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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Why speed cameras worry me.

When I was a copper I always had to believe in the justness and fairness of any prosecution I instigated. I always needed to be convinced that, before I caused someone worry, threatened their livelihoods, their licences, their jobs and yes even their families, it should be necessary and fair. And this is what concerns me about speeding prosecution. If my ex colleagues were to apply those morals and questions to their work now, none of them would ever pick up a speed gun again.

I am able to say that because, unlike them, I voluntarily study and survey speed limit orders and it is on these orders that the whole 'speeding' and camera policy is based, that the whole issue of speed limits and cameras is flawed.

Let's just ignore the fact that physics would never support that 'speeding', that is the act of exceeding a number on a pole will cause an accident any more than not to won't, and ask who sets the limits? How do these lolly pops with numbers get there? Shouldn't we as police officers be interested in that? The Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, who run cameras and prosecutions, actually confessed on a radio show that they care not a jot about the limits themselves 'That is not our remit' they told the Peter Levy Radio show.

I am continually appalled by the lack of content and information contained in the speed limit orders; bearing in mind that, based on them, people become 'speeders'.

What special road safety or driving background do the speed limit setters have? There is never any accident history contained in the orders and most I survey are set unjustifiably too low.

Worse still they are often at the instigation of no more than local parochial councillors and village NIMBYS. All these speed limits join up and all these roads and streets are national. So we have a national speed limit policy based on nothing more than local unqualified opinion and on that basis police are pointing speed guns? Prosecuting people?

How many of these police & prosecutors are taking the time to survey and study speed limits before they rush someone into the courts? If they believe that there is science to speed limits then ask themselves what can possibly be scientific about the mathematical coincidence of the exact numbers 20,30,40,50,60,& 70?

Police should see it as their first duty to justify to themselves any prosecutions and never take their role in that lightly. They should be of the people and for the people and independent. As it stands, they are being used by a very aggressive and profitable Road Safety Industry fronted by well meaning charities as well as local busy bodies. Not their role at all.

Keith Peat


  1. "Let's just ignore the fact that physics would never support that 'speeding', that is the act of exceeding a number on a pole will cause an accident"

    You can't do that Keith, it is a fact that an increase in speed results in an increase in the incidence of collisions.
    There is a well established link between increase in speed and collisions, in fact it follows a square law. The incidence of serious injuries follows a cube law and fatalities a fourth power law. In simple terms they all increase rapidly with an increase in speed.
    I think what you are basing your scientific opinion upon is that when you go faster and do not suffer an apparent collision or injury that this means that there is no link; too bad mate, that doesn't follow.

  2. Yes but you are confusing 'speed' with 'speeding' which is to go above an arbitrary and unscientific number on a pole. If they were scientific for a start they would be ever changing with the infinite changing road conditions.What is the mathematical chance of the coincidence of the numbers 20,30,40,50,60, & 70 being scientific? The dumping of the 85%tile formula took any semblance of rationale from speed limit setting. You are confusing too fast, which occurs above and below speed limits and causes accidents, with 'speeding' which doesn't. Cameras cannot see 'too fast' the accident cause, and only 'speeding' which isn't.

    What is the point of just prosecuting hundreds of thousands of safe drivers who are not about to crash or cause one? They are proving continuously that by not crashing, speeding doesn't cause an accident.

    Anyway thanks for your input, I love my readers to get the chance to see the answers too. What is tragic is that the pious officials resolutely and criminally are ignoring real accident causes on the alter of big finance whilst turning safe drivers, that we badly need and rely on, into criminals.