back to article El Reg tells you what the Highway Code can't

This week’s big motoring news has to be Swindon Borough Council’s decision to look again at the use of speed cameras. Or is it? El Reg is not so sure, as we explain below. Meanwhile, peculiar parking practices continue to hit the headlines. Red faces all round in Torbay, where one parking enforcement officer attempted to tell …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Am I reading The Register or Private Eye here?

  2. Tim

    i want to pay more for my motoring.

    As i simply do not pay enough. I miserly 1.17 a litre of unleaded, the prospect of only a doubling of road tax, the likelihood that i will be clamped by a "special" traffic warden, and to cap it all, my company may have to pay for the priveledge of me parking my car at their workplace, so passing on the cost to me.

    I tell you, it aint enough....can i have some kind of random "pick on the motorist" as i appear to have some pence left at the end of the month in which to buy such luxuries as food and shelter.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    employers who provide parking for their staff

    Big sign saying "No Parking", problem solved.

    Surely they aren't going to introduce a requirement that they actually prosecute?

  4. Eponymous Cowherd

    Sticks, carrots, and the 'green' excuse.

    ***"This is expected to start in 2010 at £185 per liable parking space and then rise over time to £350. The council believes that by penalising individuals who park in the city, they will encourage greater uptake of public transport."****

    Funny how every 'green' initiative thought up by local and national government is invariably a stick that will cost the motorist money. Never is there a carrot to counterbalance it.

    I note that the BBC article states that the money raised "would be invested back into funding more and better public transport in Nottingham". Notice it doesn't say "cheaper public transport".

    The cynical amongst us might start to believe that these 'green' initiatives are merely an excuse to raise cash.

  5. Steve


    Wow, yet another group who understands the illusion of regression to the mean. Isn't it amazing how all theses unpaid amateurs understand the effect and significance, but not one of the 2000 full time, paid SCP staff (spread across 40-50 partnerships) ever mention it, even though this effect (alone, yes there are other illusions which must be accounted for) knocks off ~80% of their magnitude of their claim. I don't think there can be any doubt that they know that RTTM exists and is very significant, they are knowingly giving misleading statements while obtaining an advantage (their revenue stream) - I believe that's fraud.

    I await the usual ill thought through, fallacious (and irrelevant) responses of 'removing cameras will result with a free-for-all' and ''you shouldn't be speeding anyway'.

    Smeggy out!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Where's Ollie when you need him most then?

    Oliver Cromwell's Speech on the Dissolution of the Long Parliament

    Given to the House of Commons

    20 April 1653

    It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your

    contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and

    enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell

    your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

    Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have

    no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience

    for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

    Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den

    of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the

    whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!

    So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!

    So whats new then? Paris - because she's far more upfront than the 'sordid prostitutes' currently in Her Maj's Government.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ AC

    Don't knock it. It is rapidly coming down to my reading only El Reg and Private Eye - pretty much every other publication seems to aim at the lowest common denominator, and follow the latest trend.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, I can't drive my car

    but I can't take the train because they're overcrowded.

    Obviously this isn't about funding MPs pay rises and second homes it's about safety.

    The UK now seems to have some of the highest taxes in the world collected in possibly the most inefficient way.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    As an employer, I can state that our local council (not Nottingham) has already asessed our premises to see how many parking spaces we have, in preparation for a 'possible' parking levy.

    It's an industrial unit, with an irregular-shaped unmarked yard, in which we park and also perform any loading etc. There is a further yard to the side of the building, used for storage and maintenence. The council has measured up and performed some best case mathematical trickery, and took the figure that would be the case if the yards were 100% dedicated to parking (which they aren't and can never be).

    Isn't local government wonderful?

    Like a previous poster, I feel that driving is FAR too cheap (cough!), I think I might as well just sign over my lifetime earnings now in exchange for 10 minutes driving in a circle in a Reliant Robin at 10mph. What more does anyone want??

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Err

    If you look to the top of your browser window, you will see a conveniently placed URL. No need to thank me.

  11. Mike Smith

    Charging businesses for parking

    Apologies if I'm missing something fundamental, but since when did local councils have the authority to charge landowners for providing off-road car parking spaces? I suppose there might be some extortion room if said business was in leased council premises, but surely a business that owned its own property could tell the council to go fuck themselves?

  12. Jel Mist

    Replace GATSOs with average speed checks

    Steve said: "I await the usual ill thought through, fallacious (and irrelevant) responses of 'removing cameras will result with a free-for-all' and ''you shouldn't be speeding anyway'."

    At the risk of casting pearls before swine, I'm not sure if removing cameras will result in a free-for-all, but it makes me wonder what possible motive there is for objecting to speed cameras unless they cramp your style.

    A valid objection to the long-established and familiar GATSOs is that they make motorists slam on the breaks on approach then take off again afterwards. Just after the A11 joins the A14 eastbound, there is a GATSO and I often see this behaviour. Elsewhere, where average speed checks are in place people actually keep to the speed limits.

    The fact that so many petrol-heads and Jeremy Clarkson wannabes gripe suggests to me that they work and should be left alone.

    And yes, Steve, you shouldn't be speeding anyway.

  13. Arnold Lieberman

    Road Fatalities since speed cameras were introduced

    Th only effect they seem to have had is to have halted the year-on-year decline in fatalities per billion miles driven.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Does it matter?

    Private Eye or El Reg?? Who cares, both are worthy publications.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC : Parking.

    Did you have a big sign saying "No Parking" and tut loudly about the difficulties of enforcement while they were looking round?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Steve

    'you shouldn't be speeding anyway'.

    Well, you *shoudn't*.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Gimme the CAAASSHH!!

    Nottingham council... (shakes head).. so glad I moved from that stinking shitehole.

    I once got a parking ticket whilst parked in a bay with a valid ticket next to a ticket machine, so I could walk from my car to the council office to pay for a previous parking ticket I got registering to get married.. turns out I was parked in a loading bay with the world's smallest sign.. Why was there a ticket machine there eh?

    Dead Vulture = One less parking clown.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Jel Mist

    I once had the pleasure of having a natter with the sales director of SCS Speedcheck, the guys who make the average speed cameras that you see on the motorway. The kit is expensive but has one flaw... people slow down.

    The safety camera partnerships (read cash extractors) can claim back their running costs from the treasury our of fines. This means that if the system costs £100,000 and catches enough people to raise a revenue ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h fines of £200,000 then the SCP gets their hundred grand back and the treasury gets to keep the other hundred grand.

    If, in the case of the SCS Speedcheck offering, the kit costs a bit more but everyone slows down (because they know that it's there and they know that it's pretty damn near impossible to avoid) then fewer people get fined and the SCP has to raise their funds elsewhere. Any GATSO camera out there is intrinsically selected because it raises funds rather than slows people down and that is why they should all be removed and replaced with average speed cameras.

    Besides, with all the debt the government is getting us in to, it makes you wonder where all this cash from the extra stealth taxes is going.

  19. Sliding Billy

    @Mike Smith

    The Transport Act 2000 gave Councils the power to do this

  20. Daniel

    @AC quoting Ollie Cromwell

    I had to read it twice before I realised it wasn't AManfrommars that wrote that.

  21. M

    Re: Parking Fee for 'em Workers in Nottingham

    The "public" transport that the Nottingham City Council is seeking monies to build Tram Line 2 which goes to nowhere worthy!

    Nah! I'll be using the Public Transport with free bus pass anyway! :D

  22. nacnud
    Thumb Up

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    The money in Nottingham is going to be spent on extra tram routes. It may not make travel cheaper but it will up the capacity massively.

  23. Huw Davies

    @Arnold Lieberman

    The episode of Top Gear where the then Minister of Transport, Stephen Ladyman, was the "Star in a reasonably priced car" is a classic as Clarkson had obtained the true figures for accidents in speed camera areas and subjected SL to a fair bit of humiliation. Basically, the speed cameras had done sod all for the numbers, but a great deal for Government finances

    I'm sure it's available from your nearest P2P/Torrent source ;)

    The road sign, as it's an obvious choice...

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Jim

    Nothing new here...

    "Still, it doesn’t yet come close to rates in London. A report out yesterday revealed that London Parking Charges are the most expensive in the world. The monthly rate for parking in the City is top of the list at £586 - exactly double that of New York's midtown area"

    What do you mean double? I assume that it would cost $586 pcm to park in NYC so, given that £1=$1*, then the prices are identical. What are you complaining about ;-)

    Also, the clamping ambulances thing. Given that the private amubulance is blocking the smooth operation of an A&E dept, just what is to be gained by locking it in said position? Surely it would be more practical to tow the offending vehicle and impound it? Or does this have bugger all to do with public safety :-0

    * Exchange rate courtesy of Adobe and MS corps (to name but a few).

  26. Phil Barker

    Camera reports

    What the reports ALWAYS fail to take into account is the fact that the amount of people killed on the A road where the camera is might drop, but on B roads around the camera site where people start driving to avoid cameras it rises

    I'm probably what most of you would class as a "boy racer" and I love speed cameras

    We used to have traffic cops sitting behind every corner with guns and I got 9 points on my license, but now all the funding goes on cameras you can spend £50 at your local halfords on a GPS camera warning system and never get nicked

    Points free for 5 years now!

  27. Jel Mist

    Re. SCS Speedcheck

    "Any GATSO camera out there is intrinsically selected because it raises funds rather than slows people down and that is why they should all be removed and replaced with average speed cameras."

    If fewer people are being fined by average speed checks, that's probably testament to their effectiveness.

    Of course, the most effective way of putting the camera merchants out of business is to deny them any revenue.

    Now... I wonder how we could all do that...

  28. Vincent Curry

    @Arnold Lieberman

    The graph on the link you posted isn't a chart of the number of fatalities per billion miles driven, but a chart of the number of deaths and the amount of miles driven. If you look at the graph carefully, you will notice that the number of miles driven is moving upwards over the period of speed camera usage, whilst the number of deaths is dropping. During the period used for the extrapolation of the trend, the amount of miles driven is reasonably constant. Hence, if anything, this graph demonstrates the reduction in fatalities per billion miles driven over the period in question.

  29. Simon
    Thumb Up

    Here comes the two wheels solution...

    Yup, i found a solution about ten years ago, get a motorbike.

    Where I live its double yellow as far as the eye can see but i can always find a small parking space for the bike.

    Then the commute to work (On a motorway) is through complete gridlock, but I can cruise through the gaps easily enough and always get to work on time. Plus don't forget folks those average speed cameras they install on motorways dont work with motorbikes as they are looking for front number plates (Yes I still have to watch out for the normal speed cameras).

    Then when i get to work they have a charging scheme for parking, but hey, motorbikes are exempt.

    Its cheap on fuel as well. Have never had to pay for parking or any form of fine, ever.

    If you can stand the cold in the winter and the rain in the summer (Gawd bless Blightly!) plus avoid those idiot drivers on their mobile phones its a chance to get out of the motoring meltdown rat-race and have lots and lots of fun.

    First person to call me a smug git will get a nod in agreement off me.

  30. Huw Davies


    Free bus pass in Nottingham?

    You're either over 60 or a special case ;)

    Mine costs me real money.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    IT Angle?

    It has to be asked!!!!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free for all, no matter where you live...

    They're so right, the first thing I thought about was going for a joy ride around swindon...

    ...who on earth thought this?

    Hell, if you really wanted to go speeding around without cameras, you would already know millions of other better places to do so. And, where there cameras were in Swindon.

    Oh well, I hope they remove them so I can make a 200 mile road trip so I can speed through a city durning the day. (From all over the country? what about people 400 miles away, them too?)

    Idiots, Class 1

  33. Glyn

    RE : Replace GATSOs with average speed checks

    "At the risk of casting pearls before swine, I'm not sure if removing cameras will result in a free-for-all, but it makes me wonder what possible motive there is for objecting to speed cameras unless they cramp your style.

    A valid objection to the long-established and familiar GATSOs is that they make motorists slam on the breaks on approach then take off again afterwards. Just after the A11 joins the A14 eastbound, there is a GATSO and I often see this behaviour. Elsewhere, where average speed checks are in place people actually keep to the speed limits.

    The fact that so many petrol-heads and Jeremy Clarkson wannabes gripe suggests to me that they work and should be left alone."

    Are you mad? There's no other explanation for this tripe

    It has nothing to do with cramping of style. Watch drivers at any speed camera and see where they're looking, because it's not at the road, it's at the speedometer. Some idiot kid runs out and splat. Would you rather I hit you at 30mph or miss you at 35mph?

    We'll ignore the fact that pedestrians should follow the green cross code and shouldn't bitch if they get hit when they've just wandered into the road looking for that really good James Blunt track on their ipod.

    When the M6 had the average speed cameras in the roadworks I was left not a little concerned that everyone was watching their speedo and not the road. All it would have taken was one minor slip to have resulted in a massive pile up.

    And cameras (revenue cameras more like) do nothing for drivers doing exactly 50mph, exactly on the speed limit, while tailgating behind someone by 5 feet and the person behind them and the person behind them as far as the eye can see. Speeding never killed anyone. Inadequate stopping distance kills people!

    What we need is some kind of man or woman in a car to....for want of a better word, police...the roads, maybe if we had someone like that they could monitor and prosecute speeders, driving too close, driving with spotlights on, people with no lane discipline on roundabouts and they could also be used to help with other crimes.

    It's a radical idea I know but there's a slight possibility more police on the roads would reduce all manner of dangerous driving, don't you think?

  34. John Robson Silver badge

    A14 Average speed cameras

    I've stopped that commute now, but those average speed cameras were installed and there followed a significant improvement in transit times / consistency.

    My real concern is that if we have a £5 charge for using the toll hard shoulder, where do I park up when I break down?

  35. The Other Steve

    Who cares whether they save lives ?

    Far as I'm concerned, if they really do exist to provide councils with revenue, that's just peachy by me. How is taking money off people who drive like wankers a bad thing ?

    Speed cameras only drive up the cost of motoring for people who are to stupid to understand what speed limit signs are for. Do away with the whole 'safety' aspect, re-label them 'enforcement cameras', and put them on every single stretch of road in these sceptered isles. If this makes a lot of cash, we shall call it "the stupidity tax", and spend the proceeds on cycling facilities and traffic calming measures to further anger the knobheads who filled the coffers.

    And Steve, you really _shouldn't_ be speeding anyway.

  36. Juillen

    "You shouldn't be speeding"..

    Or drinking more than a couple of units of alcohol per week, or taking photos of people on a street (and god forbid they're under the age of 16), buying bananas that are too straight, or apples too small.

    The interesting thing about speed cameras is that they're only allowed to be placed where a given percentile (I think it's the 85th, from memory) is travelling over the speed limit. Statistically, the safest are between the 80th to 90th. So you're capturing quite a few drivers from the safest statistically speaking.

    The reason that people tend to drive over the speed limit is because the roads are empty, and it is safe to do so.

    However, where speed cameras are NOT allowed to be placed is where the 85th percentile is BELOW the speed limit. And guess what! That means people evaluate the road as being DANGEROUS. But hey, you're not allowed to place a camera there by regulation.

    This leads to cameras being placed on roads that are safe, but with high traffic volume (way to maximise the profit!). What it doesn't lead to is placement where it would actually enforce what people evaluate by observation, that it is DANGEROUS to travel at speed on some roads.

    If you go into all the "shouldn't"s that law allows and denies, you'll barely be able to do anything. Racing through crowded roads isn't my thing. I'm no 'boy racer'. No accidents in 21 years of driving almost every day. One incidence of getting caught by a camera, doing 35 in a 30 late at night on an empty, wide road with nobody around.

    Even the guys on the 'safety course' I was obligated to spend 60 quid on and a day of my time on couldn't tell me it was unsafe (when I had that debate with them, they actually conceded that it was perfectly safe).

    Honestly, I think speed limits are a good, average guide rather than a permanent hard rule. If the road is busy, I travel under the limit (sometimes well under the limit).

    If the road is definitely empty, then I travel over the limit. First rules of driving I ever had were "Drive well inside a pessimistic view of your abilities" and "Your driving isn't about how good you are, you have to compensate for all the idiots on the road.".

    Closing speed cams down isn't playing with lives. Generating a culture that says everything is somebody else's fault, and everything can be cured with suing, or threatening someone is playing with lives. And oh, look.. What is the culture of the day..

  37. Steve

    "well you shouldn't be speeding"

    How predictable! Two people have mentioned this without actually commenting on the point of the article and my post.

    To address the disingenuous statements: the problem is that the speed limit has been ratcheted down to what is now generally considered to be unreasonable or unnatural speeds. The end result is that the powers that be are making limits increasingly difficult to abide by, unintentionally or otherwise. One has to consider the possibility that speed limits are being lowered to ensure a steady revenue stream for the SCPs - well they've already repeatedly, knowingly committed the sin of capitalising on the RTTM effect (among other sins).

    Is it really surprising the drivers don't respect limits which earn only disrespect?

    @Vincent Curry

    For the last few years, the number of deaths has remained static and the number of miles driven has not been increasing (in fact just recently it has started dropping due to prohibitive fuel costs).

    This is a better (and more up to date) graph:

    (The vertical scale is road deaths per million vehicle kilometres. The red line is actual data from Department for Transport. The yellow bar is a 'least squares fit' on the curve from 1950 until 1994 with the width of the bar representing 95% confidence intervals). Very telling, especially when considering the 2006 and 2007 data!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Gary Myers

    "Even more ridiculous are the signs stating the number of "casualties". I would rather see a total of how many actually died. After all, they can define "casualty" as they see fit. Dead people are usually pretty well defined!"

    So, losing a leg or an arm, or being totally paralysed or never being able to have kids again, or having to go on dialysis for the rest of your life - rules you less worthy of mention than being dead. Not to mention that you seem to miss the fact that maybe you get off scot free, and you just maim somebody else. Well you didn't kill them so we'll leave you out of the news shall we ?

    I use the word "you" for two reasons :

    1) You (Gary) posted the comment

    2) You (individuals) are the only ones who can affect your driving, you can't change other peoples.

    Softening the subject by saying "we" changes the focus away from personal responsibility.

    The signs are a warning !

    If you're dead, it's all over, no point worrying.

    If you're crippled then you've got to live with the consequences.

    Which prospect appeals to you more ?

    I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who think that they know better. They spend their lives ignoring warnings and even criticising them, even though the signs are designed by the people who spend *their* time scraping such einsteins off the road. I think the police have a better understanding of where and how accidents happen and who is involved. The local authorites have a better understanding of how much the ambulance service is costing to run, and why there is always an upward blip when you get a bit of rain. Where I live, the ambulance station is about 100 yards away, and if I hear it start raining, then I can almost guarantee that within 5 minutes the sirens start. I'm pretty sure they're not dealing with floods.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Jel Mist

    "At the risk of casting pearls before swine, I'm not sure if removing cameras will result in a free-for-all, but it makes me wonder what possible motive there is for objecting to speed cameras unless they cramp your style."

    One more than one occasion I have been driving within the speed limit when the car in front of me, traveling within the speed limit, has suddenly braked hard because they saw a speed camera. My motive for wanting to get rid of them is because they cause erratic behavior with some drivers which can lead to accidents.

  40. Columbus

    bags on the cameras in swindon

    Although suffering from the disability of having to work in Swindon I can confirm the two speed cameras on the A420 in Swindon have fetching "camera not in use " bags over them. Unfortunately for any budding <insert driver of choice> they are only 200 meters from Gable Cross Cop Shop. But in best joined up thinking, they installed a new camera on the A419 last week...

    I can't work out whether I want the Stop or Go symbol...

  41. Guy

    Re Here comes the two wheels solution...

    cold, wet smug git

  42. Mike Smith

    @Sliding Billy

    Thanks. Just had a look.

    Oh Jesus, how I loathe this Government.


  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will councillors pay?

    So once local councils go ahead with this Workplace Parking Levy, which will almost definitely be passed down to the employees, can we expect our local Councillors to start paying for their workplace parking. I doubt it.

    I realise it would be futile to expect the Council to actually pay the levy for their own workplace parking as it's our Council Tax which would surely just go straight back into the Council's coffers (minus admin costs of course), but if the idea is to encourage the use of Public Transport, then surely they should lead by example

    Hey there's a novel idea, Politicians who have to put up with all the rules and regs that they force upon the rest of us!!!

  44. Lukin Brewer

    Car space levy.

    Aren't certain types of business above a certain size required by planning laws and byelaws to provide a certain amount of parking? Could this lead to a conflict of interest?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Re Here comes the two wheels solution...

    It's only cold and wet until you see the faces of the livid caggers who can't understand why they can't drive any faster in their living room on wheels... Then the warm fuzzy feeling kicks in. :-)

    Yes you are inconsiderate.

    Yes you are in my way.

    Yes you are taking a three piece sweet to work with you.

    Yes you are complaining there is no where for you leave it.

    Yes it is you own mode of transport you should be reconsidering.

    In the words of lightning McQeen


  46. Zog The Undeniable
    Paris Hilton

    Swindon speed cameras

    Nope, they're already deactivated, and to prove the point have a big orange "NOT IN USE" bag over them.

    Paris, because she forgot to put a bag over *her* camera.

  47. John Stirling
    Black Helicopters

    statistical analysis - @Steve etc

    That second graph is very enlightening, particularly the left hand scale. Quite clearly it is not possible for that trend to carry on indefinitely, otherwise sometime around 2030 accidents would start to cause people to rise from the dead each year.

    Even the true petrol heads aren't going to claim that for motoring?

    So perhaps we were due for a flattening of the trend, and cameras have simply had no effect, or rather a positive effect that is virtually identical to the negative effect of lots of muppets slamming their brakes on as they come to the camera. Unfortunately in the absence of a control group I guess we cannot be sure.

    However I think any qualitative assessment of the rules shows they are about revenue raising rather than safety for most of the organisations responsible for their installation.

    There is also the wider 'civil liberties' argument, would you prefer a country where you are free to act irresponsibly, but then pay the consequences, or one where the laws prevent and admonish such behaviour even if there were no 'victims'. I favour the former as it allows citizenry to develop a concept of personal responsibility, whereas the latter encourages everything to be someone else's fault. Camera's are firmly a control measure, and I believe that is their primary purpose nowadays - the endemic effect they have to reduce the feeling of personal empowerment.

    Unfortunately, for many their car is a bastion of personal power, and this is why this assault on their freedoms is so serious. If people would only take the other attacks on freedom as seriously we might actually have a chance of reversing the surveillance state.

    Hey ho - mine's the one with a tin foil hood.

  48. Steve

    @ John Stirling

    "That second graph is very enlightening, particularly the left hand scale. Quite clearly it is not possible for that trend to carry on indefinitely, otherwise sometime around 2030 accidents would start to cause people to rise from the dead each year."

    Your understanding is incorrect. The graph uses an exponential scale - it can never reach 0 or go negative regardless of the curve shape. One would expect an exponential type decay for a working policy, hence the graph and the axis is quite correct.

    "Unfortunately in the absence of a control group I guess we cannot be sure."

    A control group is not needed, the illusion has already been proven using the Empirical Bayes method (the Four year report - appendix H).

    Regardless, your comment only reinforces my point, how can the SCPs make such grandiose claims when we ‘cannot be sure’?

  49. Sceptical Bastard

    @ speed defenders

    I've already commented about selfish twats in cars in another comments threads today - see:

    Rather than repeat myself, I'll just pick up two points.

    Steve writes: "... the speed limit has been ratcheted down to what is now generally considered to be unreasonable or unnatural speeds."

    Eh? WTF is a 'natural' speed? And who are you to decide what is reasonable?

    Juillen writes: "I think speed limits are a good, average guide rather than a permanent hard rule."

    Wrong mate - they are not only a hard rule but the law. You can interpret them as a guide if you wish - but don't be surprised when your interpretation lands you a fixed penalty notice.

    Why are petrolheads all as bolshy and stupid as their hero Clarkson?

  50. Mark Allen

    @Will councillors pay?

    Back in the 1990's, Oxford City Council kicked a lot of the private cars out of the town centre. I can't remember the details, but it included banning some companies from having their car parking spaces.

    Obviously there was one exception to this rule... the council kept their own car parks for their own staff to commute in as before...

    (I have to stop typing now... otherwise I'll be off on a major rant about the city I now live in... Brighton's "traffic management"... total garbage... the only thing is clear is they are intentionally jamming up this town to make an excuse to bring in a congestion charge at the earliest excuse....)

    Oh - and then there is that speed camera I pass everyday... put in between two junctions... meaning drivers go past it at 40mph, looking in their mirrors for a flash, and run into the car in front which has stopped to turn right!! There is no question about it - this camera is causing accidents.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    stick don't work - use carrot

    Charging people doesn't work and probably (there's probably a survey) hits poorer people the most. The correct soution is to make public transport free.

    What's that? Doesn't work? Look at Hasselt in Belgium - free public transport, 8x the number of people using it.

    Paris - because even Paris can work out sums like that.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    @Speeding never killed anyone

    ...tell that to the 2 people whom i saw killed by someone driving 45mph in a 30mph zone (one bent double at the knees - forwards even; the other with the back of her head sliced off and her brains spread all over the road).

    You're an idiot.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Speed Kills -or does it?

    Speed does not kill - if it did, the motorways would be THE most dangerous roads in the county - not the safest. It is inappropriate speed - 40mph around a school for example.

    Can confirm that the speed cameras in Swindon have big orange hoods over them so are non-functional. How do i know - I live there.

    Also, with regards to average speed cameras, I had heard that they cannot track you if you change lanes. Not sure how true this is - not going to put it to the test either but it does show that even these beasties are not infallible.

    Fire -because someone torched a Swindon speed camera recently and it hasn't been replaced

  54. Jeremy Wickins

    @Speeding never killed anyone By Anonymous Coward

    You are the idiot. As I've said before in these pages, speeding does not kill. Inappropriate use of speed may lead to death, but it does not, with certainty, kill, but aht isn't as catchy, is it? The vast majority of motorists in the UK , and by that I mean five nines (99.999%) never injure anyone, let alone kill anyone. If speed (or speeding) killed, we'd all be dead, because of the speed with which the earth moves! To be really picky, it isn't speed, but acceleration that can lead to death or injury ...

    Now apologise.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Average speed check...

    ...engages cruise control.

  56. Bruce Sinton

    Dear Glyn

    "Speed never killed anyone"

    Boy, that is a surprise to me. I spent 11years as a volunteer Ambulance Officer ,and so quite a number of dead people , whose cause of death was speed, and the sudden deceleration when hitting something like a power pole.

  57. ShaggyDoggy

    The Point

    The Police have long said that the point of cameras is to slow down traffic.

    So, Jel Mist, people putting on their brakes is surely the desired outcome.

    A cynic might suggest otherwise hopefully.

    Anyway, on to my point ... the other never-actioned-action was that cameras were only sited at places where there had been enough serious/fatal accidents in previous years.

    Talk about missing the point - surely the reason there were accidents is that there is something wrong with the design of the road at that place, not because a camera was not present to make traffic slow down, and the correct action would be to look and analyse why, then provide corrective action thus saving lives.

    Wait ... I've missed the point ......

  58. This post has been deleted by its author

  59. Steve


    Get off your high horse.

    The point Gary was trying to make is that casualties doesn't mean anything. A woman recently ran me off the road into the central reservation. I was doing about 75 - 80 at the time.

    Whilst my car was written off, I had whiplash for a week. Yet I'll be included in the statistics which is pretty unfair.

    Speed had nothing to do with it. (She pulled out in front of me without checking her mirrors!)

    Speed doesn't kill - bad drivers kill. Passing a test doesn't make you a good driver. Judging the conditions of the road, traffic and weather and then making an assesment of how fast you can drive is the sensible thing to do.

    However we have so many crap drivers who will blindly stick to limits or drive at 55mph to make sure they are "safe" that it's causing as many problems on the roads as the "racers" you seems to hate.

    Doing 50mph on a dry, straight and quiet A-road at 6:30am is stupid, It just encourages people to overtake due to fustration. There is nothing wrong with doing 70 on the same stretch of road. You won't suddenly die as soon as the speedo needle goes past 59mph.

    Crap drivers cause the accidents - not "speeding"

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All stick, no carrot.

    I'd love to use public transport but it's proved to be rather difficult. Here in Leeds central government deliberately sabotaged a planned tram system and the bus network is unreliable, infrequent, expensive and shrinking.

    The bus companies have zero incentive to run a useful service outside peak hours and they gouge you for every penny they can get. Hardly surprising then that that trips on local public transport have dropped by a third since 1986 when the bus system was deregulated, all whilst the population of the area boomed. (see West Yorkshire metros own statistics, here: ) The regional bus companies currently enjoy profit margins of 15% to 20%, as compared to 5% in regulated London where the service is actually usable due to money earned being reinvested in the system.

    Night buses no longer run, the price has gone up every few months without fail. If you want to go anywhere other than the city centre you're stuck with a journey of several hours since all circular and cross city routes have been closed.

    They have the cheek to say that increasing the cost of car usage will push people onto public transport? It's much more likely to push people into voting them out.

  61. ShaggyDoggy


    Full marks to ASDA then for restricting their lorries to 40 mph even on 60 mph roads. And they boast about it on the back of the trailer.

    What happens - a huge tail-back of cars taking increasingly mad risks to get past it.

    Well done guys, what's next, cheap petrol ..........

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jeremy Wickins

    I see that you've picked pedantry to defend the indefensible. The generic usage of the word speeding instead of sudden acceleration or deceleration makes not a whit of difference to the situation. If you prefer to use the terms 'sudden acceleration' and 'sudden deceleration' then you can move your arse to the internet and look up the proofs that show that you have much less chance of surviving being hit by a car that's moving at 30mph than at 20mph. I leave you to make the connection between the speed of the car and the amount of sudden acceleration that you experience.

    Furthermore, you don't have to be moved in these situations. If you have a 12 foot brick wall at the back of you then it isn't the sudden acceleration or sudden deceleration of yourself that causes death, it's the 'force' (for want of a better term) that is applied to your body which is directly related to (a) angle of impact, (b) 'weight' of object (or whatever term you prefer other than weight) and (c) the of speed of the obect. If in this situation you're hit by a heavyish object at a slow moving rate (speed) then you have a good chance of surviving. If said object is moving fast (speed) then you're probably fucked. In short, speed kills.

    And if you now resort to pedantic counter-arguments about it being the front of you being squashed by sudden acceleration into the back of you then we will all be able to see you for what you are.

    The original AC isn't an idiot, you are.

  63. Werner McGoole

    Why shouldn't you be speeding?

    Saying that "you shouldn't be speeding" may be correct in law.

    However, it is not a valid logical or moral argument unless you also discuss the speed limit - namely, how it is set, and why it has a particular value. Many, including myself, feel that limits are often set too low for reasons unrelated to road safety. Revenue-raising is often the suspicion, but prejudice, special pleading by pressure groups, misapplication of statistics and plain bureaucratic incompetence probably also play a part.

    So if you want more people on your side, try addressing the issue of how speed limits are decided. If they were all sensible, then I'd agree with you that you shouldn't be speeding.

  64. Andre Lopes

    I've gotta say...

    I've never really considered speed cameras an issue in Swindon personally as there isn't actually that many... off the top of my head, the only one I can think of which I regularly see is the one on the 419 on the hill (which is a complete bitch if you're going downhill and you're just wearing your brakes away). I'm more concerned with mobile speed cameras here.

    I pretty much stick to every 30 residential zone, 40 for all the interconnecting roads between the residential areas but I generally tend to break the 40's on dual carriageways like great western way and queens drive to a little extent.

  65. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    speeding kills.....

    nope wrong. bad driving kills, no ifs buts or any other excuses

    On a motorway the legal maximum sped is 70mph, however merging into the traffic from a sliproad while doing 40 mph(a legal speed) can get you killed. especially if you swerve into the middle lane and a 42 ton artic smears you into the road.

    Or take the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse... (4 cars seen doing 65 mph on a snow covered motorway when everyone else is doing about 30-40) they are not speeding, but any accident will be as a result of bad driving

    Or Mrs Plonker walking her dogs to the park,, gets a call on her mobile and walks straight out into traffic doing 30 mph and dies... was speeding a factor there? you can argue that dropping the limits would have saved her, but then what happens if she does it while cars are doing 20... surely that can be taken to reduce speeds even more, until finally you end up with cars banned from doing more than 2 mph with a man holding a red flag walking in front.

    What would actually improve road safety would be a big iron spike bolted to the steering wheel with a 25 G sensor in it that will fire the spike through the driver if the car experiences an event greater than 25G.

    Or more seriously, less cameras, more traffic cops, more driver education and perhaps an advanced driving licence that entitles you to a 50% discount on insurance and is only valid for 3 years

  66. Rasczak

    Speeding Pedantry

    Some ACs here can't seem to get their heads around the difference between speeding and driving too fast. The simple fact is that driving too fast is always dangerous, however whether speeding is dangerous depends on the circumstances.

    Going over the proscribed limit is speeding, however that of itself is not necessarily dangerous. Someone could however be driving well below the proscibed limit and although not speeding, they could certainly be driving dangerously as they are going too fast for the conditions, for example if it is wet, icy or snowing. On the flip side driving too slowly can also be dangerous, indeed the Highway Code allows for signs giving a minimum speed limit as well as a maximum.

    I don't think that anybody here has suggested that driving too fast is not dangerous, just that there are circumstances where driving at a speed above the limit is not driving too fast, and that maybe the limits themselves are wrong and in need of review.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Furthermore, you don't have to be moved in these situations. If you have a 12 foot brick wall at the back of you then it isn't the sudden acceleration or sudden deceleration of yourself that causes death, it's the 'force' (for want of a better term) that is applied to your body which is directly related to (a) angle of impact, (b) 'weight' of object (or whatever term you prefer other than weight) and (c) the of speed of the obect. If in this situation you're hit by a heavyish object at a slow moving rate (speed) then you have a good chance of surviving. If said object is moving fast (speed) then you're probably fucked. In short, speed kills."

    Go to the bookshop and buy the book titled "Basic Physics for Ignorant F**kwits"

    Start with Newton's 2nd law: Force = mass x acceleration

    Note, NOT speed, acceleration!

    If you were thinking of going into any form of engineering/science profession, do the world a favour, don't.

    Even the BBC and other mass 'medja' outlets have stopped referring to 2 cars crashing into each other, each doing 60mph, as having a 'combined speed' of 120mph. If journalists can manage it, so can you (Ms Bee et al excepted, natch).

    Paris because, well, even she took high-school physics. And passed (OK I made that bit up but she might have done).

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: ASDA

    The National Speed Limit for Goods vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight on a Single Carriageway is 40mph - go and look it up in the Highway Code! The reason ASsociated DAiries "boast about it on the back of the trailer" is to inform pillocks such as you that it's the speed limit for that vehicle!

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Ello, ello, ello?

    @ Gary Myers and Glyn

    Average speed cameras do seem to work very well in the right circumstances. Road works with cameras keep the speed down so that the workers are safe. I have been on foot on motorways many times and it is not somewhere you want to be with vehicles bowling past at speed. I'm, perhaps, being flippant when I say that a human body when hit by a fast moving vehicle is often not 'well defined'.

    A certain stretch of road may be extremely dangerous and due to speed and other factors have caused many casualties but no deaths.

    @ Andy Poulton

    If people thought it was bad when drivers braked for a speed camera it will be a f*ck sight worse if they start changing lanes instead. I might be sticking my neck out here, but that is bollocks.

    It's been a while since I used ANPR as we had it fitted in one of our vehicles. I'm sure they have got round the problem now but it wouldn't read front or rear plates on a white or silver background. Brilliant for any 'white van men'!

    @ Shaggy Doggy

    There's a reason for that!

    HGV's maximum speed limits are different to other vehicles. They have a limit of 60 mph on motorways and dual carriageways with a national speed limit sign (believe it or not). When on a single carriageway (with no central reservation/divider) they must do NO MORE THAN 40mph regardless of any higher speed limit for the road. HGV drivers have the added 'bonus' of actually recording their speed at all times. That way if they have a prang 'the filth' can check what speed they were doing.

    @ Jeremy Wickens

    In other words it isn't the jumping off tall buildings that kills people it is the hitting of the ground. You knob!

    Mine is the flourescent jacket with the slight odour of bacon about it!

  70. James

    Speed is One Single Aspect of Safety

    'Speed' is usually implied to be 'excessive speed' while it would be more appropriate to refer to 'inappropriate speed'. Among the many arguments against speed cameras expounded above, there seems to be almost no mention of the fact speed doesn't kill, crap driving does (except for Steve).

    Here are just a few dangerous things that I've seen that all occurred below the speed limit for cars and would have never been detected by speed cameras

    * Overloaded trailer weaving down the road (not all vehicles share the same speed limit, trailers is one example) crossing the central reservation periodically.

    * Joining a motorway at 40mph when the traffic is cruising at 70mph, causing numerous people to emergency brake.

    * Changing lane without checking mirrors, either into a space occupied by another vehicle of into the space about to be occupied by a faster moving vehicle.

    * Missing a motorway turning and reversing up the slip road

    * Old banger, overloaded with teenagers weaving through dense traffic in the pouring rain.

    * Elderly drivers crawling along at 40mph on dry straight main road, sticking to 40mph on entering a village with a 30mph limit.

    * Prius drivers doing the same but while watching their efficiency meter

    I could go on and on...

    Get rid of cameras and replace them with competent traffic police who don't have spurious targets to meet and who have discretion to distinguish between people driving safely but quickly and those who are actually dangerous irrespective of how fast they drive.

  71. Ron Eve
    Thumb Up

    @RE : Replace GATSOs with average speed checks By Glyn

    Lawks a mercy! Glyn. Someone else who realises that nothing can beat human eyes on the road.

    I've been driving oooh over 40 years, cars, trucks and my favourite - motorbikes. And I can tell you categorically the only thing that makes a sensible driver is a police car up ahead. It's truly miraculous. Everyone travels at similar speed, uses indicators to change lanes properly, no-one tail-gates. Most people figure out the police travel a few mph under the local limit so other road users can ease by slowly and safely. Why? Because they know the police are WATCHING. Not some dunb-ass camera....

    And while we're on the subject. Can something please be done to prevent trucks passing each other - onne at 50 mph the other at 51mph...


    (p.s. I've had a good collection of speeding tickets and fines over the years. Hey ho)

  72. Ron Eve

    Oh dear

    It's a shame really that so many people get their knickers in a twist over 'speed'.

    Speed is a relative term, FFS.

    Travelling at 80mph on a housing estate two lane road is 'too fast'. The same speed on an dual carriageway on a Sunday morning is not. In hundreds of thousands of miles travelled (around the world) I can only think of a couple of accidents witnessed that might be attributed to 'excessive speed' and, quite honestly, these may have been as much due to driver incompetence.

    On the other hand I've seen dozens of 'accidents' that were the result of sheer incompetence or bloody-mindedness and absolutely nothing to do with 'speed'.

    Cameras are used for two reasons only. Revenue and political expediency. Case closed

  73. Steve Evans


    They do say you can prove anything with statistics.

    I remember checking out the figures for a speed camera near me... The headline figure showed a reduction in accidents.

    However, when you check the figures, although the total number of accidents dropped, the number of fatalities actually rose!

    Now I don't know about you, but people actually dying outweighs a few reduced dents, grazes and bruises!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Funny that, I used to park at that car park quite a lot as one of the sites I worked at was literally just yards away. Luckily though never got a parking ticket there.

    I wouldn't have been surprised if the traffic warden was trained to work out time in this way as a new 'scheme' by our Mayor who thinks it's a good idea to spend stupid amounts of money on a bloody hot air balloon.

    Anonymous and black helicopters because I just don't trust the council.

  75. Lorenz Kahl

    Transport - NZ Style

    Here in Wellington, NZ where i work, there is free car-parking at all the railway stations on the commuter routes. The fares are really very cheap, comparatively and the services fairly reliable and frequent at peak times. Even in the CBD parking can be found for about £5 per day.

    At my local hospitals in Nelson and Blenheim (S.Island) there are no parking charges and plenty of space. Also you can usually get a hospital appointment at a time that you request.

    There are a few speed cameras but those that are working do not come with 'demerit points', only a fine. Hand operated cameras / cop-car mounted speed devices incur both points and fines.

    Why there hasn't been a revolution against Za-nu- Labah and it's revenue-raising schemes I cannot understand, although I sincerely hope they get the result they thoroughly deserve when they eventually are forced to call an election.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    Speed cameras are ridiculous

    It's been said elsewhere, but I'll make the key points again.

    1) The statistics behind speed cameras are rubbish. If you have a fatal accident once every 10 years on a particular road, and put a speed camera up after the last one, it's pretty obvious that there is a very high chance that the speed camera will "work" the following year.

    2) Actually, as is pointed out very well further up the article, the introduction of speed cameras extensively over the last 10 years has actually resulted in the decline of road deaths stopping. The reason for this is obvious, in the same time as speed cameras have increased, traffic police have significantly declined. Traffic police are very useful because they can also stop people for other offences. I should point out that I always speed - and in my entire life I've been caught exactly once - by a traffic policeman. I have been stopped one other time by cops, for a defective brake light, for which I was actually quite thankful - I would prefer it to be spotted and fixed than not. Speed cameras can't do that can they?

    Now some other points.

    First, the anonymous coward who replied to Jeremy Wickins desperately needs to take a basic physics class. Acceleration or deceleration is exactly what kills. The human body can quite happily travel at any speed you give it, but is only capable of taking about 6 or 7g sustained, and about 20g in an instantaneous force. Having said that, Jeremy Wickins also needs to take a basic physics class. The reason speed is dangerous is because of the kinetic energy in a moving body that must be dissipated in stopping that body. Kinetic energy increases with the square of the speed of a body. Brakes in a car dissipate energy in a relatively linear way - this is why stopping speeds increase with the square of the speed of the car. Also, during a crash (say running a car into a solid immovable object) the energy in the car is dissipated by deformation of the car. Only when the crumple zones in the car have been deformed to their maximum does the impact on the driver start to push into the danger areas (ie deceleration well over 10g). The crumple zones can only absorb so much energy so at higher speeds, the crumple zones can no longer protect the driver/passengers from excessive acceleration or deceleration forces. Hitting a pedestrian is slightly different, because the pedestrian weighs far less than the car, they are accelerated up to the speed of the car very very quickly. It is the acceleration that kills, but the acceleration will be more severe if the car is going quickly in the first place since the speed the pedestrian is accelerated to is higher, but the time to accelerate the pedestrian is lower. Having said all this, you have to take into account that with adequate stopping distances (ie keeping your distance, and slowing down when pedestrians are in the area), you should avoid all impacts. And adequate stopping distance, and slowing down around schools has nothing to do with your speed elsewhere. Speed does not kill, but driving at inappropriate speeds for the area you are in, or not driving safely for the speed you are at will definitely kill. Most people will massively misjudge what is a safe stopping distance in an average car at 100mph. It is this common misjudgement which makes a law preventing you doing 100mph sensible.

  77. Glyn

    @Bruce Sinton & @AC

    "Boy, that is a surprise to me. I spent 11years as a volunteer Ambulance Officer ,and so quite a number of dead people , whose cause of death was speed, and the sudden deceleration when hitting something like a power pole."

    So, the speed didn't kill them, like I said, inadequate stopping distance kills people. Also driving too close kills people, not paying attention to the road kills people, bad weather kills people, etc.etc.etc. Saw a car upside down the other week having chopped down a telegraph pole. Cause of accident, not turning at the corner because he was changing radio station. Speed was irrelevant, maybe if she'd been doing 10 mph then she'd have had time to notice she was all over the road, but if you're going to be taking your eyes off the road through a section of road that a roller coaster would be happy to have, then you've pretty well written your own entry in the Darwin awards.


    "You're an idiot."

    It's nice that you can be rational and impersonal about these things

    "tell that to the 2 people whom i saw killed by someone driving 45mph in a 30mph zone (one bent double at the knees - forwards even; the other with the back of her head sliced off and her brains spread all over the road)."

    Where were these people when they were hit? In the middle of the road, after just stepping out, like the people you see everyday shoving their prams into the road to stop traffic ( had several kid fatalities because of this around here )

    Was the driver OTL? Was it raining, was it night, was the driver trying to retrieve that bit of kitkat from down the back of the seat?

  78. Jel Mist

    Pragmatic approach to speed

    "Crap drivers cause the accidents - not "speeding""

    In France, the speed limit in towns and villages is 50 km/h. There are no speed limit signs usually; this is the default limit written into law.

    I agree to some extent that bad driving is as much to blame as speed per se.

    I would add two qualifications.

    1. In built up areas, where pedestrians are expected to share the road with cars, 30 mph is quite fast enough, full stop.

    2. On the open road, if it were to me I would say that any speed is okay on condition that you can come to a complete standstill within the distance you can see to be clear.

    Come to that, you should never be unable to stop within the stretch of road that you can see to be clear.

    I have to say, though, in some of the posts above I see the impatience and fury mirrored in the faces I see in the mirror when I'm being tail-gated for having the impertinence and sheer effrontery to decide that 55 mph is quite fast enough. Yes, the limit is just that: a limit. It is not a target. Sometimes, depending on the type of road and weather conditions, it is prudent to ease off the accelerator a bit.

    If someone gets on my tail, this essentially increases my stopping distance. Why? If I have to do an emergency stop and someone's kissing my bumper, the chances are the cretin'll plough straight into the back of me. So I have to ensure that, if the car in front does an emergency stop, I can also stop safely without being rear-ended. Result? I increase the distance between me and the car in front and reduce my speed.

    Tail-gating is just soooooo counter-productive.

    Guys: Get a little patience.

  79. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    Revenue cameras

    The problem with speed camera policy is that speed doesn't have to be the principal cause of or even a contributary factor to accidents used to justify the placement of a speed camera. Any old fatality will do, even if it was the fault of a pedestrian or cyclist.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Where were these people when they were hit?"

    One was on the pavement, not even at the kerbside, walking down the pavement to meet his girlfriend. The other was a passenger in the car.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed v Safety ....

    We had a big furor here recently because a roundabout had been included in the 50mph speed limit of the approach roads and had not been set at 30, which "made it dangerous for people crossing the road". I have always advocated driving to road conditions and environmental factors. Then when you have the time you check the speed v the official limit. At roundabouts I am looking at other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, on roundabout traffic, approaching traffic from the right and left. I don't have much time left for checking the speedo as well. I wasn't even aware of the special roundabout speed limits. The fact that I remain constantly aware arises from several near misses when at the last second, cyclists have appeared out of a blind spot right in front of me, I have always stopped in time however if I had also added the speed check who knows what might have happened in the short time one's eyes and attention are not focused on the road.

    I can't understand why the people moaning don't realise that anyone who approaches a roundabout with the attitude that "the sign says 50 so I am doing 50" is best removed from the roads asap and that for the rest of us, the actual limit does not even "exist"

    For the chap who queried natural road speed, it is the speed you will drive along a road quite happily and feeling safe taking into account road conditions and dangers without the factors of enforced speed checking built in. By it's very nature, every road has one and deviation from this raises serious issues. If you are forced to travel slower then you are constantly removing your consciousness from the road ahead whilst carrying out the speed check, or looking for ways past the mobile obstruction. If you are forced to travel faster then you no longer feel safe and your overall control of the vehicle is at risk. You will hear reference to the 85 percentile, which is the governing factor. There will be people who naturally drive faster than this but for the majority this is the safest speed giving maximum time for awareness and as a side issue not many will attempt to queue jump.

    As for "safety" cameras, simple figures will prove it. The number of people caught by a "safety camera" v the number of "these people" involved in an accident at the safety camera site. There is the only justification!

    One assumes that the figures for accidents caused by the unnecessary braking when already below the limit would not be included as the official speed limit has not been breached.

    Meanwhile re the 45 in a 30 comment. How was that caused by "speeding"? Assuming the victims did not take suicide leaps, it was most likely to have been the result of "dangerous driving" where the driver was driving very inappropriately for the conditions. Excessive speed was but one element but why should the 99.999% be tarnished because of the complete lack of ability of a few just because some tax collector wants more.

    Before cameras, the police followed you for 1/2 mile, during which time you failed to notice them and also exceeded the speed limit by a reasonable amount. They did usually allow 9mph unless they were feeling bolshy so if you got caught you needed a wake up call. Now the cameras are instantaneous with much lower tolerances so constant attention to the speedometer is required at supposedly exactly the time when all the attention should be upon the road.

    Thanks for the history reminder as I had forgotten that OC disbanded parliament and if you changed it to text speak the justifications would be more apt today. That could well be why recent governments have decimated the armed forces.

    Our major problem is that since Yes Minister, the governments have devolved too much to the local councils and now trough problems are rife there as well, so any purging would have to include Westminster HOP, Whitehall management and the Council management as well. Probably too much for us to recover from.

    Bugger, just realised that they have covered all dissent with anti terrorst legislation. Mine's the Orange Jump suit - probably the only way I'll get a Caribbean holiday for some time to come.

  82. Lee Fear

    To all you speed camera supporters

    I have no problem with enforcing speed limits but Speed Cameras are not used for this purpose and that is waht annoys people. Where I live there is an small area containing 3 large Secondary schools 1 sixth form college, 1 technical college a couple of junior and infant schools, a sports centre and a park. This means that there are around 6000 kids flooding the area each morning and evening. There have been a quite a few deaths but generally people drive sensibly as it everyone knows that there are a ton of kids around. Now ask yourself if there should be speed cameras on these roads..... most sensible people would say yes, however there are NONE! Well why would there be, it would help stop the deaths but not that many people speed on these roads to make much money from them. Now about half a mile away there is a road on which I can't even remember seeing an accident let alone deaths or serious injuries (hardly any pedestrians walk down it and the road is very straight so not much chance of crashing), However people do exceed the speed limit quite regularly down this road. Should speed cameras be put down this road rather than by the schools? Most sensible people would say no.... however there are speed cameras down this road. Well there would be wouldn't there as there is money to be made although not many people to protect.

    The other problem is that this road used to be 40mph, the speed limit was dropped to 30mph and the speed cameras put in. Nothing wrong with this I hear you say. Well it probably would have been fine if they had not merely took the 40mph signs down and failed to put up 30mph signs. Drivers were getting caught for driving at the speed that they thought was correct having not been told that the speed limit had changed!! Purposeful in order to make some cash? I think so......

    Another road near me which is also straight with no pedestrians of any number and no bad crashes that I can ever remember has 4 speed cameras on it now and since the cameras were put in there have been a number of crashes caused by drivers slamming on their breaks. One was very bad as a car breaked hard and was hit by the driver travelling behind. This pushed the car onto the other carridgeway into the path of an oncoming car. 2 drivers had to be cut from the wreckage caused part by not paying attention to the road and surroundings and part by the speed cameras causing unecessary breaking! Also not all of these crashes are caused by speeding motorists breaking for the cameras, Many are caused by people traveling at the speed limit, suddenly noticing the cameras and breaking out of panic. I also have a friend at a council who openly says that the cameras are placed to make a profit and the safety is not of concern.

  83. matthew


    ... change speed limits outside of towns to 'suggested safe speed' and have 10mph above that before speed cameras will activate. rigid speed limits are useless in most instances (other than in towns and villages). put more police on the road to catch drivers doing stupid things, speed is not the issue, unsave driving is.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I'm all in favour of cameras. They allow me to dump any points onto my buffer-licence, otherwise known as the wife's licence. Can't get away with that with an actual flesh-and-blood member of her majesty's babylon.

  85. Andrew Meredith
    IT Angle

    Replace GATSOs with real Coppers !!

    "Replace GATSOs with average speed checks

    By Jel Mist

    Posted Friday 18th July 2008 13:08 GMT

    [...] but it makes me wonder what possible motive there is for objecting to speed cameras unless they cramp your style."

    What winds many of us up is not the presence of the GATSOs, but the all but complete absence of any other form of automotive policing. It now seems that the only sin on the road is going faster than the (quite often) politically inspired arbitrary speed limits. It's almost the only road safety message that is being put out there. It's on the radio, the telly and even on the cinema!

    You will now find people who genuinely feel they are doing society and their fellow motorists a big favour by plodding along at an average 35-40 MPH on perfectly clear and serviceable roads with posted 60 limits; but who are incandescent that they can no longer use their handheld mobiles while driving and who quite regularly drive home at 10:30 with several more than a couple of pints in them.

    If the existence and placement of speed cameras was self evidently inspired by accident rates and road safety and not by catching people speeding on genuinely faster pieces of road ...

    I understand that there is a speed limit. However, which is the more dangerous.

    1 - Someone doing 80 on a 70 limit dual carriageway with nothing in front up to a clearly visible distance of a mile ahead in broad daylight on a clear dry day.

    2 - Someone doing 45 MPH in the middle lane of a busy but not congested motorway, forcing 3 lanes of traffic into the outside lane and creating a several mile long tailback.

    One is legal and one is dangerous and sadly they aren't the same one.

    The laws are supposed to prevent dangerous behaviour, not become an end in themselves. Breaking road traffic law isn't in and of itself dangerous, they can only ever be an approximation and the politicos and safety nazis need to keep that one VERY clearly in mind.

    IT: Because we need to get back out of the habit of jonesing for technological solutions to purely human problems.

  86. Russell


    1) As anyone who has been to Swindon will note, if you are in the town centre your thoughts turn to leaving the area for somewhere a bit less crap, as quickly as possible. The council should be applauded for making this task a little easier. To claim that the local boy racers will now come flocking to turn Swindon into some kind of Saxo GP circuit is grossly to underestimate the intelligence of your average Max Power reader - not to mention the fact that they already have the perfectly good Greenbridge cinema carpark for all burnout-related activities.

    2) On a less frivolous note, one of the most intelligent comments made here has been:

    "Come to that, you should never be unable to stop within the stretch of road that you can see to be clear."

    This was drilled into me by my driving instructor, and it seems so fundamental that I have no idea why it is not displayed on all those useless dot matrix displays on motorways, instead of "helpful" advice like "Don't phone whilst driving", "Queue ahead" (whilst you're already stationary) and "Breathe in, breathe out." If everybody followed this rule, there would be a grand total of 0 fatal accidents caused by car drivers each year.

    My personal view on speed cameras is that if you get caught by an obvious one - diddums. Should have been concentrating harder - it's difficult to drive quickly, and if you can't spot a bright yellow box on a pole, what chance have you got of spotting the kid whose football has just gone in the road, or the deer that's about to jump out from behind that hedge? However, I deplore the bastard unmarked Transits that sit on motorway bridges (specifically the one over the A46 between Coventry and the M40, always illegally parked). What can they claim to be achieving, other than raising cash?

    Rather than this somewhat disingenuous focus on speed as the root of all evil, perhaps some "Safety Partnership" representatives should be sent to Scotland, where signs on the A9 carry advice such as "Frustration causes accidents: allow faster traffic to pass." This would have two effects: Firstly, it would allow them to witness some excellent driving (probably the best I have encountered in the UK), some well-surfaced roads and some intelligently-sited speed cameras. And secondly, once they'd got to Wick we could close the barriers, leaving the bastards stuck there just in time for winter.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hide average speed camera's?

    People say that people are still breaking heavily when they see average speed cameras so why not just hide then like they used to do with normal cameras. After all if the road is subject to an average speed check it does not matter where on the road the camera are does it?

  88. The Boffin

    @Russell Re: A46

    I know well that unmarked Transit that sits over the A46 between Coventry and the M40. I regularly use the exit where it sits. A colleague of mine had the termerity to ask the occupants of said Transit the justification for placing the speed detector there. He was told that it was because of the number of accidents in the vicinity and that the figure also included those caused by severe braking due to the presence of the van. As I say, I use that junction regularly and I am not aware of any fatalities or serious accidents on the carrigeway itself. However, there have been several on the slip roads (where the speed is not monitored) due to dangerous driving.

    If they are not fund raisers then why isn't the speed limit put on the same post as the camera warning sign?

  89. smell fresher
    Thumb Up

    Weed out the bad from the good

    Get rid of speed limits. No signs. You drive as fast as you want.

    Get experts to decide a maximum safe speed for accident black spots. Stick up speed cameras. Anyone caught going over the unadvertised safe speed limit is a dangerous driver who should be banned.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    root of the problem

    Before this morning I'd have thought the parking enforcement guy was pretty dim. Now, after reading the comments on hectares v. acres, I understand that the fault lies in the UK's willful refusal to adopt the decimal hour.

  91. Steve

    Some enlightenment for all you speedophiles (those truly obsessed with speed)

    I'm obsessed with those obsessed with speed...

    @ Sceptical Bastard

    "Eh? WTF is a 'natural' speed? And who are you to decide what is reasonable?"

    Actually there is already a system to derive a safe speed limit. It is done by removing a limit and measuring where the resultant 85th percentile (of vehicle speed) is – you see, it is a proven fact that those who drive at the 85% speed (remember, with no limit in place) are those least likely to be involved in an accident.

    The flip side: should we really be leaving such decisions to those to gain from defining (as well as encouraging) criminal activity?

    @ ShaggyDoggy

    The point of cameras was supposed to be to make the roads safer – not vehicles slower; they actually only managed to make money.


    the claims of speed camera effectiveness has been PROVEN to be a gross exaggeration (by about a factor of 5), indeed that was the case 3-4 years ago (and even that analysis was optimistic, the overall figure could be negative). This has resulted with misallocation of resource – towards these ineffective measures.

    The ‘Contributory factors to road accidents’ (dft_transstats_612594.pdf) report corroborates the general argument that the effectiveness of speed cameras is significantly overstated. It shows that the percentage of KSIs caused by exceeding the speed limit, the only behaviour a speed camera can possibly change, is surprisingly small: “Exceeding speed limit was attributed to 3 per cent of cars involved in accidents” (page 11), and that figure includes joyriders and those who just can't be bothered to learn to drive or register their car properly.

  92. Ross

    Touchy subject :o)

    1. Average speed cameras do rock - there's a section on the way to Braintree and the traffic just flows freely as you don't get the 'tards doing the whole accelerate/over brake thing.

    2. Re: Ron Eve and Police cars. Heh - you just reminded me of the Meaning of Liff. I think it was "Carnation - a line of cars all moving at exactly the same speed as the first one is a Police car". Probably misquoted but it was 15 years ago...

    3. A few ppl saying that having actual plods in cars on the motorway is a better deterent than cameras. It may well be, but given that plods cost an awful lot of money to employ, train and equip, wouldn't it be better to let average speed cameras do the easy job of reminding ppl there's a speed limit, and let the plods do the jobs that cameras can't?

    4. Anyone complaining that the accident was the guy in fronts fault should be taken out and shot. It's *your* job to ensure an adequate braking distance given the current conditions. That needs to take into account the possible catastrophic failure of the vehicle in front, or the fact he might drive headlong into a stationary object you can't see. Unlikely yes, but if you can't stop in time for some heavy braking then it's your fault - no one elses.

    5. With that in mind, ppl that overtake then pull in to your "safe stopping distance" zone should also be taken into the woods and forced to dig their own grave before being dispatched.

    6. The fact that you don't agree with a speed restriction does not give you carte blanche to ignore it. If you feel that strongly then write to either your local Traffic Management department at the local council, or the TRA and tell them. If they disagree I'm sure they know an awful lot more about the situation than you do, so live with it. If they agree, woot!

    7. Grow some balls. I'm sorry, but if you do wrong (in this case speeding) and you know you;re doing wrong, then just suck it up if you get caught. Don't bleat about "human rights" or "natural speed limits". Just pay the f***ing fine ok?

    8. Public transport too full...petrol too expensive...blah blah. If you're driving then either i) it;s the best option for you so quit moaning; or ii) you are thick - take the public transport.

    Disclaimer - this is not directed at anyone in particular ('cept #2 and it says so). If you feel offended, I don't care - please don't tell me. I post merely for my own gratification. Speaking of which....

  93. Wayland Sothcott

    Employee parking now a hocky pitch

    Just mark out the carpark as a hocky pitch but let people park on it.

  94. Steve

    touchy subject for Ross perhaps?

    "Average speed cameras do rock - there's a section on the way to Braintree and the traffic just flows freely as you don't get the 'tards doing the whole accelerate/over brake thing."

    Of course you still do - at the entry point of the first camera; heck you even see people do it again at the second (they probably didn't spot the first one).

    "It may well be, but given that plods cost an awful lot of money to employ, train and equip, wouldn't it be better to let average speed cameras do the easy job of reminding ppl there's a speed limit,"

    Why does no-one ever consider the option of letting the plods recover their expenses via court proven cases of dangerous driving?

    Cameras only remind people after the event, by then it’s too late!

    "The fact that you don't agree with a speed restriction does not give you carte blanche to ignore it."

    I agree, but what if the majority of drivers do it, in complete safety and consideration with others?

    "write to either your local Traffic Management department at the local council"

    You mean the people who have something to gain (albeit not directly) by applying such restrictions in the first place? (PS, I might add, I’ve started writing to MPs drawing their attention to the facts regarding true camera effectiveness).

    "Grow some balls. I'm sorry, but if you do wrong (in this case speeding) and you know you;re doing wrong, then just suck it up if you get caught. Don't bleat about "human rights" or "natural speed limits". Just pay the f***ing fine ok?"

    Grow some brains?

    Your statement would have been technically correct if you had said 'if you do something illegal', not 'wrong'. We have reached the point where wrong != illegal. Besides, do authorities really consider the interests of the populous instead of their own little empire? I think not given the RTTM debate!

    The concept of natural speed limits has already been proven (as I've already highlighted).

    PS, I've never been caught, never had to pay the fine - so you can't accuse me of 'bleating'.

  95. Paul Stephenson


    "5. With that in mind, ppl that overtake then pull in to your "safe stopping distance" zone should also be taken into the woods and forced to dig their own grave before being dispatched."

    So by your logic, contradicting your previous statement, we should all drive at twice the distance required to stop so that the person overtaking you has an adequate stopping distance to the car in front of you once he passes you. Nice one, genius.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    No, the overtaking motorist shouldn't pull in until they've gone past the safe stopping distance of the vehicle they're overtaking.

    And, I'm surprised that no one else has mentioned the obvious problem of average speed cameras... ANPR and thus tracking. Black helicopters, as they've been replaced by average speed cameras just south of Newry.

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