back to article Road charging, the sequel - Kelly unveils 'wired m-way' plans

UK national road pricing is, for the present, a dead duck. Or - as Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly put it yesterday - "many years away". Instead, new car sharing and toll lanes figured high in Kelly's publicity - but the actual plans are a deal more interesting, effectively proposing a graduated switch to a managed motorway …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Variable speed limits

    Once everywhere has variable speed limits, maybe they'll consider raising the MWay limit to 80 when it's quiet.

    Not allowing lorries to overtake (except when passing extraordinary loads) would do wonders to reduce congestion and make motorways safer. No longer would 3 lanes be suddenly reduced to 1 by a dickless wonder trying to deny reality by overtaking another truck at 0.1 mph speed difference.

    Taffic tracking database? Well "I've got nothing to hide" really just doesn't cut it, does it?

  2. caffeine addict
    Black Helicopters


    How can anyone with a brain suggest averaging cameras are a good idea? All it does is force drivers to spend an excessive amount of time staring at their speedos.

    Besides, it's all crap when the highways agency insists on installing front plate systems that can't catch motorbikes, tail gaters or people with high-powered front lights (at night at least)...

  3. James

    Average Speed Measurement

    Average speed measurements are even worse than speed cameras. They have them in parts of Northamptonshire where I occasionally drive. I can tell you from direct experience that what they do is encourage drivers to spend *MORE* time looking at the speedometer and *LESS* time looking at the road and assessing ongoing conditions.

    This is even more dangerous than the sudden braking induced by regular speed cameras. It also falls foul of the standard arguments against cameras of failing to detect dangerous driving, human discretion, etc, etc.

    FFS, employ real traffic police or at the very least deal with actual crime instead of going after he easy-target drivers who just want to get somewhere in artificially low speed limit areas.

  4. Chris Williams

    24x7 vehicle movement database?

    To be honest, I'm all for this: it's enough to have the streets filled with 4x4s, but if people are driving 24x7s then they deserve scrutiny.

  5. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Average Speed Measurement

    The report twitters happily about the high level of compliance with these when they're used to enforce limits around road works, and seems to take the view that this means drivers are happy about them. But in my own experience one's compliance is secured first by threat of a fine, and second because the lane's frequently sectioned off, meaning you can't non-comply your way past the driver in front even if you wanted to.

    The report also mentions a bizarre 'voluntary overtaking ban trial' which, surprise surprise to everybody but the DfT, had a very low level of compliance. Actually if it was really voluntary, then it had a 100 per cent level of compliance, right? Or did they mean 'we're just saying it's voluntary, but we don't mean that. But we're not going to do anything to you anyway.'

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Symptoms not the illness, perhaps?

    More evidence, if it were required, of the way in which this government is more interested in the money it can earn from roads than actually facilitating a long-term transport solution. I mean, we might expect the Tories to destroy the railways (that's what they do), but how the Labour party can bleat on about environmental friendliness on the one hand and work on plans for fitting ever more traffic onto our roads on the other is a majestic piece of doublespeak.

    The real reason why the motorways are heaving with traffic? Try getting on the 1815 train from London to Leeds on a Friday evening - £75 walkup fare, packed train with no sitting space and a 3 hour journey time. Driving, the alternative is £35 petrol money (return), 3.5 hours driving and a comfy seat all of your own. I personally don't enjoy opting for that, but it makes more sense...

  7. g e

    Good. Then again... bad?

    Yes. Stop HGV's trying to kill car drivers by pulling out to overtake cos they're too lazy to turn cruise off. 55mph vs 56mph over 500 miles is about 12mins difference. Plus I'm sick of the murderous bastards making attempts on my life twice a day on the M1.

    Average speed metering while it is probably 'fairer' will just make folks drive on unmetered roads and why the hell would you want to slow traffic down... that guy doing 100mph in the Merc (not me, mine's an old Honda) is off somewhere to a meeting, trying to make a deal or some other business, you know... the economy and all that.

    Does anyone else get a whiff of the great fresh smell of more traffic stealth taxation?

  8. Richard


    "refuges will have to be built for broken down vehicles".

    yes because my car chooses to break down right by one of these refuges!!!

    I can see it right now, loads of tailbacks because someone has broken down on the (current) inside lane and cant move over to the refuge point because of all the traffic on the hard shoulder, not even taking into consideration the kind of person that would be quite happy to get out of their car with other vehicles doing over 50 mph either side of them!! oh and I forgot to mention all the helpful good samaritan drivers who will stop to help the poor bugger and not fear being slammed into. do they not watch police camera action where a broken down vehicle is stopped on the hard shoulder and a lorry (or such) plows straight into it from wandering too far out of the inside lane.

    leave well enough alone. the hard shoulder is there for our safety and emergency services, turning it into a load bearing lane is either someones idea of a sick joke or testiment to the bunch of cretins we have in power.

    sounds like another crappy government ploy to waste millions of taxpayer money on technology to spy on us.

  9. TimBinsted

    Standard in the Netherlands for years

    They have this stuff in the Netherlands for years, at least ten. I wonder if they have looked here to see if it works or not.

  10. Chris Miller

    A modest proposal

    All Heavy/Large vehicles to be restricted to the slow (left-hand) lane ONLY. A minimum speed limit to be imposed equal to the maximum limited speed (90kph) of these vehicles. I guarantee we'll be able to get 25% more traffic through the same motorway system.

    Oh and death penalty for drivers doing 70 in the middle lane on an empty M-way

  11. john loader

    Roll 'em out

    Road pricing just meant the rich could continue drive. Let's get the northbound 2 lane M11 using hard shoulder - then we won't have 10 miles of traffic following HGVs passing at a differential speed lower than a three legged tortoise.

  12. Nomen Publicus

    It it just me?

    I didn't see anything that actually reduced the number of vehicles travelling.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    In their defence

    Most people against the schemes don't have to drive on the 42 very often.

    My wife drives on this every week day, and as most people who do will tell you, it has made a MASSIVE difference. There are fewer accidents, less jams and as a whole, traffic does keep moving. Before the cameras and extra lane, 1 hour delays were not uncommon, now they are almost unheard of, except in the event of a major "incident".

    Now if they can sort out the M5 / M6 interchange, then hats off to them.

  14. Tom Kelsall

    @James, Caffeine

    I don't know about you, but I can drive at a constant 50mph without looking at my speedo all the time. If you can't then perhaps you need additional training? In my view "Average" cameras actually keep the speed constant instead of the stamped brakes followed by roaring acceleration seen around GATSOs. If the speed is restricted to 50mph I would much rather drive at a constant 50mph than on an enforced speed rollercoaster.

    I really see nothing wrong with active traffic management as long as that's all the data is used for - but with the modern politician there is simply no way to guarantee that. ANPR also isn't a problem to me because I maintain a legal status as a driver and vehicle keeper and can prove it at the roadside.

  15. Martin

    If you think the 56mph 'lorry racing' is bad enough as it is...

    .. just wait until the electronic limiter is introduced on even more classes of vehicle. They're already preparing to put them on 3.5 - 7.5T goods vehicles, and there are calls to put them on ordinary white vans as well.

    As for ATM, IIRC the M42 scheme cost almost as much as just widening the bloody motorway by a lane, and I wonder how long it will take for all those cameras to start enforcing the ridiculous 70mph limit, when ATM isn't in operation.

  16. caffeine addict

    @ Chris Miller

    I obviously missed school the day they explained how a modest proposal and a damned stupid and technically impossible one were the same thing. I thank you for plugging the hole in my learning...

  17. Mat Diss

    Middle Lane Drivers

    Ban for life people who successfully turn a 3 lane motorway into one by using the inside lane only as access to the slipway when coming off the motorway.

  18. Andy

    @ AC

    Nah, when they've got tabs on every car, they'll reduce the

    motorway speed to 30 so they can get more from the

    speeding tax.

    I can't believe it, but it seems in the future I'll be looking back

    at my 1hr commute with fond memories in the future.

    Damn and blast those pesky politicians. I didn't give my life

    in two world wars for these scumbags.... yada yada yada...

    ...think that's my straight jacket.

  19. Chris Cooney

    I third the HGV notion.

    Have to agree with the HGV comments, they are probably the main cause of accidents and tailbacks on the M1/M6 and every other major motorway in England, i can not understand for the life of me how they have not figured this out already. As soon as one dumb ass lorry driver decides to over take another at less than 60 MPH, its one lane for everyone and it just doesn't work.

    Impose a restriction on Lorry drivers so they are not allowed by law to over take, BAN them to the outside lane, You will soon be reaping the rewards of a lot less accidents and reducing travel times / congestion during peak travel.

  20. Omer Ozen

    Overtake ban for lorries

    This is a standard practice in Germany for motorways with less than 3 lanes and/or with somesort of road works (especially during business hours) with on the spot varying cash fines (non of I'll pay later honest gov nonsense) and should you argue with the plod, the fine just gets increased - or so I've been told. Pay first, argue later - just like HMRC really.

  21. 4a$$Monkey


    Variable speed limits:

    On the M42 where there are cameras people generally stick to it, at least by the gantries with the cameras on.

    On the M25 where are aren’t cameras people generally ignore the variable limit... of course it’s pretty rare you can speed on the M25 anyway :-)

    Average speed cameras:

    On the M60... sure people comply because they have to - it’s that or a ticket. It doesn’t mean they like it or that using them along with a pointless 50mph restriction when there aren’t road works is good idea.

    Of course on my bike I’m immune to the forward facing average speed cameras anyway (no front number plate) LoL. Unfortunate I doubt they will let that loophole continue on a national road charging scheme:-(

    Flame for whole concept but thumbs up for banning HGVs form overtaking.

  22. stuart ward

    re; OMFG!

    I actually drive over the section of M42 with active management nearly every day.

    It does work, most of the time the hard shoulder is just that, it only becomes an extra lane at busy times. 8-9 ish 4.30-5.30. It's very rare to see a broken down vehicle in the refuge areas. But even if they made it to the hard shoulder/4 th lane the operators could close it to protect the occupants. Same as if you break down in the inside lane elsewhere, people get round you.

    Rather than move the bridge abutments the extra lane stops at a junction and starts again the other side so people who are getting off at that junction use it but traffic going beyond has to use 1/2/3. It makes integration of entry slip roads easier as well, think of it as a 3 mile long entry and exit slip road.

    Just wish they would do it from J1 - 3a. fed up of queues for no reason there.

    I also heard they have just switched on the average speed cameras on the ganties with a 2mp trigger point. Don't know how true that is, but it's certainly slowed people down.

  23. Steve
    Thumb Down

    HOV lanes

    They have these in Canada, I didn't notice that they were a) well enforced, b) having any effect on traffic congestion, beyond the fact that they increase overall road capacity. They also didn't have any barriers separating

    them from the rest of the motorway, just a double solid line that you weren't supposed to cross and which did seem to be obeyed most of the time.

    None overtaking has also been trialled on the M42 (for HGV's) and reduced average congestion by around 40% I seem to remember. Although that was on the 2 lane stretch.

    I'm not sure about the comparison with the train though. I can travel 1st class on a pre booked seat return to London for <£40 (return). It takes <2 hrs from Sheffield (which means it must only be 2:20 from Leeds), I get a seat and hopefully a whole table to myself, I get coffee and biscuits brought to my seat and I'll read or place on the laptop. Admittedly in the car I'd get guaranteed privacy, I'd also get to sit in the rush hour traffic and the journey would take 5 hrs, I'd have to be alert and concentrating for the whole time and I wouldn't get a single glass of wine for the whole journey. Even if it were true that the petrol cost £35, which it might in a polo blue motion, the cost of tax, insurance and depreciation increases that significantly and whilst my car is parked in London some local will no doubt bang my doors or steal my wheels, plus Livingstone will have his pound of flesh unless it's the weekend.

    Maybe it was just a bad example, but London is one of the few places it's more convenient and cheaper to get too on the train.

  24. leslie

    An extra lane is a good idea

    but not as important as the hard shoulder is now, if a section of motorway needs an extra lane, get some tarmac bought, build a new hard shoulder, and then reassign the old one to be the new inside lane.

    I for one, would not travel on a motorway thats had its hard shoulder removed, so sorry, your A roads and country lanes will see more of my car.....

  25. DR

    spending too much time looking at your speedometer?

    umm, that kind of implies that you're used to driving too fast anyway.

    IMHO the average speed check cameras are a great idea, certainly they work. I happily speed and slow down for spot check cameras, but if they monitor my average speed and it'll make damn well sure I'll monitor my average speed as well. -it's not all that hard to drive at a constant speed. and these great little inventions take the point out of speeding, since if you do drive at 100MPH then you have to slow down to an inordanantly slow speed to stop getting caught -thus no sense in driving fast in the first place.

    in truth it's just sad that these extra special things need to be put in place to make you and I obey the law!

    why watch the speedometer anyway, just drive say a few miles an hour slower [than the limit], it won't massivly affect your journey time, and you'll get to stop looking at the speed clock/worrying about being caught speeding...

    seriously, that's just common sense surely...

    the speed limit is meant to be a maximum speed, not a target that you have to get as close to as possible...

    like at a train station, when a highspeed train passes through you don't stand as close too the yellow line as possible, you thikn f your own personal safety and usually back away beyond the yellow line.

    try thinking of the speed limit as that yellow line designed to protect the safety of you and the others around you.

  26. Chris Bennett

    Active Traffic Management

    I've driven the M42 a few times in the last month, at fairly peak times and have never been held up there, it's a bit weird seeing vehicles on the hard shoulder for the first time!

    What I noticed was the hard shoulder was mostly used for people taking the next exit only so it wasn't heavy with traffic, and I suspect can quickly be taken out of use in the event of a broken down vehicle.

    The only thing that did annoy me was on my most recent trip, a Sunday evening, the signs kept switching between 50mph and 60mph pretty much every gantry which was annoying to keep on top of (and you don't get much choice with Gatso's behind most of them!!)

    I certainly prefer this to the stop-start-stop-start you frequently find yourself in on the M6, driving at a constant 50mph is much less taxing than having to keep changing gear as the speed varies between 0-50mph for miles and miles.

    Overtaking lorries can be a big problem, as as soon as one indicates to pull into the middle lane a lot of people automatically move into the outside lane and everything beings choking up. Having been in Germany, Holland and Belgium last year it's noticeable that is is banned, usually from 7am - 7pm or similar and HGV's keep to the outside lane.

    They've been trialling this on the A14 with plenty of signage but every time I've been down there very few large vehicles pay attention to it and carry on with their overtaking as normal.

    The other thing I've noticed causing problems is people joining a busy motorway, people will often try and move over or slow down to allow new vehicles to join the motorway but again this can choke the traffic up...perhaps we could use the hard shoulder here, allow joining vehicles to use it for a mile or so allowing them to speed match and join a gap in the motorway, safer and with less impact on the other traffic?

    Feel free to correct me on anything, I've only been driving alone for a year but have clocked up 8,000 miles with lots of motorways so I think they are fair observations :)

  27. David Burton

    Private motorways

    I'd like to see either private motorways, allowing higher speeds but placing higher controls over the traffic allowed on there, or a genuine fast lane on motorways...

    Ideally, have toll routes which allow fast speeds but require computer guidance systems, so it's fast but safe.

    Let's look towards using the greater tracking and control to create a benefit, rather than just clamping down harder on motorists.

  28. paulc

    Camera surfing

    daftest thing I ever saw was a BMW that was camera surfing in a roadworks that had average speed enforcement cameras in place... he charged along, slamming his brakes on for each camera mast before roaring off again... he probably accumulated enough points to get banned just for that one stretch...

  29. supermeerkat

    Isn't there a "US-style" system they can copy....

    Is it just me, but whenever the Government talks about implementing some kind of plan or policy, it's always a "US-style" plan. Like "US-style policing", "US-style education", "US-style justice" etc etc

  30. Chris Miller

    @caffeine addict

    Would you care to explain why a proposal to end one of the main causes of motorway congestion - lorries overtaking each other at a relative speed of 0.1 mph - is 'damned stupid'? Or do you need to wait for school to finish?

  31. rob johns

    @ Caffine addict

    Chris Miller does actually talk some sense, why shouldn't there be a minimum speed limit on dry days with clear visibility? if people aren't confident enough to do the speed (or they have sh1te cars) then they shouldn't be allowed on the motorway anyway. High speed driving should be on the test really.

  32. David Neil

    Average speed cameras already in use on A77

    They have them on a section from north of Ayr, along the bypass, then all the way south to Ballantrae. It's the main coastal route in Southwest Scotland.

    Anyway, the funny bit is that the first 10/15 miles are on dual carriageway, until you get to Ayr, then the next 50 miles or so are on single carriageway roads.

    So you can average 70 on the dual, 60 on the rest (in theory, the road passes through various town and villages with 30 and 40 mph limits).

    Do people stick to 70mph on the dual, no chance, they either slow down to 60, even in the outside lane, or they still try and do the kangaroo between exits, as the road has turnoffs for every village, farmhouse and sheep on the road.

  33. Luther Blissett

    Opus Dei (aka Intelligent Design) at play?

    Is the British public stupid for being thought unable to adapt to any-lane motorway driving? Or is the keep-left rule retained as a standing invitation to exceed the limit in the outside lane and be robbed and/or criminalized?

  34. Anonymous Coward


    Intersting arguement, by some one who clearly doesn't ever drive outside a city.

    You points are useless.

    Have you ever driven on the M42 where it is in force, no I guess not. Otherwise you will have noticed that they CLOSE the lane when someone breaks down.

    Do you drive on Dual Carrageways? I'm guessing your very special as obviously those by you have a hard shoulder all the way along. I could name dozens of roads near me that have 70mph limits and no laybys, let alone a hard shoulder, but somehow. we mange not to have a nervous breakdown every time we drive along one.

    So before you do a Daily Mail and run off like a headless chicken screamingthe end of the world in nigh, do a bit of research, try asking people who actually use this system. It does actually work !

    Fact: Major "Incidents" are Down

    Fact: Congestion is Down

    Fact: journey Times are down.

  35. Jamie


    If the gov't, that includes the Labour Party, Tories, and certian mayors really want to tackle congestion and get people to use public transportation should move to the real world.

    They have a congestion zone in London but most cars are exempt as they are not legal so the fines are never paid. There was a show on this on BBC1. So to resolve the issue take the illegals off the road. Suspended license, no insurance, no tax, no problem the car is impounded and put up for public auction. If it is not your car and a friend or family member they have a choice, file a report stating the car was stolen or lose it. The money raised can go back into the police fund or to help with road and public transportation.

    As for public transportation, when I started this job I checked. Train from my house to Reading is 245£ per month, plus bus then to work. Total cost each month around 300£ plus about 5 hours each day for the commute, 2.5 hours each way. Monthly cost to buy car is 215£ plus 40£ per week for deisel. Two years the car is mine so total cost after that is 160£ which by then at the current rate hikes will be less than 50% of public transport. And the car trip only takes about 30 minutes either way.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    As a motorcyclist who does plenty of (national and international) motorway miles, the idea of having no hard shoulder to pull over to in case of breakdown does scare the sh*t out of me.

    First, there is no way you can push a large bike half a mile to the nearest refuge - they're simply too heavy, especially if you're loaded up with luggage and a full tank of gas. If you have a flat tyre, its simply out of the question.

    Second, how long does it take the authorities to detect a broken down vehicle and close the lane? In that time, how many lorries thunder by the hapless stranded motorist?

    It might sound great in nice tidy statistics on some government report, but whats the reality on the ground?

  37. Mr Bear


    How many of you have seen those little signs in the middle of the motorway, you know the ones that alert you to fog when you've either been driving through it for the past 10 miles or when the day is perfectly clear for as far as the eye can see.

    The signs that tell you to pull over to one side due to two lanes being closed but after spending an hour crawling along for 2 miles you find there is nothing there and hasn't been for several hours.

    The signs that tell you to slow down to 50 for some unknown reason and 20 miles further along the road you still can't work out why.

    If they can't get those signs organised how the hell are they going to be able to manage anything more complicated?

  38. IanPotter

    Unsafe at any speed

    I'm strongly opposed to average speed cameras, unless coupled with a sliding maximum limit they strengthen further the false belief that it must be safe to do the speed because it is legal regardless of the road conditions.

    Not that people always know what the speed limit anyway, as David Neil notes above it amazes me how many people think the speed limit for a car on the dual carrigeway is 60mph, I've nearly been involved in a couple of shunts caused by people on the A92 seeing a police car and braking to 60 while changing lane suddenly.

    For all those saying "driving at a constant speed isn't hard" In my experience many road users can't do it at all. Cruise control soon shows you that most are constantly slowing down/speeding up. Oh and how easy is it to see your speedo while driving into the rising/setting sun?

  39. caffeine addict

    @ Chris Miller

    "A minimum speed limit to be imposed equal to the maximum limited speed (90kph) of these vehicles."

    By law all vehicles need to travel at their own maximum speed, regardless of ability or road conditions? How is this not a bloody stupid idea?

  40. Tim

    Human factors

    Leaving aside the nightmare possibiltiy of blanket average speed cameras and the huge rise in accidents and misery that such a scenario will bring, and looking instead at the arguments in favour of using the hard shoulder, highlights a bigger issue:

    Hard shoulder driving works well on the M42 because it is a short, well-publicised, point solution to a bad local congestion problem. That doesn't mean it can extend nationally or even to longer stretches of the motorway. By analogy, glass walls prevent theft in an off license but they'd represent business suicide in a high street Gap.

    The continent may do it all the time but their road safety record is considerably worse than ours. Britain has (had, before speed cameras) some of the safest roads in the world because of decades of gradual improvements and growing understanding of human factors. In no small part this is linked to our incredibly well-designed motorway network with wide hard shoulders and severe penalties for their misuse. They are there for well understood, valid safety reasons. Messing with them is throwing away almost a hundred years of progress in road saftey, not to mention the fact that they are built to a softer standard than the main carriageway. Costs will be enormous.

    The current set of control freaks in power are trying to throw that hard won success away on the back of a complete lack of understanding of psychology and an unwarranted fetish for new technology. Unfortunately there are too many MBAs and consultants close to power who try to quantify and control every last detail without ever understanding the bigger picture. People resent being treated like cattle and resent having the law enforced by unthinking robots.

  41. Chris Bennett
    Thumb Down


    Whilst I don't mind comparisons between the train and the car, comparing pre-booked train journeys to car journeys isn't really a fair comparison!

    Yes you can get some good, first class bargains if you pre-book, but they're only good for a specific train, limited in availability and generally not available on peak trains (which are already busy enough, their very purpose is to fill up quieter services).

    If my meeting overruns by 30 minutes then I don't have to drain my car of the existing fuel because it's no longer any good and put new (more expensive) fuel in for my later journey.

    And fuel isn't any cheaper if you buy it a week before you're going to use it, rather than just before you leave (well there might be a minor difference if you're more prepared as you can find a cheaper petrol station but that's beside the point I'm making).

  42. Jeff Deacon
    Black Helicopters

    My two penn'orth ...

    ... a few points

    * If I remember correctly, the cameras on the M25 variable speed limit section are indeed set to enforce the "National Speed Limit" (ie 70mph) when the signs are not set at a lower limit.

    * The phrase "intelligent motorway" or something similar has been around for fair few years without any great explanation of what it was. The cat may have dug a hole in the side of the bag, but it hasn't got out. I do not think we have the whole of the story yet.

    * Of course there will be mission creep. As in the story about construction "security" at the Olympic site, once Plod has his fingers on a datastream, he won't let go easily. Plod will not be satisfied with anything short of a total surveillance society. What beats me is why we are _letting_ Plod set the agenda!

    * HGVs (speed limited to 90kph) are already banned from the outside lane of a three lane motorway for the reasons outlined. Coaches (speed limited to 100kph) will shortly be similarly forbidden. I believe this will also apply to over 3.5 tonne vehicles shortly, as they too will be speed limited.

    * Road safety has clearly become a "one trick pony". It doesn't matter what the perceived road safety problem is, the "safety camera pratnerships" will spout about a need to reduce speed limits to make the roads safer. And funnily enough some extra revenue is generated! Quelle surprise.


  43. Anonymous Coward

    Speeding Tax??

    Why do people insist on using the term "speeding tax"?

    Should we start referring to prison as "murder tax"?

    Or a hoodie having to pay a "stabbing tax" when they knife someone?

  44. Name
    Thumb Up


    "All it does is force drivers to spend an excessive amount of time staring at their speedos."

    Having recent experience in local roadworks I find I spend an excessive amount of time staring at the small print on my GPS.

    When travelling at a safe speed there is no need to look where you are going.....

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Williams

    "To be honest, I'm all for this: it's enough to have the streets filled with 4x4s, but if people are driving 24x7s then they deserve scrutiny."

    Hmmm, a vehicle with seven wheels, of which twenty-four are driven? I've gotta get one of those. Camber and roll bar setup must be a real bastard, though...

  46. tfewster

    Just my 375,000 miles of driving experience worth...

    Yeah, let's ban those selfish idiots who obstruct traffic and cause accidents from the motorways. After all, the motorways weren't built for them! And they don't even pay their fair share of road tax!!

    For the hard-of-thinking, I'm talking about car drivers. HGVs aren't the problem.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Aussie Mick

    I'm just going out for a spin in my V8 Ford on a completely empty country road. I may have to drive too fast but I will enjoy this. No cameras, no traffic, just open space and a few 'roos.

  48. me

    Just my 1.5 million miles of driving experience worth....

    Let's just ban all cars from motorways and return the UK motorway network to its original intended purpose. The quick and effiicent transport of freight.

    It's not the 500,000 registered LGV's that's causing the's the 32 million registered cars. Look at any picture of a UK motorway jam on google outnumber commercial vehicles many, many times over.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abandon Ship

    I live near and use the M42 on a regular basis and regularly spend 40min - 1hour travelling a mere 15 or so miles. Yeah, that nationwide active traffic management scheme has got my vote .. now where did I put my passport, time to emigrate me thinks.

  50. Chris Hamilton
    Paris Hilton

    SPECS far better than Gatso

    I dislike speed cameras in general. I have never been fined for speeding so don't hold a grudge, i just dont think they compare to an honest days police work.

    But I would much rather see more SPECS cameras than those damnable Gatso's. On sections of the M4 recently that have had SPECS in place for long term road works, the traffic actually stayed at a constant 50mph (except of course the above noted camera surfers who haven't yet grasped the concept of "average speed", but they do provide some light entertainment on my very long drive to France), however when they put in place temporary Gatso's at a site near Bristol, the traffic often slowed to a sudden and frankly dangerous 40mph.

    I would also hope that these are only installed in congested area's, because lets face it, is there any harm in doing 80mph on the often deserted M74 north of Carlisle?

    On another note... from my experiences in Northern France, the 110kph speed limit seems to be well adhered to, but there are almost no speed cameras. How do they do it? Some new fangled inventions called the Gendarmerie and their more amiable colleagues in the Police Nationale.

    All in a honest days police work monsieur.

  51. Steve

    @ Tom Kelsall

    "ANPR also isn't a problem to me because I maintain a legal status as a driver and vehicle keeper and can prove it at the roadside."

    So, let me get this straight. You don't fear anything because there is nothing that you feel you need to hide? I think we all know how valid that particular argument is.

    For the hard of thinking; the problem isn't *your* legal status, the problem is when they come to data mine the information and you have to prove that your not a terrorist. Why? Because your regular parking spot happens to be next to a house that was used by an asylum seeker. The dictator he's fleeing from happens to be sat on a shitload of oil so we're rounding up his dissenting citizens as "terrorist suspects".

    Unfortunately, the security machine isn't interested in such subtleties and you have repeatedly been in proximity of a suspect making you suspicious by association. The fact that you've never met him is immaterial because that's just what you'd say if you were a terrorist.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Tom Kelsall

    Rubbish, on an unknown road, without looking at your speedo or GPS, or without active cruise control, I can pretty much guarantee that you cannot stick 100% to 50mph - gradients, winds etc. all change the speed you are doing with the same amount of throttle applied.

    FFS, give us more traffpol.

    Paris - because even she could work it out.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @By Me

    I'd agree - far too many cars on the road, and the vast majority having far less qualifications and experience than most truck drivers. It's not the trucks causing accidents - it's the cars. Especially the 70-in-the-middle-lane ones.

    Having said that, your picture does highlight a complete lack of motorbikes on the road.

    That's probably because we've already arrived at where we were going, unencumbered by traffic or average speed cameras. And here in Scotland outside the central belt or M74 you can remove the traffic too.

    Average cameras *do* involve zombie-like speedo watching when your bike has 170bhp - blink and you're doing 70mph not 50. Or god forbid - 40. 40mph is barely on the speedo on a bike that does 100mph in 1st - it's like trying drive a car at less than 15mph in 2nd gear for minutes on end. You M25'ers/Londoners are probably experts, having said that.

    Average cameras are evil - especially 'cos here in East Scotland, I've yet to see what they're actually for, apart from revenue generation (ie no road works in months to protect, no history of jams or accidents, no hazardous road layouts etc).

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ DR

    "just drive say a few miles an hour slower [than the limit], it won't massivly affect your journey time"

    200 miles at 60mph average = 3:20, 200 miles at 90mph average = 2:15 ish, saving more than an hour. Well worth putting your foot down. Cars are very much better than when the 70 mph limit came in - 70 mph in a Morris Minor and 70 mph in a modern car are very different things. Average speed cameras will mean much longer journey times.

  55. Hugh Fiske
    Paris Hilton

    @ By Name

    "When travelling at a safe speed there is no need to look where you are going....."


    Paris says wtf too but she means where not what...

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Average speeds = more dangerous

    ...but not for the reasons your thinking.

    A normal trip for most of us involves:

    1. Get in car

    2. blat down motorway at 80mph for 2hrs

    3. stop for fuel, calls of nature, a coffee etc etc

    4. Return to step 2 and repeat until destination reached

    An "averaged" trip will involve:

    1. Get in car

    2. chug down motorway at 50mph for what feels like all eternity, slowly losing the will to live 1 mile at a time.

    3. do not pull over or you'll never get there

    4. no, really don't - just keep going; you don't have time now.

    5. stop crossing your legs, stop blinking and stay awake. You don't need anything to drink either

    6. Really, I mean it

    7. What do you mean you fell asleep, crashed and your kidneys have exploded??

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @nickj and the AC above

    A modern car can be any car from the last 15 years realistically, and a lot of them do NOT handle well over 70mph. I learned how to drive in a Corsa without power steering and that's only 9 years ago. At 70 the car felt unstable, you could feel everything through the steering wheel (and yes it was roadworthy). You have to apply the law to every possible vehicle on the road, because if you don't, some idiot in a ten year old Corsa is going to spin off because it won't handle 90 well enough.

    The only reason that average speed cameras will mean much longer journey times is because you are breaking the law in the first place. Just because you can get away with it now is absolutely no argument against average speed cameras.

    Of course, you also spectacularly missed the point of what DR was saying anyway. He was referring to people being unable to keep at 50mph, and was, quite obviously, suggesting sticking to something like 45. Even if you go over 45 you've got enough leeway to catch it before you break the limit, and even if you go over for a bit you've got that safety net of doing 5mph under for the longer period of time. Ie you have a 10mph safety net. The journey time is negligible.


    Why do you need a 170bhp bike for road use????

    It's not the responsibility of the police to explain to you how to keep within the speed limit, purely to enforce it, and if you decide to get a vehicle that is difficult to keep within the speed limit, it's your fault if you get fined. No-one else's. The only difference is that if you get fined, or you accumulate enough points and lose your license, it should stop you from hurting someone else.

    As far as vehicle tracking goes, from what I've seen ANPR is used enough to track you already.

  58. Red Bren


    "Let's just ban all cars from motorways and return the UK motorway network to its original intended purpose. The quick and efficient transport of freight."

    Erm, wasn't that the purpose of the railways? Should road freight only be necessary for local distribution?


    Ban all vehicles with more than 2 wheels from motorways and return the network to it's original purpose - a racetrack for motorbikes!


    Mine's the reinforced kevlar one.

  59. Andy

    @Mat Stace

    try 'idiot tax'

  60. Red Bren

    @AC - RE: Average speeds = more dangerous

    Your "normal" trip appears a little simplistic and has missed out some fundamental elements -

    1. Pack family into car. Repeat step one while various children remember vital things like shoes or teddy bears and a final toilet stop.

    2. Queue for 40 minutes to get onto the motorway because every man and his wife has decided that a bank holiday weekend is just the time to go for a drive, selfishly depriving you of empty roads for your bank holiday break.

    3. Get in the fast lane and do 90mph or you're never going to get to the ferry terminal in the time you allocated by travelling at 80mph. Maintain for 30 minutes

    4. Crawl along at 5mph for an hour through the contraflow that the Department of Transport have helpfully set up because bank holidays are the best time to do roadworks as it doesn't stop the proles from going to work to earn taxes.

    5. Threaten violence against the creatures you spawned if they don't stop bickering in the back seat.

    6. Get in the fast lane and get the ton-up as you're falling further and further behind an already impossible schedule. Maintain for 10 minutes.

    7. Slow to 40mph because some moron driving a mini while towing a caravan is trying to overtake an articulated 32-wheeler.

    8. The offspring of satan are now demanding a toilet stop at the earliest opportunity, pull into the next service station and threaten that if they're not back in 5 minutes, you're leaving without them.

    9. Get back in the fast lane and push te rev counter right into the red zone. Maintain for 5 minutes.

    10. Slow to 30mph because the moron in the mini/caravan has miraculously got ahead of you while you were at the services and is now trying to overtake another lorry, this time on an uphill.

    11. Exit motorway and join 5 mile queue of traffic through Holyhead

    12. Lose all ability to read road signs. Hurl abuse at your children for being a distraction and your wife for being unable to read a 20 year old AA roadmap that doesn't show the town's new one-way system.

    13. Arrive at the port to watch the ferry's bow doors closing as it departs without you.

    14. Divorce your wife, disown your kids, wait 12 hours to see if there's space on the next ferry.

    That was an extract from "Summer Holiday with the Brens"

  61. Paul

    My favourite (only) overtaking lorries story

    About 2:30pm on a Friday, A34 just south of Oxford.

    I'm doing 60 with all the good cars haring past in the outside lane, I overtake 2 wagons, the rear one pulling out as I pass him. After about 5 minutes its all gone spookily quiet and I have at least a mile of dual carriageway to my self. Everything in front of me had vanished and I could just see the two wagons still trying to out-drag each other in my mirrors. Oh happy days.

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