Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ending the War on the Motorist

The Sunday Times splash is that the government is to abolish all speed cameras. Hurrah, I thought. However, the story is, needless to say, a little more complex than that. It's not actually up to the government to do that. It's not within their power. What they can do is withdraw all funding from local authority 'speed partnerships'. It's an easy saving to make and a thoroughly justified one.

Introduced in 1992, there are about 6,000 speed cameras across Britain, generating an estimated £100m in fines each year. Oxfordshire’s raised more than £1m in 2009.

The government says it is “delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist”, but a prominent road safety campaigner said that the effects could be disastrous.

A 40% reduction in central government money for road safety has led Oxfordshire council officials to recommend a cut of £600,000 in funding to the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership.

The body, which operates the county’s fixed speed cameras, says it will no longer be able to afford them.

All will be switched off if, as expected, a meeting of the county council on Tuesday ratifies the cut in funding.

The camera networks in Devon and Cornwall, Somerset and Northamptonshire are also under review after the government’s decision to claw back £38m from English local authorities’ 2010-11 road safety budget of £95m, and to remove funding for new speed cameras.

The money raised in fines goes directly into Treasury coffers despite complaints by local authorities that they should be able to retain the proceeds for spending on road safety.

Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said: “In the coalition agreement the government made clear it would end central funding for fixed speed cameras.

“This is another example of this government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist.

“Although I recognise that the reduction of the road safety grant means that difficult choices must be made, I would hope that councils will use the funds available to put in place new measures to tackle road safety problems.”

He had previously told local authorities that although evidence showed speed cameras were an “effective way of helping manage safety risks” in some places, there was overreliance on them.


Don't get me wrong, I am not against all speed cameras, but they have now profilerated out of control. We're told that they are only erected on accident blackspots. That is a patent lie. They are often located where revenue can be maximised.

I have nine points on my licence. Each of the three tickets was because I was driving over the limit in the early hours of the morning. A danger to no one - not a pedestrian or car in sight. I was doing 6, 8 and 13 mph over the limit. Yes, I broke the law, so yes I was quite entitled to be fined. One of the cameras (in Brixton) was probably justified in its placement. The other two (on a dual carriageway) were not. They were all got within a few months of each other. I now have two years of sweating over getting another one which would mean I would lose my automatically licence. All for straying lightly over the limit at 2am or 3am. That's not justice.

Last year Swindon removed all its speed cameras and according to reports accidents have not increased.

Last year, as a result of the ticket in Brixton, I went on a speed awareness course. (see HERE). They teach you all about the difference between driving at 30mph and 40mph if you hit a pedestrian. It had quite an impact on me and the other participants on the course.

It is actually far more dangerous to drive at 40 in a 30 limit than 80 in a 70 limit. For that reason I'd be quite happy to see cameras slowing people down in urban areas, but I see no reason to maintain the proliferation of cameras on faster roads.

60 comments:

simon said...

There is no 'war on the motorist. If you don't want to be nabbed by speed cameras, don't exceed the speed limit. All the rest is just special pleading.

I agree about the speed awareness courses. I know a couple of people who've been on them and despite approaching it with a degree of cynicism, all said that the courses were effective in making them rethink their driving behaviour.

Mirtha Tidville said...

I think you`ll find it depends on what the LumDubs think...It may well yet be `U` turned in the same way anonimity in Rape cases has been!!!!......oh deep coalition joy eh...

Max Atkinson said...

The cameras that should definitely be eliminated are the hand-held hair-dryer style ones that pop up now and then a few yards after a change in the speed limit.

Some years ago, I fell victim to one of these in Sheffield where I speeded up to about 7 mph over the limit in order to keep up with a police special branch car that was guiding me into the city centre (for reasons far too secret to disclose). Needless to say, the driver of the special branch car, who was going considerably faster than me, heard nothing more about it - whereas I was awarded 3 points for my efforts to keep up with him.

And why is it always 3 points, regardless of how far above the speed limit you're going? If they never award you 1 or 2 points, why not just dish out 1 point at a time until you've got 4?

But there are consolation prizes to look forward to as you try to avoid collecting any more. For 2-3 years after getting my last speeding ticket, I stuck religiously to the limits - and was amazed at how much my fuel consumption improved, especially by sticking to 70 mph on motor ways. That, coupled with the fact that I now have null points, has the added advantage of reducing some of the stress of driving...

trevorsden said...

You should make sure you have a sat nave which warns of speed cameras. I survived my period of tension on 9 points.

I agree that on propbably one of thos occasions my fine was justified but not the others.

I also agree that in some circumstances cameras should be permanently in place and always with film.
The mark of a good speed camera should be the LACK of times it flashes people. This clearly means people are not speeding.

I think the variable speed cameras on motorway gantries are not a bad idea - they are clearly marked and are there to ease congestion and ensure traffic flows at a reasonable pace. They are for our benefit. These are quite definitely NOT safety cameras. Its the management of gantry signs I question.

NewsUrchin said...

You broke the law on three occasions. You deserve your 9 points.

Seems to be the case that low level (usually white collar) offenders feel that the law shouldn't apply to them... and get so indignant when caught out, too. Bizarre.

And sorry, but I really fail to understand how the hour of day would make a difference to whether the law ought to be applied.

The beauty of much of our road traffic legislation is that it is black and white. You either have insurance or you don't. You're either speeding or you aren't.

The law needs to be clean cut in this area. There need to be big, clear distinctions between RIGHT and WRONG, in capital letters, for the masses to understand.

Seems you're advocating a more... what... nuanced approach?

One that lets you off, maybe?

Also, if you were "only" over the limit by a few mph... Well, that's just plain idiotic... If you're only making a nominal time saving on your journey, why break the law?

Don said...

Good move, now lets get rid of speed humps which lead to greater tyre wear and suspension damage.

Hamish said...

"I would lose my automatically licence".
No, no officer, I am not under the affluence of incohol.

Just joking, Iain, I know you don't drink.

I still resent the 3 points on my licence (first in 40 years) caused a hike in my insurance premium.
They said I was doing 40 in a 30 limit; I think it was a taxi under-taking in the bus lane which triggered the camera, but I couldn't afford Mr Whats-his-name QC to get me off.

bantambabe said...

Call me cynical, but I think we're just being softened up in readiness for more road tolls, after all they have to get the money from somewhere, and the motorist will always be an easy target.

Intentionally Blank said...

@NewsUrchin: There's a difference between reckless and anti-social driving (which is about more than speed) and driving safely, although over the limit.

Any law that doesn't make that distinction is bad law. We have bad laws because blinkered, obedient peons like you (no offence) need over simplified 'black and white' rules.

And since when is an unwillingness be punished unfairly a 'white collar' reaction? I suppose hordes of knuckle dragging plebs across the country are delighted to be banged to rights by plod when they are nabbed speeding in their lowered Astras?

Show me a driver who *never* breaks the speed limit and I'll show you a snide and supercilious cretin with a rudimentary understanding of road safety, few friends and an unnecessary job with a local council.

MikeyP said...

You might have broken the law, but in this, as in many other cases, the law is a ass!

The Purpleline said...

This is good news and it also take the Health & Safety Nazi's out of the game .

We need risk in our lives and driving on the Queens highway is and should be considered as a potential risk. That keeps drivers alert.

The other issue is that Motor vehicles are far better equipped nowadays than in the 1980's even, so of course results are better and will get better as we progress.

The signs I like to see around and what make a big difference to me are the ones that flash up you are driving too fast or actually states your speed, they have more of a dramatic effect on my driving.

Although thankfully I must say I have not had a penalty for speeding on my licence for over 25 years.

I recently travelled to Southend on Sea and was amazed while approaching the obscene number of camera's on the A127. I guess they have a problem on the front of boy racers, but this was a catch all policy and very unsightly.

Around Schools ideally I would make a 1 mile exclusion zone for general traffic and a 15 mph limit enforced by Police for delivery or residents driving within the zone.

The Purpleline said...

Forgot to mention as far as I am concerned I would like to see more awareness of drug driving and prescription drugs included as that is a danger so far not recognised.

Jabba the Cat said...

The "safety" aspect of speed cameras is long dead history. They are merely static tax points for unwary motorists.

Peter said...

If there is a "war on the motorist" then this isn't evidence for it. "Waahhh! I can't drive excessively fast!". Boo hoo. Set off earlier.

Andrew said...

What sanctimonious rubbish some people speak about speeding, and that includes the spiteful claim by NewsUrchin to have an insight into what white coller offenders think.

As I see it there is a vast disparity between what speed it is sensible to limit an old car to with poor brakes driven by a poor driver with slow reactions, and that which is appropriate for a newer vehicle with a competent driver. The speed limits cater for the lowest common denominator, discriminating against everyone else. This is not "white collar arrogance"; it is reality.

I also feel that the control exercised in so many ways over drivers by petty officials constitutes some sort of petty revenge. The same attitude is displayed when a Highways Agency wannabee policeman closes an entire motorway for a couple of hours because of a minor shunt and causes disruptions to 10s of 1000s of people.

I would prefer to see far less legislation and enforcement and more encouragement of common sense. That applies to motoring and much much more.

Jimmy said...

"All for straying lightly over the limit at 2am or 3am."

When of course you are at your most alert.

"It is actually far more dangerous to drive at 40 in a 30 limit than 80 in a 70 limit."

Apparently you do have option of doing neither.

So government policy is not actually to change the law, but just to make breaking it easier?

tapestry said...

Under the old regime the speed was not the only factor taken into account in deciding whether to proceed against the motorist. Time of day was a factor, road conditions, and the number of mph above the stated limit. the state needs to more carefully define 'unsafe' as regards speed if it is to regain the respect of its citizens.

JMB said...

The argument that you should not speed if you don't want to be booked is rubbish.

There are speed camera warning signs everywhere, why not have a speed limit reminder sign alongside every single one?

A friend was booked in one place was notorious for the police using their hand-held gun (probably use a Talivan there now). He genuinely thought that it was 40 mph and not 30 mph because of the lack of pavement, sideroads, houses, businesses etc. He said teh plod had already filled in many pages of motorists caught that day. If the road is so dangerous that it needs to occupy the valuable time of a police officer then why not erect some more speed warning signs? Perhaps because they would make less money from fines?

The dodgy statistic about a third of accidents being caused by speeding that keeps being trotted out has been shown to be false. One Chief Constable said that about 5% or so of accidents are caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit and most of those were drunk drivers, stolen cars and cars being chased by the police.

Charles said...

Earlier in the article (which you didn't show) was a classic example of a lobby putting its position baed on logical sounding but illogical arguments:

"Withdrawing the speed cameras will lead to an increase in accidents, especially among 18-24 year olds"

The truth is (without commenting on the factual side)

1. Withdrawing speed cameras MAY lead to an increase in speeding

2. This increase in speeding (if it occurs) MAY lead to an increase in accidents (but may not - see Swindon)

3. This increase in the accident rate (if it occurs) may be disproportionately weighted towards a specific age group

4. If this is the case then there may be an increase in deaths

However, she just jumped from premise to factual conclusion in the pursuit of a sound bite.

Who pays for the "Road Safety" lobby anyway. Willing to bet it is my and your taxes.

NewsUrchin said...

@intentionallyblank Like most drivers I exceed the speed limit on occasion but if I were to be caught (and I haven't been thus far) I'd take the wrap on the knuckles quite regardless of the "merits" of my case. Because I know that speeding is a strict liability offence and I shouldn't do it.

So what exactly is the issue here?

It's not even as though you get an instant disqualification (unless you're going way, way too fast...) you get four goes before you're disqualified! If you get caught four times in two years then I'd suggest there probably is something wrong with the way you're driving.

I really don't understand why Iain Dale wants to turn this into a quasi-political issue... It's one of those wearily middleclass, boo-hoo attitudes... And I say middleclass because (in my experience) it tends to be that group that's most pious and therefore gratingly unwilling to accept when its behaviour has fallen below the lawful standard. So instead you get cod-intellectual or politic justfications... or arrogant proclamations from the offenders, annointing themselves arbiters of road safety and judging their own conduct to be safe.

You say the punishment is unfair but why is it? Everyone knows what the rules are, there are literally signs in front of your eyes repeatedly telling you. So what could be more fair?

Rush-is-Right said...

"Show me a driver who *never* breaks the speed limit and I'll show you a snide and supercilious cretin with a rudimentary understanding of road safety, few friends and an unnecessary job with a local council."

Post of the day! Get it Simon? Newsurchin?

Oh and as a point of principle, anybody alleged to have been nicked by a camera must demand to see the photo. I did, and guess what... it wasn't me!

Rush-is-Right said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

In Hampshire all of the speed cameras are located where someone has been killed as a result of a road traffic accident where excess speed was identified as a major contributory factor; surely that should be the sole criteria?
According to the DfT, the average cost of a fatality on a road to the public purse is now circa £2million per death.

Carl Eve said...

They were originally placed in locations which had one or more fatal, or more than several serious accidents. That is true Iain.
However, the guidelines were later changed to areas which were considered (and monitored) to be speeding zones - even some places where no fatalities had ever happened.
Also, originally, all the money raised through fines was handed back to the safety camera partnerships to pay for its speed training/advice literature and for upkeep of the few cameras being used.
However, a few years later the Govt decided it would take the money for itself and hand back a portion. Around this time Freedom of Information requests by local papers about the individual sites (which cameras made the most money because of the frequency of photo-captured drivers) were repeatedly knocked back.
You may recall there was even differences in which areas had battleship grey speed cameras, while others painted theirs yellow or even had reflective striping across them. That was eventually changed (following complaints by residents and newspapers in places like south Essex) by the Govt so all cameras had to be painted uniform yellow.
Yes, I had to write a lot of stories about the bloody things.

Libertarian said...

@Simon,

I don't know where you have been living for the last 14 years but here in UK central government has been forcing councils to ban cars from town centres, making pedestrian only areas, speed humps ( which are dangerous and of no benefit )traffic light sequencing to slow the flow of traffic and one way systems.

I have two car parking spaces on my office premises ( I own the office and car park) in a town centre. I am charged business rates of £600 per year each to park in my own property.

Not a war on motorists. Right the Pope has just become a rabbi and Bears have opened a town centre public convenience

Libertarian said...

@newsurchin

You clearly don't actually drive a car if you think road safety and the law is black and white, right and wrong. I could drive safely at a speed far higher than a lot of people , although I don't and have zero points ( I'm a racing driver). Yet I have seen many people who are down right dangerous yet are driving at 5mph below the limit.

90% of accidents are caused by bad driving, tail gating, failure to look properly at a junction, wrong lane, sudden manoeuvre, incorrect braking etc and none of that is caused by breaking a speed limit .

Driving without due care and attention and dangerous driving are the two biggest problems on our roads and they are SUBJECTIVE and depend entirely on time of day, weather conditions, traffic volumes, type of car and skill of the driver and other road users and pedestrians.

Sean Haffey said...

Iain, surely if you feel the speed you drove was safe on two occasions, you should be campaigning against speed limits (or for higher ones)? The speed camera is just a way of enforcing the law.

John Kennedy said...

It's not just speed cameras but civil enforcement officers issuing parking tickets like candy to taxi-cab drivers whilst letting mini-cabs park illegally all over the West End.

Iain is right that many cameras were erected to raise revenue and not accident black spots. In fact I find motorists take more notice of the speed monitoring signs which treat decent people like adults.

Bad drivers that act in a reckless manner don't care about speed cameras.

Bolotics...

Carl Eve said...

They were originally placed in locations which had one or more fatal, or more than several serious accidents. That is true Iain.
However, the guidelines were later changed to areas which were considered (and monitored) to be speeding zones.
Originally, all the money raised through fines was handed back to the safety camera partnerships to pay for its speed training/advice literature. However, a few years later the Govt decided it would take the money for itself and hand back a portion.
You may recall there was even differences in which areas had battleship grey speed cameras, while others painted theirs yellow or even had reflective striping across them. That was eventually changed (following complaints by residents and newspapers in places like south Essex) so all cameras had to be painted uniform yellow.

trevorsden said...

I grow tired of the 'oooh you broke the law' brigade.

A good speed camera never catches anybody.
Many speed limits are purely arbitrary based on the whim of a bureaucratic nicety and have no meaning to what is really important - road safety.

many millions of people have paied millions of fimnes and what have they done? Nothing. Have they caused an accident? N o.

Whilst all this was going on we regularly see millions of cyclist driving dangerously and overwhelmingly without lights at night. All ignored.

Of course many, many motorists drive dangerously, ie tailgating, but never ever get punished for it.

The one size fits all speed camera solution is a total sham of a (nice little earner) situation.

Gallimaufry said...

Speed cameras don't prevent speeding they merely record the act and enable the miscreant to be fined. I would prefer more traffic police patrols to give guidance where necessary and act as a deterrent to racers. After all,the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Osama the Nazarene said...

As is often the case I mostly agree with you.

I now have no points on my licence but a few years ago received 3 points for speeding at 50mph in a 40mph stretch of the North Circular dual carriageway at 5am. There were no cars on my side and one on the opposite carriageway. At the time I was much aggrieved BUT it had a noticeable effect on my driving ever since. I now drive much more slowly having decided that this was merely a matter of training myself. This was not because I was convinced by the safety argument but much more by the hike in insurance premium which the points caused. The insurance industry like parasites have jumped on these points and maintain an increase in premiums for 5 years from the date of the offence.

The slow driving fanatics no doubt see that this change in behaviour justifies the maintenance of cameras in spite of the "injustice" of many of the offences.

prj45 said...

Iain Dale: "They are often located where revenue can be maximised."

But this is a story about them not making any money, and being unaffordable if they are not backed by government money?!

Paul Donnelley said...

Can Trevorsden and Tomtom and others please STOP calling speed cameras "safety" cameras. They are nor safety cameras they are SPEED cameras.

You could be driving out of your skull on drink or drugs, weaving all over the road but as long as you don't exceed the speed limit the cameras will not pick you up. How is that safe?

Twenty-odd years ago when there were traffic police I got stopped regularly (for non-serious offences); now with the proliferation of speed cameras and the virtual abolition of traffic police I never get stopped.

Of course, I could just be a better driver now...

Rush-is-Right said...

And another thing..

When I lived in Nottinghamshire everybody knew that the most dangerous road in the county was the A614 which runs north to join the A1 near Newark. That road was so dangerous that the Telegraph called for it to be closed. And are there any speed cameras on it? Take a wild guess. Somebody did the sums and they worked out there wasn't enough money in it. They stuck them in the urban stretches, especially if they could find a bit that goes downhill.

Just tell me that this nonsense is anything to do with road safety.

Money-grubbing scum just about sizes it up.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Intentionally Blank said it.

Left Lib said...

We need speed cameras not just for health and safety reasons, but to cut down on carbon pollution.
If reducing the number of speed cameras not only increases the level of lawbreaking, but also the number of accidents, this cost cutting measure would not be a saving at all.
As for the placement of particular cameras, then maybe some are badly placed, that is a separate argument. The fundamental argument is about the need to reduce accidents and pollution.

Cynic said...

I was caught for £60 and 3 points for doing 80mph on an empty motorway! Councils are using these for simple profiteering. But I don't blame the officials - they just seem to be out of democratic control. What are the elected members doing?

Alan Douglas said...

If the driver's attention is solely on his speedo, then by definition it is NOT on where it should be. In order to never exceed 30 mph one cannot really do more than 25, unless too much attention is stuck on the instruments. That does NOT make for safe driving.

Alan Douglas

Iain Dale said...

Left Lib, clearly you don't drive. If you did you would know that speed cameras increase carbon emissions because you slow down when you see one and then accelarate away afterwards.

Libertarian said...

@prj45

er, haven't you been paying attention? The government take the £100 million revenue and local councils get a tiny grant to maintain, install and administer them. So when government ordered cuts in local expenditure one or two councils have chosen to cut out their speed camera budget

Joe said...

I can't believe the "fewer deaths on the road brigade" are serious about their objections to this. What's wrong with a few more deaths? Most of those who will be killed are virtually unemployable young people and/or the poor, and God knows we need fewer of both.

Keeping people alive on the roads is not only damned expensive, it's also unnecessary. It's insane that taxpayers have paid hundreds of billions as part of the "war on the motorists" when as this graph shows http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208 better countries than ours (Australia, the USA) have higher death rates.

Some moaning minnies will, I'm sure, argue that it's unfair that ambulance staff should have to pick the mangled flesh, bones and muscle of road crash victims from the ruins of their vehicles. But we all know that these people are just overpaid, over pensioned "public servants" who will strike at the earliest opportunity.

More death on the roads is a good thing all round - even the moaning minnies will admit that!

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

Sorry, Mr. Dale, you clearly do not know half of it - I do, probably more than anyone else in the country. (Telegraphese for space reasons):

1000s of hours/10 years studying cameras etc, initially re my ECHR right to silence application (google my name and ECHR)

We have been systematically lied to for 14 years, 10,000 more have died in camera era than would have been expected (falling trend/veh km fell from 7% pa to 3% pa)

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

www.safespeed.org.uk/vas.html documents how DfT/Transcom LIED that cameras are 12% (!!) more cost effective than vehicle activated signs, when in reality they are 50 TIMES LESS cost effective - a £1k pa sign is as effective as a £50k pa camera. I forced Ladyman to admit in writing (see URL for official DfT pdf) to 9 times, but even that was based on costs only in 1st year, ignoring massive costs of enforcement system, jobsworths, police and court time etc - and of course victim costs.

Brake, Pacts and others, wailing and gnashing their teeth, get much of their funding from speed camera companies.

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

14% of fatal accidents involve speed above limit - or MIGHT have done (STATS 20 instructions. Cameras cut speeding by typically 50%, but even if by 100%, fatalities would not fall by 14% at sites, 'cos of many other causal factors.

Sites cover 3% of roads (urban) areas, 1% (rural) - so even if cameras DID cut 14% at sites, that would not be even 0.5% nationally - at a cost of £150m a year. How many lives would a hospital save given an extra £150m a year?

In 2006 the DfT, knowing perfectly well that cameras were useless but not wanting to admit it, off- loaded decisions to local authorities - its called "passing the buck".

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

Local authorities by and large have little specialist knowledge other than DfT and other propaganda - so it has taken the economic crisis for them to look more closely at bangs per buck - or in this case, fewer bangs per buck.

I have provided a great deal of information to Transcom and MPs on these issues, and like to think I have had some effect. But not yet enough.

Sorry, to those who think that "they have a place" or are "1 tool in the box" - no carpenter would keep a £100 chisel that cuts him when a £2 chisel works better and does not. That argument is only a cynical attempt to avoid admitting gross breach of statutory duty of care, and worse. As the late Paul Smith of Safe Speed used to say "They would sooner save face than save lives".

I too have been on a Speed Awareness Course - a ludicrous waste of time and money, though highly profitable for the ex-police operators. Like Christopher Booker I started to realise how people could be brainwashed into believing in Communism. Only one message - drive at or below the speed limit, you are safe, 1mph above it, you are dangerous. Absolute nonsense - the idea that on any given road, any time any weather, any vehicle, any driver, a single number, (by law only increments of 10mph) can determine what is safe is self-evident buffoonery.

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

Worse, there are nearly 40 adverse effects. most of which apply on most roads not 3% of roads, and cause more accidents than cameras ever prevent - drivers concentrating on the roadside not the road, or speedometer not the pedestrian stepping off the kerb.

That is why cuts are not enough to remove all adverse effecst requires removing ALL cameras. In any case, there can be no moral, economic or credible case for spending £50k pa on one site when it woud pay for 50 signs, each of which is on average as effective as one camera.

I for one am fed up to the back teeth with know-nothing simpletons who say things like "If you don't like it, don't speed" - what MATTERS is that this policy and its unforseen consequences have KILLED thousands.

The Highways Agency 2008 report on average speed cameras was unable to find ANY evidence of benefit, but plenty of evidence of adverse effects - tailgating, sudden braking, bunching etc. Solution? Train drivers to avoid these adverse effects!!!!!!!!

Portsmouth City Council have NO BASIS whatever for claiming success for their "signs only" 20mph area, installed in defiance of DfT advice. Results adjusted for lower traffic worse or much worse than national trends, but the bozos responsible cherry-pick numbers and ignore traffic volume and steep national falls to pretend otherwise.

I would be happy to correspond with anyone on these issues, especially anyone who knows a way fo getting this information to all local authorities - the head of the
Road Safety Officers' Assn refused to do so, being a "believer" in camera nonsense

I analysed 4.2m injury accidents 1991 - 2007. 131,303 examples of 1km sq areas where KSI reached 4 in 3 years, with average fall afterwards (in the vast majority of cases without a camera in sight)more than 40% - much the same as is claimed for camera benefit - entirely due to regression to mean, long term trend and falling reporting levels (of SI)

Idris Francis
full contact details on the safespeed pages or email irfrancis@onetel.com

Any reporters - or indeed politicians - out there looking for the TRUTH about speed cameras?
I have all the evidence you need.

ELEMENTARY STATISTICS (1944)

INTRODUCTION

STATISTICS used to be regarded as a very dull and dry subject,
of interest only to a peculiar type of expert. By means of statistics,it was argued, one could prove anything. Nothing could indeed be further from the truth. Facts and figures are all we have on the basis of which we can rest our theories, and if our decisions are to be correct such a result can come only from a correct and just handling of the facts. Statistics is concerned precisely with this; and because statisticians, when they have analysed their figures, do not differ among themselves seriously with regard to the conclusions that can be drawn, there is no ground whatsoever for the naive statement that statistics can prove anything. One can always find faked evidence, or carefully doctored evidence, to make any case appear plausible. Statistics is concerned with undermining doctored evidence of this nature. It seeks to answer a very simply stated question, viz. Given certain facts and figures,
what conclusions are we entitled to draw?

Could not have put it better myself - these people have long been misrepresenting statistics and related economics, and have to be stopped.

In striving to answer this question, it raises another. By what
methods can facts and figures be analysed so that as much as
possible of the information they contain can be presented in a
just way? In this book we are concerned with some of these
methods.

No educated person can afford to dispense with some know­
ledge of statistics. This may seem a very strange thing to say,
since many so-called educated people appear to have no know­
ledge of the subject whatsoever; but it is not difficult to see
that such people in spite of their educational attainments are

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

Any reporters - or indeed politicians - out there looking for the TRUTH about speed cameras?
I have all the evidence you need.

ELEMENTARY STATISTICS (1944)

INTRODUCTION

STATISTICS used to be regarded as a very dull and dry subject,
of interest only to a peculiar type of expert. By means of statistics,it was argued, one could prove anything. Nothing could indeed be further from the truth. Facts and figures are all we have on the basis of which we can rest our theories, and if our decisions are to be correct such a result can come only from a correct and just handling of the facts. Statistics is concerned precisely with this; and because statisticians, when they have analysed their figures, do not differ among themselves seriously with regard to the conclusions that can be drawn, there is no ground whatsoever for the naive statement that statistics can prove anything. One can always find faked evidence, or carefully doctored evidence, to make any case appear plausible. Statistics is concerned with undermining doctored evidence of this nature. It seeks to answer a very simply stated question, viz. Given certain facts and figures,
what conclusions are we entitled to draw?

Could not have put it better myself - these people have long been misrepresenting statistics and related economics, and have to be stopped.

In striving to answer this question, it raises another. By what
methods can facts and figures be analysed so that as much as
possible of the information they contain can be presented in a
just way? In this book we are concerned with some of these
methods.

No educated person can afford to dispense with some know­
ledge of statistics. This may seem a very strange thing to say,
since many so-called educated people appear to have no know­
ledge of the subject whatsoever; but it is not difficult to see
that such people in spite of their educational attainments are necessarily blind in one eye.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Mobile speed traps in accident black spot areas are the only one that should be carried out.

Roger Thornhill said...

Sincerity would mean red light cameras* and timer-operated cameras monitoring a 20mph limit across the entrance of schools first.

It is all a matter of priorities, and I think this is the jist of Iain's post.

The priority appears to be more towards revenue, not defending the public against speeding motorists.

Declaration of Interest: I had a fine from doing 81mph on the A1(M) in a derestricted (70mph limit) section of dual carriageway. Lincolnshire. A motorway-standard road, 81mph?

* at very quiet times such lights should revert to flashing amber (all give way).

Public Bar Wisdom said...

Monday, 26 July 2010
Zero tolerance of speed cameras
The most popular (populist) cut by the coalition government is the removal of all central funding for speed cameras. Suspicions have been around for years that these devices operate primarily to raise revenue, rather than as a road safety device.
You do not just have to dine with Jeremy Clarkson to have heard middle class law abiding professionals railing against the injustice of their fine and 3 penalty points for doing 41 miles an hour at 2 in the morning 'when there was not another car on the road.' There are even mild expressions of sympathy for the people who blow up the 'bloody cameras', although 'I would not do it myself'.
As someone who hardly drives I have never been that bothered by them (although I am bored with people complaining about the cameras down the pub). I suspect the original intention was sound - it is difficult to object to a camera outside a school where there is a history of motorists speeding by as the school day ends - but over time the road safety zealots ('it was a shame they got rid of the bloke with the red flag') have got carried away and it is now difficult to demonstrate that some cameras make any difference to accident rates, whilst they do raise huge sums of money for the Road Safety Partnership (to buy more cameras!).
One objection I do have though is to the hypocrisy of Conservative commentators and think tanks on this element of the law and order agenda. Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing Reform, was even guilty of it in his paper, published when in Opposition, on the future of policing. They rail against speed cameras as evidence of the police war on the motorists. You know the kind of thing - the modern police pick on law abiding car drivers just a few miles over the speed limit because they are easy to catch, whilst doing nothing about the real criminals burgling houses and mugging old ladies.
At the same time as criticising the heavy handed policing of the roads, these campaigners call for 'zero tolerance' policing of the type carried out successfully in New York. Leaving aside the fact that the NYPD strongly deny operating any kind of zero tolerance approach, it is strange that such a policing style should be called for to deal with certain types of crime (eg anti social behaviour, littering, begging etc) and yet so strongly objected to for other minor breaches of the law (for the widespread use of cameras is of course an example of zero tolerance of the dangerous and arguably anti social behaviour of driving your car above the speed limit - dropping litter never killed anyone while speeding in a car does kill children). Nick Herbert and his many supporters are of course arguing for zero tolerance of crimes predominantly committed by working class people, while arguing for leniency for those infringements committed by the middle class.
All speed limits have been passed into law by the very politicians who complain about said enforcement of the law they passed - and could of course repeal.
The fundamental objection to speed cameras is that they are a machine, and cannot therefore operate with judgement and discretion. Where objectors do have a point is that it is only the law abiding who end up paying the fines. The motoring 'underclass' (and estimates suggest this is up to 10% of drivers on British roads) do not properly register their car and are therefore not worried about the cameras at all because they are never traced. To enforce speed limits fairly, with discretion and common sense, and to catch those who flagrantly abuse the laws of the road, you need old fashioned traffic police officers out on the roads in marked police cars stopping and talking to drivers. Unfortunately many police forces have cut back on their traffic departments, so the few officers left are committed full time dealing with fatal accidents. The others were replaced with .... err ... speed cameras!

simon said...

There's a debate to be had about speed limits - are they too low on motorways and too high in cities, for example. This would be a proper thing for motorist lobby groups to campaign for.

But the whinging and special pleading from drivers when they get caught for breaking the law is just pathetic.

And as for people who say, in effect: "I'm such a good driver that I know when I can ignore speed limits safely"... you don't have to read many court reports to come across the type (and, sadly, their victims).

And yes, I have been caught by speed cameras on several occasions. I wasn't pleased about it but it was clearly my own fault for breaking the law.

Little Black Sambo said...

News Urchin: And sorry, but I really fail to understand how the hour of day would make a difference to whether the law ought to be applied.
No, you are not sorry; just self-righteous and class-conscious.

Andrew said...

I suppose people like NewsUrchin and Public Bar Wisdom see class at the bottom of all the ills of society where in fact, motoring just about transcends class (and gender, and race, and sexualtiy etc). I can't believe the working class driver is any happier about speed cameras or seed the issues any differently to the middle class driver.

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

A few more facts for those who have only opinions:

Most years 90% of fines goes to pay to run the system - so it is not a cash cow for HMG except in the sense that it keeps 2,000 otherwise unemployable half-wits off the streets and off the unemployment register.

But it costs far more than that in unintended consequences.

A doctor who killed a drunk in N Wales explained he was looking at his speedo because of speed enforcement and did not see the man step into his path.

The graph of excess deaths from the mid 1990s to 2008 over and above long term trend very closely matches the number of speed cameras in use.

"Every time they put up another camera they cut one of our patrols" - M/c policeman to me,

The dissenting judge in my ECHR case said that if this case affects millions of drivers, then we must ask whether it is there is something wrong with the law.

There are very very few accidents near schools - Brunstrom on the Jeremy Vine Show.

Steven_L said...

I think you'll find the £60 from the awareness courses is ringfenced for the speed partnerships!

I got 3 points doing 40mph in a 30mph I thought was a 40mph.

You come out of a 60mph, into a 40mph then about 400 yards after the 40mph it changes to 30mph before descending a steep hill with a camera on.

My brain read the 30mph sign as a 40mph - so not only is it a blentent 'trap', if 30mph is the safe limit on that hill it is unsafe too.

I'd disband them completely.

IDRIS FRANCIS said...

Older drivers like me remember when cars cost more than houses (ny 1938 Alvis cost £885 when £500 would buy a nice semi and many class houses only had modest cars outside.#

Now cars are so cheap relatively speaking, esp 3 years old or more, that superb cars are often parked outside rather bad houses.

So the point is that class is almost invisible on our roads these daya,and any assumption based on the car in question would probably be wrong.

Andy said...

I've discovered an awesome way of not being caught by speeding cameras. I don't speed. Try it - it's really clever!
You can't cry foul when you're caught breaking the law. For a party that preaches responsibility, this is quite a poor way of demonstrating it.

JMB said...

In The Register today

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/29/dft_speed_cam_incorrectness/

DfT 'unwittingly' bigged-up speed camera benefits

Rumours of their awesomeness exaggerated, dept admits to Reg

Posted in Government, 29th July 2010 11:01 GMT

Exclusive The Department for Transport (DfT) has "unwittingly" misled the public over the benefits of speed cameras for the last four years.

That was the shock admission yesterday by a DfT spokeswoman, when finally cornered by the Department’s own research. She also told us that they have finally agreed to put matters right by adding an explanation to future public statements................

majoreyeswater said...

One day some of the people above who boast that they stick religiously to the speed limits, watching their speedometers instead of the road and therefore being unaware of approaching hazards preaching that they are holier than thou! Will discover the Lti 20-20 Laser Revenue Camera.. Sorry should I have said Safety Camera? This is the piece of kit that proved that a Judge sitting at his bench was doing 14 Miles per hour and that a brick wall that was travelling at 12 Miles per hour.. And better still the crooked Copper who actually moves the laser red spot because he hasn't met his target for the day.. Wake up you lot!.. Try reading roadcraft the Police Driving Manual, which I had to read when I was "TRAINED" to drive rather than being taught to pass a test!.. It teaches little gems like boot down hard when overtaking to spend as little time on the wrong side of the road as possible! (where does Plod set up his revenue camera?. At the only straight bit of the road where you can safely overtake the Tractor, the Truck or the Prat doing 40 mph in the middle of the road in a 60 limit!!..) It teaches that you should Vary your speed to prevent the hypnotic effect of travelling at a constant speed???.. You are Not Drivers!.. You are Hazards.. You have probably never heard of the 85th Percentile!! Look it up?.. John :)