Is it another con? Or is it another excuse? Or just another reason to exploit the most law abiding majority of drivers amongst us, where it was reported at the time, that we were already one of the safest countries, in the world, to drive in.
This great government’s novel idea to introduce a speed camera; ‘a roadside speed camera designed to catch speeding vehicles by taking video footage or a photograph’ Wordpower Dictionary; Was it another illustrious plan to gain public trust? What trust? Apply greater pressure on to our police to enforce this ridiculous money making scheme, and basically that’s all it is, it’s a way of squeezing more money out of the innocent motorist, when they should be out there catching real criminals; like our corrupt politicians as a classic example.
The Independent has indicated the country’s biggest force; The Metropolitan Police has refused to put up more speed cameras, despite government support to do so. It argues that the increase of cameras would fuel public bitterness towards the police, in what could be seen as a getting even more money out of the motorist.
Speed cameras are to be seen as nice little earners. In Northamptonshire, the “cash for cameras” scheme where the local police allowed allowed to keep the money from speeding fines; brought about a major increase in convictions. In Essex alone, a single camera on the M11 raised just short of a million in a single week.
Chief constables were undecided as to how the cameras should be displayed, a highly ranking officer of Norfolk police, wanted them to be “bright and visible”. That avoided the perception that they are cunningly hidden away to increase police profits. However, it also had a flaw, because serial offenders will simply brake as they approached the camera, and then speed up once past detection.
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Richard Alleyne of the Guardian reported in the last year alone, the number of speeding tickets has exceeded 1.5m for the first time, twice the number issued back in 1997 when New Labour first came to power. They accumulated £88m from motorists in one year alone and have since raked in £1 billion over the past decade. Average speed cameras have proved effective at persuading people to keep within the limits though. Nearly 100 cameras were installed at road works mostly on motorways and accident black spots, and according to data collected from five active camera sites, 99.4 per cent of drivers obey the speed limits. The numbers of motorists killed and seriously injured after the cameras had been installed has fallen considerably.
There are new cameras now and how they work are; they link wirelessly to each other, are capable of tracking vehicles for up to 15 miles whichever route they decide take over a vast area. The cameras, which are named ‘Specs3′ are to be fitted at entry and exit points in built-up areas and on our busy roads. They are capable of reading number plates which record the time as each car passes. Critics point out that even these new cameras will not deter motorists from indulging in short bursts of speed, because they will still average less than 20mph either when they stop at junctions, traffic lights or stuck in traffic. On main roads, the average speed cameras issue fewer tickets than conventional Gatso cameras, which measure speed over only a few yards, according to the manufacturers.
Richard Alleyne also states that a representative for the Home Office confirmed that these new first average speed cameras are to be placed in 20mph zones and that they have also passed laboratory tests for effectiveness, but they have yet to be officially given the green light, which could be as early as 2010. The new “time over distance” devices are also seen as a way of dealing with the problem of motorists braking when they see a camera then accelerating once past it. They have already been used on our motorways where despite catching far fewer speeders than traditional speed cameras, they have dramatically reduced casualties.
These new cameras would be far more expensive, compared to the ‘Gatso’ which are getting pushed out at £50k a device, in an area of London is one of the most profitable cameras which is located at the bottom of M11 motorway near Woodford, Essex which is alleged in raking in over £840k a week, creating extra revenue for the government, the one good thing that it has in its favour is that it has created more jobs as the demand for cameras have increase year-on year since the turn of the millennium.
Speed Cameras are a really splendid idea when are strategically placed in build up areas; around our schools and are placed within our hospitals areas, they are an ubiquitous sight on our motorways and our ‘B’ roads, where the majority of cameras are not needed, they are situated there because they are ‘areas that encourage us to speed’ if you don’t keep up with the traffic; it is also deemed a criminal offense. How easy is it to creep over the speed limit accidentally?
Research from the Think Campaign indicates that a cut in speed to 20mph has a dramatic impact in making areas friendlier to cyclists and pedestrians. One in 40 pedestrians struck by a car at 20mph dies, compared with one in five at 30mph.
Traffic managers throughout the country see them as a way of restoring calm to Britain’s neighbourhoods without resorting to intrusive calming devices such as those ridiculous road humps and chicanes; which cause unnecessary damage to vehicles no matter what speed you go over them, even the slightest bump knocks out the tracking and the wheel balance; which can cost a small fortune on realignment and tyres.
A huge decline in the number of road deaths was achieved between the years of 1983 and 1993, and they have been largely associated when they introduced front seatbelt wearing law mandatory back in 1983, along with making better-designed cars and having major reductions in drink driving fatalities. Factors likely to be responsible for the slowing rate of reduction between 1993 and 2003 include continued increases in traffic (up from 583 billion passenger kilometres 1993 to 634 billion passenger kilometres in 2002(2); sharp increases in motorcycle casualties (up from 427 in 1993(3) to 609 in 2002(4); a levelling-off of drink drive fatality numbers (up from 520 in 1993 to 560 in 2002(5); a decline in seatbelt-wearing and the increased use of mobile phones while driving. Another point in the decrease of deaths and accidents not attributed by speed was the introduction of the hazard and perception test back in 2003 (6) (Think) along with the theory questions prior to gaining your licence, making people more aware out on the roads.
1. (2001). Readers Digest Word Power Dictionary. London: Readers Digest. 942.
2. DfT. 2003b. Transport statistics for Great Britain 2002. DfT: London.
3. DoT. 1994. Road Accidents Great Britain 1993. HMSO: London.
4. National Statistics /DfT. 2003. Road Casualties Great Britain 2002: Annual Report. TSO: London.
Another interesting factor that contributed to these figures was the inexperience of drivers in the 17-25 year old bracket; showing no respect to our authorities and the people around them; thinking that the world owes them something; driving like lunatics to impress their friends and the opposite sex that are travelling with them in the car, break neck speeds which would even have the grim reaper laughing on their shoulders, crashing and causing deaths, resulting in mayhem on our roads and creating distress for the families of the victims. I know this because I used to be one of them, fortunately for me I grew out of this wild, childlike behaviour before I got caught, even worse killed. Many outsiders that are flooding this nation; bringing their bad driving habits with them, unleashing their inexperience on to our roads.
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A sound solution to this would be to increase the age limit to apply for your provisional to 21, (which I believe is under review); where we can only hope that they are all that little bit more mature and realise how dangerous a vehicle can be. To do this would mean that the government would miss the extra revenue that is collected in taxes from the extortionate prices the insurance companies’ charge these youngsters.
Speed cameras, are similar to speed limits, they play a useful role. The United Kingdom has fewer deaths on the road than most other countries in the world its because of tightly monitored limits. Especially at accident black spots, speed cameras can significantly reduce the number of road deaths. An argument can be raised for increasing the 70mph speed limit (and then strictly police the higher limit). In built-up areas, however, limits could be lower than they are now.
Finally, we must remember that the importance of speed limits and cameras alike are to save people’s lives, and are not to be abused as a government made up tax. Speed limits exist to encourage people to drive sensibly; speed cameras exist in order to remind drivers that they cannot break those limit. Success, however, is not when the police funds are significantly increased because so many people drive dangerously over the speed limit, but a speed-camera job is if more drivers can (at last) persuade to drive at safer speeds.
DoT. 1994. Road Accidents Great Britain 1993. HMSO: London.
(2001). Readers Digest Word Power Dictionary. London: Readers Digest. 942.
(2001). Speed cameras are for saving lives, not raising cash. Available: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/speed-cameras-are-for-saving-lives- not-raising-cash-664735.html. Last accessed 14 December 2009.
DfT. 2003b. Transport statistics for Great Britain 2002. DfT: London.
(2003). The slower speeds Inititive. Available: http://www.slower-speeds.org.uk/files/10myths031220.pdf. Last accessed 14 December 2009.
National Statistics /DfT. 2003. Road Casualties Great Britain 2002: Annual Report. TSO: London.
Richard Alleyne. (2009). Average speed cameras installed in neighbourhoods for the first time. Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/6743003/Average-speed-cameras-installed-in-neighbourhoods-for-the-first-time.html. Last accessed 10 December 2009.
(2009). Speed Urban. Available: http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/focusareas/driving/speedurban?page=FAQ&whoareyou_id=. Last accessed 14 December 2009
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