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Speed camera table of shame.
Read it and weep. Or better; write to your MP and complain!

 
 
Road traffic offences dangerous? speed camera effects traffic police patrol effects Combined effect of more speed cameras and fewer traffic police patrols
exceeding a speed limit  possibly sometimes catches drivers in large numbers can catch drivers when beneficial to do so lots of drivers caught
dangerous driving very dangerous no effect better worse
driving too fast for conditions very dangerous catches drivers who are exceeding the speed limit. In maybe 60% of cases, no effect. Many cases of dangerous speed take place within the speed limit. better worse
drunk and drug driving usually dangerous no effect better worse
unlicensed drivers (see below) sometimes dangerous worse better worse
improperly registered vehicles (see below) sometimes dangerous worse better worse
reckless driving very dangerous no effect better worse
thefts of vehicles, joyriding usually very dangerous no effect better worse
incompetent driving always dangerous no effect better worse
driving without due care and attention always dangerous worse (upgraded from no effect after a few emails pointing out that speed cameras and the fear of speed cameras cause driver distraction) better worse
uninsured driving (see below) often dangerous worse better worse
criminals using cars possibly dangerous no effect better worse
disqualified drivers possibly dangerous no effect better worse
vehicle in dangerous condition dangerous no effect better worse
bald tyres dangerous when wet no effect better worse
other bad driving potentially dangerous no effect better worse

 
 
social issues speed camera effects traffic police patrol effects Combined effect of more speed cameras and fewer police patrols
Police / public relations worse unknown worse
Human rights worse unknown worse
Lawless behaviour (see below) worse better worse
Job loss and personal hardship worse uncertain worse
Respect for law worse generally better worse

 
 
Speed Cameras promote lawlessness

Make no mistake. The following behaviours are all well known direct and indirect consequences of speed camera proliferation.

  • Unlicensed drivers. Why bother to get a licence if the cameras are going to take it away again soon? With fewer police patrols it is estimated that we have more unlicensed drivers than ever before.
  • Improperly registered vehicles. In many cases people neglect registration requirements in order to avoid speed camera fines.
  • Uninsured vehicles. Once a driver has decided to neglect licence or registration requirements due to speed cameras, it is only one small step further to also neglect insurance. Obviously with reduced Police Patrols, the driver has a pretty good chance of getting away with it. BBC's Top Gear estimated that we have one million uninsured drivers.
  • Speed Camera vandalism. You might think that vandals will damage anything. However speed cameras are producing a new type of "white collar" vandal; One who vandalizes as a political statement. These folk are not "yobs", but small business owners, farmers and salesmen. 
  • Disqualified drivers. Two effects here: Firstly the cameras create a huge group of disqualified drivers who know damn well that they didn't deserve to be disqualified. Secondly, the reduction in Police Patrols means they might well get away with driving while disqualified.
Job loss and personal hardship.

These days it is completely possible for a responsible driver to lose driving licence, job and home as a direct consequence of a single journey at safe speeds. Some will claim "he's only got himself to blame" or "the law is the law". But don't judge too quickly. Surveys have shown that more than 90% of drivers exceed the speed limit on occasion, and the latest government figures show that 65% of cars at sample sites were exceeding the 30 mph speed limit. It's entirely likely that at the next sample site a different grouping of drivers would make the 65%, and so on. In this way it is clear that the 90%+ figure and the 65% figure are both likely to be true.

The reason for this apparent "madness" is crystal clear. Many responsible drivers on many occasions exceed a speed limit which simply is too low for the prevailing conditions. Make no mistake. The vast majority of drivers are responsible members of society behaving with reasonable standards of safety. 90% exceed speed limits, and in literally tens of millions of cases each day it is reasonable, safe and prudent to do so.

In the old days of intelligent Police enforcement of speed limits it was recognized that an officer at the time could make a clear judgement about the safety of someone's driving in the prevailing conditions. Speed cameras make no such judgement and it's completely obvious that there are hundreds of thousands of pointless prosecutions each year of responsible drivers behaving responsibly.

Why do we put up with it?

Speed Cameras replace Police Patrols

It's been widely reported that speed camera are "replacing" Traffic Police Patrols. I feel confident that even the most extreme anti car types will immediately notice the folly in such a move. In some forces Traffic Police numbers have been cut by 66% in the last decade.

Installing speed cameras was stupid enough. Compounding the error with the reduction in Traffic Police patrols is almost unbelievable.

In the latest Home Office figures (from Home office publication: "Motoring Offences and breath test statistics, England and Wales - 2000") All motoring offences except speeding show a fall in offences between 1999 and 2000. Don't let anyone tell you that this is because fewer offences were committed. It's clearly because fewer offences were detected by fewer police patrols. In just this one year, speeding offences are up by 18%, while all other groups of offences were down by between 2 and 19%.

Respect for the law

There are a couple of big problems here.

  • The legislators, the enforcers and the court officials all exceed the speed limits. They are virtually all hypocrites. How can the public possibly take them seriously?
  • Modern speed limit enforcement frequently penalizes safe driving and ignores dangerous driving. One day in fog on a motorway, a lethal 69 mph is legal. The next day in light traffic and good visibility a safe 101 mph can get you banned for a single offence. 101 mph? Isn't that suicidal? Ask a German!
They always said "The law is an ass". But this is getting ridiculous.
Conclusions

Speed cameras are an abomination. Far from the filthy government lies about improved road safety, they have a whole series of clear consequences that are now undoubtedly killing people.

We need to reverse out of this road safety system failure as soon as possible. We need more police patrols and all the speed cameras need to be torn down and scrapped. We need to create better drivers who take pride in their skills.

Comments

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