Opinions about Safe Speed
Specialists and professionals:

We want to hear from you!


We quite frequently hear from people that we're the only voice speaking out against speed cameras. Sometimes it's from motorists who agree with us, and sometimes it's from folk who accept the government line on speed as gospel truth.

The latter group causes us some concern. It's obvious that the government has expended a great deal of time and money trying to sell the speed kills story, and it's hardly surprising that many folk believe them.

This page will carry short emails from road users of well above average experience who broadly support our position. This is mainly intended as a clear counter to the suggestion that we are "cranks" and hold minority or outlandish opinions. Any short email which makes a compelling and/or coherent alternative case will also be published. 

We'd especially like to hear from:

  • Road Safety Professionals
  • Police Traffic Officers
  • Accident Investigators
  • Advanced Driving Instructors
  • IAM members
  • RoADA members
  • And anyone who has a special interest in safe driving
We want short emails, which include the following:
  • Details of your experience
  • Relevant qualifications
  • Profession if relevant
  • Membership of professional bodies if relevant
  • Instructions to withhold your name if required
  • A short statement of your opinion on one or more of the following propositions:
    • Speed limit enforcement has gone far too far and is now making the roads more dangerous
    • Better training and especially better attitudes are the only way to reduce bad driving
    • Exceeding the speed limit in itself does not cause any accidents
    • I broadly support Safe Speed's aims (click here)
  • Anything else you might wish to say
These emails must be sent to: opinions@safespeed.org.uk

Emails will not be published automatically.
We will not publish your email address unless you ask us to.
We will not publish your name if you ask us not to.
We will not release your email address to any third parties.

new Forum: This is now usually the best method. 

You can post your opinion about the Safe Speed campaign direct to the opinions section of our web based forums. As follows:

(click here) to view the opinions section
(click here) to post your opinion.

Forum posts are published automatically and immediately.

You can also send us submissions anonymously. (click here)

Actual emails reproduced verbatim:
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 15:36:05 -0700
From: NF

Better training and especially better attitudes are the only way to reduce bad driving

As an Observer for the IAM and RoADA Gold qualified,  I never cease to be amazed by the number of law-abiding new members who come to us for training. Certainly they rarely exceed the posted limits, but their driving is often dangerous in the extreme, including as it does an almost complete ignorance of hazard awareness and the ability to choose an appropriate speed for the circumstances. Within the space of a few hours it's possible to train them to take appropriate action at most of the obvious, and many less obvious, hazards and become much safer and more responsible drivers.

Why e-mail you with this? Simple. It's not the speed they choose, but where they choose to do it that's the problem. If we could just educate drivers to choose an appropriate speed for the situation they find themselves in (which might be over the posted limit on occasion),  we could abolish speed limits and enjoy an almost entirely accident-free road network. Training has to be the way forward, rather than the current obsession with arbitrary limits, many of which are frequently inappropriate in any case. Dumbing down driving to the extent where adherence to speed limits is the ultimate objective is at best an over-simplification, and at worst will result in more lives needlessly lost.


Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 23:36:50 +0100

I work as a front line Road Safety Researcher for the city of Stoke-on-Trent, in my opinion I cannot see what we hope to gain by criminalizing large portions of society for exceeding the speed limit set on some of our roads. 

Our roads for the most part are little more than tarmac-ed cattle runs from previous centuries. Wouldn't it be better to increase driving standards and re-engineer our roads totally like the Dutch are trying to do, to give our country a proper vehicle
transportation network? 

I just cannot see any gain in having an inhuman camera which can't remind you like a police officer can, if your driving standard is a little slack etc., and you need to pay a tad more attention at that particular moment in time, that your driving at that particular point in your journey may not be as sensible as you think.

Driving inattention causes more casualties than speed - speed exacerbates injury in accidents definitely - but if we want to seriously reduce accidents on our roads, we need a better and more thoughtful, human, approach than what we seem to have now.

The "shoehorning" of categories into the governments claim of 33% of accidents are caused by speed, has harmed my personal profession undoubtedly, and has lead to many personal attacks for me in my post - lets get back to the intelligent and open debate that has lead Britain, along with Sweden to the best road safety record in the world and move on.

Chris Collins
Road Safety Researcher
Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

by email: 8th July 2003

Road safety is an emotive subject that sometimes attracts wild, insupportable comments to which politicians and senior police officers attribute a disproportionate significance.  As with all social issues road safety must be approached in a calm, rational way and dealt with democratically.  In order to assist this process we need balanced, well informed arguments from all sides not propaganda of the type evidenced in many road safety conferences where only speakers who support the motion are invited.  It is to be regretted that some road safety officers and police officers who hold alternative views are often censured for not 'toeing the party line'.  This is unhealthy in a democratic society. 

Safespeed is to be encouraged to continue its work because it helps to adjust this imbalance and enjoys a freedom of speech that is not always available to everyone.  It is essential that the information provided by Safespeed is made as widely available as possible so  that the public can make a sound judgment unfettered by those in influential positions who hold extreme views.

Roy Buchanan
Road Safety Officer & retired Traffic Patrol Police Officer.

[Also displayed on the front page of this web site]

by email: 21st July 2003

[we'd exchanged emails talking about dumbing down the UK roads] 

Pretty disturbing trends that seem to be in danger of geting a foothold. Hopefully, outfits like yours and like-minded others might reach police ears and help to maintain our standards and skill levels. God forbid that they do not listen and we end up with a traffic culture (even halfway) as poor as here! [Norway]

My involvement with the police stems from my position as chauffeur to HM Ambassador to Norway at the Embassy in Oslo. 

As a former RAF Policeman and  military close protection officer there is a lot of scope for exchange of info & ideas. 

Just another example of how generic the poor standards of driving are here:

It's holiday period here which, thankfully,  means a significant reduction in traffic, as most Norwegians disappear to the mountains for the period. Nevertheless, during my thirty mile journey today, and whilst conciously trying to 'ignore' the constant 'minor everyday antics,' I saw seven overtakes which almost ended in tragedy  (five of which were on a three lane motorway with hardly any traffic!!). I won't go into detail, suffice to say that no one checked their mirrors, only one indicated their intention - and then carried out the manoevre at a point where any normal motorist would have regarded it as a very good attempt at death by automobile! (However, they did indicate .... once, so that bestowed upon them the right to pull out....?!) 

The other overtake involved a passenger service bus that, in deciding to occupy lane two of the three lane m' way, (for what reason I couldn't see - lane one was unoccupied!), caused the two vehicles already in that lane to it's left to 'emergency brake', despite there being no traffic behind them and no vehicles in the lane to their left?!!!! 

If it wasn't so serious, it would be be simply hilarious!! 

Little wonder then that, well balanced and advanced drivers (would) find it infuriating to drive here due to the sheer frequency of such practices.


Jeff Dinning

by email: 25th July 2003

I spent over 7 years as a Police Officer until being forced to retire with severe injuries sustained on duty, and now spend my days selling BMWs meaning I have to accompany around 10 different drivers a week on test drives.

In my entire 7+ years as a Police Officer I never attended an accident I felt was caused purely by excessive speed. Beyond a doubt accidents are caused by a combination of factors most notably poor observation, poor anticipation, poor training and more often "bad driving". On a daily basis I see people failing to indicate their intentions at roundabouts or junctions, poor lane discipline, poor judgement of speed and distance and plain inconsiderate driving. How many near misses are caused by speed limited lorries pulling out in front of faster cars on dual carriageways causing tailbacks and aggression? How often have you seen a driver nodding off at the wheel, or driving in horrendous conditions with no lights on?

Speed cameras and talivans only catch "speeders" but are unable to educate or spot bad driving. Intelligent policing with discretion and better training and attitudes are the only way forward.
My two favourite sayings are " Good driving is no accident" and the acronym C.O.A.S.T meaning Concentration, Observation, Attitude, Space and Time (meaning allowing time to complete your journey without pressure). And of course "You can't measure safe driving in miles per hour" !!!!

All the best. Keep up the good work.

Nigel Dunne, Police Officer, retired due to injury.

by email: 30th November 2003

I have just found your website and I am truly impressed.  I am an advanced driver and member of IAM of 26 years accident-free driving experience who has been becoming more and more angry about the lies we are being told by this utterly dishonest government.  I fully and unreservedly endorse every word contained in your perfectly marvellous website and I wish you every blessing and success.

Yours in deep respect,

Jon Watson

See Safe Speed page: (pacts.html) for all material related to this letter.

By email from a retired Police officer 4th December 2003

I retired from the police in 1995 but I still retain friendships with serving officers many of whom are quite rightly disturbed at the direction which law enforcement is taking. But to start from basics, let me acquaint you with what I consider to be some of the root causes of the poor service we see today.  Firstly, there are many senior officers like Mr. Brunstrom.  Their primary purpose in life is self advancement. This has, to some extent, been encouraged by the degree entrant, fast track recruit who, provided they fulfil certain basic requirements, are guaranteed rapid promotion.  These "Bramshill boys" never spend enough time doing basic police work to really grasp the principles of being a "Bobby".  I have seen many whose single goal in life is promotion and, frankly, they could not care less about serving the community, crime detection or any of the other basic functions of a proper police officer. These people often spend more time dreaming up "initiatives" with which they hope to impress rather than just getting on with the job.  In a service where there is no tangible "end product", justification is done through statistics known as "Home Office returns". It is easy to exploit this system and can even be used to create an apparent problem where, in reality, little  or none
exists.  Let figures show that, for example, speeding is a growing problem and, highlighting your own part in it of course, propose an "initiative" to deal with it.  Again, using figures to show that results are being achieved can reflect very beneficially upon the instigator of the "initiative". This has encouraged a culture of "empire building" - identify a problem, enhance it beyond it`s true proportions, assign one or two officers to deal with it exclusively and before long, you have a "Squad" or "Unit" with it`s own command structure dealing with what, in reality, is something that has hitherto been adequately dealt with during the course of everyday policing. 

This has happened everywhere in the service.  There are now Squads and Units dealing with virtually everything from speeding to family violence - all of which, used to be very adequately dealt with by the uniformed bobby and when law enforcement meant that we were all a damn sight safer than we are now!

By way of example, I recently spoke to an old colleague who is still serving and at very senior rank.  He told me that where in my town, the central police station used to parade an Inspector, two Sergeants and fifteen or more constables on it`s rota on EVERY relief, it was quite common to see the town centre now being covered by as few as two officers.  The rest have moved on to "Squads" of one sort or another.  

Uniformed policing is now seen as just a stepping stone and as soon as probation is completed, the young officers are looking for a plain clothes job in one or other of the squads, MANY of which, are not even in their own force area for which the council tax payer foots a hefty bill. I am told that these "Squads" are, generally, of limited productive capability with young officers in jeans and tee shirts wandering around the station, sheet of paper in hand, looking important, setting up "meetings", or "briefings" to do "a job" which a few years ago, the uniformed beat bobby would have done as part of his everyday duties. Of course, a young bobby, able to say he on this "squad" or that "unit", has shades of "The Bill" about it and is infinetely more glamorous than being just a uniformed constable even though, in essence, the job being done is exactly the same.  Even he, as a senior officer, felt exasperated.  This is where, despite the increases in numbers, all the street bobbies have disappeared to. Of course, to deal with all the figures and targets generated, the civilian support services have swollen beyond belief.  This is why the taxpayer is getting less and less service despite paying more and more taxes and why we are seeing civilian "Street Wardens" and community bobbies "for rent" by residents associations who can afford to pay.

What I am trying, in a long winded way to say is that the rash of speed cameras is probably the result of some promotion - hungry Bramshill boy`s plan to further his own career and which band wagon, many others have jumped upon.  The cash generated has been an unforeseen bonus. Unfortunately, the punishment doesn`t stop at the fine.  The insurance companies make the most of the attendant penalty points to jack up premiums for the three years that they are on your licence - or even more.  If cameras are to stay, as it would appear, then unless careless,reckless or dangerous driving is an element, mere speeding should not attract points.  The fine should be sufficient.

Name withheld by request.

Promoting intelligent road safety

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Created 5/06/2003. Last update 7/03/2004