back to article 'Traffic Taliban' moots speed cameras in cats' eyes

North Wales Police's anti-speeding campaigner Richard Brunstrom - aka the "Traffic Taliban" to those who oppose his zero-tolerance approach to excess velocity - has suggested the possibility of deploying miniature speed cameras in cats' eyes, the BBC reports. Brunstrom used a debate road safety at St Asaph Business Park, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phew - worrying title

    Looked at the title and was concerned with the vision of legions of cyberkitties prowling the streets looking for victims, sorry, "law breakers"!

    Thankfully, I had the sense to read the article to find it's them shiny things in the road, not some horrible Dr. Frankenstein experiment, a la Dr Kevin Warwick.

    Either way, it's still a dumb idea. Wouldn't this effort be better spent on education or catching rapists, murderers, etc?

    Excuse me, I'll have to lie down now - the idea of being photo flashed by someone's feline pet standing in the road is quite disconcerting! Although I suppose it does lend weight to the old saying about it being bad luck to have a black cat cross your path...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess they won't be showing the decapittated guy

    that was watching his speedo to closely....

  3. Steve McKinty

    short sighted?

    We already know that roads with a lot of HGV traffic have their catseyes pounded out of existence fairly quickly just from regular traffic, and hi-tech ones are likely to be somewhat less robust.

    Once the first few tickets start arriving, and word gets out about where these bionic eyeballs are, aren't we then likely to see motorists deliberately targeting them?

    HGV's thundering along at 60MPH with their wheels right on the centre line. That's *really* going to do a lot for road safety...

  4. Russell Sakne

    How does he know?

    53 lives in five years? How can he know? And is it really worth it? Speed limits and the offenses of speeding were framed when it was assumed that a human police officer would be in the loop, fully cognisant of conditions etc and able to exercise their discretion. No longer.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taliban is the right term: A Terrorist who claims legitimacy

    This absolute nutcase! (excuse me, but when I read about people who just twist stats, I feel very enraged!)

    Always this nonsense about speed kills etc.

    How about making some decent driving training mandatory?

    How on earth do you expect poepl to learn how to drive properly when they are allowed to go on the motorway as soon as they have their license but don't get any training (only this voluntary advance training courses)

    It is absolutely normal, that people do not know how to handle speed, when there is no proper training!

    It's the usual politicians BS. just fight the symptoms, not the cause!!!

    Germany has (AFAIK) the lowest high speed accident rate in the world, now how can this be, since it is the only country with no general speed-limit on the Autobahn (Motorway).

    It is compulsory to drive a minimum amount of hours on the Autobahn, before your even being considered for your driving exam.

    But it is so much easier to just blame the everyone else rather than the stupid politics!!!

    And yes, I am a Kraut!!!

  6. Graham Marsden

    The obligatory Paul Smith comment...

    Ah, it's a speed camera story, so there must, of course, be the obligatory comment from Paul Smith of his self-styled "Safe Speed" campaign.

    But before people start cheering for his selfless campaigning on our behalf to save us from the "Scameras", I'd invite people to visit his site at and start doing some thinking about Mr Smith's figures statistics.

    It rapidly becomes obvious that his claims are as dubious as Richard Brunstrom's: he makes predictions based on "trends" which are nothing more than speculation (and which don't, subsequently, happen), he makes statements like "5,500 more people have died that would have been predicted in 1993" but then draws the conclusion that this *must* be the "consequence" of speed cameras which is nonsense. He cherry picks figures which fit in with his arguments and ignores or minimises those that don't.

    Mr Smith has an axe to grind but before giving him the air of publicity it would be sensible to see if his claims actually make any sense.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a plan to prevent all road deaths...

    Introduce a 0mph speed limit on all roads. Offenders receive prison sentences, and nobody dies on our roads any more!

  8. Marvin the Martian

    Re: "Taleban is the right term"

    Well look up the definition and you'll find it's not a terrorist but a rather fanatical (Wahabist) Quran scholar. So much for sounding smarmy.

    I'd say Kraut is indeed the right term, depressing et al.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unsafe at any speed

    Some drivers, including myself, can take really unsafe attitudes at any speed. If the driver doesn't have his mind on the road, for any reason, he is more likely to become part of the road. Talking to passengers (Italian hand-waving style, specially) on mobiles, tuning ipods and the like, could turn to nasty results, having feline reflexes or not.

    It is not just about attitude, it is also physical preparedness. A sore neck could prevent you from looking around in order to prevent any eventual blind spots; any form of disorientation (sleep or lack thereof) is even more hazardous. I had quite a few near-misses due to those conditions, no matter the speed. Speed would just compound previous bad conditions.

    Some highways will let you legally go as fast as 80mph, because several conditions are met on the road: planned large radius curves, overall visibility is excellent, most of these are four-lane roads. Around here, these highways even have special speed limit signs indicating what is the new top speed should rain or fog occur. These roads also have markers for a quick reference on what is the minimum safe distance from the car in front of you.. All of these features are defeated if you are fiddling around with your car stereo, chatting away on a mobile (it is now forbidden mostly), have bald tires, or whatsoever.

    Think about Formula 1 drivers - they get through some heavy physical preparation; they must know all the rules, and stand by them, or else face disqualification; their cars are in pristine condition; why shouldn't you?

    Yeah, speeding is illegal, but that is the least of your problems if most conditions above are not met, no matter if you are going at 20, 40, or 60 mph. What you have are dangerous attitudes, not dangerous speeds.

    Road signs like "Have you slept enough?", "What was written on the last road sign?" and "Are you close to the car in front of you?" "Keep your mind on the road." would work much better.

  10. Spider

    Resign now.

    So he felt able to publish these pictures without the deceased families permission? sick scumbag. I'm usually against ambulance chasing lawyers but I hope they sue his arse into bankruptcy. Maybe when it's someone he cares about having their decapitated head put on a poster he'll understand.

    Police are public servants not our masters. they enforce the law on behalf of the public. he should try remembering who pays the wages, the self important, egotistical, megalomaniac.

  11. Brendan Weir

    This is an IT news website, right?

    I'm slightly surprised at the number of comments in favour of de-automating the simple process of catching people exceeding the speed limit. Perhaps we should also return to paper-based filing systems and switch off all these pesky computers?

    I would much rather rely on an impartial camera with well sign-posted speed limits than a disgruntled traffic cop using "discretion" to turn a blind eye to local vehicles and concentrating on those passing through, or driving while black, or motorcyclists or any other group that might be a target.

    As for concentrating on catching rapists and murderers, more people are injured or killed on the roads than are raped or murdered, so using speed cameras frees up police resources to concentrate on these heinous crimes, while raising money from the criminally stupid. It isn't that difficult to keep your speed down...

  12. Eduard Coli

    Hopelessly leftist

    I'm not sure if anyone will want to see it but when its his turn I think they should put his body in a public square with a sign pointing to it saying "This is the stupid arse who stuck Big Brother a little more into your life". The preferred position of the corpus would be bent with a speed camera between his cheeks.

  13. Luca Spiller

    Catching the speeders is easier...

    If you really want to catch the speeders you don't need any fancy hidden cameras, you can easily use the hardware available today with some simple software.

    Place one camera at the beginning of a stretch where people speed often, and place another at the other end. The cameras (similar to those used for congestion charging) record the number plate and time they are noticed. From this you can easily calculate the average speed with little problems between entry and exit of the stretch.

    Ok, so the cameras may get destroyed / mugged by some chavs who can't race their Vauxhaul Nova's anymore...

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Matt Brigden

    /Jeremy Mode

    We dont need more cameras . The things are everywhere . I regularly commute on the various motorways and more and more of the things keep appearing . What annoys me is why somebody decided that it would be great fun to put certain stretches at 50mph . For no obvious reason whatsoever all of a suddon 50mph sign then a few yards later cameras . Madness.

    Whats needed on the UK roads is better driving .

    Cars have indicators for a reason so use them .

    Tailgating is stupid and wont get you there any quicker .

    Look before you pull out .

    I have been driving now since 1990 and I cringe watching some people drive .

    For every case of road rage you will likely find a case of terrible driving .

    Ive seen women doing eyeliner in their mirrors whilst driving .

    Idiots reading the paper .

    A slowed down idiot is still a damn idiot .

    I wont even get going on motorbikes and cyclists .

    For every bad motorcyclist there are good ones . Same with cyclists . I leave a gap in front of me to have a safe braking zone . And yes that looks tempting but it doesnt mean evil knievel can whip in there leaving his rear tyre rubber on my bumper .

    The police want to be less speed obsessed and do something about the morons with licences . Makes me wonder how they pass their tests in the first place .

  16. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Same old rhetoric<click> same old rhetoric<click> same old ...

    Time to change the bloody record !

    Neither side is going to back down on this one as long as the stakes are so high. Speed cameras are a useful tool in the right situations (there I've said it, but presumably now that is taken as "a motorist approves of speed cameras). That is a simple distortion of the truth (otherwise known as a lie) because what I actually wrote is "in the write situations".

    Unfortunately, the anti-speed fashists have figured out that it's easy to catch people exceeding the posted limit with automated systems and so have made the classic control engineering mistake of controlling what is easy to measure, rather than measure what is required to be controlled !

    One of the least important 'measures' in driving is the absolute speed and it's relation to some arbitrary number painted on a bit of aluminium. It comes way below whether the speed is appropriate for the conditions, it comes way below whether the driver is competent, it comes way below whether the driver is driving with consideration for other road users, it comes way below whether the vehicle is in a good state, ...

    Under the right conditions it is possible to drive WAY above the arbitrary limit without undue risk to self or others, similarly it is possible to drive WAY under the arbitrary limit and be downright f***ing dangerous.

    Wake up and look around. Driving standards have dropped remarkably over the last few years and are still dropping fast despite governments flawed attempts to improve driver training. One (note just ONE cause) is that the fixation on purely enforcement of speed limits to the near exclusion of all other factors leads to a simple psychological effect - drivers 'learn' that good driving doesn't matter, being considerate doesn't matter, the only thing that matters is not getting caught by the scameras.

    It's not rocket science (as the expression goes), but it seems so damn obvious - stop fixating on one of the least impportant factors in road casualty figures and do something about the factors that DO matter !

    Is that likely ? Not in the current political state where 'thinking' and 'personal responsibility' are to be suppressed in favour of state control and rigid adherance to centrally managed rules and dictats. A lot of lives are going to be lost before people realise that current policies are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    It's been very interesting to have witnessed first hand how the roads work in Italy this week. It was clear that speed limits were taken as merely a suggestion, and at first glance the way traffic moves looks chaotic. If you can get past the fact that from the British viewpoint it looks terrible, the standard of driving was actually very good - it looks superficially like "every man for himself", but there was actually a lot more cooperation and good manners, and drivers were (by neccessity) very aware of what was going on around them. What I didn't see was this very british tradition of driving along, totally oblivious to what's going on around, and the queue of traffic stuck behind because of some clueless f***wit with no lane discipline who never looks more than 10 feet in front of their bumper !

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same old rhetoric<click>

    I'd be interested to know where Simon was in Italy as in my bit (Tuscany), the standard of driving is truly crap as regards "good" driving skills.

    I can agree that the Italians are in fact technically proficient in most cases, for example a 10 minute trip down the mountain to town with one of my neighbors will take only 4.5 min with only marginally soiled trousers as a result.

    BUT, the downside is; drifting from side to side crossing the centre line for no apparent reason, slowing down to a crawl and then speeding up, crawling down a 2 lane road at 15 mph (in the middle), braking unexpectedly, and my personal favourites, overtaking on blind bends, and pulling over to the opposite side of the road to negotiate a bend (as if they were driving a large articulated vehicle and not a Fiat Punto). Oh! not to forget, driving up your arse and never looking in the mirror. I believe my bit of Tuscany is a bad case as motor insurance here is much more expensive than say Emilia Romagna.

    Apart from all this I agree pretty much with the thrust of his posting, over dependence on on lowest common denominator rule based behavior is the sickness of our times in my opinion.

    There is now little room to excercise individual judgement in the uk (it's one of the reasons I left), due to the all pervasive anti risk philosophy forced on everyone by the health and safety fascists.

    In any case, our species is not subject to much in the way of natural selection these days, so why try to get deaths down to some unattainably low level?

    Hmmm, maybe we could get the climate change Gestapo onside, after all if we get rid of all speed limits, make carrying firearms compulsory for everyone and limit population growth to 1 child per family I bet the global warming problem will disappear pretty sharpish.

    After all, it is people that pollute and not machines (less people = less machines = less pollution).

    There you go all problems solved, just send my Nobel Prize to my email address.

  18. Cerastes

    Brunstrom the sensationalist

    The usual cause of decapitation of a biker is when the biker is leaning his bike to go round a right hand curve and his head comes into contact with a truck coming in the opposite direction; whether due to the truck running wide or the bikers head crossing the middle of the road.

    This is not a speeding issue. The speed of the biker or the truck have no importance - contact means the heads coming off.

    Using such violent images for effect proves this mans lack of judgement and shows the lengths that Brunstrom will go to achieve his goal. He should resign as this is clear sensationalism.

  19. Jeremy Wickins

    Sorry to be picky...

    ... or not! Speed doesn't kill, nor does speeding. If the former was correct, those doom-mongers who said passengers on Stephenson's Rocket would die would be correct, or all astronauts would be dead, (or all life - do you know what speed the planet is doing?), and if the second was correct, every time you went a fraction over the posted limit, someone would die. More accurately, excess *acceleration*, not speed, causes damage - the greater the acceleration, the more damage. However, this is too confusing for the average politician, police chief, or Sun reader, so lets be fair on them, and say that "Inappropriate use of speed leads to a greater risk of injury or death". Not quite as catchy, but it does move the emphasis onto responsible driving, instead of the current situation which involves trying to drive with one eye on the speedo and the other trying to supply enough information to anticipate what the blonde in the Micra with the makeup bag open, the 7.5 tonner driver with the phone clamped to his ear, the party of schoolkids playing chicken, and the driver of the German car (any make) are going to do next!

  20. Richard Freeman

    I had visions of ...

    I thought the article was about one o f these

  21. Joel

    Speeding saves lives


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