back to article Wales adopts mobile average speed cameras

The Welsh government is planning to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to cut road deaths. Officials told the National Assembly for Wales Enterprise and Learning Committee that the Welsh government is moving towards adopting average speed camera technology, although not everywhere and not as a …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And so continues...

    The Welsh plods obsession with cars and speeding. They will not be content until the M4 in Wales is a 20mph max stretch of road.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Calibration worries?

    Is it just me or is anyone else worried that some muppet will forget to tell the cameras how far apart they are once they've been moved? Looking forward to seeing reports of people going 120 in a 40 zone.

  3. Matthew 4
    Pirate

    the pirates

    looking at your speed instead of the road ? yeah that will save lives

    FAIL

  4. \\\

    We've all ready got them.

    I'm confused. The article suggests they are coming to Wales, yet the Cardiff to Newport stretch of the M4 has been reduced to 50 and littered with cameras on yellow poles.

  5. ForthIsNotDead
    Headmaster

    A couple of mistakes...

    Dear El Reg,

    I noticed a few errors in your report, so I thought I would edit it just very slightly. Hope you don't mind:

    "The Welsh government is planning to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to bring some extra wonga into the government coffers."

    "He said that the first average speed cameras will be mobile, rather than fixed, so that they can be moved around to the best cash generating areas."

    "Committee chair Gareth Jones said: "While the UK may have, statistically, the safest roads in Europe we should not rest on our laurels. We believe the Welsh government should grab the opportunity to bring some serious cash in and show we can lead the way in taxing the shit out of law abiding citizens, whilst leaving the Chav contigent free to sell drugs to children and mug old grannies."

    There. Fixed it for you. No charge!

  6. Gordon Jahn

    Minimum speed!

    It seems that the police see road safety as purely being about speed limit compliance, but tackling driver frustration would go a long way to help too, especially in Wales with all the twisty turny roads.

    I'd like to see the police pulling more drivers for driving too slowly for the road conditions - I'm thinking those who only drive at 40, whether in a 60 limit or a 30 limit - so that those of us who obey the speed limits, but like to drive as fast as is safely possible within that limit, aren't inconvenienced by these drivers.

    Perhaps having a notional minimum speed on the cameras too and dropping these people a letter when they are well below "average" to warn them that the behaviour is unacceptable would also help to reduce accidents. It must be possible to review the averages to find outliers at the end of the day and this would allay driver concerns that the police just want to automate, automate, automate so they can go after the photographers.

  7. David 45

    Revenue

    Oh yes.......safety, eh? A likely story. Just as everywhere else in the country, it's just a source of more revenue. Why Wales, anyway? It's all hills, unless they're clocking all the down-hill runs.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    So long and thanks for all the scofa bread

    I avoid all ANPR sites if I can - it's just little law abiding me trying to pretend I live in a free country.

    It is VERY clearly time to leave this over taxed, over crowed little prison.

  9. mmiied
    Go

    so

    "Evidence has shown that average speed cameras are more effective in achieving driver compliance,"

    so of all the ways to spend mony making drivers obay a arbratry speed limite these are the best?

    w00t?

  10. Michael Smith
    FAIL

    Really automatic?

    I recall a bus getting booked for driving at 153 km/h on the Hume Freeway here in Victoria, Australia a couple of years ago. After it was pointed out that this was an impossibility for that vehicle, operators checked back and found that its registration was identical to that of another vehicle on the same road, except for two transposed characters.

    Nobody explained how their automatic rego plate system had become dyslexic. Normally its human beings who have that problem.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Another reason not to visit Wales

    "It added, however, that it would like to see "an increase in human interaction" between the police and road users complementing the investment in robot cameras."

    That would be the man with the red flag walking in front of each car then?

  12. nichomach
    Thumb Down

    Brunstrom?

    Oh dear...the very fact that this has the support of the mad mullah of the North Wales Talivan should give anyone pause...

  13. Subban

    Police Announce 2010 revenue improvments.

    ""While the UK may have, statistically, the safest roads in Europe we should not rest on our laurels. We believe the Welsh government should grab the opportunity to affect real change in positive improvement to our revenue stream.", Committee chair Gareth Jones said to his shareholders.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208

    How about penalising dangerous driving, instead of just speeding. the two are not mutual but can be very definitely exclusive. I read somewhere recently that in around 80% of accidents the vehicle brakes were not applied, I shall try and remember where I read that and post a link for validation. Either way, speed cameras are not going to help driver awareness, in fact my own experience would suggest that forcing a lower speed on a road that the majority of drivers feel should be higher leads to a massive increase in lack of attention due to false sense of security at the lowered speeds.

  14. Gulfie
    FAIL

    Sigh...

    I fully agree with average speed cameras through roadworks. They slow cars down to a safe speed that many would not otherwise drive at. I also agree with the Gatso style cameras, and mobile camera vans, at accident blackspots.

    The issue I have is that a technology originally developed to reduce accidents at blackpots is now being deployed en masse to manage driving behaviour at the macro level. Totally inappropriate, in my view, and just another way to fleece people.

    I'm always suspicious of any new law or policy that attempts to micro-manage behaviour, because it invariably has one or more unintended consequences. This move, in my book, falls right into this category. Motorways are the safest roads, so we should encourage people who are going to drive to use them, and use them as safely as possible. All we are really doing here is suppressing the symptoms and raising taxes. No change there then...

  15. Kir'star

    yeah most effective....

    At gathering money.

    Also I bet they areexpecting vandalism of static cameras.

  16. dunncha
    Stop

    an increase in human interaction

    Hmmmmm interesting

    are the Police going to wave and tell you to smile for the camera...

    or could they mean more traffic cops to catch some of the idiots driving on the roads.

    You know who you are! I doubt it

    maybe more cops searching you as a potential terrorist. Or maybe on-the-spot fines for laughing too much when you are driving. Driving with a smile on your face.

    Nothing for our advantage I'm sure

  17. AgentWhim

    If only...

    "The ripping sound is Clarkson removing Wales from his road atlas" - lucky old Wales.

  18. Daniel Wilkie
    Flame

    Reducing Vehicle Emissions?

    Surely if everybody is slowing down and speeding up (since even if you were sat at, say, 40 in a 40, or 60 in a 60, everyone seems to shave 10-20mph when they come to average cameras) then that will INCREASE emmissions?

    More to the point, who cares....

  19. Blue eyed boy
    Unhappy

    Ach-y-fi!

    I trust that the clocks in these various cameras have been synchronised in a manner that meets the approval of the relativistic physics community e.g. exchange of light signals or equivalent, and allowance then made for time-dilation effects while in transit to their respective locations. Can't be having innocent motorists booked for apparently going FTL can we now.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well...

    ... that'll piss off the voters then; most of them are already fed up with the speeding tickets as it is.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Who cares?

    I never go to the poxy place anyway. They are not going to put SPECS cameras on every little backroad becasue they cost a fortune. I don't use motorways either - its more fun breaking the speed limit and dodging potholes and cyclists...

    AC because I don't want the lycra clad nazis after me

  22. Martin Silver badge

    So we reckon Clarkson won't go to Wales now....

    That's a start - now let's introduce it world-wide !

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    waaaaaaaaah!

    wah wah wah persecuting innocent motorists moan moan moan police revenue generator blah blah blah goverment cash cow whine whine whine I speed safely gripe gripe gripe NuLabour sob sob sob it's so unfair boo hoo hoo 1984 bleat bleat bleat tax on driving blah blah blah...

    Good for Wales. If it stops law-breakers breaking the law, bring it on. If it pisses off Jeremy Clarkson, bring it on yesterday.

  24. David Evans
    Thumb Down

    That's Wales off my holiday list then

    I often drive from London to Holyhead to get the ferry to Dublin; guess I'll be taking the long route via Liverpool from now on as constantly keeping my eye on the speedo to keep my average speed legal is just too dangerous; I'd prefer to concentrate on the road.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Driver Compliance isn't an aim

    "Evidence has shown that average speed cameras are more effective in achieving driver compliance," says the report. "We recommend further investment in, and greater use of, mobile camera technology on the trunk road network in Wales."

    Except driver compliance isn't what they're aiming to do, they're aiming to reduce road deaths to closer to, say, the Netherlands, which has half the pedestrian deaths and about 2/3rd the cyclist death rate despite having far fewer cameras. (per km journey).

    If the driver is expending massive effort maintaining speed limits and watching for cameras, that effort comes from somewhere else, less attention to parked cars, less notice of people on the pavement. You may actually be doing harm there, and find you have to drop the speed limit much much further just to compensate for the harm you are doing.

    That data showing the massive swing from deaths to non fatal accidents between 30 & 40 is bad data that's clouding your judgement. Don't forget the aim is to NOT have the accident, not simply reduce a fatal to a non fatal accident. If the cause of the accident wasn't speed, then taking a few mph off the speed won't fix it. Taking a few mph off the limit just to reduce the momentum of the car and hence the death rate isn't a fix either!

    You're aiming to stop the accidents, not the deaths. Don't lose sight of that.

    Instead of wasting the money on the cameras, they should spend it on corner barriers, cycle lanes and other traffic separations measures like they do in Holland & Belgium.

  26. Dan 10

    Question

    Ok, so I get that two cameras are used in combination with the fact that speed = distance over time, but can someone explain how the data is validated? I.e. We are told that the camera "see's" your number plate from a greater distance away than other cameras, but given that you might be obscured by other vehicles in front of you, presumably the camera has an acceptable 'window' of space within which it needs to capture all the passing number plates. This would introduce an unknown variance unless each capture distance was recorded and taken into account to calculate the average speed. In addition, changing lanes would introduce a further variance in distance travelled between two points (i.e. you didn't go in a the straight line).

    Have any commenters been sucessfully prosecuted on the basis of these cameras? Have any prosecutions been challenged?

  27. Tom yng Nghymru

    Already on the M4

    There are already average speed cameras on the M4 between Coldra and Tredegar Park and they don't really seem to achieve much, except slowing down traffic for no real reason. At least once a month I drive through that strech of the M4 late at night and you have to go 50 all the way when there are virtually no other cars on the road.

  28. jackharrer
    Thumb Down

    Great idea

    With average speed cameras you can race like a maniac, without slowing down for normal cameras (as they're not there), and then just before end of the race, stop for a coffee for some time. That will definitely stop all teenagers from racing...

    Put more fricking Police on roads instead of those silly measures. All GPS units will be updated to reflect this so it will once again not work. How many times have you got into trouble because there was camera ahead and all the traffic was slowing suddenly from 80mph to 50mph? And then back to 80mph. Moronic idea.

  29. davefb

    how are they calibrated?

    if they're movable, then how do they work out the distance from start to end?

    I mean, I'm guessing it will be gps, but is it ?

  30. Sheppy
    FAIL

    How long until they drop the speed limits to pay for them?

    Enjoy Wales whilst you can, if they drop most of the limits like they have around here you'll struggle to maintain concentration especially when in the long queue behind the dodderer who decides to keep well below the limit.

  31. ShaggyDoggy

    Defence

    Try ...

    We swapped drivers half way between the two cameras, so who gets done ?

  32. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Big Brother

    kerching!

    Trust the Welsh Police to find a way to monetise the ANPR cameras as they have done with the other equipment out there.

    ANPR equipment is very effective* in a static location and that is one of the biggest barriers to them being introduced across the country. They are used around roadworks because there is a real health and safety risk and the people putting the cameras in really want them to be effective*. Elsewhere they are of no use to the safety camera partnerships because the public recognises that they have no option but to slow down and this means they are not very effective**

    Gatso cameras, on the other had, are not very effective* because the threat of cameras is often an empty one, the conviction rate per 'flashing' is perceived to be pretty low and people are happy to take the risk. this makes them rather effective**.

    By making ANPR cameras mobile and most likely concealed the Welsh police have made them less effective* and more effective**.

    *For the public's definition of 'effective'; meaning they make cars slow down.

    **For the safety camera partnership's definition of 'effective'; meaning they catch unwitting motorists and generate revenue.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driver Compliance? Really?

    I'm not sure about that. I drove through the average speed cameras in the M1 roadworks last week at a law-abiding 50 mph - and plenty of people were hooning past me without a care in the world.

    Maybe they were all stolen.

  34. Simon Palmer
    Unhappy

    More stress, frustration and targetted mottorist charging

    First, I'm sure South Wales has more cameras per mile than anywhere else in the UK. Maybe we're easy targets that don't fight back or something?!!!

    Second, since cameras have been introduced, many driving instructors are telling people to use 3rd gear for 30mph limits to make sure they keep under the limit!! That puts fuel consumption back to what it was like in the 1950's. Oh - and the average speed is now about 18mph in my town, because no-one wants to get caught, so drive around at 25mph, and do 20-mph through the camera's just in case.

    Third. Mobile cameras are surely entrapment which used to be frowned upon/illegal. But it's ok if the police/camera people do it?! Strange world we live in.

    Fourth. So people loose licenses for doing barely anything wrong. (It's now a 50mph limit between England and Cardiff with some average speed camperas for good measure - I don't really know why, I've seen hardly any roadworks!). Middle of the night, and you have to do 50mph with 3 lanes to yourself. 70's bad enough, it's 130kph/83mph virtually everywhere on the continent. Anyway, drivers loose license, causes extra stress/strain/trauma in families etc. All well and good saying "they should have been keeping to the limit", but it's us the taxpayer paying for them being on benefits now because they've lost their job because they can't drive, and I suppose no-one cares about the families it splits up, and the children. Oh - no - they need to save some lives and don't realize they're breaking 20 times more hearts. This sort of thing causes huge amounts of stress, worry and time wasting. Think about all those conversations in work about whether it's ethical, or not.

    Fifth. Time wasting. Apart from the chatting to collegues during work, finding out how to avoid fines, think about all the time wasted if everyone drives 10% slower, 10%less more time on the road, 10% more traffic on the road, oh - and 10% more traffic means you go even slower! (10% in the town where I live is not exadurated)

    Sixth. Apart from the speed cameras: traffic calming. I asked my highways manager if they ever consider carbon footprint, and green issues while introducing them. He said they hadn't even thought about it!! The amount of extra fuel, tyres and brakes used on unnecessary roundabouts, and other traffic calming measures, let alone the cost of implementing the things, through the UK could easily build 2 hospitals per year!

    Goverment and highways really need to get some perspective on these things. Look at the bigger picture. I use a motorbike now, so at least I don't have to do 20mph through 30mph, or 30mph through 40's/50 cameras. Oh - and if I die on it, that'll be the highways' fault too.

  35. Jason Bloomberg
    Big Brother

    A Question of Liberty

    No doubt mobile average speed cameras do work; through fear that one will get caught if the speed limit is exceeded, and that may be anywhere.

    I'm quite sure that when the Hitler Youth and Stasi were keeping an ear open for what citizens had to say, those citizens were careful only to say what was considered safe to say.

    The difficult questions are - is such control through fear acceptable or not ? Should we have the liberty to 'break the law' and not be done for that if we can get away with it ?

    The system is based upon foundations of, "if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear" and that sounds okay on first reading, "don't break the law and you won't face any penalty". The issue here is that speed limits are arbitrarily set and do not reflect but dictate what speeds are safe to drive at. So while speeding is 'breaking the law', the rationale for it being so is not absolute nor always rational.

    While most will drive at dictated speed limits when followed by a police car, as soon as it's gone they drive at a speed set by their own judgement, guided by speed limits. Average speed cameras put an invisible police car behind every vehicle, and I'm not at all comfortable with that.

    Where will this end ? Will we have 'guardian angel' invisible police officers watching over each of us for our own good ? <fx>Shudder</fx>

    We're not sleep walking into a surveillance society; we arrived there a long time ago.

  36. Conrad Longmore
    Big Brother

    Is the evidence valid anyway?

    One thing bothers me about average speed cameras - is their evidence actually valid? After all, they are not actually catching you speeding, they are making an assumption that you are speeding given the presumed travel time between two points.

    If you are on a straight road with no exits, then obviously you would have a hard time convincing a court that you weren't speeding. But in some places, speed cameras are used on far distance points on complicated road networks and they just ASSUME that you travelled from A to B on the most obvious route, which is not always the shortest. So, it is theoretically possible to be "caught" by average speed cameras when you have not actually been speeding at all!

  37. Andy ORourke
    Black Helicopters

    O dear, I kind of agree

    in that Average speed cameras do indeed seem to keep a relatively even flow of traffic through road works etc, I regularly drive via the M42 round Birmingham and through the "Variable" Gantry Cameras where people boot it to the next gantry then slam on the brakes, then boot it to the next gantry etc the M40 roadwork’s where the 50 limit is enforced by average speed cameras you (generally) get a steady flow of traffic

    Two other Psychological things I have noticed -

    1. The gantries on the M42, people seem to think that even when they are off they might just still be able to "get them" so "most" people seem to hover around the 75 mark, just in case.

    2. M6 Toll Road, this is the "Midlands Express way" and you have just paid so you must be allowed to do what the fuck you like, check out the average speed on there, I had to do 120 the other week to get past the guy in front :-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Old news

    This system has been installed on the M4 around Newport for a couple of months now. It's staying there to monitor the absurd 50mph limit until the WAG can find enough spare change to pay for a decent variable speed limit system.

  39. AC 4
    Flame

    rewritten their statement for you.

    it should read

    "We are not interested in cutting road deaths as much as we are interested in fleecing more money from an already well raped motorist as we have large holes in our finances. The best way for us to do this is to use mobile average speed cameras. Althouigh, by their very nature, they will require a lot of time and effort to install and configure correctly to assure accurate readings, we will not bother to do this so that from the second the unit arrives at its location, we can start stealing monies. Mwahahahaha."

    ... yeah fuck you wales, first you make me pay to enter your shitty little country on the M4 bridge and now you want to steal more of my cash with dodgy "road death prevention" initiatives.

  40. MJI Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wales - do they want tourists?

    You read about all the anti motorist stories, I am so worried about going there and coming home to a fixed penalty notice (despite being careful), that I have taken the decision to holiday elsewhere.

    I do not bomb around flat out, I do try to keep to the limits, but you hear about people done at 31mph in a 30, not worth the risk.

    Very few cameras in Devon and Cornwall, I think I will go there.

  41. fireman sam

    41, 42, 43, uh oh, 37, 38

    Great, now let's wait for the inevitable pile-ups of vehicles where everyone is staring at their speedo instead of at the road ahead.

    I think these are a really, really, bad idea.

  42. Alex Brett

    Mobile?

    How do they prove with a mobile average speed camera what the distance between the two cameras is - with fixed ones as I understand it they go through a long survey and testing process before a new site goes live to ensure they've got this right.

    If you get the distance even slightly wrong, the average speed will be wrong - if you do it on a multi lane road for example, you might measure the outside lane as that's where your cameras are, but if the person drove in the inside lane at all times except for where the cameras were, and the road always bent one way, then would actually have covered less distance than the camera thought...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Welcome

    We've already got 'em, boyo

    The M4 round the back of Newport, between J24 Coldra and J28 Tredegar Park, already has average speed cameras to enforce a 50mph limit. They were installed recently after a couple of big lorry crashes shut down access to pretty much the whole of south Wales for a day each time over the last 18 months.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS, here we go again

    "to introduce ANPR average speed camera technology as part of its work to cut road deaths"

    I would really, really, really like to see the evidence that there is a direct link between cameras and reduced road deaths. If the so-called evidence is the December 2005 published study "The national safety camera programme" I would suggest to actually verify the math in that report. Your conclusions may be unwelcome in the quarters that commissioned it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    That should be interesting

    I'd love to know how they're going to prove that units are separated by a specific distance when they're mobile.......

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    I thought when I was an adult and left school, that I left behind being monitored all the time to ensure I did exactly what someone else had decided on. But as time rolled on freedoms get lost, and are justified by all sorts of ridiculous claims. Dangerous driving should be caught by police on the roads, checking; but whether someone goes 5 or 10% faster than someone else has decreed, should be no excuse to keep us all under surveillance. This is not the free country I was born into, it just claims the same name.

  47. smudge
    Big Brother

    How long before they are everywhere?

    God, am I sick to death of these average speed cameras! I regularly travel between Hertfordshire and Winchester, and have to pass through 4 sets of the damn things on the M25 and M3. The set at the M25/M3 junction is now permanent.

    They've also just introduced them for the long-term roadworks on the A404(M) - my escape route when the M4 is jammed.

    I can understand their use at roadworks, even if they are a pain. But using them on normal roads allows them to raise revenue and keep track of where we travel. How long before they are normal sights on all our roads?

  48. ForthIsNotDead
    Happy

    @Gordon

    "I'd like to see the police pulling more drivers for driving too slowly for the road conditions - I'm thinking those who only drive at 40, whether in a 60 limit or a 30 limit - so that those of us who obey the speed limits, but like to drive as fast as is safely possible within that limit, aren't inconvenienced by these drivers."

    Hmmm.... Not too sure if I agree with that or not. I hear what you are saying. However, I'm aware that when I drive the mountains of Wales, I probably am driving slower than I normally would. This isn't because I want to annoy everyone behind, but simply because the twisting turning inclines in Wales can be deadly if you are not careful. As I don't know the road, and don't have much experience of driving on those types of roads, I slow down to a speed with which I am comfortable.

    Having said, I I thought I was holding people up, I would also pull in where practical to let those faster folks behind.

    I'm no slow coach in a car, even lost my licence once for doing... well, 3 digit speed on the motorway, but I don't want to put my car 300 metres down a ravine!

  49. jake Silver badge

    All this money ...

    Surely it would be easier and cheaper to teach people to drive in the first place?

    The mind boggles ...

  50. ElFatbob
    Thumb Up

    business opportunity, perhaps...

    for detachable registration plates?

  51. Jon 52

    Distance & revenue

    The can't sue GPS that would give a straight line distance. They probably use a calibrated odometer on the police car.

    Police in some counties don't want average cameras as they cut income as drivers are more obliged to obey the limit than a gatso where people don't realise and blast past it. so it seems they really do want to cut speed.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Or put another way

    I *want* to speed; it's my right!

    Tossers.

  53. Neil 4

    It WILL work though

    Road deaths will definately drop in Wales.

    But only because nobody will go there any more.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Restrictors

    Why not just restrict cars to a maximum 70mph as they do with Lorries at the speeds they travel. Then they wont need to fit fucking cameras everywhere. Labour are utter scum and hopefully they never blight our land ever again.

  55. new666uk

    Lowest common denominator

    Looks like the Welsh are leading the way in catering to the lowest common denominator when it comes to road deaths. England will not be far behind I would imagine.

    It is rare to see reports that detail the number of incidents caused by other factors such as pedestrians/cyclists in the wrong place or in the case of cyclist in particular jumping red lights, and poor road layout rather than the blunt and 'politically correct' view that exessive speed is the major cause.

    If money was re-directed into educating drivers to a higher standard (including some elements of controlling vehicles in emergency conditions as in Norway), educating children and young adults in road sense/craft (it is NOT a playground, they are designed to move large volumes of vehicular traffic at speed), and in improving the layout of the roads (simple things like a filter lane on dual carriageways for those turning right so they are not just stopped in the road) then I am sure we would see a reduction in the number and severity of accidents as the general standards have been increased.

    Cars technology has evolved dramatically over the years, enhanced tyres, braking systems and such m,ean that speed limits imposed in the past are simply not being reviewed in light of this - when was the last time you saw a speed limit being increased on a road?

    It is a lazy and quick approach to pursue the slow = safe agenda. Many other sectors of technology are advancing but traffic speeds are regressing to an earlier stage. How long will it be before we go back to having someone walking in front of all cars waving a red flag to alert people of its presence? It would undoubtedly reduce deaths but is this way we want society to progress?

    I regularly drive to a speed I feel comfortable for the road and its conditions (which changes daily) which are largely different to the posted limits. I have a clean license and no accidents after 15 years of motoring. This is not luck or bravado but I mediate my speed as necessary to the surrounding conditions and take care to look sufficiently far ahead to allow decisions to be made (its funny how I sometimes react to an incident in the distance and only when we're almost on top of it do I see other drivers reacting).

    Happy motoring,

    new666uk

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on people...

    If you seriously think that you can't maintain a constant speed averaged over a few km at a time, without driving dangerously - you shouldn't be on the road because you are a danger to yourself and others on the road. The ability to maintain a constant speed is something that you have to demonstrate to pass your test.

    As for the 'people will just race to the end' type comments - these systems have several measurement points in each monitored area so it's not going to happen.

    I'm not particularly pro rollouts of speed cameras where they aren't needed, but please think a bit before commenting.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with revenue generation from law breakers?

    Jus' sayin'. F/ex, I live in the West End, I *love* the parking attendants going out and reducing my council tax by fining parktards.

  58. Dave Gibbs

    Re: Cameras Installation should be on accident spots only?

    From what ive read/found out, cameras should be installed on accident hotspots and failalities.

    Half of the place is plastered with cameras which are not on the hotspots and and not REMOVED after 3 years of no accident at that place.

    I thought the M4 was a motorway, designed to get traffic from A->B faster than A class roads.

    Isnt the motorway where there is no Traffics supposed to be 70mph ? why 50mph everywhere ?

    As ive read what i love is the 20-30-20 zones everywhre :S

    Im sure it parents cant be arsed to look after kids and dont tell them why they should walk out in the middle of roads without a care in the world, unfort this applied to everyone else recently. Ive had 5 near misses with people just walking out into the road, not looking assuming ill stop, which makes me very nervous with my foot on the brake ready. Pherhaps jaywalk cameras are needed too now for pedestrians ? Also alot of people should be told: Inicators are not an optional extra and be taught how to use them.

    As people said, some people whinge about speed and then the govenment uses this as a money making excuse.

    If cameras are put in there because of accident, they should also be removed.

    Didnt i hear a place in England removed all their cameras because their council payed to install/maintain and reload the cameras but got none of the revune to balance their books ?

    London, fat cats getting fatter. Hope their artieries clog.

    PS Excuse the spelling mistakes, typing fast here cos im infurated at our society and its direction.

  59. Anonymous Coward 3
    Thumb Down

    Watching You!

    Nobody yet seems to have pointed out the huge difference between GATSO-type cameras and these ANPR cameras that read your number plate and send the data to a central point to be correlated with data from other ANPR cameras. So they are now collecting and storing data on where you are and where you are going. How long before the ID database collects every single sighting of your number plate and keeps it forever? I find the surveillance aspect much more frightening than the speed check thingy. Need to use the back roads more!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Do what the US does...

    When my city put in speed & red-light cameras, they had to put in 18 in 2 months, because people kept shotgunning them, throwing paint on them, and ripping them down. Finally the city council said "no more" as they were losing money in bags.

    Anon for the obvious reasons.

  61. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Pint

    @William Claude Dukenfield

    In most cases, speeding isn't wrong, it's just illegal.

    When you have a 4-lane road divided with an 18ft grass median, and it's posted FORTY FUCKING MPH you have an obvious problem. Fortunately, I've gotten out of my last 3 tickets by various lawyerly means.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @Jason Bloomberg

    "Where will this end ? Will we have 'guardian angel' invisible police officers watching over each of us for our own good ? <fx>Shudder</fx>"

    Fitting cameras to cars to record the driver's actions is already coming. Reduced insurance if you have one.

    The accused was scratching his ear as his car was rammed so although the car that him was uninsured, he had one hand off the wheel and is therefore liable.

    You are right to shudder......

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jason Bloomberg

    "The difficult questions are - is such control through fear acceptable or not ? Should we have the liberty to 'break the law' and not be done for that if we can get away with it ?"

    In answer to your first question - isn't the basis of a legal system fear of punishment?

    I can't follow what the second's supposed to mean. "Not be done for that if we can get away with it?" What?

    Your argument about arbitrary speed limits/laws is just trying to justify ignoring them, as most people here are trying to do. If you think you can argue that the law shouldn't apply to you because you don't agree with it, go ahead. Don't try to blame the laws, though. And for the love of God stop trying to use the "... their own judgment" argument. Most drivers don't have enough, unfortunately. Ultimately, if you're within a speed limit and you're caught breaking it - well, you were breaking it, weren't you? No ambiguity. If the speed limits are wrong campaign to get them changed before whining about being in a police state. Probably won't work, but it will lend your arguments more credibility than typing away on a forum where most of the readers are anit-police anyway. On a final note - about German citizens thing. That's true, of course. As far as I've seen from comments made by people on the history channels who were there indicate, anyhow. Apparently 'the German Look' was the name given to looking over your shoulder before speaking. So good guess there then.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Come on people

    "If you seriously think that you can't maintain a constant speed averaged over a few km at a time, without driving dangerously - you shouldn't be on the road because you are a danger to yourself and others on the road."

    Can you? I bet you can't. I bet like everyone else you just match to the speed of the car in front. i.e. You judge success based on your perception of success. If I actually measured your speed it would be as up and down as the rest of us. But that's OK, because the driving tester is only using his perception too, not a computer and speed scanners.

    Remember James Mays comment in the Bugatti Veyron episode of Top Gear, he slowed down from 200mph and decided to open his door a little early to save time, he looked at his speedo and saw it was 70mph and stopped himself. His perception of going slower was there, it's just that he didn't have an absolute measure of speed and because he was going so fast, slower was still ridiculous fast. Yet these cameras require an *absolute* measure of speed. It's not a few mph faster or slower than the car in front, it's the *absolute* speed.

    Worse it's the *average* over a distance.

    So now we have to watch the speedo closely, each one of those focus shifts is 100ms of lost time focussed on the road. No different than looking at your phone to see if you've missed any calls.

    Instead of 100 shifts to read an SMS on the phone, it's 100 shifts to read the speedo 100 times.

    But hey, compliance is everything right? It's not like we're trying and failing to reduce road deaths or anything. Then scratching our heads as to why we have more cameras than most of Europe combined and still some of the highest pedestrian and cyclists deaths in Europe... no sir.

    Lets have a f***ing election soon.

  65. shyted
    Stop

    Stolen plates

    Anybody know what the crime figures are these days for stolen number plates?

    Its probably the easiest way to avoid being pulled these days, as all the cameras and databases tend to make traffic plod lazy.

    They need a catchy slogan for this "ANPR - Technology to catch honest drivers mistakes".

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Watching You

    "Nobody yet seems to have pointed out the huge difference between GATSO-type cameras and these ANPR cameras that read your number plate and send the data to a central point to be correlated with data from other ANPR cameras. So they are now collecting and storing data on where you are and where you are going. How long before the ID database collects every single sighting of your number plate and keeps it forever? I find the surveillance aspect much more frightening than the speed check thingy. Need to use the back roads more!"

    That is the situation NOW, another Jacqui Smith idea, she handed access for the congestion charge camera data to the MET.... so they can track terrorists.. yeh right.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/18/smith_n_mcnulty_surrender_to_jihadi_bunglers/

    Bitch.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Calibration

    For those of you making comments about calibration, it's really not that big an issue.

    For starters, the cameras could contain integral GPS receivers, so their position would be known.

    If they're placed on a straight road, then there's nothing further required, the system can work out how far the cameras are apart by a simple bit of trigonometry.

    If they're not placed on a long straight road then the true distance by road needs to be determined. GPS alone can't do that. You'd need access to a map database.

    A GIS system using Ordanance survey maps would be sufficient for that. O/S maps are highly accurate.

    Plonk the cameras in position, GPS system would work out where they are, the GIS system would work out their separation (road distance between them), the GPS system could be used to provide the accurate time synchonisation between the two cameras too. Bob's your uncle, job done.

    Accurate placement isn't as critical as people think. If the speed limit is 50, you'd build in enough error margin to cope with errors in the position of the cameras - you'd set the threshold at say 60mph - which is typically what they do anyway.

    if you're caught doing 60mph, if the errors in the system actually mean you're doing 58mph then you're still way over the speed limit anyway..and you're done for it.

    I recently did a speed measurement calibration of my TomTom SatNav, because it was reading such a vastly different figure to my speedo. I drove for 2 miles at a constant speed, timed it, did the calculations, and factored in the inaccuracies. If they're using GPS for position fix on the cameras, the position errors aren't going to be an issue. It's the accurate determination of the length of the road that will be more of a problem.

  68. Steve Loughran
    Thumb Up

    I support this plan!

    I'm sorry for all the people whining, but the harsh truth is that 10 people a day die in britain in car related accidents. Speed may not the cause of these, unless you are a danish footballer whose Aston Martin "left the road" on the way back from your Arsenal training session, but it certainly amplifies the effects, and removes the opportunities to avoid the problems.

    Welsh back roads are windy, narrow, used by pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars and motorbikes, and you have to get used to the fact that you have no right to drive round endangering everyone else. Sorry, but its time to accept that. The register may like to portray the welsh police as anti-car anti-motorbike fanatics, but they are trying to stop the primary cause of sudden, violent death in wales.

  69. Toastan Buttar
    FAIL

    Entrapment ???

    Simon Palmer: "Third. Mobile cameras are surely entrapment. "

    From Wiki:

    "Entrapment is the act of a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense which would be illegal and the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit."

    Where's the "inducement to commit an offense" when mobile cameras are present ?

    Why would they have been "unlikely to commit" the offense of speeding in the absense of the mobile cameras ?

    Surely NOT entrapment.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Yes, fleece the motorist even more

    Fleece the motorist to fill the coffers. Who next, cyclists?

    If you get stopped tell them you don't think they have done it by the book. Apparently all coppers have a personal copy of their handbook and they generally don't have it with them. Could cause them some bother if they have to go the cop shop to pick it up.

    Anonymous for a change

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not that difficult!

    The driving test includes speed control, and vehicles don't vary their speed autonomously. And looking at the road ahead doesn't exclude using other sources of information, such as mirrors and instruments. Do these people who can't afford the time to look at the speedo also not dare look in the mirrors? (I suspect they don't.)

    I learnt HGV a few years ago, they teach you to keep your eyes flicking between several things: left mirror, windscreen, right mirror, instrument panel (speedo, revs, warning lights etc), left mirror, windscreen..... which also means that you'd notice if the engine was overheating, or, on an airbraked vehicle, if the brakes were about to fail, which presumably car drivers don't have time to look at.

    Then when it comes to the test (probably varies with which test centre), they require you to control your speed to the accuracy to which the tachograph is calibrated, which is +2%/-0%, where I did it 1mph out 3 times or 2mph once (in a 90 minute test) was a fail.

    "Cars technology has evolved dramatically over the years, enhanced tyres, braking systems and such"

    But drivers' brains haven't. As is obviously the case, if looking at the speedo, mirrors etc is too difficult for them.

    That being said, I think many speed limits are lower than necessary. But, taking pride and pleasure in doing things with geeky accuracy, I make an effort (reasonably successfully) to keep to them.

    AC so I'm not showing off about having passed the HGV test (yes it's called LGV now despite still being classified by weight and not size).

  72. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Flame

    Having

    been on the end of an RTA ( I spent 6 months learning to walk again), I would say that the primary cause of 95% of 'accidents' is the driver not paying attention to what he's doing.

    Speed simpley changes whether the victim(s) end up dead or walking with a stick

    If someone turns right in front of you while yabbering on their phone then the speed you were going is completely immaterial.

    Until driver education is changed and the penatly for driving without due care is raised to something like 11 points and 750 quid instead of poxy 80 quid and 3 points then all the speed cameras in the world wont stop people being hurt and killed in accidents

  73. Stef 2

    "achieving driver compliance"

    I can't decide which that sounds more like - a Mondeo-driving middle-manager with a Powerpoint presentation or a line from 1984.

  74. BlackMage

    @ ForthIsNotDead

    I think if you read the bit you quoted again and emphasise the crucial part ("drive as fast as is safely possible within that limit") then you'll see that it allows for common sense behaviour like slowing to below the 60 limit on steep winding roads. While you may have the awareness that you are holding people up and good courtesy to let them past where possible, a large number of drivers who dawdle along roads at 2/3 of the speed limit do not. This leads to frustration which regrettably can lead to unwise overtaking maneuvres. The fault is bilateral here: the person driving too slowly is at fault for failing to make good progress and holding up others as well as the person who overtook inapproriately. Scotland has many main roads which are difficult to overtake on and has signs reminding people that driving slowly causes frustration and crashes.

    The most important place for a minimum speed limit is motorway slip roads when joining the motorway. Forcing a truck doing 70mph (along with the rest of the motorway) to emergency brake by pulling out in front of it while doing 40mph is extremely dangerous. Doing it to other vehicles is still damn dangerous and fortunately most of the (frequent) occasions I see this kind of stupidity it doesn't result in a crash as the drivers already on the motorway see the moron coming and can maneuvre away.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all those who have to constantly watch their speedo

    in order to not break the limit (or those that claim it will make roads more dangerous because of this):

    You need to learn to drive. Seriously. Or work a bit harder and buy a car with cruise control. Or get a bus pass but you shouldn't be on the road.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Will have to stare at the speedo all the time

    If you'll have to stare at the speedo all the time and that'll distract you from looking at the road, and make you more dangerous....

    THEN YOU'RE TOO BAD A DRIVER TO BE ON THE ROAD. HAND IN YOU LICENCE NOW!

    If you get a speeding ticket, it's not because of the speed cameras, it's because you were going to fast - YOUR FAULT. If you loose your licence because of it, it's YOUR FAULT.

    If you don't like the speed limit, campaign for it to be changed, don't winge about speed cameras.

  77. The Other Steve
    FAIL

    Oh dear

    ANPR bad, but FFS can't all you car driving weenies come up with some better arguments ?

    I mean, the likes of "we can lead the way in taxing the shit out of law abiding citizens,"

    No, see, the point is that once you break the limit you are no longer a law abiding citizen.

    It isn't a tax, it is a fine. A penalty imposed upon a convicted criminal.

    As long as you idiots keep wheeling out your persecuted driver, OMG I'm like such a victim, weepy bullshit, the state will continue to roll out it's micro managing behemoth and right thinking folks will cheer it on. Wrongly, in my opinion, but you only have yourselves to blame for that.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Cant trust the Plod to operate this sort of thing.

    Hmm, mobile average speed cams? That means they need to be calibrated correclty for the distance between the cameras right? Get that wrong and the speed will be wrong.

    Can we trust the plod to be able to do this properly? Im not particularily talking about them deliberately massaging the figures (of course I imagine this could be quite easy, add a few hundred metres on and suddenly peoples speed will rise), im more concerned that they wouldnt be able to do it right. Remember you dont need any qualifications/ education whatsoever to become a copper, and a good number of them are as thick as pigshit, so how can we trust them to do this correctly?

    Also, challenging it in court, Will this be possible? Once the cameras are gone it would be down to what ever records the police kept as to their actual caibration, distance etc. trying to prove your Nissan Micra cannot do 136 MPH around twisty roads might be ...entertaining.

    I (grudgingly admittedly) dont have a problem with fixed ANPR speed traps as these are the most likely to do the job they are intended for, i.e. reduce speeding. But mobile systems are a recipe for corruption and injustice and most likely gross incompetance from the idiots in black.

    AC.... dont want them taking a keen interest in my Micra with the Cosworth engine!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Well...

    I for one don't give a toss!

    After visiting both North and South Wales, I NEVER intend to go back.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Shaggydoggy

    Shaggydoggy

    So you slowed to a halt, got out and swapped sides, pulled away and accelerated up to speed again and still maintained an average speed in excess of the limit?

    Respect.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Just a few thoughts

    @RotaCyclic

    Three words (well 4) Horizontal Dilution of Precision.

    GPS is not accurate enough for this. This is the whole reason for the Galileo constellation. On a bad day, with cloud cover in a crap location, GPS can be significantly out. DGPS/AGPS helps but positions can wander over time. I have seen my car wander about 3M around a car park on tracking software over a day.

    The whole 'speed kills' mindset is wrong. The trouble is that in arguing against it you are automatically branded a maniac with inability to drive safely and does 3 figure speeds in 30 limits.

    There are deeper problems, and a lot of these are caused by schemes to make roads safer.

    Cameras in silly locations, eg blind bends so as the guy who is speeding suddenly finds it and anchors up he has a nice, solid steel pole to hit, and then people pile into him.

    The idea that forcing traffic closer together makes things safer (really, where did that one come from) There have been rcorded incidents of EMS veichles gettig stuck in these schemes in fact a local scheme has added 4 minutes on the local fire services response times becaus the long, straight, clear main road is now like an assualt course of rail sleepers, chicanes and plant pots.

    Speed humps, not going there, just NO!

    Cyclists, well they cant do any wrong now, as its automatically your fault when you peg the bloke on a black bike wearing dark clotes at 1am on a country lane as he cycles out in front of you, these go down as deaths caused by the evil car driver.

    Padestrians, specially 2 somethings and below. At school we had the green cross code, charlie, cycling proficiency et all hammered into us on a yearly basis. Most of my friends children have had nothing. As a result, I knew at 10 that playing on a main road was a really bad idea, many of that age now dont.

    The state of the roads, of course having no road surface left makes them so safe.

    Cameras are an easy route, they dont address other issues and it an instant result.

    I lost the plot now, too much ranting

  82. Annihilator Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Evil Graham

    "I'm not sure about that. I drove through the average speed cameras in the M1 roadworks last week at a law-abiding 50 mph - and plenty of people were hooning past me without a care in the world."

    Your speedo only has to be accurate +/-10%. You could have been going 46 (reported as 50), whereas your hooners were doing 55 (reported as 50). It's why the speedlimits are in reality, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77.

    I want to know what they're cunning plan for bikes are though, given these ave checks are all front facing cameras. As James May said, he's planning on going through them at a ton, giving the middle finger, safe in the knowledge there is no number plate on the front of his bike.

    Also, anyone know if they're still incapable of coping with lane changes? It was certainly hypothesised that changing lanes between cameras caused their little brains to conk out.

  83. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    FAIL

    Bollocks!!!

    @AC 10:11, HA HA, do you *really* think the council will reduce your council tax because parking fines are up.

    My experience of speed cameras is that they are never placed at accident black spots, they are placed where they will generate the most revenue. If the purpose of speed cameras was to reduce road accidents then they would be placed at accident blackspots and not on wide well-constructed motorways.

    http://www.tribune.ie/archive/article/2002/nov/24/increase-to-speed-limit-on-stillorgan-dual-carriag/

    The situation in Ireland is ridiculous, where the default speed limit is 80kph, so that you can have narrow winding badly lit county lanes with an incorrect chamber and lots of pot-holes with an 80kph speed limit and brand new multi lane motorways with a 50kph speed limit.

    Still, no point in having sensible speed limits when you want to privatise the whole speed camera operation.

    When in doubt, follow the money.

  84. Ian Ferguson
    FAIL

    This is exactly why

    I, my motorbike and my tourist wallet stay out of North Wales, despite the fantastic roads, stunning scenery and friendly locals.

  85. Blue eyed boy
    FAIL

    @Annililator re@Evil Graham

    The tolerance is actually +10%/-0%. It is illegal for a speedo to show slower than actual, so the hypothetical 55mph hooner seeing 50 on his speedo is breaking *that* regulation as well as the speed limit itself.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Welcome

    MPG

    Why does no one mention the environmental benefit of driving at a constant speed at or below the speed limit? The govnmt could probably go a way towards meeting CO2 reduction targets by lowering the speed limit on the motorways to 60mph and enforcing it with ave. speed cameras. The US did something similar in the 70s hence the 55mph limit all over the place with limited success admittedly. However modern cars will give much better fuel economy below 60mph, smoother driving with less hard accelerating and hard braking will also help a lot!

    Cue lots of goons making comments about not getting into work on time... I found driving at 80mph on a run that goes up the M3 and around a bit of M25 took only a few minutes less time than the 60mph more relaxed run. Reason? Queues - while the 80mph me is stuck in congestion the 60mph me slowly catches up to the queue so the overall distance advantage is lost. Getting to work a few minutes earlier is not worth it.... Give it a go and see.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    bad drivers make bad excuses

    If you aren't capable of knowing what speed you're driving at without continuously checking your speedo you really shouldn't be driving.

    If your incapable of maintaining a steady speed without continuous adjustment then you really shouldn't be driving.

  88. g e
    Unhappy

    If only I could get out of this shithole of a country

    "It added, however, that it would like to see "an increase in human interaction" between the police and road users complementing the investment in robot cameras"

    That would be the small squads of black-clad concerned-and-otherwise-law-abiding citizens wrapping det-cord around the camera poles in the dead of night and cutting them down.

    ... and then I awoke and discovered I was sadly still in the UK having failed to scrimp enough cash to emigrate cos of all the taxation.

  89. Trevor 10

    @ anhilliator

    "Your speedo only has to be accurate +/-10%."

    Actually, you speedo has to be accurate to +10%/-0%

    i.e. it has to over read your speed, if it says 60mph, your actual speed will be in the range of 54-60mph.

    I've noticed that my car, my motorbike and my mums car are all out by almost exactly 9% compared to gps speed readings at a constant pace - almost like it's designed :-)

  90. Juillen 1

    Law and evidence.

    Ok, just as a note to all those that keep saying "You're breaking the law, full stop, end of story.".

    There is a general rule of thumb that any law that criminalises a significant section of your population is a BAD law. Laws, as any lawyer will happily explain to you (for the commensurate fee, of course) are intended to be grey. Life is not black and white.

    When the speed limits were introduced, they were put there knowing that they couldn't be enforced on a fine scale, but could be used as a big hitting stick if you caught someone being truly stupid.

    Noticed those stickers on bins that say "No littering, fine up to £2000"? Well, what if they put cameras up in shopping centres to completely enforce that. Something comes out of your pocket? £2k please. You need to be more careful with your clothing. Someone may trip on discarded rubbish and hurt themselves.

    Silly example, I know, but there are plenty of others you can think up which are closer to the bone.

    For those that say they've been on the wrong end of a collision with a car, so have I. In fact, I'm the only one in my family that's not ended up a hair's breadth from dead because of it (yes, I've seen them all on life support thanks). That doesn't make me agree with the cameras.

    Basically, like much of politics, it all comes down to lack of scrutiny and evidence. For a society that's grown up and prospered by embracing scientific principle, I find it odd that the one group that steadfastly refuses to use scientific principle is Politics. Here, have a law. We have no evidence for it. We don't know how it'll affect society. We have no idea what the consequences are, or how it'll be interpreted, but just do it anyway, otherwise we'll punish you.

    Scientifically, the evidence for the "Safety Cameras" is shaky. It also says that speed isn't the problem, stupidity and selfishness and lack of attention are.

    Now, from this, you get two possible approaches. Try to fix the problem, which will cost money by implementing the software to pick up the dangerous drivers (there is behavioural analysis software out there that'll do the basics, but it's costly),or go for something that doesn't fix the problem but micro enforces an arbitrary law but raises a lot of money.

    We all know which avenue has been chosen.

    Honestly, carping on about "It's the law. It's black and white. Live with it." makes me wonder what kind of country we're living in, and what kind of country we'll be leaving to our descendants if we keep saying "If it's written in a law book, it is good and must be slavishly adhered to."

    Wrong. The law is a very good guide to what you should and shouldn't be doing. It's a really crap way to live a life by the word (as your interpretation will vary. Anything that's truly explicit is usually largely hard to enforce, but you can see where they can use it as a stick when necessary).

    If they're going to use the flexibility of technology to enforce a law, they should leverage the same technology to adapt the law such that it is fitting. People on the roadside? Sure, 20mph if it's near a school, or largely kids/old folks, otherwise 30 in the day. At night, nobody around? Open it up to 40! Sure, it's more expensive with timing, and if you're really into having fun, a detector to see if there's pedestrian activity too, but it's safe, and fair (warning that there are pedestrians around is a useful thing to a driver). There are all kinds of ways to re-evaluate this, but nobody is interested because the current 'Do nothing and slavishly obey' makes too much money (though they do have variable speed limits on some motorways. Always down though, alas).

  91. Mark Monaghan Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Safety vs Revenue

    We are told that the aim of a safety camera is to raise driving standards in general. Therefore if you issue points for each offence and then take away the licence when you reach a magic number, you will slowly remove all the "bad" drivers from the road.

    So there's no real need for a financial penalty is there.

    Hang on there's some flashing lights outside...

  92. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Flame

    Roads, roads, roads

    A few randomly strewn points regarding road safety and speeding:

    * Speed doesn't kills. It's the sudden stops that tend to do this.

    * It is more dangerous to drive inappropriately than it is to drive fast. 60mph on a 70mph road in the snow is considerably more dangerous than 80mph on a clear, dry day.

    * When joining a motorway and dual carriageway, you're on what is called an "acceleration" lane - as in, it's meant to allow you to get your car up to ROAD SPEED. This, strangely, is the speed of the road that you're joining and not some arbitrary speed 30 mph less than it. Anybody attempting to join a faster road at a slower speed in front of traffic should be shot. Twice. Then given a fair trial. Of course, brain dead town planners who have no driving licence should not be allowed to design road junctions with acceleration lanes that are so short or blind that any locals with a degree of self-preservation avoid them.

    * Good road design lends more to safety than arbitrary speed limits. You only need to visit Hertfordshire's newest accident black spot (the A414/M1 junction near Hemel Hempstead) to see a spot on example of brainless road layout.

    * Too much information causes overload and the more important information is missed. This is why there are studies that prove that junctions with dozens of signs (doubtless to cover the ass of the licence-free road planner) figure with a lot more accidents and near-accidents than clearer, simpler junctions.

    * It's a SPEED LIMIT. It's not an indicator of the the target speed of a road. You should moderate your speed as is appropriate for the road and the conditions.

    * The Renault Twingo (probably the worst car I've ever had the mis-fortune to drive), has a speedo so far out of the line of sight of the driver that it takes half a second to turn your head, re-focus, read the ghastly orange LED bar display, move head back to driving position and then re-focus on what you're about to drive into. The rev-counter, of course, is exactly where the speedo should have been. To be fair though, because the ride of the Twingo is so vomit inducing at speeds above 50mph, an experienced Twingo could judged their speed by the level of bile about to erupt through their nose. Serious point though - good car design, as well as good road design helps considerably. I've driven many cars where the pillars are so thick there are noticable blind spots when looking round at junctions.

    * The driving test should not be yet another metric-driven statistics measure like most modern school exams - it should test your ability to drive, calmly, safely as well as your knowledge or the rules of the road. I also believe that everybody should have to retake their test every 4 years to ensure that our bad habits are kept in check and we're still safe to be allowed to propel a 1 ton lump of metal at 70mph only feet from another lump coming the opposite direction.

    * Rather than trying to make money, the police should invest in more unmarked cars with real police in them, who's job it is to catch the twatts that like to drive 2 feet behind everybody else and weave in and out of traffic, pushing their vehicles into spaces between cars that, admittedly too short, barely fit their vehicle in as well.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Steve Loughran

    "Welsh back roads are windy, narrow, used by pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars and motorbikes"

    ... and will be almost totally devoid of ANPR average speed cameras, which will be deployed on motorways and other major roads where all the traffic (and revenue) is.

    "they are trying to stop the primary cause of sudden, violent death in wales."

    ... you obvously haven't been out drinking on a Saturday night in Newport recently.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ac - constant speed

    Have you tried it AC, sounds to me like you haven't. It is possible, but it is also difficult.

    find a stretch of dual carriage way, quite a number of miles long, without any hills, and choose a time of day where there is virtually no traffic.

    It's not easy, but it is do-able. My calculations matched up to the SatNav, proving it was possible.

    The speed does fluctuate and you, the driver have to act as the feedback mechanism, monitoring and controlling the speed. When You can't keep an exact constant speed to with 1mph, but you can do it it to within a few mph.

    yes, there is error in it, but it's a case of working hard, of concetrating hard, to minimise the error.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ac

    "GPS is not accurate enough for this. This is the whole reason for the Galileo constellation. On a bad day, with cloud cover in a crap location, GPS can be significantly out. DGPS/AGPS helps but positions can wander over time. I have seen my car wander about 3M around a car park on tracking software over a day."

    Before making such rash statements, I'd suggest you think about the errors involved.

    Yes, there are errors in GPS, and as you said, a few metres. I made a measurement of speed done over 2 miles, do you really think 3 metres error in 2 miles is going to make that much difference? That was the whole point of doing at least a mile at a constant speed, to minimise the effect of any errors.

    Perhaps you didn't study A level maths at school, or didn't do any maths at university, but some of us have. The maths involved in this is O level standard!

    Do the calculations! Speed = distance/time.

    That''s all there is to it.

  96. Ross 7

    Can't blame 'em

    I can't blame the Police for wanting the speed limit lowering and adhering to. It's the Police that tend to be the first (professional) people on the scene of a road traffic accident, and having to witness some poor soul having been "assimilated" by a car because some dip-**** was driving (a) like an idiot and (2) too fast isn't something anyone would aspire to.

    I agree that road safety design is more than just speed restrictions, but speed restrictions *are* a part of it. To say "oh speed limits alone aren't enough so I should be able to ignore them" is plain retarded.

    The argument about increased vehicle safety holds no water either - I can easily prove it by driving a Range Rover Sport into the back of you at 70MPH whilst you ride a bike. Whilst the guy (and let's face it, it's usually guys) that's speeding can shake himself off and walk away from the crash, the same doesn't necessarily hold true for the poor bugger that they hit.

    The delays and hassle on the roads are often the fault of idiots driving too fast and having to anchor up, or push their way into another lane at the last moment. We've *all* seen it a million times. If everyone is driving at the same speed or thereabouts due to average speed checks then that doesn't happen (I speak from experience of driving down to Braintree - I'd never seen avg speed cameras before and was amazed at the compliance and how smooth it made the drive).

    Anyone that thinks it's "taxation" can easily avoid it by following the bloody speed limit. It's not like you need to employ an accountant...

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ac speed measurement

    @ac, I really don't understand why you have so much difficulty with making a speed measurement, it really is one of the easiest things in the world.

    In A level Physics we were measuring acceleration, which is the second derivative of distance with respect to time, which arguably is harder to measure than speed.

    There's nothing magical about it, it's one of the simplest equations there is.

    It's O level standard maths.

    In my particular approach, there was one assumption: that the milometer in the car was accurate enough. The calculations at the end of the test which were then used to determine the speed, were compared with the speed obtained by a GPS based system, the two were in very close agreement, which proves that the test methodology, the way it was conducted was very good. You can't disagree with that, it's been proven by mathematics.

  98. Tom 7 Silver badge

    @Mark Monaghan

    "So there's no real need for a financial penalty is there." Yeh great - why not tax safe drivers to cover the legal costs of punishing the stupid.

    A £300 fine for speeding? Sounds a lot - until you consider that one 'law abiding speeder' contesting will cost the public at least a 100 times that.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @AC- 06:49 GMT-over crowed little prison

    Dang crows do it every time.

    You're better off with jackdaws.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top Gear time trials

    Top gear are doing time trials, where people drive and are marked based on how close they are to average speed. It is not so easy and natural to people, so it can be made into a contest.

    Each time you look at the speedo, you are not looking at the road, splat there's the dead kid.

    Count up the dead kids, compare them with other countries that go for separation, UK is killing more because it's focussing on speed over separation of cars and pedestrians. It has more speed limits, it has more cameras, it has more dead kids.

    UK IS DOING IT WRONG!

  101. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What's all the fuss?

    If everyone would drive at a lower speed then texting and making phone calls will be a lot safer.

  102. Richard 45

    Crap drivers/police

    I often have need to travel far around mid- and north-Wales on a large variety of types of roads, from twisty mountain roads to nice, flat, open ones, and pretty much everything in between. By far the safest group of drivers (both to me as a fellow road user and towards other road users or pedestrians) are those who make progress. And consequently the only groups of people who have put me in a position of danger are the 40mph everywhere brigade, the elderly, and idiots who deliberately accelerate to try to prevent you from overtaking them. The standard of driving in this country is truly appalling, but with TrafPlod becoming an endangered species, it's only going to get worse as there's no way to weed them off the road. The typical standard of driving is only barely sufficient to prevent the driver's tonne of metal from colliding with other lumps of metal/pedestrians/cyclists/horses/trees, and it's through sheer luck that they avoid RTAs. Most of these people seem to drive within a 20ft bubble, whereby anything outside of it simply does not exist, and the use of mirrors is unheard of. I recently got stuck behind a Micra on a clear A-road in a NSL. It was doing all of 25mph, but not once did it pull in to let vehicles behind to pass. So I, and the rest of the drivers stuck behind, just had to put up with it, as there was no means of overtaking due to oncoming traffic.

    But even in towns plod are useless. Many's the time I've seen them observing traffic at a particular crossroads in the town (as part of patrolling their beat), and they've observed streams of traffic driving through red yet they never bat an eyelid, despite the numerous near-misses that happen.

  103. DavidK
    Big Brother

    Somebody should try

    attaching e-paper screens to their number plates. Then change the displayed number between the cameras/when you're on the M4/etc.

  104. Diogenes
    FAIL

    Got these for trucks in OZ

    And of course the truckies know to the second when they should pass the 2nd camera, so they go like the clappers - then stop for a brew at the roadhouses that have sprung up 500m away from said 2nd camera until about about 30 seconds to go ...

  105. The Grump
    Terminator

    Judged by a machine?

    OK, we all know it's about the money, not safety. Otherwise, the punishment would be far worse than a mere fine. If it was about safety - automatic 12 point assessment and license revocation, with no appeal. An officer would appear at your door, and take your driver's license away. So it is NOT about safety. Issue dead and buried.

    Humans are NOT digital. If I have to be judged by a machine, by machine standards, then I demand a machine to hold my car at the speed limit, and enforce spacing between vehicles. Car that "talk" to each other to measure distance are do-able today. And for speed limits, most new GPS units have speed limits for your road built in. Tie a GPS into a speed governer unit, and the car would always drive at the speed limit - no faster, even if you "floor it". A machine to beat a machine - what a nice thought. I can handle distance between cars, if my car can maintain the speed limit.

    I am not yet ready to bow to my kindly masters (govt officials) who employ these unblinking, unsleeping metallic gargoyles as enforcers.

    Terminator because one day, the govt will make its little metal money makers a little too smart. England is already preparing Skynet.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stay legal, or don't drive

    Drivers, it is very simple. Agree to stick to the speed limits, or do not drive at all.

    If you think the speed limit is inappropriate on some roads, then use the due political process to change it.

    If you find (as several have stated) that checking your speed is a distraction for you, then please get a properly ergonomic car.....Until then, never drive: you've already declared you are unfit for the road conditions.

  107. jake Silver badge

    Something people are missing, & @Richard 45

    The biggest single problem with new drivers is that they don't understand applied Math(s) and/or Physics when applied to driving. You can't get around "F=MA" and vectors when driving, and in my opinion high-school level drivers should be required show at least a basic understanding of both in relation to autos before being issued a license.

    If by some miracle the above paragraph should come true, the next thing I would like to see is the politicians of the world being taught that "momentum" and "inertia" have more to do with accidents than speed ... I was out on Interstate 5 the other day, in a pack of six doing about 85MPH. An idiot in an old Volkswagen Bus decided to try to pass the Semi in front of him, moving at about 65. Now, I don't know how many of ElReg's readership have ever tried to accelerate from 65MPH in an old VW Bus, but the reality is that you can't. Not really. You can only push a brick thru' the air so fast with an underpowered flat four ...

    The long and short of it is that we all survived unscathed, but only because we were traveling around two seconds apart ... and the lead rider guessed that the Vdub would do something stupid & tapped his brakes about 3 seconds before we would have passed him. If we had been a typical group of bikers, chances are good that we would have been moving faster, and traveling closer together ... and the Vdub would have killed one or more of us. We're not typical, we grok physics & maths ... it kind of helps when you are racing (we were on the way to Thunderhill outside Willows, CA for a track day).

    Richard scrive: "I often have need to travel far around mid- and north-Wales on a large variety of types of roads, from twisty mountain roads"

    Mountains? In Wales? No such animal. Even Yr Wyddfa is only 3560 ft. That's nobut a hill, lad ... Black Mountain (3835 ft.), Mount Day (3816), Eylar Mountain (4016), Mount Lewis (3727), Loma Prieta (3727 (again)), Mount Mocho (3665), Pyramid Rock (4003), Mount Stakes (3796), Crystal Peak (3599), Mount Isabel (4183), Mount Hamilton (4354, 4250 and 4213 (look it up)), and Red Mountain (3652) are higher ... and all look down on Silicon Valley. None are really considered mountains ... Most are usually known colloquially as "the hills". I've been to the top of all of 'em ... all are day-tripable from Palo Alto (if you can get permission; a few are on private land). None are what I would consider mountains.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Get with the IT angle

    'business opportunity, perhaps... #

    By ElFatbob Posted Friday 2nd October 2009 09:31 GMT

    for detachable registration plates?'

    LCD number plates, strobing through various combinations but when looked at by the human eye reads the correct plate. (I've got an ARM microcontroller and some LCD panels, I'm off to play :)

  109. Tom Paine
    Go

    So, just me then

    So, I'm the only one who thinks speed limits in general are a good idea, rather than a conspiracy to raise funds / annoy drivers / institute a police state.

    I've lost two friends in car crashes, one aged 17, the other 26. And none from any other cause. Just one data point, of course, plural of 'anecdote' isn't 'data', and so on and so forth.

    Oh wait, I see an AC at 06:03 on the 3rd October has the same attitude as me.

    PS yes I've been nicked by GATSOs a couple of times, and guess what, I keep a closer eye on the limit nowadays. To be fair I often go ~10mph faster (except in 30 zones and slower, where the difference is proportionally much greater). Obviously if cameras were to start firing at 1mph over the limit rather than the 10mph as is the case round here, I'd have to slow down a bit more.

    GO: implement this scheme. Trauma surgeons will thank you (and transplant surgeons curse, as the number of donorcycle riders giving generously of their non-head-mounted organs drops.

  110. Suburban Inmate
    Pint

    At last, one idea I haven't though of/done!

    Get with the IT angle By Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 3rd October 2009 14:30 GMT

    "LCD number plates, strobing through various combinations but when looked at by the human eye reads the correct plate. (I've got an ARM microcontroller and some LCD panels, I'm off to play :)"

    That's the first idea on here (up to Tom Paine 4th Oct.15:56) That I haven't thought of and or used already, and I also consider it to be genius! Until the idea becomes widespread and the plod start looking for a faded section of the shot they have (indicating a transition). Oh, and you'll have to make sure all the transitions match your own vehicle model+colour.

    Alternatively: http://www.google.co.uk/search?as_epq=show+plates

    Other than the above, I always envisioned a mechanical solution subtly changing one or two digits (e.g. F/E/L) manually controlled.

    I've thought of and am currently executing the "Sell Up, Fuck Off" (...Abroad: Portugal) idea.

    I've done "stay under the speed limit" and I do. I'm very slow and careful around urban and suburban areas regardless of the particular road's limit.

    I've read about the auto-limiting idea, and it has been raised recently but I can't be arsed to find a link. Basically auto-limiting car = driver laziness.

    Evil Graham: "... you obvously haven't been out drinking on a Saturday night in Newport recently." Exactly my thoughts too! (and I don't even live in Wales)

    As for the overtaking-lane dawdlers: Perhaps some sort of in-car ANPR based "Feedback" system a la eBay? A row of steering wheel mounted buttons for various types of stupidity such as Dangerously slow, Stupid speed* , Looks pissed/drugged, Driving like a prick, etc. After all, we're being monitored and tracked everywhere as it is, why dont We The People get in on the act? As many have mentioned, what we need is actual human eyes looking out for the epic brainfails.

    *I'm thinking of the twats doing about 30-40 in a 60 zone.... on the Brecon Beacons during thick, and I mean *solid cloud thick* fog! Googled Images for "thick fog" and nothing there comes close.

    [Beer because I'm drink-posting]

  111. BornAcorn

    cool

    I've seen so many morons doing 70mph on the A5 and northern stretches of the A470 that it boggles the mind. I really hope they can break these out first.

    The argument "oh, I'll need to watch my speedo ALL the time" is an indicator of the issue. People try to drive AT the limit. There's no need. Take a deep breath, do 50 on A roads, 60 on motorways. You'll get to your destination.

  112. ShaggyDoggy

    @ AC 2nd October 2009 12:02

    Dual control car, mate

  113. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    One word...

    ...cruise control

    Oh, OK, two words.

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