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Monday, 17 November 2014

Local Transport Today: Yours truly on speed cameras.

Speed cameras are still used as revenue-raising devices

Keith Peat, Drivers’ Union
As an ex-police officer who has prosecuted many drivers and completed many STATS19 forms, I am sorry that Iain Reeve finds the unnecessary prosecution of hundreds of thousands of perfectly safe drivers “boring” (ibid).

I certainly don’t think it’s boring, especially when most of these are then coerced into handing cash over to private companies in lieu of judicial process.

For me, if a camera is generating thousands of offenders, as they do, that means they are failing. If they are doing so without the attendant accidents to go with it, it tells me that either the limit is flawed or the layout is enticing inadvertent speeding. Incidentally, it is also evidence that speeding actually causes nothing to happen. It is therefore obvious to me that the speeding is being allowed to continue at these sites because money is being made and for no other reason.

Iain demonstrates the mistakes and simplistic lack of understanding of the subject on which a flawed policy is based when he says that “speed is a contributory factor in the majority of crashes”. Speed is a factor in all road crashes just as it is for someone walking into a lamppost. Without speed there would be no accidents at all, and without speed there would be little else either.

When we are discussing speed cameras we are discussing ‘speeding’ as opposed to ‘speed’. The fact is that ‘speeding’ to exceed an arbitrary number on a pole cannot affect or cause anything – STATS 19 is wrong about that – so let’s be clear speed is not speeding. One contributes to accidents and one doesn’t.

Iain belongs to the school that basically says ‘The slower everything goes, the less chance of an accident and the bigger survival rate’. So let’s have zero speed and a road safety Nirvana then. No death on the roads but the death of all of us from lack of essentials instead. There is an economic cost to slowing down road travel.

Yes of course we must have speed cameras, but not cameras that are focusing on perfectly safe drivers, who are not about to have an accident, at the expense of better road safety measures that would save lives and an expenditure that would save even more if used in other services. 

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