back to article Speed cameras slide out of LibCon budget

Jeremy Clarkson can start pressing his itchy accelerator pedal back to the metal - the new LibCon Government isn't going to fund more speed cameras. It's acknowledging the suspicion that the devices are being used as revenue generators, and is encouraging local councils to “use other methods and effective safety measures” to …


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  1. Ian Ferguson


    This seems great on the surface. But if councils have to completely fund new speed cameras themselves, won't there be even more pressure to use them as revenue generators?

    1. Terry Ellis

      Doesn't make sense at all

      They are revenue /generators/ and yet they are being cut? Surely you would only want to cut projects that didn't generate revenue (aside from those with obvious social benefits!)?

    2. Oz

      Yes but...

      Yes, but with cameras costing up to £40K, and budgets being cut, there won't be the capital seen previously to pay for loads more of them.

      (Go - well, need I say more?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I hate speed cameras. People rely on them instead of common sense.

        I once overtook someone on the motorway who was doing exactly 70mph. He looked at me like I was the devil. It was dry, and light, and empty.

        About 100 yards down the road, we hit a 'flash shower' which was quite strong, and also, there were roadworks, with men working on the road, and a 50 mph speed posted.

        The roads had been dry for a while, and were a bit greasy. I slowed down to 30mph, and shortly after, the same driver past me, doing exactly 50mph, whuch was far too fast for the situation.

        I do believe they are mainly revenue generators, but as you point out, surely this story points to them NOT being revenue generators if they are going to drop them for financial reasons!

        1. david wilson

          @AC 18/6 17:56

          >>"I once overtook someone on the motorway who was doing exactly 70mph. He looked at me like I was the devil. It was dry, and light, and empty."

          So did he turn round to look backwards at you before you got level with him, were you both driving along looking sideways rather than at the road, or did you turn round to look back at him once you were ahead?

      2. Elmer Phud


        My local council loves to sub everything out.

        They'd be happy to have a company install and maintain speed cameras in they got a decent cut.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Just think

    Just think what they could achieve if their first term wasn't being wasted undoing all this crap from the previous government!

    Well done to the government, keep it up.

  3. gautam

    Not good enough

    In that case why not decommission most of them and stop funding the maintenance too? How about rolling back other legislations curtailing our freedom and civil liberties?

    There are more CCTVs now then ever before. How about removing them too?

    Seriously, this would make them more popular then ever now.

    And remove the congestion charge too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Usual crap

      ...about eroding civil liberties I see.

      The only people who need to worry about speed cameras are those that speed, I really fail to see the issue.

      Same with CCTV. I bet you'd be the first to complain if you were mugged in plain sight of a camera and yet nothing was done because some pillock decided they eroded civil liberties and turned them off...

      You only need to watch one or two of the usual cops on tv shows to see that they play an important part in reducing crime.

      1. Stone Fox

        Usual crap

        about nothing to hide nothing to fear etc...

        I speed. Not dangerously, and in 12 years I've never had an accident. I simply drive at a limit I feel is sensible and I can control which differs from road to road. Yes that means I'll do 90 on the M4 if it's empty.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re usual crap

          I completely agree and have done for years. Speed does not kill, Idiots driving beyond their abilities course accidients and kill, that could be at 30mph or at 100mph.

          I have simple rules, maintain safe distance to car infront, do not weave in and out of lanes, keep a steady progress (you really shouldnt have to use the brakes on Motorways unless something unforseeable happens) be curtious to other drivers and be aware of everything around you. I consistantly break the limit to 90odd mph and yet ive never been in an accident, ive never been pulled over or snapped on camera, the reason for this is because i keep my eyes on the road and drive safely knowing exactly whats going on around me. Im not gonna sit here and say im the safest driver in the world, but what i will say is im a damn site lot safer driver 90 in a 70 then half the idiots driving at the 70 limit right up the arse of the car in front in poor road conditions.

        2. David Barrett

          And that's up to you...

          As long as when you do got a ticket/crash because of speed you are fully aware that you have only yourself to blame.

          Just don't whine that it's the fault of the camera/police/government for enforcing the LAW.

          No matter what the law is, if you break it knowingly or now, you have broken thaw and should accept any concequences.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            All-seeing machines strike again

            "As long as when you do got a ticket/crash because of speed you are fully aware that you have only yourself to blame."

            Aa, one if these types again.

            So you are the Machine, human that makes no errors and sees _everything_. Especially about million speed limit posts. If you don't see it, you don't know that you are speeding. Why is the fine for harmless human error about £80? Tell us? Do I get fined £80 for spitting on the street? It's against the law too.

            And of course 30 speed limit on a highway is OK because it's the law? And not somebody greedy enought to put ridiculous speed limit just to collect more money?

            That doesn't obviously happen in your world, where ever it might be.

          2. ml100

            The problem is THE LAW

            We vote in a party and then sit back and do nothing when they create laws we dont agree with or dont make sense.

            I agree we are all to blame for not being outraged when new laws are passed about road use and we fail to complain to our MPs.

            There was a mild grumble about:

            Digital Economy Bill

            Criminalsing mephedrone

            Landline tax

            But did we actually stand up and do something about it? Nope. Hence we are in a situation where knee jerk legislation means we have ridiculous and illogical law making.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        > Same with CCTV. I bet you'd be the first to complain if you were mugged in plain sight of a camera

        > and yet nothing was done because some pillock decided they eroded civil liberties and turned

        > them off...

        The main argument against CCTV camera are that they just don't work.

        We have so many of the f*ckers that the vast majority of them are not watched or not even switched on. Heck, if there are so many, think of the enormous maintenance job of keeping them all ticking away even if they were all actively used. And for a lot of them, the quality is so appalling, the pictures are unhelpful.

        > You only need to watch one or two of the usual cops on tv shows to see that they play an

        > important part in reducing crime.

        Don't be fooled by that.

        You only see the instances where they were effective and someone happened to be watching.

        Compare that to the vast, VAST number of low-level crimes going on where no-one was watching the camera or it was unhelpful: you don't hear about those stories. Their effectiveness or lack thereof does not justify their ubiquity.

        Speed cameras are not discriminating. They don't decide if someone is driving dangerously, just that someone is breaking the law, something we all do in little ways one way or another all the time.

      3. Mike Banahan

        Only speeders should worry

        I used to feel that way about speed cameras (only those who speed complain) till I had to drive on a wet and windy night from Leeds to Shipley.

        You have to try that road. The limits vary from 30, 40, 60 almost randomly. There are some substantial clear stretches where any prudent driver is going to assume that the limit is 40 and when you are straining your eyes to drive safely it really is the last thing you want to do to have you attention focused on the apparently arbitrarily placed limit signs - as any fule no it's not exactly going to improve you attention to other vehicles, pedestrians, cycles etc.

        So you are, you think, by any measure driving safely. Then poof! A bright flash in your eyes because you thought you were absolutely obviously on a 40 mph stretch but no, points on your licence and a fine.

        What seems so unfair is that you will observe some lunatic dangerous driving of other kinds that isn't caught by the cameras whilst your sensible approach to managing your vehicle and speed is punished.

        Now I have to say that in fact I didn't manage to trigger a camera when I did that drive, but I felt that it was actually more dangerous to focus on the speed limit signs than to judge a prudent and safe speed based on some 30 years of driving experience.

        And that is what changed my mind about the 'only speeders need worry' response.

        As it happens - cross fingers - I've never had a speeding ticket but that stretch made me hate the cameras because I felt they made the driving more dangerous, not less.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Highway robbery

          "You have to try that road. The limits vary from 30, 40, 60 almost randomly."

          Of course. It _has_ to be random and totally non-predictable: That generates most "criminals" and most money. Here we do have 35 limit on four-lane highways(!), several miles long. For no other reason as camera in the middle.

          These things are modern highway robbers, nothing else. Everybody who tries to claim otherwise, is a lying bastard.

          And I have a research paper (made by Finnish road authority and very, very quickly mopped under the rug) to back it up: Similar roads, one with cameras and without: No difference in accident count or severity, except in camera equipped roads 22% _more_ rear end collisions.

          Ie: Cameras cause accidents and do not prevent those. Not a single one.

          Of course the Official Policy (TM) is that "Speed Kills(TM)" and that cameras kill more than speed doesn't fit in that policy.

        2. david wilson

          @Mike Banahan

          >>You have to try that road. The limits vary from 30, 40, 60 almost randomly. There are some substantial clear stretches where any prudent driver is going to assume that the limit is 40 and when you are straining your eyes to drive safely it really is the last thing you want to do to have you attention focused on the apparently arbitrarily placed limit signs - as any fule no it's not exactly going to improve you attention to other vehicles, pedestrians, cycles etc."

          The speed limit *should* be something that people can be aware of without much deliberate looking beyond observing the road ahead, via well-placed limit signs and repeaters.

          If that isn't the case, it's possible to end up accidentally speeding, but whether you end up caught by a camera or by live police, it's really the signage that's the issue there, not the being caught.

          One pet hate of mine is speed limit changes on roundabout exits, especially exits with pedestrian crossings shortly afterwards.

          Also, it does seem odd that when they take pains to make the cameras visible, they don't automatically put an obvious speed limit repeater near them.

          As for randomly changing limits, I guess sometimes there are reasons for them, even if those reasons might not be obvious (seemingly minor junctions that actually have a fair bit of traffic, past record of accidents, etc.)

      4. The Original Steve


        "The only people who need to worry about speed cameras are those that speed"


        I think most sane, experienced and sensible motorists would be happy to do 80 or 90mph in a well maintained vehicle on a motorway at 3am when the weather is good and the driver is alert and aware of the surroundings.

        But I also think 30mph is too high outside a school in an unserviced vehicle at school closing time.

        Last month when some dozy cow drove into the back of me (I wasn't speeding BTW - it was damp so I was under the limit as it wasn't safe to do 60mph) I thought about the speed camera at the side of the road as a police car drove past without stopping after a collision that's written off my car.

        Am I making myself clear? Or are you one of those dicks that thinks just because something is illegal it's also wrong? Because that connection is weak at best.

        And regarding CCTV... I don't think anyone has a problem with it in principle, apart from it doesn't fecking work. Who's the dickhead that goes on a rape or murder spree without covering their faces or without thinking where the cameras are?

        It nearly made me think of the time 2 years ago when I was mugged at knife point by a couple of kids with a camera nearby. I reported it, the police did NOTHING (I had to request the CCTV countless times as they weren't going to bother) and after nearly two months I finally got a reply from the police who told me that it didn't catch the perps face as they had hoodies on.

        So we have these nameless, faceless cameras tracking us wherever we go without choice or debate about them that doesn't prevent anyone smart enough to wear a hat commiting a crime. We have cameras that presume to know more about the road conditions, service history of my vehicle, traffic and weather conditions - yet a police officer won't even stop when driving past after someone crashes into my car.

        I feel so much safer.

      5. David Barrett


        Completly agree with the above,

        if it wasn't for CCTV cameras I'd be down 1 £750 bike and a phone.

        If it wasn't for speed cameras I'd have £60 more in the bank but that's MY fault not the camera.

      6. Paul Renton-Harper

        re usual Crap

        Having been burgled last year I discovered from the police that CCTV does NOT play a significant part in reducing crime. Apparently less than 30% of CCTV footage is of any use at all and even in those cases where it can be used the quality is such that a number of criminals have claimed mistaken identity and got away with it in court when the footage is shown. If you do get mugged, according to the police there is precious little chance that CCTV will help you even if it happened in plain sight of a camera. Fortunately, the built in camera on my iMac caught the perp in glorious hi-ish def technicolour.

        Best we can say about the CCTV explosion and civil liberties is that the quality usually seems so poor that our liberties are not being greatly infringed if most of the time they can't tell who we are. Best solution though would seem to be to stop wasting money on them.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother


        Go to and make a FOI request to your local police station about the CCTV cameras, one response from the police on the site:

        "Between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2009, 645 crimes were recorded as having been committed in the Lochgelly area. Of these crimes, 312 were detected. It is not possible to identify those crimes where CCTV played a part in their detection without reviewing each one."

        As for the cop shows, they are all one sided, many criminals do evade police capture but you will never get to to see that on one of those shows as it would send the wrong messsage to the general public.

      8. Anonymous Coward

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

        jesus h christ. this is either a troll or the most stupid poster ever.

        first, speed cameras serve no purpose apart from window dressing and raking in money. have you ever noticed how drivers slow down going past the speed trap and then carrying on at the speed they were doing beforehand? or that the location of speed traps rarely have anything to do with real safety blackspots. and when they are, the effects of regression to the mean are conveniently ignored. ie a cluster of crashes happen by random and revert to the average rate all by themselves no matter if speed cameras were there or not.

        the same is true of the cctv. it's not a deterrent to criminals. the cops rarely need (or get) cctv pictures to identify suspects. few court cases depend on cctv footage for a conviction either. it's all bullshit as fuckwit bureaucrats cover their arses by installing cctv instead of really dealing with crime.

        you must be really stupid if you believe the shite on these tv cop shows. they're not likely to show the 99% of cases where cctv turns out to be useless or unnecessary, are they?

        when was the last time you saw the cops on patrol? now *that* would be a deterrent to crime and all sorts of bad driving.

      9. Anonymous Coward

        Pure propaganda

        "The only people who need to worry about speed cameras are those that speed, I really fail to see the issue."

        Yes, you seem to fail at everything.

        How about little statiscs: There's a variable speed limit sign at every 500 yards through UK. That's a million or two of them. A very observant driver misses only 1% of traffic signs. That's about ten to twenty even on very short trips. Now you're the idiot who claims that _all the people speed all the time on purpose_.

        Which is obviously a blatant lie and invented only for justification of stealing, cash cows called cameras.

        "Same with CCTV. I bet you'd be the first to complain if you were mugged in plain sight of a camera and yet nothing was done because some pillock decided they eroded civil liberties and turned them off..."

        Bullshit too and you answered yourself why it is so: when you get mugged in plain sight of camera, excatly nothing will happen, because cameras are not for catching muggers or ordinary criminals. Some are caught and claimed that camera helped, but that's plain propaganda, invented to justify CCTVs.

        "You only need to watch one or two of the usual cops on tv shows to see.. "

        Yes, TV is really almost same as reality. Just add some imagination and manuscript.

        ".. that they play an important part in reducing crime."

        Which is also bullshit: Cameras have never reduced crime, it just moves to next to camera. Or happens right front of it. Criminals have noticed that cameras are not for catching criminals, they exist to instill fear to law abiding citizens: "You are being watched!".

        Real criminals of course wipe their asses with this kind of propaganda and laugh all the way to home.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Does it mean those given a tyre necklace will not be replaced?

    3. Circadian

      They call them "safety" cameras...

      ...and if that were true, then they should put a sign warning *why* the camera is in place so that drivers know the hazard that the speed camera is monitoring.

      I think I'd hate them less if I saw "Speed cam because - blind T-junction ahead", or "Speed cam because - school crossing 50yds ahead" etc. As opposed to now "Speed cam because - straight clear road ahead, but we are money-hungry whores who want to fuck with you"

    4. Nigel 11

      Speed cameras can *cause* accidents

      When they put speed cameras on busy dual carriageways with no reason other than to raise revenue, they *cause* accidents.

      Some dozy driver following the car in front at (say) 50 in optimally spaced traffic, spots the camera, can't remember the limit, and applies his brakes so as to get down to the 40 or 30 that he thinks might apply. The people behind are caught out by someone suddenly slowing down for no reason. You get a cascade effect. On a good day the traffic just grinds to a standstill several hundred yards further back. On a bad day, the road is unexpectedly slippery, or several people wre driving just a little bit too close, and there's a pile-up. Probably not a serious one, just enough to damage some cars, to create a five-mile tailback, and to pump tonnes of extra CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. On a *really* bad day a tanker-load of some dangerous volatile chemical will end up breached . Hasn't hapened yet, but it's only a matter of time.

      Someone should look at each and every speed camera from a safety perspective, and no-one who profits from the fines should be allowed any say in where the cameras are located. The right places are at well-known accident blackspots, on narrow residential road "rat-runs", and outside schools. And perhaps, occasionally, on busy roads - but concealed, set at least 10mph above the speed limit, and active only at times of high traffic density.

      In the meantime, every speed camers should at least have the limit that it is enforcing painted on it!

  4. Ian 49
    Black Helicopters

    But then of course...

    ...if you really wanted to lower accidents and serious incidents on the roads, you'd increase the number of specially trained personnel, able to see and respond to them.

    You could call them, say, "Traffic Police"... something like that?

    But they cost money, they don't bring it in, don't they. Never going to happen then.

    Black helicopter icon to represent the blue and yellow EC135 that seems to have taken a liking to hovering near our house, of late.

    1. ml100

      more police is not the answer

      Thats simply uneconomic. You want an extra 50000 officers to watch our every move?

      How about giving firmer advice on safe distances to the car infront and enforcing fines on tail gaters?

      How about asking drivers to prove their competence every 5 or 10 years with another driving test?

      How about having to prove your eyesight is good enough to be behind the wheel unaided or that you own the corrective aids to enable you to see.

      The largest contributing factor to accidents is lack of observation not speed. If we make sure everyone is on the same page - if you passed 30 years ago youve had 30 years to develop poor habits and get complacent and lazy - that might help too.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. davefb

    err 'speed causes accidents' says mp.

    hang on, nobody says this at all. The issue is that the greater the speed means that more energy is in the accident which means greater chance of lives being lost or damage. Its hardly rocket science, more basic physics.

    What next, believing the myth about 'seat belts cause deaths because my grandad would have died if he'd been stuck in the car'(etc).

    Anyway, surely revenue generation from idiots who can't drive is a sensible tax?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Seat Belt Laws

      The seat belt law probably did not save lives over all. By an unintended consequence it transferred the casualties from those inside the vehicle to those outside as folk drove faster and took more risks.

      Read John Adams blog for a numerate explanation.

      I never understood the fuss about speed cameras, you have to be travelling in excess of the speed limit + 10% to get a ticket. That's hardly dificult is it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not 10%

        Actually a Police friend of mine told me that speed cameras are calibrated to fire at 7% + 3MPH over the speed limit. OK it's near as damn it 10% but it actually means that the lower the speed limit, the more leeway you have (e.g. 30MPH = 5.1MPH allowance). So it's not until you reach above 100MPH that you would get less than 10%.

      2. Terry H
        Thumb Down

        Well as long as it's reasonable.

        So you have to be going 33 in a 30 zone? Clearly a threat to western civilization. I think the terrorists should give up on all these unwieldy bombs, and complex hijacking schemes. They can just tear through town at 40 KPH.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      All accidents...

      ... are potentially attributable to speed - without movement relative to something else, there cannot be an accident. Beyond that, it is actually acceleration that is the issue. I can't be bothered togo through the same thing that I've said before - if you are interested, look at my previous comments.

      Speeding isn't actually the problem - it is inappropriate use of speed for the conditions that causes problems. Drive with due care and attention and there should be no problem. There is no advantage to messing up someone's driving record for doing 45mph in a 30mph zone at 2.30am unless there is some other factor that contributes to it being dangerous (e.g. a nightclub tipping out). When there used to be real policemen on the roads, I was once stopped late at night and reminded that I the road I was on had a particular speed limit, but that since I was not in danger of causing any harm to anyone, and I clearly knew the road (I was close to home), nothing more would be said. Another time, I was warned about a speedtrap by another (not traffic) police car coming in the other direction!

      Any offence has to be taken in context - black-letter law is bad for everyone (and i speak as one who knows).

      1. Terry H

        Mostly right

        I wholeheartedly agree except for one point. You said:

        "Beyond that, it is actually acceleration that is the issue."

        Since you want to be technical, it is the deceleration that is the problem. Or to be even more accurate the rate of deceleration.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          @ Terry H

          I was taught in physics and maths with mechanics that there is no such thing as deceleration. It is all acceleration, just in a different direction (acceleration being a vector, as I recall).

          However, it is a long time since I did those subjects, so I could be mis-remembering! Beer just in case you know something I don't!

          1. Originone

            Bravo Intractable!

            Since YOU want to be technical Terry H. In technical terms acceleration is a vector value i.e. it has both magnitude and direction, and so as intractable says deceleration is just acceleration in the opposite direction. Even the wikipedia article on deceleration ( simply redirects you to the article on acceleration ( It is only when people are NOT being technical that they will use the term deceleration in reference to a reduction in speed.

            If you're going to get all pedantic on someone you really, REALLY need to get it right.

    3. Luther Blissett

      Basic maths innit

      I would, as a matter of public policy and safety, encourage cars to travel at 1000mph. It stands to reason that the faster they go, the shorter time spent in the vicinty of any (relatively immobile) pedestrians, and therefore the lower the risk of accidents to said fleshies. We have only to solve the basic physics of control at such speeds in confided spaces, but - think of the children! They're worth it. (Aren't they?)

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Speed kills, revisited

      " The issue is that the greater the speed means that more energy is in the accident which means greater chance of lives being lost or damage. Its hardly rocket science, more basic physics."

      Which is totally pointless if you don't drive an accident. Sleeping while driving is a common cause for accidents and most of those are from driving way too slow, ie. posted speed limit. Slow driving kills and that can be proved: Dullness induces sleepyness and driving 35 on highway is as dull as wathcing the paint dry on the wall. No-one can stand that more than 15 minutes before the mind starts wander. Of course, this is never mentioned.

      Also, you know, driving an accident is not a given fact nor mandatory and in reality, most (>80%) drivers are never involved in major accident. You want to punish these people (big majority) every day because some other people can't drive, why?

      So it's a money generator, ie. stealing.

      "Anyway, surely revenue generation from idiots who can't drive is a sensible tax?"

      That would be, yes. But it's taken from those who drive and _can drive_. Speed limits are so low that no-one, who can drive, obeys them. Would you drive 35 on 4-lane highway? For 200 miles? And if you say you would, you are lying.

      Those who cause accidents, are not penalized at all or very lightly and in any case less than speeding.

      The message is very clear: Driving an accident is nothing, speeding is a capital crime. Tell me, why is that? Which is more dangerous, in reality? _Which one kills people in reality, not in shady visions_?

      Accidents are so rare that you can't get same revenue from those so they _had to_ invent something else. Intro: "Speed kills"-doctrine.

      As realistic as gateway-theory in drugs, meaning: bullshit.

      Germans drive 200MPH on their highways and cause _less_ accidents (and deaths) than in most EU countries. Tell me again how speed kills? Where that can be observed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Germans drive 200 MPH - clarification

        I live in Germany.

        Most Germans do not drive 200MPH, that's actually less than 1% who drive that fast. The German highways are built for 180Km/h (120MPH) and you can see that with a normal car you start having difficulties controlling it starting at around 200Km/h(127MPH). You need a really good car and experience to drive safely over that speed and most of the Germans don't have one of them. Most cars are limited to 250Km/h unless they are the super-sport versions (like Audi RS, MB-AMG, Porsche). And Germany has some hardcore ecologists/stingies who drive barely faster than the trucks so during the day you can barely drive faster than 100KM/h on busy highways.

        My feeling is that the highways are built properly to allow high speeds and some human error. After learning to drive in Germany and driving on Spain's highways I often thought - what were they thinking.

        On the other side, I had to take a psychological coaching due to jumping a red light once and you know what I realised? One needs an attitude shift - to understand that there is no pressure to drive faster and to reach somewhere 5 minutes earlier. I do still drive fast when I can (6 o'clock in the morning is still possible to drive 200km/h) but if I can't - speed limit or construction site I quietly acccept it. Have some audio-books in the car so the time is not wasted.

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    >If authorities want to put up new fixed cameras, they are free to do so using their own resources.

    So no new cameras where they would actually be a safety improvement - only the ones that will make a profit?

  8. g e

    Outbreak of common sense in Whitehall


  9. Lockwood

    Just remember

    "Gatsometer B.V. leads the world in the provision of traffic enforcement equipment. The company’s core business consists of the development, production, and installation of traditional and digital red light camera systems and radar systems"


    "The value of your investment may fall as well as rise, and you may not get back the full amount invested"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not to mention....

      ...that Gatso's success has always been as much to do with lobbying as with public safety...

      If they were anything other than revenue generators, they'd have one on my street where boy racers regularly do 50mph (and police take 30 minutes to respond) rather than Mr Plod hiding behind bushes to pounce on ordinary motorists for doing 35mph 100 yards inside the town limits.

  10. waldoPepp

    Councils should be a bit less dedicated to safety.

    Councils should be reviewing their policies regarding road safety anyway. The number of unnecessary "improvements" in my neck of the woods (pointless pedestrian crossings, unecessarily low speed limits etc) all strongly suggest the presence of dedicated road safety officers who are mostly dedicated to justifying their own existence, not to mention a mad, end of fiscal year rush to use up a dedicated road safety budget.

    Perhaps they could use some of these resources to actually improve the flow of traffic for once, instead of slowing it down. We've had the safest roads in Europe for decades, and also the most congested.

    1. Mike Bell
      Paris Hilton


      I disagree. I think we need a mini-roundabout at every single road junction, just to keep drivers on their toes. Oh, and while we're at it, everybody should be forced to drive a red and yellow car like Noddy. And make sex videos.

    2. Luther Blissett

      Helping pedestrian, or twitting drivers?

      It seems a curious phenomenon that the number of such "improvements", in the most general sense of traffic calming measures, on a given stretch of road is in direct inverse proportion to the number of pedestrian crossings.

      Why could this be?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, if it wasn't about the revenue...

    ... then shirley councils wouldn't mind donating all fines to, say, relieving the national debt?

    Personally I think it utter madness to plan for a certain amount of fines to be levied and build the budget depending on that. It distracts from what councils and plod and so on really should be doing. The national debt is a nice and large sinkhole in which to lose money that'll never get there otherwise. But I'll stop now, I'm starting to make sense.

  12. riCh chestMat

    Idiots as social revenue generation

    Since breaking the speed limit is against the law then what is wrong with using speeding motorists to fund local government? This means lower taxes for the rest of us. If you don't like it then you can choose to drive within the limits you agreed to when you received your driving licence. It's the democratic way.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      It isn't democratic ...

      ... when they haven't been asked to vote for it! If there are so many people exceeding speed limits, perhaps they have a democratic right to be heard. In the USA there are many places that are voting against speed and traffic-light cameras (see for more details). We don't get that option - some control freak decides it is going to happen, and it does. If each one had to be justified to the electorate in terms of the history of accidents in that place, and how it would actually affect the risk of those accidents happening again, and how they would catch all vehicles, including motorbikes (which don't have front number-plates so forward-facing cameras don't work), then perhaps we would get somewhere.

    2. Steve X


      The problem as I see it is that it is impossible to define a numerical speed limit that is valid for several km of road, under all circumstances. For a given stretch of road it may sometimes be safe at 30mph, sometimes at 40, sometimes at 20. It depends on weather, condition of vehicle, time of day, etc.

      Since the fundamental objective is safety, that leaves two choices. Either an adaptive system that can judge the conditions and other variables, or a mechanical system that must target the lowest value to ensure safety in all circumstances.

      Cameras fall into the second group, and in the above example would have to be set at 20. That not only causes frustration, with the potential for 'road rage' and accidents, but wastes potential road capacity. It also means that drivers, especially good drivers who are experienced at adapting to conditions, have to drive with the attention fixed on their speedo, to ensure that their driving instincts don't let them stray to, say, 22mph (only 10%). That, in itself, is dangerous, since their attention is not fully on the road and other vehicles.

      Prior to the use of cameras, speed limits were enforced in general by police, who (if trained) are capable of making judgements. The speed limit could be set at, say, 30. Police could judge if someone driving at 35 in very good confitions, or on a stretch of road that was better than the average, just merited a warning, or if someone driving at 25 in bad conditions or on a stretch of road that was clearly poor, still merited prosecution for driving without due care, etc.

      Overall, that solution improves traffic flow, reduces stress and likely consequences, and leaves the mechanical solutions for places where it is clearly appropriate, i.e. 'binary' infringements like drivers running red lights, or ignoring level crossing barriers.

      Of course any solution involving people costs money,, and politicans have never been very good at choosing between money and safety where common sense is required.

      1. ravenviz

        Re: tradeoffs

        "have to drive with the attention fixed on their speedo"

        A good driver knows how fast they're going without looking at the speedo. Drivers who need to look at the speedo all the time need to slow down.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We Wish!!

      I worked in local government for many years, and I can tell you that if I thought the income from speed cameras might lower council taxes, I'd speed on principle!

      NOTHING lowers council tax except constant public pressure - and that succeeds rarely. Extra funds, whether generated by speed cameras or firing a few school auxiliaries, just go on better offices, bigger expenses and jobs for the boys.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      "If you don't like it then you can choose to drive within the limits you agreed to when you received your driving licence. It's the democratic way."

      Tell me, where do we get to vote about speed limits?

      _That_ would be the democratic way.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I wasn't disappointed

    ... the comments on this article were just as I expected.

    1. Circadian

      @Anonymous Coward

      Surprised in a good way or a bad way? Using the "pedant" icon in this case is pretty clueless because pedantically you do not indicate quite what you thought. Without prior identification of your guess, you could make this claim about any forum at any time - even if the comments veered off into talking about Douglas Adams and cricket quotations.

      Reminds me of that old Abbot and Costello sketch (no, I can't remember how to spell their names, and can't be bothered to check) where they argue about who should do an unpleasant task. Abbot: "What number am I thinking of?". Costello: "Seven". Abbot (patting Costello's cheek) "You were sooo close." (This was a running gag in the film.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The problem is that cameras only catch people speeding, regardless of whether they're driving dangerously or recklessly.

    The reality is that today, you can drink drive, weave about all over the motorway, cut people up, chat on the phone and text to your leasure, aslong as you're not speeding the chances of being caught are virtually zero... and everyone knows it.

    The only real and effective way to police the roads is with traffic officers, but they're so few and far between nowadays I can't recall the last time I saw one!

    1. Chemist

      Re : Speed

      Agree entirely.

      Yesterday driving on fast A-road at the speed limit+ I had another car a few feet behind and so far out in the road that they were often over the white line. This went on for a few miles even though the opportunity to overtake was there.

      Today on a WIDE road I was overtaking a parked car whilst still within the white line and a POLICE-CAR came round a bend ahead over the white line with a car's width of empty space next to the kerb.

      Speeding might contribute to injury and to some extent the original accident but there are far more dangerous driving practices that cause accidents in the first place that cameras will never spot.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Twats on the road

        Yesterday as I turned off the A43 (dual carriageway) onto the B4100 (single carriageway) I nearly had a head on collision with some pillock. Apparently he thought it appropriate to overtake the traffic waiting at the entrance to the roundabout.

        Luckily for both of us I was travelling at a sensible speed and was able to move over into the gutter but it just proves what total twats we share the road with.

        If he'd been unlucky he could have met one of the other twats who come piling off at that exit barely hanging on.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Angle Grinder

    I have seen many cut down or destroyed entirely by angry motorists, if the government are not giving them out for free now, the local councils will not/should not be able to afford to replace them. The more that come down the less that will go back up!.

  16. Steven Jones

    Road safety trends

    Whatever people's personal feeling about speed cameras, then there has been a very considerable drop in road fatalities.

    The "safe speed" site tried to make a case that speed cameras (and other road policies) were costing about 1,000 lives per year based on a highly selective set of stats comparing an annual trend from 1950 to 1993 with a two year trend from 1999 to 2001.

    However, they have now given up updating the stats on that site, and it's not difficult to see why as it now undermines their own case. In 2001 the number of road fatalities was 3,443, whilst in 2008 (the last year for which I can find full figures) it was 2,538, an annual compound reduction rate of about 5%. Using their preferred measure, fatalities per bn vehicle kilometres, the reduction was even more - an annualised reduction rate of a little over 6%.

    So, whatever argument there might be about speed cameras, it's extremely difficult to make a statistical case that they are counter-productive in terms of road safety.

    On the subject of pure the pure physics involved, the kinetic energy that has toi be dissipated in a crash goes up to the square of speed, so a 20% increase in speed result increases the amount of energy to be lots by 44%. The vehicle will travel an extra 20% distance in the time taken for a given reaction time (which includes other road users including pedestrians) and the braking distance is distinctly non-linear with speed so that 20% extra speed would result in about a 44% increase in stopping distance after the pedal was depressed. Then there is the point that it is simplier easier to lose control, all other things being equal, at higher speeds.

    Of course it's not speed alone, or motorways would be out most dangerous roads when they are actually the safest. It's speed in context and mixed-traffic roads and, especially, rural ones are, per mile travelled, the most dangerous.

    nb. if motorcycles are taken out of the equation, then the fatality rates fell considerably faster than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      drop in fatalities= from a very bad year to very good year, ie. random noise

      "Whatever people's personal feeling about speed cameras, then there has been a very considerable drop in road fatalities."

      Choosing the years right you could say anything about any statistics by comparing one year to another year and then getting "considerable drop" of 20%. Yearly variation from mean value is 15% but you don't say that, that would ruin the value of announcement, wouldn't it?

      Also: Not on the roads where the cameras are. You'll notice that they very carefully avoid to say that. Those roads see the steady increase of rear-end collisions and otherwise the same as other roads, so the cameras are actually increasing the accident rate than lessen it.

      Counting fatalities is statistical trick, easier to manipulate than amount of accidents, which is much higher and thus less variable year-by-year basis. Also discarding the evolution of cars is blatant omission: Safety belts, air bags and general passive safety has increased tremendously from 2001 to 2008 and they don't attribute a single life saved to these. Lying bastards.

      "So, whatever argument there might be about speed cameras, it's extremely difficult to make a statistical case that they are counter-productive in terms of road safety."

      When your whole organization is dedicated to prove cameras are increasing the safety, you don't publish any data which could be "used wrong". It's that simple why they don't have any newer data. Or they bother to make excuses anymore, cameras are already everywhere, why bother? It costs money and the purpose of cameras is to make money, not to spend it.

      Finnish road safety authority, obviously by mistake, published one, quite large research paper (2 years, 15 roads with cameras and 15 otherwise similar roads without) and noticed that effects cameras brought: rear end collisions: Increase 22%, others: Zero, nada, zilch. As statistically valid result as you can get in a small country.

      Decrease in safety, increase in revenue. Proved by authority backed research. The research paper vanished from public very quickly and now it doesn't even exist in their reseach catalogs. Gee, I wonder why ...

  17. Gavin 2

    +10% is wrong

    >I never understood the fuss about speed cameras, you have to be travelling in excess of the >speed limit + 10% to get a ticket. That's hardly dificult is it?

    I thought this as well but it's wrong. I went on a speed awareness recently (instead of the fine and points for speeding). Was told that 10% is a guideline only, some forces are going for zero tolerance.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Zero tolerance? Take them to court then.

      Ask the Chief of Police in those areas what the tolerance of the camera is, how often that camera is calibrated, and if they check calibration immediately before and after every single photograph is taken.

      Then ask them what the legal tolerance of a car speedometer is, and therefore how exactly they expect a road user to comply.

      Alternatively, you could wait until said Chief is caught speeding by such a camera. Oh yeah - that already happened, didn't it.

    2. Circadian

      @+10% is wrong

      Oh dear. That is bad news. It means that whoever is in charge has no clue about margins of error, gauge capability, and all the other typically engineering type stuff :-(

      If they start enforcing "zero tolerance" then they have "zero clue" about how stuff works in real life. Hmm, OK, that's tautalogical.

      Still, could be interesting to see if there are class-action suits against car-manufacturers about the accuracy of their speedometers. And all the expense of ensuring that every speed cam is properly calibrated at the appropriate frequency laid down by the manufacturers.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      "Didn't see it"

      ">I never understood the fuss about speed cameras, you have to be travelling in excess of the >speed limit + 10% to get a ticket. That's hardly dificult is it?"

      You aren't geting the point, aren't you?

      Who tells you what _is the speed limit_? You just "need to know" and not like general knowledge like laws in general, but right now, at this spot. And this changes several times in a minute, all the time. 2 hours, >200 changes and one mistake is enough to get you busted. Show me any other law that changes 200 times in a two hours? To random values, on top of that.

      Humans are not machines and the thieves who do install cameras do know that extremely well, it's enough that 1 in 100 makes a mistake at any given point, that brings in nice revenue effortlessy. Pure statistics.

      But, to the point: Who tells you?

      No-one. Defininitely not the police, before giving you the ticket. Maybe afterwards.

      Do you want to guess why is that?

      RFID on the speed limit post and reader to car: automatic speed limit registration, which will never happen because the idea of cameras is generate as much revenue as they can and confusing the drivers of current speed limit is essential part of that, that's why there's always a lot of speed limit posts. Automatic data would ruin this and thus ruin the revenue: It will never happen. technology for this is already existing and practically free. It's just not used. Gee, I wonder why?

      Most accidents are caused by people who "didn't see" other car(!), how do you expect people to see something as small as speed limit sign? Especially when there are several of those in every mile, all different, all the time.

      Very well tuned machine vision makes an error about 1 in 10 000 objects, in laboratory. In road the error percentage increases to 1%, in rain or snowstorm 100%. And now you tell it's not difficult, just don't look at the road or other cars, just look at the side of the road, there might be speed limit posts.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    It's not the camera it's the location

    Speed cameras and speed traps are fine in the right place. I.E. where they are supposed to be at accident black spots, bad junctions and built up areas.

    But for some reason rather than putting cameras outside schools and busy shopping areas they stick them in the middle of mile long straights where the only accidents have been caused by alcoholics driving into ditches.

    Cameras take no account of dangerous driving. Something I think is far bigger problem these days. Tailgating and poor lane discipline are rife. Driving standards are frankly piss poor these days but as long as you stick below 70 you'll never get caught.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Not to mention Lorries

      The wretched things are set to catch speeding cars, not speeding lorries. Which is the biggest danger?

      1. ravenviz

        Re: Not to mention Lorries

        I've always thought speed limits should be momentum based, so the consideration is on the energy of the vehicle, not just its speed. So bikes can travel faster, lorries slower, on the same stretch of road. Where this falls down however is that roads are not just long and straight, they have junctions and intersections. If someone pulling out sees a 30mph zone, sees a car x distance away, are they to assume it's doing 50? Probably, but the car travelling at 50 in the 30 zone will make a lot of mess broadsiding someone who pulls out in front of them.

        *and lower speed improves traffic flow, again due to people being able to pull out of junctions

  19. Anonymous Coward

    A reasonable start...

    This needs to go much further, any camera being used as a source of revenue must be removed and destroyed.

    ANPR cameras must be strictly controlled and used to only locate a specific vehicle where there is sufficient evidence of a genuine crime. No records of other vehicles can be kept for any reason.

    Mobile speed cameras are to be scrapped.

    All speed cameras must have prominent warning signs, if there is a sign, there must be a camera, no camera can be installed unless the signs are present.

    The whole question of 'speed causes accidents' needs to be reevaluated, this should be carried out by the Association of British Drivers and the conclusions implemented

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Cameras Abuse Motorists and Reduce Respect for Law and Police

    They are indiscriminate money makers and job retainers for the pen pushers that work the tickets through the system.

    Biggest cause of accidents: Tailgating lorries and cars...People not taking driving seriously...Being taught to pass a test & not to drive with intelligence and safety...Too many distractions (speed cameras, mobile phones, masses of signs, etc.).

    Speed only helps an accident, when it's wielded by a nutter and that can include all those that think they can multi-task beyond that necessary to drive well.

    Accidents will always happen, but care and attention can help you miss the vast majority. That care should mean slowing down BELOW the limit, when it seems appropriate.

    My road experience shows me most drivers ignore the 30 limit until they see a camera...slow down...speed up. I personally agree with 30's and most 40's, can't see the point in many 50's, find the 60 one annoying and the 70 one daft in many many places, but it depends on road conditions, including volume of traffic.

    Vehicles are much more capable nowadays and drivers need to learn how to use them safely, not just to some arbitrary limit like speed. Maybe a more relaxed but educational approach outside 30's would get speed down in towns, where kids do stupid things and old people do slow things.

    Police should do what they used to do, stop, talk, then nick IF the transgressor was doing something dangerous at that place, but generally, get nicking real criminals.

    Dare I say, I'm beginning to respect the current government more that the police...Nah, but it's getting closer, each time they say things that follow common sense and each time the cut a stupid spending ideas.

    While the police keep pushing out statistics that are always questionable because they rarely fit with real life. Just like the AA who last year claimed their membership supported lower speed limits and higher penalties for speeding. They didn't ask me, so I'm no longer a member! That's those smoothed statistics at play again.

    1. Red Bren

      What police used to do

      "Police should do what they used to do, stop, talk, then nick IF the transgressor was doing something dangerous at that place"

      Something dangerous used to include driving while black. Cameras are impartial, they don't let underlying prejudice interfere with their operation or turn a blind lens for their masonic friends.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nice thought.

        Unfortunately, as far as being white and/or mason - if you decide to fight the ticket, you'll find yourself facing a bench which is probably both. The prejudice is simply better organised these days.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Headless chickens

    Daily Mail readers - Stop whinging and moaning and start up a fund to buy the cameras yourselves.if they're so bloody important to you.

    The rest of us can think of more effective ways to spend £40k than a device that only polices 50 yards of road and waves drunk imbeciles through.

  22. Stuart 22

    Tax the stupid - but who are the stupid?

    Taxes on criminals reduced this week. Taxes on non-criminals to rise next week?

    To fund the extra casualties the hospitals will have to handle. Oh we are cancelling hospitals too ..

    Joined up thinking at work ...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are not...

    ...needed anymore anyway....the SPECS system is being installed and funded by central gov.

    That combines speed-over-distance with [fixed] video surveillance and ANPR...

    Gotcha three ways: how fast, what you look like and whose car it is [registered to]

  24. Zirzirikos

    About frigging time

    The NSL was set in 1965 when the average car on sale had a max speed of 72mph, woeful passive safety features (seatbelts/airbags/crunch zones) and even more woeful active safety features (breaks/traction) compared to even the lowliest piece of crap on sale in the second hand market today.

    As others have pointed out, you can drive safely at 100mph and dangerously at 10mph. Yes, all things being equal, more speed equals higher chance of a serious accident but other factors are much more important and this is all about risk vs. convenience - if you want everyone to be perfectly safe you'd have to ban driving altogether. There's a sweet spot somewhere, and I think it's fair to say we're well below it at the moment.

    In the UK today, even on an average family car you spend most of the time looking at the speedo instead of looking at the road to make sure you stay beneath the absurdly low speed limits and that's dangerous in itself. 30mph should only apply anywhere were pedestrians are often by the road; on a clear day a motorway with 3 lanes and barriers on both sides is perfectly safe at 90 or even 100mph.

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      The nsl was set as part of the fuel economy measures after the first oil price shock. As far as I know no evidence has ever been set before parliament that 70 is safer than 60 or 80.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn them, blow them up or otherwise destroy them.

    Now all you Brits need to do is to keep destroying them and pretty soon the local governments won't be able to afford the replacements. Stick it to Big Brother again, guys!

    For a nice collection of destroyed Gatso's, visit the following site:

    And no, I am not involved with that site; I just like to see pics of burnt and torn up speed cameras. :D

    1. MnM

      Smile restored!

      After world cup despair.

      Presumably the funds to replace these are now less.

      A currently unburned favourite plies its trade on the three lane A1, in the little-advertised 50 zone, just before the siren call of two HUGE national speed limit signs. F*ckers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Problem

    The problem I think most motorists have with speed cameras (and its not just speed cameras, it's basically all automated systems) is there is no judgement available. You broke the rule, that's it.

    Case in point: My Son severely injured himself some 10 years ago. Rather than wait the hour or so we knew the ambulance would take, I drove him and his Mum to hospital, and on the way, yes I broke the speed limit. I was duly pulled over, and explained to the Officer what happened. Not only did I not get fined, I got escorted to the hospital with the good officer making sure traffic kept out of our way.

    Speed cameras can't do that.

    There's also the gripe about the automatic payment system that sent a friend of mine a bill for £103.01 because an error had meant that she paid one penny too little on her council tax, but thats another story.

    1. Steve Evans


      I have exactly that problem. They are letter of the law, not spirit of the law.

      There is one near me by a school. 30mph.

      If I go through there at 35mph at 2am on a clear dry night, I will get a ticket.

      If someone goes through there at school kick out time at 29mph in the pouring rain they won't.

      Who is most likely to hurt someone?

      Then again, what am I thinking... Who's got a hope of doing anything like 29mph at school kick out time... But that's a different rant!

      Another camera near me had an interesting effect on accident stats. Yes it did reduce the number of injuries (shifted them down the road 500 yards I'm sure), but curiously it doubled (from 1 to 2) the number of fatalities. They didn't mention that statistic... Yeah, I know, lies, damn lies etc.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        The letter v the spirit of the law

        There is no excuse for black letter law in a democracy. Everything depends on context. Strict liability laws are inherently wrong, and simply act for the benefit of the lawmakers, not the populace. Once this government has sorted out the mess left it by the last bunch, we need to get them to review black letter law enforcement (oh, and "targets" such as the number of rape convictions, but that is another story).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lack of discretion...

      ...isn't a side issue with Gatsos, or with automated systems of any kind. They're the actual point of the exercise, so that the jobsworths can wash their hands of any and all responsibility. Decision making - especially hard decision making - is alien to such people. Much easier to blame the system/machine/computer than actually earn their salaries.

      On the subject of other stories... My local council has just sent a court judgment and bailiff's warning to an elderly neighbour for non-payment of council tax. The fact that the old gentleman has been desperately ill in hospital for 6 months (probably his last stop) impresses the council clones not a jot. Without 'appropriate documentation' (which of course the old guy has been in no position to provide) they claim to be powerless, even to lay the matter temporarily aside. When my wife called at the council offices to discuss the matter (she didn't trust me to hold my temper) she was told that if she wasn't the next of kin (he has none) she should mind her own business. A social worker phoned me yesterday to say they were concerned about the old man - I told them they'd taken their own sweet time to get around to it!

      Bloody jobsworths - it's always the 'system' to blame and never them.

  27. RichardB

    @the historical stats

    I wonder how much of that is to do with vehicle age and design?

    Also how many teenagers are now priced off the roads?

    How do those stats break down when untaxed + unmot'd, racing and vehicles engaged in (proper - ie not traffic related) criminal activity are taken out of the mix?

  28. heyrick Silver badge

    What was he really saying?

    " “There are now three times as many speed cameras in this country as there were in 2000, and the public must be confident that speed cameras are there for road safety, not as a cash cow. Under this Government, they will be." "

    Under this Government, they will be there... as a cash cow?!?

  29. Stu_The_Jock

    Cameras vs Other safety methods

    As a "younger driver" I have been penalised for the last 18 years, first it was drivers under 25 that were a problem, so insurance was extortionate, then 30 and so on.

    In 18 years of driving I've had one speeding fine, issued by a camera, on a dual carriageway outside Glasgow. For as long as I could remember it was a 50 mph zone, always had been. ( My father agreed) but they changed the limit to 30, as an "accident blackspot".

    No longer living in Glasgow, I was unfortunate enough to have glanced in my mirrors to check it was safe to change lane, and then over my shoulder as you should, and in that time, I missed the solitary 30 sign on the right hand side, the van I was about to go past blocked the other.

    I got a fine for 47 in a 30 zone. Surely if it was an accident blackspot then better signage to warn of the lowered sped limit, the reducing width lines across lanes approaching the junction (what happened to thise, they told you you NEED to be braking pretty darned soon) would be a better safety measure than a yellow box set to trigger at BELOW the "normal" speed limit on a non-residential area dual carriageway.

    Tell the councils they can't have the £40k for a camera, but they CAN have it in a dedicated traffic policing unit. Areas with active traffic policing see a big drop in crime, and not just speeding, as "human enforcers" can also react to other things, like an assault, or an accident on a narrow twisty city street, sorry specially designed traffic safety chicane system . . . . .

    /Rant mode OFF/ because I escaped the UK to a Norway. Where incidently I've been breathalised on average every 3 months, usually about lunchtime, in the random checks they do, and speed cameras are controlled. For example near the bottom of a 2 1/2 mile 1:12 descent in a tunnel (dead straight) just before it turns 30 degrees. Trust me, arguing with unlined rock tunnel walls at high speeds will NEVER leave the car/driver as a winner.

  30. David Kelly 2

    Revenue Collected

    Once Upon A Time, over-the-road trucks in the USA bore signs on the rear doors stating to the effect, "This vehicle pays $12,400 annually in taxes." back when $12k was several times what it is today.

    Would be a worthy step towards "transparency in government" for speed cameras and traffic light cameras to bear a similar sign. "This speed camera levied $120,000 in fines last year."

  31. Anonymous Coward

    foolproof way to get round speed cameras -

    drive inside the speed limit.

    if you can't do it, you're not fit to be on the road, sucker

    (no points on my licence since i passed in 1974)

    1. ml100

      how constructive

      Youre probably the twat that insists on driving too slowly on the motorway - moving lane to prevent others getting on with their own business.

      And insist on driving at the speed limit in heavy rain and fog.

      But well done with the clean license.

      Hope you become the victim of road rage.

    2. MnM

      Or, stand up for yourself

      Two lane motorway. I'm in the outside lane and see a camera sign approaching the crest of a hill (so there may be a camera soon, out of sight). I do 70, as these Royston Vasey cameras sometimes don't give you the leeway you tend to get around London. I notice a black car a long way behind me is rocketing along. Sure enough, there's a car in the left lane doing 68, so I can't move directly into the left lane.

      Dilemma: Do I brake and try to slip in behind the blissfully unaware law-abider to my left, potentially forcing the speeder onto the brakes more than if I just held 70 in the outside lane (this guy was doing an easy 110-120 and seemed to be speeding up). Or do I hold firm, definitely forcing the speeder to brake? Or do I speed up and pull in in front of the car on my left, by far the safest option on an otherwise empty motorway?

      I sped up and was promptly flashed at 85. The guy behind me didn't even get flashed, he was so close behind. I know this because I defended myself in court, and the camera operator later gave me a description of the next car on the reel, and it wasn't black. He also told me that the camera can take photos every 1/3 or 1/2 second, I forget which, but the guy was up my arse anyway.

      So fuck off, you moralising dimwit.

      I went to court, read copies of 'The Mason' in the waiting room, said my piece (a defence of 'duress', on advice from a barrister friend, which had the clerk of the court flipping through his books). I said any police car who witnessed this would have been glad to see me get out of the way safely, and would have pulled over the serious speeder. Although the gentlemanly prosecutor said to me afterwards he thought I did pretty well, the bench had none of it. They awarded a light three point spanking and a meagre financial penalty. I paid and handed over my licence, but I suppose their worships must have seen sense eventually, as my licence was posted back to me unendorsed! Still clean, all my 15 year driving career!

      Justice served, albeit strangely - but a worthwhile trip to court. They do help you along if you represent yourself, although I think I was helped more than most.

  32. Graham Marsden

    When these cameras...

    ... can spot people tailgating or driving drunk or using bloody mobile phones whilst driving etc etc, I'll be happy to support them!

    There used to be something that did this job... I think it was called a Traffic Policeman...

    1. Steve Evans


      Not indicating on roundabouts!

      Round my way they're usually taxis/mini-cabs, the first people to start tail gating and getting impatient if you hold them up when they are empty... They go much slower when they have a fair... Odd that.

  33. jizzflam

    stats lies and farcts

    some interesting things appear when you look at the stats of accidents - such as green cars have more crashes than other colours - nearly twice as many as silver cars, but nearly twice as many silver car accidents result in serious injury or death (silver cars are driven by bellends?). Lloyd is the most likely first name to have a 'collision' (the word accident is out of favour as it implies no one is at fault ). The week before Christmas is deadly; one day has higher average incidents than an entire 'normal' month, generally 'black Monday' - this is why these factoids have a large impact on you insurance (just try changing you forename next time) - I could go on but the most interesting : Why we have a 70mph limit ? Money. As can be seen at ( or the highways 'site')

    that metal thing separating you from the oncoming motorway traffic is rated to contain a 1.5 ton CAR at no more than 70mph impacting at no more than 20 degrees. Anything heavier/faster/ more direct or with a higher centre of gravity than a CAR will breach it and enter oncoming traffic. Most average cars now weigh more than this (even a spec'd up 'Mini' comes close enough when occupied). God forbid you meet a Chinese gent called Lloyd driving a silver/green 2.5 ton Range Rover lorry coming the other way at 90 on the monday before christmas . Good luck.

    1. Graham Marsden


      "that metal thing separating you from the oncoming motorway traffic is rated to contain a 1.5 ton CAR"

      And it will also do damn all to protect a motorcyclist who is liable to either slam into a solid post or slide right under it.

      Of course upgrading barriers to actualy provide proper safety protectin costs money...

  34. ShaggyDoggy

    RE: CCTV

    "You only need to watch one or two of the usual cops on tv shows to see that they play an important part in reducing crime"

    Erm, if they reduce crime so well, there would be barely anything worth showing captured on a cctv cam ?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Re: CCTV...

      I remember about 2 week after my local high street got CCTV, someone smashed in the front window of the chemists and empties the place.

      The local paper reported it and said "Police believe the raiders must have been from outside the area as local people are aware of the highly publicised new CCTV system."

      Which was fair enough... However the last sentence in the report just cracked me up.

      "Police are appealing for witnesses."

      CCTV that good eh? lol!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Review speed limits too

    Good news. However, we also need a review of speed limits and a way for motorists to realistically challenge the imposition of ridiculously low new limits on perfectly safe bits of road.

    There are plenty of those around here. Wide straight roads with no turnings, pedestrians, buildings or anything really in sight. They used to have 60mph limits but they're now 30 (or even 20 in some cases). Everyone, even the cops themselves, drive along them well over the speed limit because the limit is so stupidly inappropriate. Except that once in a while, the police will hide a mobile camera behind a bush and rake in the cash.

    This does nothing for road safety. It does everything to undermine confidence in the road safety authorities and the police. In my view that loss isn't worth the money they get as a result.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actions speak louder than words

    There's a bridge connecting Runcorn to Widnes, it's four lanes, no central reservation and accidents happen on it all the time - it's really quite dangerous - 40mph speed limit.

    So where do Chesire Road Safety Partnership point their mobile camera vans at?

    Traffic on the bridge? Traffic entering the bridge? Traffic leaving the bridge?

    None of the above.

    They point their guns at traffic with the bridge half a mile behind them, 10 yards from the 50mph sign, three lane dual carriageway with central reservation and no padestrian access.

    Safety my a**e!!!!

  37. Anthony Cartmell

    Driving test fail?

    If you can't drive to a standard that would allow you to pass the driving test, as a novice driver, should you still be allowed to keep your driving licence?

    I'd vote to remove all speeding fines, and double the "that would have failed the driving test" points on the licences of those who speed. Then speedophiles wouldn't be able to moan about revenue generation of speeding fines.

    Speed limits are there to reduce death and injury caused by road crashes (still nine people per day being needlessly killed on UK roads). Remember that crashes almost always happen when you least expect them!

    1. Steven Jones

      Wrong statistics

      Tha actual figure for average deaths per day on the road in the UK is about seven and not nine (in 2007 the number was 2,538, or 6.95 per day, and the rate has fallen further since then).

      1. Steven Jones


        I've just found the most recent set of UK-wide (provisional) figures for road fatalities and it was 2,430 for the 12 months to September 2009 or 6.6 per day on average. That's continuing a consistent downward trend for overall road deaths. As all stats ought to be properly sourced, here's the link to the Department for Transport's official stats.

        The rate has been steadily reducing since 2003 (it was fairly flat between 1999 and 2003. Clearly something has had an affect over the last six years.

        The trend is downwards on all classes of casualty types, although I suspect that the definition of casualty might be rather elastic whilst fatality numbers are, by nature, less vulnerable to interpretation.

        It is also the case that the reported accident rates is down which does not support the notion that it is better crash protection alone that is responsible for the reduction in casualties (albeit I assume that accidents without injuries are less likely to be reported).

  38. jizzflam

    Ha - another foolproof way to get around speed cameras

    You know those old style gatso cameras that photograph your car twice from behind? well simply change your speed by more than 2mph after you pass the camera and it cannot keep up with the calculations so has to abort the test - you see a single flash instead of two. You have to be quite quick but as long as your speed changes by at least 2 mph during the test ( normally 0.7 - 1.3 seconds) jobs a good 'un. I have verified this many times (er naturally on my private track with my own gatso). A handy bonus is that there will now be an odd number of exposures left - hahahaha screw you AC and your 'pointless' license.

    P.s I wouldn't take the p*ss if they weren't taking the p*ss. So use this info sensibly please.

  39. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Second solution

    They're putting these cameras in the next town over from me. My solution, if they get any closer, is to fit an lcd panel to my plate. If the 5-0 are looking, flip a switch and it's clear. If i go to camera-land, it's pitch black. I don't object to speeders and especially red light runners getting ticketed. But these cameras don't take road conditions into account, and the red light ones are well known for ticketing people for *legally* coming to a dead stop then turning; in addition, most areas that have gotten red light camera, the yellow light has been set below the legal minimum so people can enter the intersection when it's just flipped from green to yellow (i.e. Too close to the intersection to safely stop), and then either get nicked for red light (since the yellow is too short) or speed up and get nicked for speeding instead.

  40. Juillen 1


    I can remember when I was younger (senility hasn't kicked in yet!). The TV was awash with adverts about "Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule".. Which probably gives a clue as to my general age. However, this is something that PREVENTS accidents by actually giving people a good rule to follow to be far safer.

    Pedestrians had the Green Cross Code (and some character called 'charlie' if I remember aright). Sod this "Well, if you get hit, call this number and you can make some money out of it", it actually told people "Be responsible, don't get hit. Pointless being 'right' but dead, just be safe", without all the over the top HSE stuff we have today about tying your shoelaces the right way and wearing 4 types of safety jacket and a helmet before going near a road.

    Real safety comes from within every driver, not by applying oppressive force from without.

    Personally, I think getting a good ad agency on board to revamp the old ads to apply to a more modern setting would be a big win. Give some good rules of thumb for people to apply (and make them seem like jerks if they don't; a lot of the drink drive ads do this, which is why it's largely socially unacceptable these days to get trollied and drive).

    Give people something sensible to look at, and let them see why it's sensible, and they'll likely modify behaviour (in the main) and follow good practice. To catch the others, you need eyes (or at least a good "dangerous driving detector", and yes, it's possible with current image/pattern recognition techniques to identify this; just a lot more expensive than a Gatso) on the road to stop the real dangerous driving.

    For "speed to kill", you have to have the accident first. Lets concentrate on stopping the collisions (the cause) rather than arbitrarily taking a hard line stance on speed (which is nothing more than a 'contributing factor' as the road stats have it listed).

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