SPECSless M40...)

  141. Frank Bough
    Alert

    "global warming - which is, by the way, not merely a theory"

    Oh? Can you tell us precisely what it is then, Pascal?

  142. Steve Ives
    Paris Hilton

    To James Duncan...

    Who said "Jeremy Clarkson is an imbecile. I also recall..."

    Then you either lack powers of recall or understanding.

  143. David Haworth
    IT Angle

    I can imagine ....

    ... that if such cameras become commonplace, we'll see a rise in car number plates that look something like this:

    http://www.areino.com/hackeando/

  144. Zack Mollusc

    new limits

    Any cynics out there want to estimate the new speed limits that will be brought in when everyone gets used to driving around at the current legal limits?

    20 where it used to be 30? Or maybe a change to kilometers per hour, 70 km per hour on motorway etc?

    Soon the unemployment/obesity problems will be solved by reinstating the 'chap preceding vehicle waving a red warning flag' policy.

  145. Stu_The_Jock
    Stop

    @ John Curry

    Re the 30MPH road vs teh 60MPH roads you linked to

    While I agree the national Speed limit is nuts, if you happen to own a JCB Fast-trac you could happily do 50mph up that, and remember it's a MAXIMUM, not a legal requirement to DO that speed.

    The 30 MPH road you link is actually a 40, and is the A13 around Barking in East London. having driven this stretch morning and evening for 3 years I can tell you the traffic flows better at the 40 level, as this underpass is immediately after another major intersection (where the A406 joins it), and has 2 small side roads off it before the underpass including one where heavily loaded HGVs need to join the flow. Just after the underpass is yet another busy junction.

    If YOU want to go through here at 60 MPH with people flitting in and out of the lanes, feel free, but having seen the condion of vehichles involved in accidents on this road I'll stick with the speed limit here thanks.

    Now happily living in Norway where going 12km/h over the posted limit will cost you the equivalent of about £250.

  146. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ohh good another motoring thread!

    Ok, here’s my pitch,

    Clarkson: I think he’s funny; I don’t take anything he says too seriously. He likes to make a point by going to the other extreme. Sometimes is does highlight a particularly rubbish law, sometimes it makes him sound like a cock. If I had a TV show and several newspaper columns to fill, I’m pretty sure that I’d be upsetting someone without a sense of humour too.

    Civil liberties ARE being eroded in the UK and common sense along with it. I started to go into detail but realised I was going off topic. Wake up and take a look around instead.

    As for speed cameras, well I can only say that I DO spend more time looking at the speedo than I do when not in a speed camera zone and I DO feel that the extra time doing so takes my concentration off the road. And I have been behind several cars that see a speed camera and slow down to 30mph regardless of what the speed limit is.

    I’m not saying I’m a better driver, unless being observant and looking at speed limit signs or road markings makes me better ;)

    While I see that speed cameras do serve some purpose, I don’t like the fact that they do nothing to sort out unsafe driving. Police in unmarked cars are much better than cameras because they also spot twats.

    I never cease to amaze my how many drivers don’t know what the national speed limit is. I remember driving along a dual carriageway at 70mph, getting flashed by people until I passed a speed camera. Of course it did not go off, but then the same tossers who flashed me overtook at 80-90mph! There are of course, exceptions. I don’t expect people to be doing 60/70 if the road is twisty or it’s raining. But, on a dry day on a straight road, come on.

    People don’t seem to know that it’s against the law to drive too slowly as well. By driving at 40 in a national speed limit, I’m perfectly entitled to pull over and call the police. It’s a £400 fine I believe.

    Of course, this is just a moan about bad drivers. Thankfully, there are more good drivers than bad. So hats off to you good drivers! You know who you are; you don’t do what I described above.

    Speed cameras only deal with part of the problem and they don’t enforce good driving skills.

    Cops in unmarked cars get my vote any day!

  147. Mark

    Re: Staring at the Speedometer

    Problem is that if you're not going AT the speed limit, there will be some arsehole five inches behind you "to teach you a lesson about slow drivers".

    It doesn't need to be many of them, we already drive far more than we ever did before.

    And so if you aren't allowed by the other driver to go any slower, you sit and watch the speedometer as better than sitting and watching what the twat behind you is going to do.

  148. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Abide the speed limit?

    I have yet to work out why people are so against the cameras. At the end of the day all they do is enforce the law. I doubt anyone would complain if copper caught a murder.

    The real issue is not the cameras but the limits, or more precisely the stupidity of the placement of the limits. I know of a stretch of dual-carriage way built to bypass a large town that has a 50mph limit! Why bother to make a dual-carriage way where overtaking is not possible.

  149. Doug Manton
    Stop

    Idiots who stand on the brakes at the cameras take note:

    It will not help when you averaged 70 in a 50!

  150. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: tosspot!

    @madra.

    It's not exactly extortion when the people paying up have been (shock!) breaking the law.

    It's stupid comments like these (and Clarkson's) that make everyone who's against speed cameras just look like whinging poms.

    One of the other stupid comments is "But I have to stare at my speedo in case I stray above the speed limit." This is just idiot noise as well. If you can't maintain a constant speed without checking your speedo, you need to go back to driving school. Or take a bus if you really *do* drive that way, because you're not welcome on the road, chump.

  151. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Simon Brown

    "(can someone confirm that if you run into the car in front, regardless of reason, you are responsible - even if the front person emergency brakes for seemingly no reason, from 70 down to 0)"

    Yes, this is because the minimum safe stopping distance is enough to stop YOUR car even if a brick wall suddenly appears in front of the car in front of you, stopping it in a distance of 2 feet.

    Therefore, unless you were driving too close up to the car in front, you have enough room to go from 70 to nil.

    Even if you are driving at your reaction distance from the car in front, if they brake from 70 to 30, you should still have enough time to go from 70 to 30 too and NOT hit the other car.

    1/2 a second (twice reaction) is about 18m. If you haven't reacted by then, you aren't paying attention. If you brake just as hard (and they weren't emergency braking, were they), you will be fine with 18m between you and the car in front.

    Sounds like she was closer than that.

  152. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    Summary Justice

    If you speed, you should be stopped at the scene, cautioned and questioned about it, so that you can give your side of the story at the time and a Police officer can use his discretion. What we have now is touchless summary justice, carried out by IT Systems up to two weeks after the event. This is a slippery slope. What is worse is that the Magistrates Courts are members of the Community Road Safety Enforcement Partnership Teams whereas they are supposed to be neutral.

  153. Martin Nicholls Silver badge
    Boffin

    No but..

    What you can do it drive part way at 160MPH, stop for a coffee for ten minutes then carry on driving again 160MPH.

    For the love of all that's holy, they won't be happy until they fit everybody's cars with trackers.

    Speed doesn't cause accidents and speed cameras don't slow people down - look at the statistics and how they're recorded. They installed a speed camera at an accident hotspot just down the road for me - didn't work so they altered what was a blind junction on a blind hill into a large roundabout - the accident rate dropped like a stone (surprise) and the stats attribute the drop in accidents to the speed camera (which legally shouldn't even be there anymore). This is the kind of crap we get these days.

  154. Frank Bough
    Alert

    Speed Kills

    "(can someone confirm that if you run into the car in front, regardless of reason, you are responsible - even if the front person emergency brakes for seemingly no reason, from 70 down to 0)"

    Pretty much. I had a similar prang - was following a Nissan Micra at a generous distance at 40mph down a B-road, she applied her brakes approaching a blind corner, and stopped dead just as she went out of sight the other side of it. I slowed slightly for the corner and then slammed on my brakes as soon as I saw her. Too late. Why had she stopped? There was a car parked in a driveway some way off the road, and she wondered if they might be lost... Cost me £200 and 3 points, a load of damage to my (brand new!) car, wrote hers off and meant I had to go on a little police driving course (though I rather enjoyed that). My fault, of course.

  155. Sooty

    judging speed

    A lot of people have said that you shouldn't be driving if you can't judge your own speed, which is true to an extent.

    However, there is a difference between being able to judge your approximate speed, and being absolutely certain that you aren't over the limit and going to be fined/given points. I can know that I'm going about 30mph, but every time i go past a camera my eyes are going down to the speedo to check I'm not actually doing 32 or 35.

    It doesn't matter that it's only for a second, that's a second my attention has been diverted from the road, and since cameras are only put up in accident blackspots, that suggests these are the particular places that i do want to be keeping my attention on the road.

    An ideal way around this would be a heads up display, a reasonably cheap, clear, lcd panel on your windscreen with your speed on it, if you can get a large display digital clock for under a tenner, it can't be that hard to stick a panel to a windscreen somewhere, but i assume there is some form of legislation preventing them or we'd have it already.

    My other suggestion is to give much wider tolerances on the cameras, but a much stricter penalty. ie they don't fine you unless you are doing well over the limit, but give you a ridiculous fine and amount of points. This gives you some leeway without encouraging you to drive up to the 'unofficial' limit.

    This should apply to static cameras as well, go past a camera in a 30 zone at 35 and you're fine, go past it at 40-50 and you lose your licence.

  156. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Enough already

    The province of BC in Canada had photo radar for a couple of years. When it was introduced promises were made that it would only be used in high accident locations, and not immediately adjacent to speed limit changes, etc. It didn't meet revenue expectations (contracted out to a US corp) and within a year they quietly changed all those regulations. For example, one favourite location was on a four lane urban road that had a dip over a block or two, away from any intersection or pedestrian crossing. The van would be set up there to catch drivers whose speed crept up on the downhill.

    It was never about safety, only about revenue, and brought in by a gov't with a financial deficit problem. The next gov't axed the program; it was one of their most popular platform planks.

    Studies have shown that the majority of drivers will naturally find their own safe speed, and also that this follows the usual bell curve. The most dangerous drivers are the slowest, followed by the very fastest -- also shown by studies. But enforcement is a joke. Cops set up a speed trap, write their (oh, no! we don't have) quotas and I'm sure write a few tickets for real offences when they happen to catch them.

    The ratio of stupid speed kills comments here about matches the stupid driving I see everyday. This is an old and tired debate.

  157. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    There might be a loophole...

    Isn't it the case that if your suspension was really really bad (or you had oval wheels) that your number plate might be going up and down too fast for its image to be captured?

  158. Mat Child

    Capt Picard one said

    "There can be no justice as long as laws are absolute,"

    Most speed limits are mandatory and some have been altered downwards in a blatant attempt to grab money. Absolute punishment does not take into account the circumstances or conditions.

    Near where I live there is a dual carriage bypass, without pedestrian access which had a 70mph speed limit for 35 years. There have been no new housing developments, no additional acces or exit roads, but all of a sudden it was reduced to 50 mph and 6 speed cameras erected all within a half mile of each other. One of which is hidden behind trees. Why? It was desinged to be a high speed bypass to link with the motorway network.

  159. oldfartuk
    Stop

    'Safety' Cameras - LOL!!!!

    Take your time to read the Fightback Forums - http://www.pepipoo.com/ . this is an advice forum for people who have fallen foul of various speeding laws.

    Once you have ploughed your way through a couple of dozen threads you realise theres no dirty trick, no misfeasance of law, no lie, no misuse of the equipment, no limit to fabrication of evidence, that the police will not stoop to to convict people of speeding. There are multiple cases, many of which have been successfully defended, where the police have clearly broken the rules to obtain a conviction. And if the people who are employed to uphold the law are themselves lawbreakers, then the law has no value. Essex police, in one month , canceled 2200 speeding tickets issued to its own police officers, how rotten and corrupt is that ? The CPS rarely prosecute and the Courts punish coppers who commit traffic offenses with the same enthusiasm they pursue us with.

    It goes even further than the police. The Safety Partnerships are a joint effort of the Police, the county Council and the Magistrates Association, and theres at least one case on the board that was dropped when it became clear the Clerk of the court aided the police by illegally backdating papers filed. How can Magistrates judge cases impartially when they have, by virtue of there member ship of the Partnership, a vested interest in getting convictions?

    This collusion even extends to the point that the accepted 'expert witness' on the reliability of speed camera evidence is the man whos company makes millions selling such cameras to the police - now theres an impartial witness or what ?

    If Speed Cameras were about safety, then the siting of a large number of cameras is highly suspect. If Speed Cameras are about raising money, then its perfectly clear why some cameras are sited where they are. The whole effect of this is to endanger road safety because the motives of the people operating the current road safety policy are suspect, and this invalidates all there claims about the whys and wherefores of such policy.

  160. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @AC 14:05

    > They WORK in removing the concentration of the driver from the road onto his dashboard.

    Why is it that, it seems, so many road users these days are *incapable* of maintaining a steady speed in their vehicle without staring at their speedometer?

    Not only that, but they are, it seems by the arguments being presented, to be incapable of doing so *and* driving safely at the same time!

    I wonder if they are capable of even walking and chewing gum simultaneously??

    Advanced road use courses teach a regular "scan" of the road ahead, mirrors, road ahead, instruments, road ahead and repeat. The speed of repetition depends on the road you are on, traffic conditions etc.

    This allows monitoring of all the factors which are important without needing to concentrate on one to the exclusion of all others.

    Unfortunately apparently there are very few drivers who are even aware of this ("I've passed my test, I know all I need to know") let alone can apply it.

  161. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Big Brother doesn't have anything on this

    It must be nice to have a system that if there are enough data collection points and the collection points are linked together any car could be tracked in real time (or if any forward to store mechanism is used for the purpose of validating the target infringment) any past journey could be readily scrutinized. I love virtual police states.

  162. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Re : Driving into the back of people

    "I'm almost certain that the case is there is no excuse for running into the back of the vehicle in front".

    Not true. I drove into the back of a lorry which pulled out of a layby and got off scott free. The driver of the lorry who admitted he hadn't looked and just pulled out and the driver who then ploughed into the rear of my car were both I believe prosecuted.

    There was about fifty feet between me and the lorry when it pulled out, doing about 10 mph while I was doing 60mph ( below limit ), I'd have overtaken but there was an oncoming car and single carriage way so I lined up for the safest, squarest impact I could achieve on the lorry's back bumper while breaking hard. Minimal damage, bent bumper, broken headlight. Then the tosser arrived behind me and wrote off the car.

    Generally though, you drive into the back of someone then you weren't paying attention or prepared for possibilities, you're to blame.

  163. James

    Speeding...

    I lived in Perth, Western Australia for a few years, and the speed cameras there are evil. They're mobile, and they set them all over the place (they're very very hard to see in advance as they're usually under trees or hidden behind signs), and you've got a 5 kph (3 mph) margin before they start taking money off you. Once you've been done a couple of times you figure out why virtually all the locals religiously obey the speed limits, even on the motorways.

  164. ewan
    Stop

    spec's or spook's

    The bigger problem with specs is its just the beta for road-charge 2.0

    They have already proven the technology works, how long before its used to charge per use? Id give it a year.

    Also anyone know what the new signs on the motorways mean. The ones spaced roughly every 500m with "M6, A. 306.5" They look like money well spent.

  165. Jeff Bennison

    It's true

    Check out this link with quote from the makers of the scameras.

    I ride through one everyday on the A1 on a motorbike. I tend to stick to the limit but the number of cars that get frustrated and speed past me only to c**p themselves when they realize they are still in the "zone"

  166. Onionman

    Watching the speedo

    Another bunch of sanctimonious twaddle.

    The common statement on here about keeping an eye on your speed is: "If you can't keep a constant speed without keeping your eyes on your speedo, you shouldn't be driving".

    My personal, and I stress, personal experience is that I've driven around a million miles in my life (being a courier drastically upped my quota). I have had one accident that was my fault (I hit a patch of diesel on a corner that I stupidly hadn't seen). By the way, that's not my judgment, that's my insurers saying the other ones weren't my fault.

    In MY experience,when I'm in an area with speed cameras, I spend much more time looking at the speedo than I do otherwise. Not *all* the time, the ridiculous exaggeration used by the sanctimonious posters. Eyes not looking at the road are never going to notice danger.

    The rest of the time, you see, I drive at a safe speed (for evidence, note the lifetime accident rate quoted above). You may also be surprised to find that oftentimes that safe speed is well below the posted limit. I crawl past schools at kicking out time, without a glance at my speedo. Sometimes, it's a little above (2am on the M3 for example may find me doing 85 or 90).

    So, if you feel I need more training, or that I should not be on the road because I look at my speedometer to avoid fines, I suggest you have no concept at all of reality. The evidence is that I'm a pretty safe driver. The presence of speed cameras makes me feel less so.

    O

  167. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    I used to drive...

    About 25 miles to work every day along a motorway which had two separate stretches of roadworks, each with these types of cameras in operation.

    I use the word "operation" in the loosest possible terms as neither set of cameras were working for the duration i.e. they were placebos. I went through both sets well above the average speed and have not received any tickets.

    I am sure that most sets of these cameras installed on temporary sites will not be connected into the computer network.

  168. Dave Cheetham
    Stop

    @Adrian

    "Bluntly put I do not believe that exceeding the speed limit is by itself dangerous driving, "

    I had a child run across a road in front of me from between parked cars. I was luckily doing exactly 30 being very aware of the speed limit having been clocked by a mobile unit a few weeks before (37 in a 30 zone section where everyone was doing that speed ahead of me). I stopped an inch away from the scared and shocked kid. A mile or 2 faster and i would have hit her.

    That incident focussed the reality of why the limit exists. I now stick to the limit and say to drive over the limit IS dangerous driving.

    A life is worth more than getting your adrenaline rush!!!!

  169. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Sticking to the limit

    Driving AT the speed limit is a learned skill, like using a CB or mobile phone when driving. It can be a bit dangerous until you get good at it.

    However even driving at the speed limit will not stop your journey from being recorded in the computer. Clearly the data could be discarded quite quickly but I suspect they store it away for later processing. All sorts of government people could go fishing for interesting facts in that database for years to come.

  170. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you think the number matters so much....

    ..then you shouldn't be driving.

    "Why is it that, it seems, so many road users these days are *incapable* of maintaining a steady speed in their vehicle without staring at their speedometer?"

    I put it to you that if you are on a wide road with little obsticles you cannot maintain a speed within 3mph which is 30% lower than the 85th percentile drive, without looking at the speedo.

    Good drivers are able to maintain a safe speed for the conditions.... if the number they've chosen for the road is well below that safe speed you have to keep checking to see if big brother is going to thawrt you.... even those that think that the speed limit is the be all and end all who are driving in the wrong lanes will keep checking to see if the needle has breached the magic safety number as they drift all over the road.

    A lower limit used to always signify that there was some danger and so you would be on the guard for it.

    Now it's lost all meaning as they are just placed seemingly everywhere, all thought of safe speed is removed from the driver - just if it matches an number which may or may not be suitable for the conditions.... meaning that to make the number safe for all conditions they have to reduce it further so breeds more contempt for the law and further reduces safety until the point that we have to have a red flag person walking in front of us, who gets run over if they walk slower than the 10mph speed limit 'cos the driver thought that it was safe to do 10mph if that's what the limit was.

    "Speed does kill.

    Not every time, not every place, but faster driving will *statistically* have more fatal accidents.

    So by enforcing the speed limit (whether by SPEC or GATSO or just funny lane markings (like darts)), reduces fatal accidents and thus saves lives."

    You've added 2 and 2 together and got 3 there!

    Maybe making people drive slower would reduce accidents, but adding the spec or gatso can totally negate any good you've done by slowing them down.

    Just like most laws that have come in with brown and although sometimes (just sometimes) seem reasonable on paper, have had no thought or consideration into how they have to be implemented...

    Such as westminster now charging to park motorbikes... fine, if you must put a charge but don't make us pre-register and have to go through a convoluted telephone system that takes longer to get through than you wanted to stop for.

  171. Tim J

    Re: Big Brother doesn't have anything on this

    Have you actually read 1984?

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    >Problem is that if you're not going AT the speed limit, there will be some arsehole five inches behind you "to teach you a lesson about slow drivers"

    Then slow down so that if you have to brake in an emergency the person behind you will have a safe enough distance to also stop without hitting you.

  173. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Onionman

    >So, if you feel I need more training, or that I should not be on the road because I look at my speedometer to avoid fines, I suggest you have no concept at all of reality.

    I suggest you are just incapable of aquiring this skill. The reality is that sometimes no matter how much practice or experience you have you will never manage to achieve a suitable level. Even after doing a million paintings I doubt I would be able to achieve the same level of Van Gogh. Similarly I will never be a concert pianist no matter how hard I try. That's reality, as is your apparent incapability to judge speed.

  174. Richard Porter

    Average speed

    What we need is an average speed computer as used in rallying. If you don't exceed the limit on average between any two consecutive cameras it doesn't matter which ones are being used to calculate your speed.

    But why do we have to have rediculous 40 or 50 limits on segregated motorways with no pedestrians, cyclists, animals etc., and usually noone working anywhere near the traffic (or at all) yet you can legally do 60 in an unlit, narrow country lane with houses, kids playing and no footpaths? The speed _limit_ bears no relation to road safety, although speed does.

    One of the problems caused by these average speed systems is that speedometers are required by law to overread by up to 10%, so you get drivers ambling along at 45 in a 50 limit even though they won't get fined as long as they stay under 57.

    The authorities like cameras because it's much easier to prosecute people for technical infringements of the limit that it is to prove dangerous driving in court.

    As regards lane changing, surely the speed calculation must be based on the shortest distance between the two cameras which might involve going round left hand bends in lane 1 and right hand bends in the rightmost lane?

  175. Chris
    Go

    Speed

    For the people that say, drive slow or you'll hit those poor kids that walk into the road. How often do you see kids walking in the middle of a motorway. School areas, fine I'll go slow, but motorways are not a playground.

    For all you people who said to 'just drive slow' or a constant slow speed and you'll never get caught by any camera, well you must just have terrible cars to drive. Cos if I see an open stretch of road ahead of me, I just have to change down a gear and get that engine doing what is was built to do. Go fast and sound good.

    I'm off to buy my self an infra-red illuminated number plate.

  176. Jamie

    @Watching the speedo

    "Not *all* the time, the ridiculous exaggeration used by the sanctimonious posters."

    Actually, "all the time" was a direct quote from the morons who think the roads should be a free for all: no speed limits, no white lines, no crash barriers, no driving licenses and free booze. Or maybe I am exaggerating...

  177. John Delaney
    Thumb Up

    Hehe

    Can't help but chuckle at the thought of hundreds of idiotic "Currant Bun" readers blindly taking Clarkson's advice, only to have a speeding fine land on their doormat the following morning.

  178. Big Dave

    These cameras would be fine

    Except the speed limits in this country are, according to the police and other expert motorist groups, especially on motorways, too low.

    Once again, the government puts the cart before the horse, just like the congestion charge and other schemes to get folks out of their cars before they've actually put in place a decent replacement transport system.

    And we'll increase tax for gas-guzzlers because we want people to use more efficient modes of transport... oh and we're increasing tax on motorcycles too...

    Jeremy Clarkson, whatever his level of knowledge and however far in his cheek his tongue is, serves a good purpose - he makes people talk about these issues.

    The car used to mean freedom and choice - now, for many of us, it makes us a target and a criminal.

  179. Wize

    @ all the "Stick to the limit" brigade

    I stick to the speed limit. I do not advocate breaking the limit.

    But how the hell can I put my full concentration in driving if I'm watching my spedo constantly to make sure I'm not too fast in my average speed?

    And if I notice I was doing 35 instead of 30 (as per roadworks round here recently with their own average camera) should I risk creating traffic shockwaves by slowing to 25 for a few miles?

  180. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So these cameras...

    that identify your car and make a database search to identify you.

    Are they registered under the data protection act by any chance???

  181. ShaggyDoggy
    Paris Hilton

    SPECS the fatal flaw

    .... they couldn't find a bush big enough to hide it behind

    boom boom

    Pars, because she saw it coming

  182. Graham Marsden

    @Onionman and AC

    > Another bunch of sanctimonious twaddle.

    Followed by a bunch of the usual "I've driven millions of miles and almost never had an accident, so speed cameras make me less safe" garbage.

    Your "evidence" is purely anecdotal and does not mean you are a "safe driver".

    If you think your skills are so great, why not sign up to an IAM course and see what they say. You might be surprised...

    Oh and to the Anonymous Coward, monitoring your speedo as part of a regular scan of the road/ mirrors/ road/ instruments/ road (which is what I actually said and which you ignored) is not the same as "staring at your speedo" which some people on here claim that cameras make them do.

    If "Good drivers are able to maintain a safe speed for the conditions.... " then why are they, by your arguments, not capable of maintaining a speed below the set limit??

    And, please, silly comments about men with red flags don't add any credibility to your arguments.

  183. Wize
    Thumb Up

    @ Graham Marsden

    > Oh and to the Anonymous Coward, monitoring your speedo as part of a regular scan of the road/ mirrors/ road/ instruments/ road (which is what I actually said and which you ignored) is not the same as "staring at your speedo" which some people on here claim that cameras make them do.

    I find myself looking more at my speedo in an average speed camera area than I do normally. I'm betting I'm not the only one.

  184. David Robinson

    Among all these letters-

    I have not seen one at all that gives the real reason for the current silly situation.

    Mr. Blair had his 'expert' advisers... almost all from the RTM union. The balance were one or two greens. The RMT group were lead by a Professor Begg, whose team are even now thinking up more ways to make motoring more difficult. Even if Mr. Brown were to want to be nicer to the motorist (and there is no sign of that) he would be unable to do so because the labour party is now almost entirely reliant on union and green funding. In short, the government have been and are being bought.

    The RMT are aiming at doing a Scargil, i.e. get as near a monopoly position in important areas so that it can dictatate policy (communist) to the government.

    Dave

  185. Onionman

    @Chris W, Graham Marsden, etc.

    All hail your perfectly perfect perfection.

    Please, rather than insulting those of us who aren't the driving Gods that you clearly are, let us into the secret of knowing exactly what speed we are doing at all times without looking away from the road.

    On second thoughts, don't bother. I might drown in my amazement of your perfection.

    Keep up the perfect work, oh sanctimonious ones.

    O

    PS, Make sure you never, ever drift up to 71mph on a motorway, you'll kill someone.

  186. John Dougald McCallum

    Numptie and Co..

    [Quote]So, my car gets caught doing an average speed of 45mph between two points in a 30 zone. So how exactly does that prove that I was speeding? Obviously I turned off the road into the field by the side and indulged in my past time of off-road rallying. A quick burst of 100mph off road driving and I return to the road destressed in time for the second camera without ever having exceeded the speed limit.[/Quote]Point one unless you own or have the owners permission speeding is or will be the least of your troubles carving up a field that has been seeded for forrage will cost you more than a few points on your licence. Point two what has off road driving to do with on road speed your example is meaning less and a typical kneejerk posting also to the poster that is paranoid about driving One mph over the speed limit get real speedo readings need only be accurate to within 10% under construction and use regs,this is due to the mechanical drives of the majority of speedo's

  187. John Dougald McCallum

    oy

    By Stuart

    Posted Monday 21st July 2008 12:17 GMT

    Have you ever taken a look at whats on the hard shoulder I personaly would not want to do 10MPH on that rubish let alone 50/70 MPH

  188. Bill Murty

    "In the same direction"

    The above text is apparently in the wording of the law. I heard a piece on radio 4 a couple of months ago relating to somebody that dodged an average speed camera fine because he had changed lanes.

  189. Terry Barnes

    @ Onionman

    "Please, rather than insulting those of us who aren't the driving Gods that you clearly are, let us into the secret of knowing exactly what speed we are doing at all times without looking away from the road."

    It's called a safe system of driving, or systematic driving. It's not unlike the system that pilots use. When driving you continually go through a set cycle of observation, decision-making, planning and acting. Part of that cycle is to check the instruments.

    I can check my speedometer, temperature and fuel level in a fraction of a second. In terms of keeping to a speed limit I only need to check that the needle is to the left or right of the graduation - it's not a particularly hard activity. Other clues to changing speeds are the engine note changing and gradients that will tend to make you go faster or slower. I know what my speed is at all times - not just when cameras are nearby.

    Have some advanced driving training - either the IAM or one of the many commercial organisations that train people to drive better.

  190. Graham Marsden

    @Wize and Onionman

    @Wize

    > I find myself looking more at my speedo in an average speed camera area than I do normally. I'm betting I'm not the only one.

    Just a thought, does that mean, perhaps, that you're not checking your speedo as often as you should as part of a regular scan of the road and your instruments.

    @Onionman

    > All hail your perfectly perfect perfection.

    Obviously it is *your* skills which are "perfect" since you clearly know it all and don't need any more training in the slightest because you are such a "driving god".

    Paging Messers Pott and Kettle-Black...

  191. Onionman

    @Sanctimonious ones

    My final word.

    I've had driver training. Plenty of it. I've had one accident where I was in any way to blame in my million miles or so. On the basis of that evidence it's probably reasonable to say I'm a half decent driver on that basis. Though, of course, feel free to ignore that and insult my level of driving skill anyway.

    IN MY EXPERIENCE, (read it again, if you missed it) I spend more time looking at the speedo when there are speed cameras about that when there aren't. If that improves my safety, I'm a kipper.

    PLEASE try reading what I've written before telling me I'm a shite driver/know-all/idiot, etc. I'm not implying anything about how good or bad your driving is; how you use a fantastic system of car control, whether you have the pox, just that "in my experience I spend more time looking at the speedo when there are speed cameras about than when there aren't."

    O.

    PS, I think what I'm trying to say here is: "in my experience I spend more time looking at the speedo when there are speed cameras about than when there aren't."

    PPS, for clarification for those who have skimmed this far, I think I should make clear that what I'm saying is "in my experience I spend more time looking at the speedo when there are speed cameras about than when there aren't."

  192. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @more time looking at speedo comments

    "more time looking at speedo" is not the same as "looking at the speedo all the time"

    I appear to be the only one who can accept that you can both look at the speedo more and yet not have it affect the quality of your driving.

    I also spend more time looking at my speedo whilst in speed restricted areas. Just like I spend more time looking at the road when driving fast down motorways, or more time looking at the side of the road when driving past schools at kicking out time.... Or really just that I try to react to potential hazards according to the hazard.

    If it gets to the point where there is too much information to process then you need to either slow down (so that the hazards appear more slowly and you have longer to react) or take a course to better prepare you for dealing with hazards.

  193. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @Onionman

    ROFL!

    "What I tell you three times is true.''

    - Lewis Carrol - The Hunting of the Snark.

    Unfortunately you still manage to completely miss or ignore the point, rely on anecdotal evidence and choose instead to insult others instead, let alone suddenly adding the claim that you have had "plenty of driver training" without any details of what training or where or when.

    Whatever.

    In closing, for your information...

    "Swenson asked about driving skill and driving safety, a follow-up study asked subjects to evaluate eight different dimensions of their driving (McCormick et al. (1986)). They had to say where they were on the dangerous-safe dimension, the considerate-inconsiderate dimension, and so on. Out of 178 subjects, only a tiny minority of responses were below average and for some of the measures, large majorities rated themselves as above average. Taking the eight dimensions together,

    *** just under 80% of the subjects put themselves above the average driver." ***

    http://biasandbelief.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/why-there-are-so-many-idiots-on-the-road/

    [My emphasis]

  194. Onionman

    @Lee

    Can't resist this. Reread your post and you'll note that you're including looking at your speedo as a hazard.

    QED.

  195. Mark

    Slowing down

    "Then slow down so that if you have to brake in an emergency the person behind you will have a safe enough distance to also stop without hitting you."

    Uh, since they are sitting about 18 inches from my bumper, what's the minimum safe braking distance for that? 1mph? I think that's illegal.

  196. Mark

    @Jamie

    "You're always making stuff up"

    "Why do you always pick on me?"

    "No busses for an hour and then three turn up at once! typical!"

    All are making exaggerations. All are accepted as not *actually* meaning they always or typically happen (mathematically speaking).

    In other words, get that stick out of your arse and remember that English is also available in a flavour: colloquial english.

  197. Onionman

    @Marsden

    It is a basic tenet of logic that the competence of the speaker has no relevance to the truth they speak. If the most idiotic person in the world says it's raining outside, does that prove you can leave your umbrella at home? No.

    Thus, even if I were the worst driver and the biggest imbecile in the world, it wouldn't make the following untrue:

    "in my experience I spend more time looking at the speedo when there are speed cameras about than when there aren't."

    I vote for more coppers on the roads, as I've said earlier. They have judgment. Speed cameras don't and they distract at least one British driver's attention at least slightly from the road.

    As for suddenly mentioning I've had driver training, did you want me to introduce it gently? Tease it into the thread a word per post? Keep up the high sanctimony.

    O

  198. Jamie
    Unhappy

    @mark - exaggerations

    Oi! I wasn't the one complaining about exaggeration.

    I was only pointing out, to the person who complained about exaggeration, that it was "his" side of the argument who were saying things like "all the time" or "constantly", not us sanctimonious hypocrites (we never exaggerate, ever).

    *I* assumed they just meant "quite a lot" or "more than usual".

    But, really, I don't care: if you want to drive over the speed limit then do it. But you are breaking the law so expect that occasionally you will be caught and fined.

    I suppose you can reduce the chances of that by, as some suggest, breaking the law in another way (false plates etc).

    Or campaign to get the law changed. (I neither know nor care what the speed limit "should be".)

    Or move to another country where they don't have speed limits (or don't enforce them).

    Your choice. But you can't really whinge that you got fined for breaking the law when you knew that was one of the possible outcomes. That is like complaining about getting a hangover after a big night out.

  199. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @Onionman

    Here's another one from Lewis Carrol:

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

    Obviously your "final" word means something different to you.

    As for "sanctimony" how about one from The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

    Please, feel free to have the last word, although it will probably be the same ones you've been repeating as if they actually make a valid argument.

  200. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Regularity Trials

    Changing speed is likely to cause you to be confused about your true average speed, better to stay at a steady speed. Before the advent of 4 wheel drive monsters in Rallying they 'regularity tests' that involved maintaining a specific speed over a known stretch of the route. Most drivers who did this will confirm it is among the most difficult driving feats they had to do in a rally car. If the speed changed it threw the calculations off.

    Trying to maintain an average speed adds another burden to drivers who often aren't all that equal to the existing ones....

  201. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Onionman

    I've re-read these posts and can't find one which has insulted you. You also claim that people who don't agree with you are sanctimonious and perfect yet I pointed out two of my many imperfections so I don't see how you could take that line.

    It was you who freely admitted that you need to look at the speedometer to judge your speed. Others simply pointed out that in their experience, you seem to like that word so I thought I'd include it to make you feel comfortable, that shows a lack of driving skills. It is apparent that you feel your experience is more valid than that of many others. Pray tell us about other experiences you have, er... experienced, so we may be enlightened and travel the path of righteousness that is thy belief.

    In case your in doubt that isn't insulting it's condescending.

  202. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  203. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Speed kills, does it?

    Then how do you explain the fact that German Autobahns are among the safest motorways in Europe? Kind of blows a massive hole in that argument don't you think?

    >Inappropriate< speed is dangerous. Unfortunately these scameras (thanks, great word) don't seem to have an algorithm for appropriateness.

    And what's with all the IAM propoganda? Even if I wanted to join the wheel-shuffler brigade, I don't think they do fingerless string backed gloves in my size...

    These godawfulturdbeasts are about three things:

    Tax, tax, and more tax.

    Mine's the one with the all-day pass to the Nürburgring.

  204. chris

    and i heard that...

    Good drivers are able to maintain a safe level of alcohol in the bloodstream without the nanny state commie fascist breathalysers.

  205. Andrew Kemp

    Speed loving idiots...

    Thankfully there are a few sane, logical people commenting here but honestly can't understand the number of ignorant, imbecile, speed obsessed fools posting.

    Speed DOES kill whatever the one idiot posted. Instead of thinking up different ways to avoid getting caught, how about actually obeying the law rather than doing what you think is right. That dial fitted to every single car will tell you all you need to know in order to remain within the law and it doesn't take more than a fraction of a second to check as part of your normal driving routine. Those speed obsessed idiots claiming speed cameras cause accidents because people are staring at their speedo's need to seriously look at the way they drive.

    I really hope you never have someone in your family 'murdered' by an idiotic pillock who thought his definition of how fast he could drive was more appropriate. I guarantee every single one of you fools would be shouting for speed restrictions if such a thing happened to you.

    The speed limit is a maximum for a reason, you don't have to drive on its limit either so should have no worries about edging over it between average checks, grow up and do everyone a favour.

    The number of times idiots have come racing past us on country lanes (when we were doing a couple of mph or so under the limit) only for us to pull up behind them at the next roundabout./junction etc. is sad. Sad that they are willing to endanger themselves and others all for the potential gain of a couple of minutes.

    To anyone who thinks any system to help prosecute those who speed is bad then you are a fool, plain and simple.

  206. The Dark Lord

    Wow

    What a bunch of sanctimonious fuckers commenting here.

    Perhaps if the Government didn't have an attitude to speed limits that was set-once-then-forget in 1965, we might understand the capabilities of modern vehicles and the pressures of modern life. The trouble is, that instead of training drivers properly and then setting appropriate limits policed by real people with real intellectual capacity, we have a lowest-common-denominator approach with any hope for an increase in limits jumped on by the hysterical environmentalist bastard posse.

  207. Gary Holcombe

    Its true

    The article is true, the UK law states that you can only be fined by these cameras if they record your speed entering the zone and exiting the zone in the same lane. If you exit the zone in a different lane, legally they cannot fine you.

    I hate these cameras with a passion, to the extent that I would happily go and cut the poles down if they become widespread. Not only that but havent we got enough cameras in the UK, do we really need MORE of these things hanging over the road.

    Good news if you are drink driver though, again, less police on the road mean that as long as you are not speeding, you can get away with driving while drunk, as the cameras wont pick up bad driving.

  208. Mark

    Re: @mark - exaggerations

    Yes, you were complaining. You took the letter of what was said and villified it.

    As for speeding, I don't. I probably go a fair bit slower than the limit because on a motorway, I tend to try to leave the braking distance between me and the car in front which for some people means "ah, nice man has left me plenty of space to put my car in the gap". Which then requires I go slowly until something approaching safe distance is again between me and the bumstick in front. Which then has another idiot thinking "nice man..".

    Bah!

  209. Rasczak
    Stop

    @ Andrew Kemp

    <Quote>Thankfully there are a few sane, logical people commenting here</Quote>

    You mean the ones implying that speed cameras should be renamed unsafety cameras :-p

    <Quote>Speed DOES kill</Quote>

    Another one who doesn't understand the difference between driving too fast and speeding.

    <Quote>That dial fitted to every single car will tell you all you need to know in order to remain within the law </Quote>

    So if the speed limit for the road is 40, and the driver has just downed 15 pints of super strength lager with whisky chasers, the dial showing 30 means that they are within the law ?

    Or the speed limit is 60, but the road is covered in snow that has been rained on and then frozen overnight, the dial showing 55 obviously means you can not be driving dangerously ?

  210. Stuza

    Just buy a motorbike

    No front number plate. Job done.

  211. Ady Durn
    Thumb Down

    I rarely gaze at my speedometer

    I think that although these cameras probably cause less attention to the road by people normally, which I don't agree with, but so far I have ONLY seen these at roadworks or altered road markings.

    What should really be dealt with (unless it has already, I've not gone past this junction for about month) is when the road in narrowed due to some roadworks, and they leave the restrictions there for years, like the A3 joining the M27 W or the M25 joining the M3 W

    Most speed limits are there for a reason, as are Cameras....

    .... to raise money.

    I don't agree with stealth taxes, but this one that hasn't hit me (for once)

  212. rob
    Go

    We need Q

    If Q managed to give James Bond funky rotating number plates back in the late 70's/early 80's surely we cold knock some up these days and once connected to a GPS system with a Camera database simply have the plates automatically switch briefly as we fly through the cameras at whatever speed we wanted!!

  213. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    These cameras sound awful

    Well, I luckily don't live in Britain so I don't have to worry about this crap. But...

    1) No, wankers, speed does not kill. There's plenty of statistics about showing that, when speeds have been artifically reduced, accident AND fatality rates increased. Going 120 on every road is a bad idea, but roads here in the states are statistically safer where the cops ignore speeders (up to a point) versus the same roads where they started laying down speed traps and making everyone go the (artificially low) 55 or 65MPH speed limit.

    2) At least here in the US, and apparently also in Britain, speed limits ARE artifically low. In the states we use the euphanism "revenue generation" for the police.. police of course say it's for safety. Luckily, VERY few places here have those crap speed cameras; police actually have to be sitting there with a radar gun, so they can judge if the speed was unsafe or not.

    3) To those who say it's easy to maintain constant speed: I call bullshit. It's easy to maintain *approximately* the same speed (within a few MPH), but if this average camera setup is going to ticket for like 1MPH over, then hell yes, I'd be looking excessively at my speedo. Some cars are all wound out and need lots of throttle to cruise; it'd be relatively easy to tell the speed's constant by hearing the engine, and hold it by throttle. My car, though 1) Does almost no revs.. like 1500RPM at 50. I'm not sure the extra revs when speeding would be noticeable. 2) You can't hear the engine anyway when cruising, it's too quiet. 3) I barely touch the pedal to cruise, it's harder to maintain speed (without checking the speedo) then some cars I've driven where you're doing like half-throttle to cruise.

    Red light cameras, speed cameras, and indeed speed traps, have all been shown to increase accident rates. Both from people seeing it and slamming on the brakes.. people getting rear-ended at stoplights.. but also, from those people (mentioned by several commenters) that will start going like 35 in a 50 if there's a speedtrap, snarling up the other cars that were going 50 in the 50.

    It should be noted, I guess they considered doing this (average speed measuring) in I think Illinois with the IPass system (IPass is a transponder in your car so you don't have to stop to pay a toll on the toll roads). They had literally thousands of people that said "Fine, I'll go back to paying cash".. realized they didn't have the infrastructure to handle that much cash any more, and had to drop it.

  214. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    What's the f**king problem? Just stop the hypocrisy, please!

    I don't have a problem with cameras, providing they simply measure speed and issue tickets, NOT keep my details!

    Let me spell this out....SPEED LIMITS ARE THE LAW!

    They cameras enforce the law. Like the police ( are supposed to ) stop muggers from beating up your family. End of argument!

    So if someone broke in your house, nicked your TV, PCs, car keys and buggered off, would you be down the courts saying "Sorry, the poor little rat-boys haven't got much, they couldn't help it, let them off." No, you'd be asking for the little sods to be strung up with all the other scum, low-life who knock off old grannies for 30p wouldn't you?

    Just stop the hypocrisy, please!

  215. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Revenue Generation and Data Capture

    Whatever the argument for or against speed limits, fixed speed cameras are for revenue generation and average speed cameras with anpr are for data capture.

    How do you get round it..

    Leave your posh motor at home but make sure your insurance says you can drive any car not belonging to you.

    Pick up a car on e-bay for less than a hundred quid, don't send in the V5 and sell it two weeks later on e-bay (for a profit if you are lucky)

    Buy another one (chances are the seller will have washed it for you as well :)

    Simple.

    Paris, cuz she's never seen in the same car twice

  216. archie lukas
    Flame

    So how come.......

    When I go through these things, I simply stick the auto-cruise on and steer.

    Scratch my bum a little and relax for a couple of miles.

    So how come I get polish trucks up my rear end(suitably scratched) and idiots in company cars and white van chavs speeding past me?

    Do they get fined, what are the percentages for fined fools?

    What are the tolerances for speed variation?

    O a message to the geeks moaning about Clarkson - at least you listened and that's how things get noticed/changed/discussed.

    Stop whinging - at least he proved that identity theft occrs.

    We need road tests (sic), not geek whinging. Ok then.

  217. Matthew

    Stupid prats who say 'Speed Kills'

    Does this mean that far more people die in aircraft than in cars? After all they are doing several hundred miles an hour...

    No? In fact, the fastest (civilian) method of travel is actually the safest. In other words:

    S P E E D D O E S N O T K I L L !

    The word this pillocks always forget to include in that sentence is 'inappropriate'. You could kill someone by driving over them at 5mph - and without breaking any speed limit anywhere.

    The reason these cameras are all so hated is because the limits are now deliberately being set lower: national-speed-limit-applies roads become 40mph, towns go from 30 to 20mph and cameras are sure to follow.

    I'd like to see us following the Dutch example of removing unnecessary signs, markings, cameras and the rest and letting people use their own intelligence.

  218. The Other Steve
    Flame

    Tax the stupid and spend the money on gay pride festivals.

    Stealth tax, extortion ? Fuck off. It's a fine, for breaking the law.

    To the fuckhead who said "When so many people break the law, you question the law" I say, yes, that's right, and we have indeed questioned this law many times, and every time found it better to stop people driving like wankers.

    Additionally :

    a) By this 'logic' we would have legal murder

    b) The majority of drivers don't have a problem with speed cameras, just the nasty, brutish, testerone driven wankers who think they they should be allowed to drive as fast as they see fit, because obviously, it's safe for them to do so.

    In other words, the stupid ones.

    To the other fuckhead who said "it's not as simple as driving slower, I don't want to live in a surveillance society", The roads of the UK are the one single place where massively intrusive technological surveillance and enforcement measures are totally justified, and it's your fault. Thanks a frikkin bunch, morons.

  219. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone you know actually been done by average speed cameras?

    Firstly, I'd just like to say I recently changed from a performance car to an 'a-herm-cough' sensible family hatchback. Motoring may no longer has the top-end highs of 'giving it the berrys' when conditions and mood fit, BUT generally motoring is a much more pleasurable experience. On british roads with a performance car you only end up stuck behind everyone else and wound up. Slow down, enjoy the ride. Seriously. If you don't agree don't bother flaming, I really don't care that much!

    Secondly, I often watch people sail by me in the average speed cameras on the M1 widening (when I'm doing the absolute limit) and wonder whether these people ever actually get a ticket. I know loads of people with speeding tickets but I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket from an average speed camera. It would just be reassuring karma to know that the 95% are getting some benefit from sticking to the rules (whatever you make of them). So anyone got done?!

  220. Matt
    Black Helicopters

    I seem to remember...

    ... a time when road safety was all about looking left and looking right before crossing and not running out from behind parked vehicles. Oh how things change!

    But in all seriousness, if the powers that be are so concerned with "Road Safety", why do we not have more Police Officers on the road trying to catch out the stupid Land Rover drivers riding right up my rear and then swerving out almost into oncomming traffic? Why are we not investing money into upgrading the roads we travel on?

    Half of the roads around me are very poor, aquaplanning is commonplace due to the nice ruts carved out by lorries... so why not resurface them and fix them, then you're halfway there? There seems to be this thought process thats going around that our Road Network is just another burdening expenditure, not an investment...

    No to Speed Cameras, Yes to Investment!

  221. Chris Hamilton
    Stop

    Riddle me this...???

    I have a few questions.... what is the response speed of the cameras? Could they read clearly the registration of a car passing at 150mph+? Do they flag up to independent scrutiny any anomalies? What is the accuracy rate of the ANPR? When I bought my car, another car in the dealership of the same model was only one letter different on the reg (also a very close E changed to an F), can i expect speeding tickets from him? How do they deal with the scourge of speeding motorcycles, no front reg plate on them? Are they now equipped to capture drunk/drugged/tax dodging drivers?

    In a funny note though.... there were SPECS cameras on the M4 near Swindon for a while recently during roadworks (The HA were installing their ridiculously high capacity data network). Made me chuckle when you see the BMW drivers approach them at 100mph, brake hard for the entry camera, then zoom off at 100mph. Twats. Lol.

  222. Alexis Vallance
    Dead Vulture

    Yawn

    "Let me spell this out....SPEED LIMITS ARE THE LAW!"

    Ah, Mr Coward. Again.

    You may enjoy living in your little black and white world, but the world is a multitude of greys. The law is not some sort of infallibly correct tome (the law of it being illegal to die in Parliament springs to mind), but a mixture of laws the majority would think are correct and fair, and those which are achaic or irrelevant.

    I think the majority of the population would agree that 70mph is too low a limit on motorways (we're not driving Morris Marinas that take an age to stop).

    Yes it's the law, but I suspect a great deal of us will continue to drive about at 85 and slow down where there are cameras. Speed limits are the law, but the actual limits and where they are used are not always correct.

    And something for 'The Other Steve' - there is something called legal murder - it's called acting in self defence. You also sound like you've got some anger management issues - maybe the abuse you get driving at 50 in lane one all the time might be some sort of explanation?

  223. Moz
    Boffin

    Nothing not already said... (probably)

    I don't think there's anything I'm going to say that's not been said already in 200+ posts, but it's something I feel strongly about,

    Firstly, driving is *not* a right in this country. You have the right to travel freely about the land, but you don't have the right to drive a vehicle on the roads until you can prove that you're able and willing to drive in accordance with the requirements of a licence. A licence to drive is a *concession* - one that in my view is too easy to get and too easy to keep. The argument that speed limits are somehow unfair assumes that the limits are an unjustified restriction on a basic human freedom, and they're not. The speed limits, I accept, might not always be appropriate for the situation: round my way, the council does indeed seem to believe that 'slower = safer', and is imposing ridiculously low limits on long, straight roads and gentle curves. This is wrong, sure - but it's not the sort of wrong that's going to be improved by my breaking the limits as some sort of idiotic 'protest'. I know how it works: if I want to keep my licence, I obey the law, whatever my opinion of it. This is not a human rights issue.

    Speed *does* kill, and I don't understand the reasoning of those who claim it doesn't. It isn't always the sole cause of an accident, granted, but it certainly contributes to the severity of accidents that occur. And although fast driving alone doesn't invariably cause accidents, it certainly *does* cause them in those cases where the driver thnks he's more skilled than he actually is - and let's face it, that number includes a *huge* number of British drivers today. Too many drivers today are arrogant and reckless, and those characteristics *are* causes of accidents in themselves. Coupled with excessive speed - which is to say, speed the driver can't handle, regardless of his or her self-confidence - they are even more dangerous.

    Speed cameras are not a tax on driving. Let's get that myth dispelled. You can't opt out of paying taxes, but you can opt out of paying speeding fines merely by not speeding. Breaking the law then complaining that you shouldn't have to pay because you don't agree with the law - well, that's stupid. Speed cameras are an entirely legitimate way of enforcing one particular law. What they can't do, as others have pointed out, is ensure safety on their own. But they can (note: 'can') help. If you don't agree with the limits, or any other road law, then by all means protest at the appropriate level - appeal to your council Highways department to have limits changed, perhaps - but in the meantime stick to the rules. Think about it - it's for everyone's benefit. However good a driver *you* might be, the roads are busy. Obeying the laws is a way to make sure that you're predictable for others. Their sticking to the rules helps you predict what they're going to do. And that IS a safety issue. You might have a flash BMW and be guaranteed a new, even shinier one from your firm if you break it - but while you're free to disregard your own safety you have no right to disregard other people's.

    As for Jeremy himself, personally I enjoy watching Top Gear (I'm also a big fan of his fellow presenters, I should point out), and I've loved the few of his books I've read. I don't know the man, but I do know the sort of character he portrays. People complain about Top Gear encouraging speeding and the like and they blame Clarkson et al for this - but it's really not their fault. It's the fault of the idiots in the audience who don't know what "tongue-in-cheek" means.

  224. DirkGently

    Foolproof!

    One way you can avoid being done is........ drive at or below the speed limit. WOW!

    I agree that the speed limit can be a bit low in places, but then if you increase it, people will increase their speed as well (e.g. now 70 - drive at 85... increase to 80 - drive at 95) and still drive too close to the car in front.

  225. Hans Blom

    Disillusion of speed kills

    We have a saying in Sweden (will try to translate):

    It's not the fart that kills, but the smell

    fart = sw. speed

    smell = sw. crash

    Kill speed cameras, get real police out on the roads instead.

    Regards

    Hans

  226. Jamie
    Thumb Down

    Re: Re: @mark - exaggerations

    "Yes, you were complaining. You took the letter of what was said and villified it."

    On no I didn't (Oh yes you did). I just said (well, meant to say) that anyone who found they had to check their speedo *more* when passing a camera shouldn't be driving. As others have said, you should know what speed you are doing anyway (within the limit or not).

    Other than that, I agree completely about the futility of trying to leave space between you and the car in front. Although, If you stay in lane 1 (the "slow lane" as I believe some people refer to it) then you can usually have all the space in the world. The M1 seems to be the worst for this: recently I drove down lane 1 at a steady 70 (or more:-)) with two lanes of solid traffic doing less than 50 to my right. What is that all about?

    p.s. there is another Jamie posting here - I can't vouch for anything he said!

  227. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Holding up Ambulances

    "Emergency services can wait behind me in a traffic queue because I'm not jumping a red light with a camera monitoring it with all the hassle that may bring."

    I had a similar experience last year on a dual carriageway roadworks. Only one lane to drive down (other coned off) 30 mph limit monitored by specs and Ambulance with lights flashing behind me. He had to crawl along at 30 behind me for several hundred yards. Hopefully no one died as a result...

  228. Alexis Vallance

    Speed

    Some reasoned comments from Moz.

    I can't say I agree with some of them though. Speed doesn't kill - speedING in an inappropriate situation can lead to a serious of events that may result in an accident. But, does the speeding figure relate to the limit set by the council, or the figure appropriate to the road? There are too many instances where the difference between the two is too great.

    And the reason the difference is too great is the schemes started around 1992 which saw a determined effort to reduce accidents. And the best way to do that, the scheme decided was to sort out the speeding issue.

    It's no coincidence that this started with the Gatso revolution - salesman sells local government brand spanking new 'speed cameras', LA's realise they can make a heap of cash, but then tried to justify this with the start of the speeding educational revolution. Sell them to the public as 'safety cameras', 'educate' them into the apparent dangers of speeding (not excessive speed mind, just speeding over their set limit) and cash in on those apparently too silly to notice.

    Except the public isn't quite that gullable and quickly saw that grey cameras hidden behind hedges had nothing to do with safety.

    I've got no problem with clearly visible cameras on real accident blackspot roads, in a limited number. I have got a problem with the vast amount of them, because it doesn't become a carrot to help us all, it becomes a great big stick to beat us all into submission.

    Sure, there are plenty of idiots out there who disregard set limits AND the appropriate limit. But then there will always be OAPs driving the wrong way up motorways. You won't stop either of them with cameras, but don't think it was a bed of roses in the 60' and 70's. Cars were death traps and people were poorer drivers in general. When the motorways opened you had people doing U-turns and eating their sandwiched on the hard shoulder.

    You'll never eliminate speeding, and it's not that big of an issue really. It would just be fairer if speed limits were less paranoid in some areas and authority trusted the public a little more. Their speeding campaigns, full of lies and inaccuracies in an attempt to justify their cash cow cameras makes us all rightly sceptical about how the roads are policed nowadays. This is perhaps one of the factors behind peoples' derision of the Manchester Congestion Charge.

  229. Moz

    @ Alexis Vallance

    Not sure we disagree all that much - your views on speeding causing accidents (or not) aren't far from mine. Speed that the driver can't handle; drivers' overestimation of their own skill (endemic on today's roads)... These are things that cause accidents, and speed compounds them.

    As for cameras, well, I don't much care whether they're visible or not. Like I said, I know the terms of the licence I hold, I know what I need to do to keep it. If I'm caught out breaking the rules I'll accept the penalty.

  230. Eric Pinkerton
    Coat

    Can anyone print me a numberplate with...

    '; DROP TABLE REGISTER;

  231. Tony
    Thumb Down

    Big Brother

    I don't know about you but i am not happy that the government is tracking everywhere i go regardless of if I'm breaking the law or not. Every time you go through this system your tagged, it's a major invasion of privacy.

  232. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    lateral thinking.

    Stop pandering to the idiots. Raise speed limits to 85mph on all roads. Force car makers to weld Mad Max style spikes to the front of all cars. See what happens.

    Sure in the short term the numbers of fatalities will rise as darwin award nominees clock in, but after a couple of months you'll notice that kids observe the green cross code and they stop nonchalantly walking across busy roads without a care in the world. Drivers would find they leave slightly larger gaps inbetween cars "just in case" caution would be the watch word of everyone because you would die horribly for being an idiot.

    ultimately the world would benefit from my harsh reality.

  233. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "But it's The Rules!"

    >> "One way you can avoid being done is........ drive at or below the speed limit. WOW!"

    Getting a bit tired of reading this one. "But it's The Rules! You must follow The Rules! Whether or not they make any sense!!" Not breaking the law is one thing, mindlessly being a stickler for "The Rules(TM)" is quite another, especially when they seem to be arbitrary and capricious.

    The focus should be on road safety rather than speeding. The two are not the same, though speeding is unfortunately easier and more profitable to police. And more unfortunately still, it has widespread support of people who get their knickers in a twist at the idea of someone breaking The Rules but who care not a jot about doing the right thing.

  234. Moz

    @ "But it's The Rules!"

    The trouble is that "doing the right thing" is so very subjective here. For all some maintain that lower speed limits make for safer roads, so others insist - with just as little empirical foundation - that raising speed limits actually wouldn't make things any more dangerous.

    I think this comments page has surely made clear that there are a lot of factors involved in road safety, of which speed is but one. That you may consider the rules 'arbitrary and capricious' is neither here nor there. Many people might argue that many other laws are 'arbitrary and capricious'. Should we be free to disregard any we personally don't agree with? Or should this right be extended only to those driving fast, heavy vehicles in narrow channels?

    As it happens, where some speed limits are concerned I fully agree with you that they are excessively restrictive. But where that's the case, then whining about the cameras is a bit like spraying a fire extinguisher at the tips of the flames. Attacking the base of the fire would seem more logical - and in this case, that means lobbying your local authority to set more realistic limits. If you could also try to persuade the national authorities to introduce an actual required standard of ability and behaviour for drivers, then I think we'd all benefit.

    In the meantime, the fact remains that cameras only raise revenue to feather politicians' nests if drivers choose to speed.

  235. Frank Bough
    Unhappy

    Actually very similar

    "There was about fifty feet between me and the lorry when it pulled out, doing about 10 mph while I was doing 60mph ( below limit ), I'd have overtaken but there was an oncoming car and single carriage way so I lined up for the safest, squarest impact I could achieve on the lorry's back bumper while breaking hard. Minimal damage, bent bumper, broken headlight. Then the tosser arrived behind me and wrote off the car."

    My situation was much the same, but the stupid woman did NOT admit responsibility (and naturally tried to screw me out of £5000 for a pathetic made-up injury that she never saw a doctor about (?) and only discovered she had months after she'd tried to kill us both). Now, that was the second of two accidents I've been involved in where I was driving the car "at fault", but the first was one I readily admitted to (clipped a car at a roundabout because I simply wasn't looking - I was 18). I'm prepared to admit my mistakes, but random stopping around a blind corner is simply lethal behaviour, whichever way you slice it. I don't believe even the best driver can account for every type of insane situation that might arise except by simply not driving.

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