back to article Spain's highway agency is monitoring speeding hotspots using bulk phone location data

Spain's highways agency is using bulk mobile phone data for monitoring speeding hotspots, according to local reports. Equipped with data on customers handed over by local mobile phone operators, Spain's Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) may be gathering data on "which roads and at what specific kilometer points the speed …

  1. Pen-y-gors

    Could be some good lateral thinking.

    How it SHOULD be used:

    1. Identify points on the road network where people tend to speed using anonymous mobile data

    2. Map that against accident hot-spots.

    3. Where the 2 coincide, instal additional measures to tackle 1) and hopefully reduce 2)

    What will probably eventually happen:

    1) You are driving along, generally safely, but a bit over the arbitrary speed limit for the area.

    2) Your phone goes ping, and distracts you

    3) You wobble and drive into a tree at the side of the road.

    4) The police notice the last SMS that arrived: "You have been speeding. €100 fine has been deducted from your phone balance"

    1. Blazde

      Re: Could be some good lateral thinking.

      If you leave your phone on while driving and receiving an SMS is going to make you crash then honestly you kinda deserve a fine, at the least, don't you?

      This does all seem an error prone way of detecting speeding given the granularity of network cells, and the ease of just tracking actual cars with cameras and numberplate recognition. Still, there must be a gap opening up here for a privacy conscious network operator who can't be bought for a mere €165k.

  2. Emir Al Weeq

    Who's driving?

    Difficult to fine someone unless you can prove they weren't a passenger just from phone data.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Cynic_999

      Re: Who's driving?

      That's easy - it's the same issue wrt speed cameras. Just make it a legal requirement for anyone who was a passenger in a speeding vehicle to identify the driver.

  3. Steve Foster
    Facepalm

    Railway Lines?

    And what about places where the railway runs alongside the road? Passengers with phones on the train doing 100+ mph may be recorded as "speeding"...

    (eg a large chunk of the A2 between Madrid and Guadalajara runs parallel with a railway line)

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Railway Lines?

      When I worked for Google, I made regular use of the maps & waze apps on the phone they issued me. (I don't own a "smart" phone.) These apps easily distinguished northbound from southbound lanes, and almost always access lanes from main lanes.

      If Spain has a comparable cell network, this won't be an issue.

      1. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Railway Lines?

        Was that really using just cell triangulation? Or did you have GPS turned on.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Railway Lines?

          The data available to operators and the emergency services is quite precise. My son is in a mountain rescue team and they get very good data from phone triangulation.

          1. MrBanana Silver badge

            Re: Railway Lines?

            Yes, that is true. But Waze, and other mapping apps for the muggles, do not have access to this level of precision data, they require GPS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Railway Lines?

        Na, it relies on your direction of travel to clamp you to a carriageway - and the access lanes. It's why when you miss a junction, the map tracks you going up the slip roads until after you've passed it.

        Also, even if GPS was accurate enough to determine your lane (it's generally not), the road maps aren't.

        Satnav gives a very good illusion of the accuracy of GPS, but it's definitely an illusion.

        1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          Re: Railway Lines?

          If I understand correctly, civilian GPS is limited intentionally. The military grade version....

          1. Jurassic Hermit

            Re: Railway Lines?

            <= 1 metre accuracy for the military version I once read, here I think.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Railway Lines?

            Oh yeah, in ideal scenarios GPS can be incredibly accurate - but your phone is inside a big metal box (the car) and with a civilian chipset. Doesn't negate the need for equally precise road route maps though. Satnav maps are incredibly rough in terms of location info and are vector based. Don't know the precision rates of them, but I'd guess at no more than 50m intervals with straight lines drawn between them. The satnav device may be able to extrapolate those into curves (bezier curves for example) to again give the illusion, but they certainly aren't doing carriageway distinctions purely on map data.

        2. KBeee Silver badge

          Re: Railway Lines?

          A company I used to work for had tracking devices fitted to all its vehicles. The device monitors would send a message to your supervisor or manager if your speed exceeded the posted speed limit by 10%. Anything over 10% excess speed was supposed to be investigated. A colleague of mine was pulled up for a disciplinary by the manager for doing 50mph in a small residential street with a 20mph speed limit. He was puzzled and couldn't believe he'd actually done anything like that. The manager said "You were doing 50mph in wxyz street at 09:20 on 17-08-2016" Checking the date and looking at a map, it turned out that wxyz street ran close and parallel to the A2 in SE London which he'd actually been driving on at the legal speed limit.

      3. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Railway Lines?

        When you were using these maps and waze apps, did you perchance have your GPS on so the local device can precisely (within a few metres at least) measure your location from GPS as oposed to being externally tracked just from cell tower pings?

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Railway Lines?

      I find a good percentage of Spanish drivers go at or just above the speed limit including the cops but in general the driving is not bad.

      Spain is the 4th safest country to drive in apparently.

      The worst driving here is in Ibiza, the locals including foreigners who live there, are apalling.

      1. agurney

        Re: Railway Lines?

        I regularly drive the length of Spain and it's a refreshing change from blighty.

        With few exceptions, everyone drives on the right; they signal, pull out, overtake, and return to the right leaving the left lane(s) free (except rush hour around Madrid).

        Last time I returned from a visit the traffic in the UK looked similar .. on the A3 most folk drove on the right, and on the M25 they drove on the right and over/undertook on the left albeit with less courtesy than the Spanish.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Railway Lines?

          "Last time I returned from a visit the traffic in the UK looked similar .. on the A3 most folk drove on the right, and on the M25 they drove on the right and over/undertook on the left albeit with less courtesy than the Spanish."

          I do about 1000 miles per week in the UK. Have done for years. The Middle Lane Owners Club seems to have markedly increased its membership since lockdown has eased and the roads are heading back to "normal".

          1. PTW

            Re: M.L.O.C.

            On night about 1a.m. I pulled off the A1 and on to the M18, there in the distance I see some clown in the middle lane of an otherwise empty motorway.

            As I arrived at a "little" over the prescribed speed, I gave a quick flash of the lights from lane 1, then again from lane 2 before overtaking and moving back to lane 1.

            During this "at speed" manoeuvre I'd noticed another set of lights some distance behind, as they approached said moron, they also follwed the first two steps. Step 3 however was some pretty flashing blue lights. Genuine LOL moment

            1. Spacedinvader
              Unhappy

              Re: M.L.O.C.

              Don't forget the 40MP/H club. 40 in the 60, 40 through the 30 in the wee towns...

            2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

              Re: M.L.O.C.

              On night about 1a.m. I pulled off the A1 and on to the M18, there in the distance I see some clown in the middle lane of an otherwise empty motorway.

              As I arrived at a "little" over the prescribed speed, I gave a quick flash of the lights from lane 1, then again from lane 2 before overtaking and moving back to lane 1.

              During this "at speed" manoeuvre I'd noticed another set of lights some distance behind, as they approached said moron, they also follwed the first two steps. Step 3 however was some pretty flashing blue lights. Genuine LOL moment

              Sigh, I may as well attract some downvotes.

              1) An (otherwise empty) motorway with a middle lane has a WHOLE LANE in which you can overtake said 'clown'. What is your problem?

              2) If said 'clown' is already travelling at the motorway speed limit, you are in breach of the law in overtaking. Most people don't care, regarding speeding as somehow macho. Any fool can speed*.

              3) The quality of many British motorways is dire, especially in lane 1, which has rutted pits/tracks worn into them by the HGVs (You are also liable to find all sorts of things in lane 1 that have dropped off HGVs, including bricks from between the tyres of tippers that have come off demolition sites, delaminated HGV tyres and items of inadequately secured loads). Driving at speed is more comfortable and less distracting on the less used pavement. If it is raining ( a whole new ballgame ), even better not to be driving through the continuous puddle in the rut.

              4) Unless you have unusual (and probably illegal) headlights, you cannot see within your stopping distance** on unlit motorways when driving at the maximum speed limit***. This means that if there is anything on the hard-shoulder (where it exists) that might impinge on lane 1, you won't see it until until you are too late to stop, and might be forced to take avoiding action. Not a problem on an otherwise empty motorway, but good driving minimises risks both to yourself and to others, especially the poor sods stuck at night on the hard shoulder without lights.***

              5) I will give you one point: a good driver should have seen you coming and moved over into lane 1 and moved back out again after you passed. (This is what I do).

              I am not a perfect driver, so hopefully not preaching from a sanctimonious pedestal. I have had four accidents: one due to passenger distraction, two due to the other driver driving into me (rear-ended at traffic lights; other driver pulled out from side-road into my wing; and one stupid low speed damage to an alloy wheel in an unfamiliar car and an unfamiliar petrol station with high metal kerbs around the pumps)

              NN

              *When I was younger and more foolish and the M40 had just been opened, I had some joyous runs between London and Manchester in the early mornings/late evenings, so I'm not immune to the speed bug. I can't pretend what I did was justified, or safe. But it was fun. A colleague of mine had a ZZR1100 and gave it up as he found it too difficult to remain legal (pulling wheelies past police cars on the M4 is not advisable). I'm older now, and more cognisant of my limitations (and the limitations of others). Track days at Brands Hatch convinced me I was not God's gift to driving. Some people are naturally very good drivers. I have been privileged to know several, and understand very well I am not one of them, so I drive very defensively.

              **Minor anecdote: I do not want to repeat the experience of coming to a safe halt on lane 1 of the M4 in fog and hearing the impacts of cars barrelling past me in lane 2 as they hit the pile up in front of me. It was a sphincter-tightening (or maybe loosening) moment wondering if someone was going to rear end me, until enough cars had come to a halt behind me. The pile-up was big enough to get onto national news.

              ***It's actually marginal for the average car. The 'average family car' has a stopping distance on dry roads at 70 mph of roughly 96 metres (call it 100). Road legal headlights will give enough light to illuminate somewhere between 50 and 100 metres ahead of you. You can buy after-market halogen and LED bulbs that have higher (not road legal ) output. Driving at night is unlikely to be the physiologically optimum time, so your reaction time is likely to be increased. Of course, the majority of drivers somewhat statistically improbably regard themselves as 'above average', so their performance car will stop in a shorter distance and their razor-sharp reactions further decrease the stopping distance, so they can safely drive at 80 (average car + average driver stopping distance roughly 120 metres) or 90 (average car + average driver stopping distance roughly 150 metres). Frankly, if you are that good, please use your skills to compensate for the deficiencies of others. If you are lucky, you too will experience ageing, and all that goes with it.

              1. tip pc Silver badge

                Re: M.L.O.C.

                “ 4) Unless you have unusual (and probably illegal) headlights, you cannot see within your stopping distance** on unlit motorways when driving at the maximum speed limit***. This means that if there is anything on the hard-shoulder (where it exists) that might impinge on lane 1, you won't see it until until you are too late to stop, and might be forced to take avoiding action. Not a problem on an otherwise empty motorway, but good driving minimises risks both to yourself and to others, especially the poor sods stuck at night on the hard shoulder without lights.***”

                My 2011 estate has adaptive xenon beam headlights, effectively the headlights automatically lower their distance on one or both sides when approaching behind vehicles or when vehicles are oncoming. When the road is clear and dark it delivers full beam, the 2013 model had led’s and did the same but also blanked out throwing light on cars ahead of oncoming, the lights are bright enough to illuminate to the side of cars far ahead and purposely illuminates the sides of roads so you can see hard shoulders, pavements etc. It uses a camera in front of the rear view mirror.

                A few vids to demonstrate

                https://youtu.be/XXRiPmh_tpQ

                https://youtu.be/eC5wS28ij5k

                https://youtu.be/ZCje6C2S97w

                https://youtu.be/tUFkCX8Cjfk

                Lastly official Highway Code stopping distances are junk. I remember watching rogue traders a few years back talking about knock off brake pads. I’d never buy them, but they used a second hand vw Passat and recorded its distance then put new knockoff pads in and immediately tested again and found it was a car length worst. Both cars stopped well within the Highway Code guide for the speed and the show had to state the pads took longer to stop the car. For fresh pads I thought they did a great job. Fresh pads always take some bedding in. It seemed like given a week the knock off pads would be better than what was on the car on the initial test.

              2. DavCrav

                Re: M.L.O.C.

                "1) An (otherwise empty) motorway with a middle lane has a WHOLE LANE in which you can overtake said 'clown'. What is your problem?

                2) If said 'clown' is already travelling at the motorway speed limit, you are in breach of the law in overtaking."

                Interesting juxtaposition. Middle-lane hogging is also an offence.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: M.L.O.C.

                Apart from what others have said, you seem, in 3) and 4) to be justifying the use of lane 2 as the "normal" running lane even when lane 1 is empty despite the Highway Code (law!) rule 264 stating:

                “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.

                If you are overtaking a number of slow-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.”

                Also, laws introduced in 2013 give police officers the power to hand out on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points

                The bit about debris impinging into lane and being "invisible" at night is specious. The odds are incredibly low based on my experience of driving up to 70,000 miles per year for the last 25 years.

            3. Bowlers

              Re: M.L.O.C.

              Back in the 70s during one of the fuel shortages the speed limit on motorways was reduced to max 50mph. Travelling north on the M1 the traffic was light ( those were the days eh!), I was in the inside lane doing 50, came up to a big Jag doing 40 to 45 in the middle lane (probably optimum speed for fuel saving in the Jag). Not wanting to undertake I changed lane expecting/hoping he would go to the unoccupied inside lane but he just sailed on. Rather than do the loop to the outside lane and back to the inside I flashed him a couple of times, the third time he pulled into the outside lane allowing me to undertake while moving back to the inside. Spent the next 10 minutes trying to understand his reasoning; he was too lazy to bother? No, Jags don't do inside lanes? Probably, but nowadays it is a Beemer or Audi.

          2. Lotaresco
            WTF?

            Re: Railway Lines?

            "The Middle Lane Owners Club seems to have markedly increased its membership since lockdown"

            The same people have also joined the OLOC and the "I'm going to pull out of a junction without looking" clubs. One of the latter did that to me this morning, fortunately on a dual carriageway so I was able to steer around him rather than slam into his car. As I did so he was frantically flashing his lights at me. What the actual? In fact light flashing now seems to mean that the driver flashing their lights just did something monumentally stupid but wants to blame everyone else for it. See also "behaviour when a 40 everywhere twonk is overtaken on a straight road, no oncoming traffic, NSL (60) applies.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Railway Lines?

              Not saying the guy isn't a complete horse, but if you were able to drive around him into the other lane, maybe consider moving over there to let him pull out. Drives me nuts when waiting to turn onto a multi-laned road and you can't because everyone is filing along in lane 1 when lane 2 is empty.

      2. DavCrav

        Re: Railway Lines?

        "Spain is the 4th safest country to drive in apparently."

        Link? I have never seen any source that puts Spain that high. Top ones are always Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and UK, in various orders depending on year and chosen statistic.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Railway Lines?

          "Spain is the 4th safest country to drive in apparently."

          Link? I have never seen any source that puts Spain that high.

          Quite, Spain ranks 14th in the world and 10th in Europe with 3.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per year.

      3. John Doe 12

        Re: Railway Lines?

        "Spain is the 4th safest country to drive in apparently.

        The worst driving here is in Ibiza, the locals including foreigners who live there, are apalling."

        Last time I looked Ibiza was part of Spain!!!

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Railway Lines?

          Correct! What is the problem? The rest of Spain is pretty good but Ibiza is crap, having lived there for fifteen years I have a fair idea of where it is.

      4. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: Railway Lines?

        Maybe the 4th safest in Europe (if you exclude Scandinavian countries), but not the world.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Railway Lines?

          Maybe the 4th safest in Europe (if you exclude Scandinavian countries), but not the world.

          Not even that, 6th and why would you exclude the Scandinavian countries other than to jigger the result?

    3. Cynic_999

      Re: Railway Lines?

      Pretty easy to automatically identify & eliminate such data.

  4. CrackedNoggin

    The de facto affect of cell phones on speeding is Waze informing drivers of every speed trap with such high reliability and accuracy that it encourages speeding (except in those few locations with speed traps).

  5. Danny 2 Silver badge

    The origin of Field Service Engineers...

    is because so many service engineers drove into fields.

    My worst job was field service engineer for a company (Not Saying it)that had the CAA contract for Scotland and the north of England. Due to underfunding, corrupt employees and awful management I was driving 100,000 miles a year between airports, probably the same in flights. That should have been a red flag, preferably waved by someone walking in front of my company car.

    The midlands based control centre had no idea Scottish A-class roads aren't quite English A-class roads, so they'd berate me if I couldn't drive from Prestwick to Aberdeen in 90 minutes. Edinburgh to Dundee is doable in 90 minutes, sometimes. Prestwick to Aberdeen is a nice day trip with plenty of stops.

    So I became quite a "good" driver, in an F1 or GTA sense of good. I'd learned how to avoid speed cameras by timing me speeding past them just as a lorry was between us.

    One motorway cop car caught me, pulled me over, and I was bang to rights as we both knew I was doing 110mph. The cop congratulated me on my strategy of using lorries to block the cameras, but it was obviously cop sarcasm relishing the bust. He asked why I was in such a rush, and I explained Aberdeen Airport Air Traffic Control needed sudden replacement equipment.

    He asked me why I didn't just phone ahead to warn them I'd be late, and I explained my employer only issued us pagers, not mobile phones. At that point he took pity on me and decided to help. He said, "Follow me", turned on his lights and sirens and led me at 110mph to the airport gate. He would've driven faster but I couldn't keep up.

    When I replaced the dot-matrix printer in the control tower all they said was, "Oh, aye, we'd forgotten about that."

    1. Danny 14

      Re: The origin of Field Service Engineers...

      I had a similar job in the 90s for a Corporation who supplied Business Machines (International). In my case it was for ports and port authorities. I know that prestwick and stranraer run very well. I was based in Cumbria and fielded Cumbria "up". Our job allocators lived in london. They had fuck all idea that a Scottish A road was ok but a B road was probably part of the local rally course. They were used to londoners taking rucksacks full of spare parts and soldering irons on the tube, not someone avoiding grouse and tractors on a single track road.

      They also didnt understand that it is almost impossible to get from Aberdeen port to Silloth RNLI in one day with meaningful work.

      Still, my work van was actually a zzr1100 due to me being given area manager role with ability to auth personal vehicles. Summer good, winter bad though....

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: The origin of Field Service Engineers...

        Same job, I had to drive up a mountain in Cumbria to sort a computer in a radar station. Single track road, and I'd just driven above the clouds at a 60° incline when I encountered a landrover coming down. It obviously wasn't for reversing, so I had to reverse back into the clouds to find a passing place. I've vertigo. I can walk up a mountain but I felt sick driving over the Forth road bridge. Reversing down a steep mountain road with no visibility was stomach churning.

      2. Spacedinvader
        Happy

        Re: The origin of Field Service Engineers...

        "Still, my work van was actually a zzr1100"

      3. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: The origin of Field Service Engineers...

        I used to get the opposite problem. Our central Control was moved out to turnip-picking country to save costs. I'd get a phonecall about 3pm that'd go like -

        "Hi Fred, we had a piece of equipment fail to operate. Could you pop over and take a look?"

        "Sure, where is it?"

        "Wembley"

        "You know I'm in Balham don't you?"

        "We checked. It's only 15 miles, you'll do it in half an hour..."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turn off the phone

    The bonus from this is people will realise they need to turn off the phone when driving.

    May stop a few of those "important phone calls" being had at 80mph on the motorway. Hands free does not mean brain free. Concentrate on the road.

    1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Turn off the phone

      battery out / full shut down... if you trust that

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Turn off the phone

        and a small Faraday cage just to be sure.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Turn off the phone

      Already sorted

      The eCall initiative aims to deploy a device installed in all vehicles that will automatically dial 112 in the event of a serious road accident, and wirelessly send airbag deployment and impact sensor information, as well as GPS or Galileo coordinates to local emergency agencies.

      The deployment of eCall devices was made mandatory in all new cars sold in the European Union on 1 April 2018.[8][9][10]

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps the answer...

    ...it to install average speed checks everywhere. With the exception of a few Audi/Mercedes drivers with special speedos, most people stick to speed limits or close enough to them in average speed check stretches. Yes they might float a couple of MPH over but thats within tolerance, over all its safer.

    I really don't get why this isn't a solvable issue. We literally have the technology.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps the answer...

      Because driving under constant speed checks is mentally tiring and stressful, and will result in more accidents.

      I can watch the road or my speedometer.

      1. agurney

        Re: Perhaps the answer...

        Adaptive cruise control is one answer - it maintains a suitable distance from the vehicle ahead, but stops you going over a set speed.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Perhaps the answer...

          But as Tesla have proved, once the cruise control is running, people tend to switch off... then drive into things at 60 because the cruise control said I could do 60...

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Perhaps the answer...

            Tesla drivers are a special breed. Many think that the current software will provide FSD because Elon said that it is coming and they've had some updates so...

            Cue the man who was fast asleep at the wheel in Canada in his Tesla.

            For the rest of us, we pay attention. We have to simply because of the numpties who love doing things like diving from lane 3 or4 to the exit slip after the 100yd marker has been passed even if there is heavy traffic. This is what happened on the M4 earlier today at Jcn 11. An Audi A4 (black) was the culprit. Numpty

            1. DavCrav

              Re: Perhaps the answer...

              "An Audi A4 (black) was the culprit."

              I don't believe you. I think it was really a white Audi A4. White Audis and BMWs are always the culprits.

              1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Re: Perhaps the answer...

                It was black. with those numberplates that are supposed to fool speed cameras, blacked out front passenger window. I caught up with it at the Traffic Lights on the A33. It took off with a Range Rover Sport (white) in pursuit.

                I find that the drivers of Black German made cars are a different league of numpty to those in white ones.

                It takes a special sort of numpty to drive into the back of a stationary Motorcycle in broad daylight (at a set of traffic lights). That happened to me in 2016. The female numpty was driving a black Audi RS8. The bike was a right off.

                1. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

                  Re: Perhaps the answer...

                  > drive into the back of a stationary Motorcycle in broad daylight

                  Oh yeah, I was stopped at a pedX for an old lady to dodder across, and (improbably) noticed a car coming up behind didn't seem to be slowing. The screaming wheelie I did at the last possible second probably saved the old lady too. I dare say she didn't think so.

                  1. tiggity Silver badge

                    Re: Perhaps the answer...

                    Had a numpty drive into back of my car that was stopped at (red) traffic lights (they had been red for a while too, not a just changed scenarion) - even harder to miss a car than a bike!

                    At least in a car I was at less risk of death from rear end impact than with a motorbike, but c***s who hit stationary vehicles (especially at lights) really need licence removal as its inexcusably dangerous & a fatality waiting to happen

                2. KBeee Silver badge
                  Joke

                  Re: Perhaps the answer...

                  I was tempted to buy a black Audi/BMW/Merc a couple of years ago, but I didn't fancy the operations required (fingers surgically removed to prevent signalling, and lead weight added to right foot).

                  1. Lotaresco

                    Re: Perhaps the answer...

                    "I was tempted to buy a black Audi/BMW/Merc a couple of years ago, but I didn't fancy the operations required (fingers surgically removed to prevent signalling, and lead weight added to right foot)."

                    You also have to have the latest iPhone superglued to the palm of your right hand and to your left ear.

                3. kz20fl2

                  Re: Perhaps the answer...

                  I think you mean R8, or S8. Sadly, the 8 class has no RS model (RS3 for me currently, and no, not black) :-)

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps the answer...

          Some of us drive old cars or basic cars, and so do not have adaptive cruise control (personally do not like idea of cruise control as I'm likely to lose attentiveness if part of the driving done for me - I personally want either a 100% fully AI car (that is at least as safe as a human), or 100% human controlled car - do not fancy the in-between scenarios where reacting to emergency will be slower if focus has been lost due to partial automation

          1. DavCrav

            Re: Perhaps the answer...

            "do not fancy the in-between scenarios where reacting to emergency will be slower if focus has been lost due to partial automation"

            I agree with you, but I have found the manually set speed limiter to be very useful when going through roadworks or average/reduced speed areas, particularly on the A34 round Oxford where there's a 50 section with a police <redacted>.

          2. agurney

            Re: Perhaps the answer...

            My adaptive cruise control car is a (not top of the range) Skoda. It's not a Tesla, it doesn't steer for me, it's 20th century cruise control but with the benefit that it maintains a minimum distance from the vehicle in front; perfect for those long slow road works with average speed cameras.

      2. Zimmer
        Big Brother

        Re: Perhaps the answer...

        No, it's not. Many anecdotal issues re 'boy racers' etc. but the real stress is a 60mph limit with average speed cameras on a dual carriageway. Lorries hitting their 60mph limiter with varying degrees of accuracy and coming alongside creeping slowly past, or falling in behind you 4 feet from your boot

        (USA trans:trunk).

        On a separate note, don't think you will get a clear run on the M6 to Birmingham Airport at 4:30 am .

        It's like having two freight trains side by side travelling at 60mph; your'e either trapped inside it or at 70mph in the 3rd lane hoping no one twitches, or gets a phone call...

        ICON: because he is, all along the motorway, the high street, the car parks etc.etc.....

        1. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps the answer...

          I find those that hover around 5mph off the limit while hogging The over taking lanes really annoying. You know when they’ve spotted you behind them as they accelerate to the speed limit then drift down again, eventually they pull over and you can then be on your way. It’s not easy maintaining speed when the road varies in undulation, bends and surface.

          I use the speed limiter in my car, set to whatever the current limit is and I then know I won’t exceed the speed. I just lift the throttle to slow as normal and can then accelerate to the limit without taking my eyes off the road.

          Later models of Merc will auto set that limit too.

      3. Alister

        Re: Perhaps the answer...

        @Cederic

        I can watch the road or my speedometer.

        If that is the case, you need to go and get some driving lessons.

        You should be checking your mirrors, your speed and your surroundings at all times.

        1. David Roberts

          Re: Perhaps the answer...

          Sadly I have had this discussion on a number of occasions.

          Often about speed cameras outside schools.

          One view seems to be "I can judge a safe speed from my surroundings, but it is dangerous to have to keep looking at my speedo so these cameras are dangerous!".

          My view has always been that if you can't maintain a safe picture of the local surroundings and also glance at the speedo then you are going too fast.

          Remembering always that the speed limit is an upper limit not a target.

          Noting also that if the surrounding traffic is very "active" you prioritise where you direct your attention. This doesn't mean you should never look at your speedo in less hectic times.

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps the answer...

          I've seen too many occurrences of 'slow driver pulls out without warning forcing emergency braking' to believe that a mere glance down at a speedometer is safe. That's the best part of a second in which you're looking away from the road; a lot can happen in that time.

          I'm fortunate enough to drive a car with an easily set speed limiter, so I can set that to the average speed limit and not look down at all. I'm also very aware that many people are driving cars without that facility.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps the answer...

      "...it to install average speed checks everywhere. With the exception of a few Audi/Mercedes drivers with special speedos, most people stick to speed limits or close enough to them in average speed check stretches. Yes they might float a couple of MPH over but thats within tolerance, over all its safer."

      On "smart" motorways, when reduced speed limits are active, I notice that you end up with all lanes doing the same speed, apart from when lorries are using all but the outside lane. The outside lane tends to bunch up more and there are more tailgaters. I don't know if that's safer, but it doesn't always feel so.

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps the answer...

      "We literally have the technology"

      Aye, we do. My parents car sounds an alarm if anyone in the passenger seat isn't wearing their seat belt, presumably a weight sensor in the seat. The Netherlands has average speed sensors on all their motorways. The trouble is these measures cut human involvement.

      My dad couldn't wear a seat belt for medical reasons and the alarm can't be turned off. And when me and my girlfriend were being chased up a Dutch motorway by a gang of thugs we were speeding but desperate for police intervention that never came. Just because tech can replace humans doesn't mean it's good technology.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: seatbelt

        Your dad has 3 options that I'm aware of;

        1. old taxi driver truck of fastening the belt over an empty seat before getting in.

        2, jam an old style flat bottle opener in the belt clip (works with Ford and Vauxhall but not Citroen)

        3. go and cut the end off a belt at the scrap yard and use that in place of 2

        Not that I'm advising any of the above, any accident at speed and he'll probably get a broken neck from the airbags. Cutting the seat sensor would disable both the warning and the airbags.

        FYI most of the warnings turn off after between 3 and 8 minutes (Citroen, and damn you Ford!)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it will be possible to know how many citizens move

    on towards No 10, and whether they carry pitchforks.

  9. xyz

    The original idea was....

    To find out where future Catalan demonstrators were heading to so the Guàrdia Civil could maintain "order",with the aid of their trusty batons. The GC is still pissed they got caught with their pants down and surrounded on the motorway into France. Now the genie is out the bottle massed civil servants will be using it for everything.

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    Its been arouind for ages

    We use this technique in Los Angeles to know where the traffic jams are, we've been doing it for years. Its far more economical than putting loops everywhere to monitor traffic flow.

  11. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Meh

    For the paranoid..

    Of course, people with just a wretched old landline can't be so tracked.

    Not that I would recommend that.

    1. SkippyBing

      Re: For the paranoid..

      Yeah, but the extension to my car keeps getting tangled when I use a roundabout.

  12. xyz

    Last word in this from me...

    OK, when the Spanish first decided on this it was a "test" and they promised the EU(CHR) that it was a "test". However anyone remember the PEPIPOO case of 2004 where the ECHR ruled that when in possession of a driving licence on the road, you have no human rights. So problem solved... It's a traffic matter now.

    1. DavCrav

      Re: Last word in this from me...

      "EU(CHR)"

      The ECHR and EU are separate organizations.

  13. Cynic_999

    It has a use ...

    Just publicise (whether true or not) that the police are catching speeding motorists by tracking their phone, and drivers will respond by switching off their phones or putting in aircraft mode. This will cut down on the number of people using their phone while driving ...

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