Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Haste Less Speed

The other day I got two speeding tickets on the same journey, both after 3 in the morning on the A23 in South London. One was for doing 37mph in a 30 limit and the other was at 40mph. I have now been invited to go on a two hour long speed management course. The carrot is that I wouldn't get 3 points on my licence but the stick is I will have to pay £95 rather than £60. I will, however, get three points for the second offence. You don't get offered the course option twice!

Have any of you been on a speed management course? What does in involve?


Anonymous said...

Been on Speed Course in Leicester. Very good value and should be done by all those who want to drive safer. Not suitable for boy racers or Clarkson types.

Cynic said...

Its designed to confront you with the consequences of speeding. The content varies but you will usually get lessons on the risks and how they increase dramatically over the speed limit eg with children. Some courses may wheel in a victim as well.

The problem is that sometimes a lot of it is pitched at a very low level

If I was you I would do it

Meantime what about a commitment from Cameron to cut the number of bloody speed cameras and make them switch them off at times of low risk - like 3 am on a dual carriageway

SHB said...

I haven't but I know a couple of people who have.

Pretty painless from what I can gather once you get your head round just shutting up and getting on with it.

For the sake of good order don't forget to let your insurance provider know.

Anonymous said...

You have to agree to repeat "Brown is a great world leader, brown is a great world leader" 1,000 times a day.

You then have to attend a liebour political re-education course at liebour house.

Failing that just get a new brain on the NHS.

Cheer up things can only get better.

Gavin said...

Mary Beard on this: http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2009/03/taking-the-spee.html

Unknown said...

Iain, you disappoint me! At 3 a.m. a drunk wanders out in front of you. Driving at 40 mph you will almost certainly kill him; at 30 mph you will probably avoid inflicting a serious injury. It is unfortunate that otherwise intelligent and responsible people are not aware of the effects of a moderate increase in speed on the consequences of a collision with a human body. It’s not really surprising. A fit human can run at nearly 20 mph. If we couldn’t take a tumble at that speed we wouldn’t have lasted long. But at about 30 mph (well more like 28 mph actually) the energy involved is doubled, at 40 mph it is four times as high – the poor drunk won’t survive that. So please Iain, no excuses, “it’s 30 for a reason!”

Hawkeye said...

A speed awareness course involves filling up all the spare parking spaces in the business park where I work.

The business park is doing well out of it as it hosts these courses every week and their conference room seats 100 people a time.

So off you go Iain - it is a popular option (at least "up north" where I am) - and it is a win-win. You help stimulate the local economy and you get 3 points instead of 6, all for a mere £35 extra.

Anonymous said...

Run by driving instructors and very good. Never too old to learn new tricks! Approach it with enthusiasm to gain the most - just like life! Do not tell them you drive an Audi - the consensus is that all the twats have switched from BMW to Audi.


Guido Fawkes said...

I went on a drink impaired driver's course. Annoyingly they didn't teach Guido how not to spill your cognac at speed...

Brett Trevalyan said...

Yes, I have been on two.

It is, of course, a complete and absolute waste of time. In fact, after my first course, a lady exiting the course was involved in a crash!

The effect of the course lasts about two or three days. Then everyone forgets about it. It's a little boring, very PC but interesting in parts, if only to chat to all and sundry.

These speed awareness courses were set up as a sop to all those ordinary people who complained vociferously about speed cameras and said they were only a revenue raising device. The authorities then came up with SAC's to say "look, see, it's not about revenue". Frankly, it's a load of old b*****ks.

Anonymous said...

2 offences in the same trip can be regarded as 'one long offence' with only one course or one set of points - very important!!
Talk to a good motoring lawyer

Weygand said...

A bit like school detention - but you get a free copy of the Highway Code and a key ring.

The worst thing is at the end with a film of parents grieving their children killed in road accidents but this is normally optional.

As the scheme only applies to those slightly over the limit (at mine several caught driving at 35 mph on deserted roads at the dead of night) it tends to target those whose driving is not so bad in the first case (despite the pc message that every one of us was a potential assassin) and leave out those whose behaviour is far more dangerous. Many left chastened but wondering whether the Police had got their priorities right.

Wyrdtimes said...

I had a similar option years ago - and overall it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Mainly spent identifying potential risks in various driving situations.

I did actually learn a couple of things and probably came away a slightly better driver. 8 years later I still look further ahead down the road as a result of the course. And ultimately it was much better than getting 3 points.

We could certainly do with a dynamic road traffic system that upped the speed limits when safe to do so.

Leon said...

It involves you helping a bunch of former police officers to make large sums of money.
You and some 20 others sit at PC screens and watch films of driving situations, clicking a mouse when you think you would start braking; spot pedestrians etc.

You avoid 3 points but I don't know whether there is any change in subsequent driving behaviour.

I did the session because I had been summonsed for doing more than 20 mph over Tower Bridge - the most lucrative speeding spot in the country - maybe even the world.

Anonymous said...

yes, i've been on that course. you sit behind a computer and various scenarios are presented during which you have to indicate how you would respond when driving. At the end, you are given a printout with the computer's analysis of how good (or not) a driver you are.

You MUST arrive early - late arrivals are not accepted and you get the 3 points if you are late.

It lasted 3 hours. Was it boring? Well, I noticed that even the flys were committing suicide during the three hours. Still, better to go through three hours of boredom than get an extra 3 points.

Anonymous said...

Totally instutionalised incompetent driving Iain?

wonderfulforhisage said...

"Have any of you been on a speed management course? What does in involve?"

Contrition and abject boredom and there is no skiving off allowed. They check everybody back in after the tea break.

Max Atkinson said...

I haven't but I know a man who has, and he came back saying that the course was much more interesting than he'd expected.

But what really gets up my nose about the way speeding is dealt with is that it's always 3 points, however small the transgression, and I've never heard of anyone getting 1 or 2 points.

Catosays said...

They're scams for the otherwise unemployable (The Righteous) to sit there and pontificate and tell you what a naughty boy you've been.

Can you rearrange these words....Of, bollocks, load?

Bugsmalone said...

I haven't been on the course but I know someone who has. It is a bureaucratic nonsnense and is designed to give emeployment to yet another member of Gordon Brown's client state of civil and local government "servants". It is also yet another method of raising tax.

The best thing is to put your cruise control on.

Anonymous said...

Speed cameras are simple money making exercises. Sure, they have a use at times - villages, housing estates, spring to mind. But in the main, they're an easy way of making money. I just cannot believe you were any harm to anyone doing 37 at 3am in the morning. And commonsense would have treated it accordingly. But sadly there is no commonsense now, and then the police wonder why honest, law abiding people like me treat them with such contempt. It's an easy way of getting a conviction. Where are the police on motorways when idiots are zig-zagging between lanes, tail-gating, using hand held mobile phones, etc? The real menaces on the road. They're probably on their diversity courses, or studying for their sociology GSCE! And yes, I have a vested interest - i got a speed ticket in similar circumstances, Iain, and it's made me very angry. Oh, and road safety courses (i've been on one) just give you all the usual propaganda from a group of zealots.

Anonymous said...


But you will undergo a propaganda course.

Speed kills didn't you know? Tailgating though - nobody cares, you cannot 'tax' people for that

haddock said...

if you were speeding all along that road you could argue that it was one continuous offence....not two separate ones.
If a burglar is spotted by two policemen while in a house it does not make it two offences.

Richard said...

I'm all for the right speed limits for the right conditions, but I'm assuming (and it's usually wrong to assume) that the A23 is a dual carriage way?

How does a 30mph speed limit on an A road ever get justified, surely it should be re-classified to a B road in that area if they want 30mph?

Ken Haylock said...

I'm told it involves lots of po-faced people telling you that doing 37mph at 3am is tantamount to mass murder and that you are a very naughty boy.

mark said...

Involves listening to some patronising mantra/lecture about speed being dangerous. Especially at 3am on a quiet road...

Why make cars that exceed the speed limit then? Doh!

Do it though. It's worth a few hours to save those 3 points..

Simon said...

The speed awareness course is a load of bullshit which you've got to pretend to play along with. Usual array of holier than thou jobsworths preaching and indoctrinating in the most tedious fashion. Just go along, play the game and then carry on as normal. It's just another tax put in place by a bunch of corrupt, money grabbing charlatans who have probably exempted themselves and their hangers on from it anyway. Treat it with the contempt it deserves (but don't let them know).

JMB said...

Have a read at the statistics beforehand.

They are very fond of quoting the completely false figure that a third or serious accidents are caused by speeding.

The actual number caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit is around 5% and one Chief Constable said that most of those are drunks, unlicensed cars/drivers, stolen cars, cars being chased by the police etc so a speed camera would not have acted as a deterrent.

Also ACPO appear to make a lot of money out of speeding - don't they run some of these courses? That means they are hardly impartial when acting as main advisor to the government.

Alan Douglas said...

Forlorn Hope says "At 3 a.m. a drunk wanders out in front of you."

At 3 am on a wide road with no other traffic it would be quite easy to spot "a drunk" from quite some distance.

At any time, fixating your attention on the in-car speedometer, even at a legal 30 mph, woulkd mean you missing the telltales ahead and outside the car.

It boils down to mobile box-ticking. "But officer, I was doing the legal 30 mph, I know, I watch my speedo constantly. No, I did not see the drunk, so sorry".

One of my cars has cruise control - I only use it when in camera zones, but fear the loss of attention using CC causes.

But my box is ticked.

ALan Douglas

Alex said...

"How does a 30mph speed limit on an A road ever get justified, surely it should be re-classified to a B road in that area if they want 30mph?"

Built up area. I quite agree. Was done for 35 in a 30 mph zone on rural part of the A4 at night, behind a lorry didn't see the 30 mph sign.

The best cure for speeding tickets on fast roads is a GPS system that gives you an accurate speed and cruise control. Lock into 70 mph and forget about the accelerator for a while.

Anonymous said...

Been on the course, it breaks down into two parts:
1. Why speed cameras are a great thing and will help preserve western civilization and as adjunct why they are not to raise revenue for HMG.
2. The useful piece - how to interpret the different types of speed camera warning sign and so understand how long before you have to slow down.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

My course cost £60 and I left feeling better informed, stimulated to think about my driving and, almost, that I'd had good value. However, I've heard that they vary in quality.

You will have to listen to some government lies about the percentage of serious accidents in which excessive speed is a contributing factor (they inflate 7% to 30%, ingeniously, and then call that a third).

Your experience highlights one aspect of the absurdity of speed cameras: they can't discriminate between someone driving a little over the limit in the early hours of the morning, and someone driving too fast when the schools are disgorging their contents.

As Anonymous said: don't be late, otherwise you'll get the points. Don't speed on the way there, and don't argue with the instructors.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments on here illustrate the need for "speed awareness courses" - speeding is nothing to do with Gordo (I detest the man and his causes) - the speeders just don't get it do they, to coin a phrase.

Anonymous said...

The stuff about damage at 40 mph compared to 30 mph is accurate but complete nonsense. It assumes that you don't use your brakes or slow down at all before hitting someone.

In the case of the drunk at 3am, it would only be relevant if he stepped out right in front of you.

Mike Thomas said...

I have done one.

First, grit your teeth. You will be given 'impartial' statistics that speed in the devil incarnate.

Then you will be played a number of driving situations and asked to intervene by clicking a mouse. Your driving will then be rated.

Next, you will be given a series of traffic scenarios which were a tragic accident. Nothing could have been done to prevent it; not even cutting the speed limit.

There are some good titbits in there but on the whole it smacks of 're-education'.

One thing that struck me was the appalling levels of traffic furniture when going through 'What's the speed limit? game'.

Lamp posts, white, yellow, red lines, number of lanes all determine a pre-set speed even before a speed sign will tell you.

It was confusing and the instructor seemed to take relish in admonishing us for not knowing what two horizontal lines painted on a lamp-post means.

My reply was "If speed was such a killer and if driver attention is paramount; why not just put a sign every 400 yards that clearly states the speed limit."

The answer was a total fudge.


Was it worth the £95? Yes, only for not having the 3 points.

Mark M said...

Hopefully they'll bash some sense into you. Honestly Iain, how do you get caught speeding at 3am?

If it was by a static GATSO cameras then you deserve the penalty for being so careless as to miss that great yellow box. If it was by a mobile unit then you just ask to check the calibration. Most of them aren't set properly.

Always be aware at the end of the month. The police need to fill their quota of arrests and they know the roads people speed on.

I wonder if an FoI request about the number of people caught speeding on that stretch of road throughout the month is in order.

It doesn't add up... said...

You should all make sure that you submit loads of criticism to the DoT for their 20 year (!) road safety plan "CONSULTATION"


It seems as though DoT no longer have anyone who has done a basic course in welfare economics - the aim to have the safest roads in the world is ridiculous as it is already costing more lives than are saved by the safety measures due to delays to emergency services. Among their more startling revelations is that prosecutions for careless driving have fallen nearly 75% over the past 20 years: most that now occur are after a driver has been involved in an accident. This really tells you that the police are not doing a proper job.

Time for Theresa Villiers to get off her trains and start thinking about roads.

Myism said...

I've been on a course in London. The content and any lessons learned escape me, but the abiding memory concerns other participants remonstrating with the instructors how unfair it was they were caught by cameras after 45 years unblemished driving, etc. etc. yawn, yawn. All I wanted was them to shut the **** up so as not to prolong the wastes of my time. Also, the session turned into a hands-on tutorial into how to use a computer, with a large number of participants apparently totally unfamiliar with using a mouse, keyboard, or looking at a monitor.

A typical NuLab gimmick

Key bored warrior. said...

I recently got booked twice on the A1 in the same week !

However having spoken to an ex copper I managed to avoid prosecution through subtle and well timed argument and confusion. By the time it had been brought to conclusion 6 months had gone by and I told them I was not accepting their decision. Heard no more.

It doesn't add up... said...

One P.S. - the statistics quoted in the consultation about fatality rates at different speeds refer to a study conducted in 1979. In the intervening 30 years, much has changed in car design, including better braking, more pedestrian friendly front ends etc. No acknowledgement of the difference is made.

Anonymous said...

Cameron listens to you, Iain.

So please start a campaign to sort out Britain's stupid driving laws to benefit from foreign experience.

1. Overtaking should be allowed on the left on motorways.
2. Turning left after stopping at a red light should be permitted.
3. The speed limit on motorways should be raised to 100mph, or preferably scrapped.
4. All traffic lights should flash amber from 10pm to 6am.
5. etc.

JuliaM said...

"Iain, you disappoint me! At 3 a.m. a drunk wanders out in front of you. Driving at 40 mph you will almost certainly kill him..."

The moral of that story being...

..don't get drunk and wander into the road at 3:00am!

Seriously, would it be a big loss?

"The worst thing is at the end with a film of parents grieving their children killed in road accidents but this is normally optional."

And, if the government cared so much about grieving parents, why not up the sentences?

But no, far easier to roll some B tape and go for a fag while the latest involuntary fee-doners take it all in...

JuliaM said...

"Then you will be played a number of driving situations and asked to intervene by clicking a mouse. Your driving will then be rated."

Or, as Myism points out, your computer skills!

Anonymous said...

So you blatently and seemingly without shame (as is the modern way, granted) admit to being a recidivist speeder - and still expect to offer yourself to the people to be their elected representative! You very nearly disgust me!

Gordon Brown said...

As a cyclist (and a driving license holder), I can firmly tell you that speeding motorists are not a problem. You can go 100mph past me if you wish. Just give me plenty of room! Most of the Government's driving laws are total nonsense and everyone knows it.

Interesting how the police tend to break ALL of the rules but prosecutions are as regular as rocking horse shit.

DominicJ said...

Just think, if you had spent £100 on sat nav, it would have told you where those speed cameras were, you could have performed an unsafe breaking manouvere, and not not got any fine at all.

A big sual carriageway near my work used to be a 40 zone, a boy racer did it at 90 one night, lost control and ploughed into a 150+ year old oak.
They made it a 30 road in response.

Take the course, save your points, buy something that warns you about speed cameras, case closed.

MRH said...

You were speeding, Iain- suck it up. The limit is 30mph for a reason (lessens the chance of killing anyone you hit) and you do not have a divine right to ignore that rule just because it's the wee small hours and you have a nippy car!

Steve H said...

***and then the police wonder why honest, law abiding people like me treat them with such contempt.***

If your approach to the law is that whether you obey it or not is purely a matter of your own judgment (or more likely how much of an impatient driver you are), then you AREN'T a "law abiding" person. So your argument is specious.

Though I must say that I agree with JuliaM about drunks deserving to die. It's the same with schoolkids. If they haven't got the sense to keep their eyes open for speeding drivers when crossing the road, they don't deserve to live.

Simon Gardner said...

Myism said: “Also, the session turned into a hands-on tutorial into how to use a computer, with a large number of participants apparently totally unfamiliar with using a mouse, keyboard, or looking at a monitor.”

I have to say I wouldn’t have ****ing clue how to use a Pee Cee mouse. No idea at all.

I pretty much stopped getting tickets when I stopped riding bikes. In fact it was a major reason I stopped. I think I’ve had one UK ticket in a car in 15 years, Though I also got one in the US after being plane-spotted. I used to get bike speeding tickets regularly. As a mate told the coppers: “It’s what they’re for, mate.”

strapworld said...

My wife attended a one day course in North Wales.

Certainly not three hours, you lucky soul.

On the way home I noticed that her driving was much better and that she only went through the 30 mph area's at 50.

A great improvement.

archroy said...

From a friend's experience the main problem with them is that you have to take the course in the area where you did the speeding. She lives in London but had to do the course in North Wales!

Unknown said...

I think the argument for one long offence looks interesting.

Also, if this a first for you, maybe talk to your insurance company. Most will now ignore three points, but six might be a more costly prospect.

I'd love to read the blog following the course - great writing comes from great suffering! (if anyone knows the proper quote I'm corrupting there I'd be grateful!)

Olly boy said...

Get a Novus GPS Rider or another speed camera detector which will enable you to drive at appropriate speeds without having to worry about getting done by the Scamera Partnerships.....

archroy said...

As far as I know my friend is not Strapworld's wife!

Anonymous said...

Not been offered a course. I got 3 points/£60 for doing 91 on a straight stretch of M1 on which I was the only car - apart from the hidden police car. Was fined by Notts, and paid the fine in Leicestershire, where I was told they would have let me off.

Then I watched 'Traffic Cops' and saw someone get nothing more than a warning for doing over 100 on a busy motorway.

It all depends on the mood of the officer and their targets. I saw four police cars with pulled over vehicles within 2 miles of the police station S Yorks police station their motorway cars yesterday - suspiciously near the end of the month.

Old Holborn said...

"The other day I got two speeding tickets on the same journey, both after 3 in the morning on the A23 in South London"

Let me guess. Clapham Common?

chris said...

I noticed that one of the BNP's platforms was to change the driving laws and do away with excess speed cameras.

Why do the main parties abandon such sane ideas to the finge ones?

It doesn't add up... said...

Stevo Bevo said: "If your approach to the law is that whether you obey it or not is purely a matter of your own judgment (or more likely how much of an impatient driver you are), then you AREN'T a "law abiding" person. So your argument is specious."

I guess he'd obey a law that told him to stop breathing

Steve said...

I also did the one in Leicester and would concur with what your first 3 commenters say. I wouldn't make great claims for it but I did learn a few things (about speed awareness, all the stuff about the consequences of speeding is a bit "duh" and possibly even tendentious). I think it has improved my driving a bit but for me the main thing was avoiding 3 points.

JuliaM said...

"I pretty much stopped getting tickets when I stopped riding bikes."

Fancy! Never figured you'd be able to pedal that fast..

JuliaM said...

"..great writing comes from great suffering! (if anyone knows the proper quote I'm corrupting there I'd be grateful!)"

It's from 'Spiderman'. Isn't it..?


Elby the Beserk said...

Friend of mine did one and was well impressed.

Me - I'd ask you, Iain - what's the f***ing hurry? We're all dead soon enough

Edward said...

Richard said...
"I'm all for the right speed limits for the right conditions, but I'm assuming (and it's usually wrong to assume) that the A23 is a dual carriage way?"

You're right. It is wrong to assume.

Almost all of the A23 in South London is single carriageway and is built up. The speed limit on the 30 mph stretches of the A23 is fully justified for most of the day but certainly not at 3 a.m. When I drive along it in the early hours I generally ignore the speed limit but keep a close look out for speed cameras and lurking police patrol cars. I have never had a speeding ticket on any road. I have just bought a satnav which bleeps on the approach to a speed camera. Very useful.

Accidents late at night are generally more severe than at other times but are usually the result of alcohol or driver fatigue, not speeding.

It would be nice if the police acknowledged that in many areas the 30 mph limit is unduly stringent at night and gave late-night speeders a bit more leeway.

Anonymous said...

Old Holborn said...
"Let me guess. Clapham Common?"

The A23 doesn't go through Clapham Common. Of course, Iain my have been heading there.

Chris Paul said...

The course is usually FOUR HOURS and highly recommended. Yes, it does move at the speed of the LCD but hey ho, they can't be offering a one hour "fast track" on a speed awareness course now can they?

Sadly they've stopped the practical driving element they used to have.

These should be offered to more drivers. And quite a bit of it is probably covered in the new extended driving test.

But it would be a useful preventative measure and would probably be funded easily by insurance savings in a year or two even if the full cost were the same. The employers of anyone required to drive a lot should also fund similar courses IMO.

Only three points and only £35 for the second offence is a huge let off Iain. Even at these speeds £150+ per offence would not be unheard of and six points the norm.

Dave Dangerous said...

Iain, don't go on the course, opt for the 3 points. Carry on driving like a dick, rack up some more points, then loose your licence completely. That way you won't have to listen any BS about speeding kills, and you'll look tough to all the speed freak morons who read your blog.

labour for the few said...

it involves you being strapped to a chair and shown a video on a loop of gordon brown,saying labour is good,taxes are good,the tories will cut everything.

after 6 hrs you are asked if you agree with the statement.

a positive and you are released.

a negative and it is another 6 hrs infornt of the monster.

Little Black Sambo said...

The worst thing will be having to listen to righteous people like Forlornehope 8.48 a.m.. When you have strangled one of them and walked out, you will then have to attend a course on anger management.

DaveA said...

I have to disagree with much that is written here. I am a serial speeder and have done speeds on public roads that would get me jailed. The common denominator is that I only exceed speed limits when I am not a danger to others. Tempting fate I have 21 years no claims bonus and the last time I had an accident that went to an insurance company was when on a side street at 15 mph a toddler ran into the middle of the road and I swerved, braked and crashed into a high kerb, skewing the front axle. I missed the toddler with ease.

To give you a further example I drive at a speed instinctly I feel is safe. I was driving down a side street and happened to glance at my speedo as I thought I was driving too fast. It said 18 mph and slowed to 15 again.

These speed cameras are more about bullying and revenue raising than safety.

Little Black Sambo said...

Forgot to mention: the BTST camera detector (google it) is the best because it does not depend on a satellite database, but picks up the radar waves or whatever they are: it also consequently ignores the cameras that are not working (about half of them, usually). It picks up radar guns as well, but you have only a few seconds to slow down.
Question: does anybody know whether it is true that Gatso cameras only catch cars driving away from them?

Anonymous said...

Sambo, is this the one you meant?

Ed said...

I got done doing 34 as I entered a 30 mph zone. Gatso camera was about 5 yards into zone.

Speed awareness course was great fun. Spanned several hours, with a mixture of class course work (some angry people there!) and in car driving with trainer. I consider myself a good driver (many years no claims), but still found speed awareness course sharpened up my observation skills.

I think that people who are caught speeding excessively should get points and fine as well as being obliged to attend speed awareness course.

Tony said...

Having read through the comments it would appear that courses vary a lot throughout the country. On mine (in Somerset) we did not use computers nor were we presented with any freebies. Surely the courses should be identical wherever you are ?

JMB said...

"Speed kills didn't you know? Tailgating though - nobody cares, you cannot 'tax' people for that"

I have always wanted to ask one the "Speed Kills" robots which is more dangerous - someone doing just over 70 mph on a deserted motorway and someone doing just under 70 mps whilst tailgating the car in front. Then ask how much effort goes into catching both groups and how many tailgaters they charge.

Dominic said...

I live near a roundabout that is National Speed Limit.
My driving instructor went mental at me when I tried to do the national speed limit on it.

Since then, I've driven a speed that is safe, for my ability, the conditions and the car.
If thats 90, about as fast as my little zuki goes, its 90, if thats 15, then I go 15.

If speed limits were the safe speed, why arent any speed limits 27mph? Or 42mph?

About 45,000 miles on a motorbike and several different cars.
No accidents.
Well, I fell off my motorbike at 4 mph in the car park at work, which bloody hurt.

JMB said...

One thought, if everyone on the course claims complete ignorance of how to use a PC then does it leave less time for the "course" itself as they are instructed in the use of mouse and keyboard. Three or four hours suggests they might be doing two groups a day (to maximise profit) so cannot afford to overrun.

Presumably in the horror part with interviews with families losing a family member in road accidents, no one who lost someone because of accidents caused by police vehicles are included.

Anonymous said...

Dominic said...
"I live near a roundabout that is National Speed Limit. My driving instructor went mental at me when I tried to do the national speed limit on it."

Not surprising. Only an idiot would try that.

DominicJ said...

Only an idiot obeys speed limits?

I agree, now I do whats safe.

Cynic said...

"It assumes that you don't use your brakes or slow down at all before hitting someone."

.....nerd time I am afraid

...... the problem is that the energy the brakes have to dissipate is proportional to the square of the speed. So at 40 mph you are travelling 33% faster but the brakes have to work 70% harder to stop you .... and that takes time and distance.

.... but dual carriageways are very low risk and having active speed cameras on them at 3 am does nothing for road safety but wonders for revenue. So Plod will get the canteen repainted and Gordon will have fresh flowers in his office every morning courtesy of your indiscretion

Cynic said...

"Surely the courses should be identical wherever you are ?"

.... you have lived too long under a centralist Socialist regime my friend. let localism, freedom and democracy develop things locally without all the layers of staff, experts, consultants that come with anything Whitehall touches.

Tapestry said...

Fact is that roadside on-sign flashes of your speed stop you speeding instantly. Most people are busy and don't have time to constantly monitor their speed, nor is it safe to keep your head down monitoring your speed.

But roadside flashes that stop you speeding also don't bring in any revenue.

It's all just big brother trying to make you feel guilty for being a human being, when he knows how to make roads safer if he wanted to easily enough.

But more than safety he wants your money and for you to feel guilty and subservient.

Disco Biscuit said...

Just as well you didn't hit a small child, Iain.

JBW said...

Be very 'umble - don't rock the boat, like telling them it’s a voluntary tax on the motorist.

Remember to drive in 3rd gear when in 30 mph zone.

Anonymous said...

What absolute claptrap. I failed a driving test three years ago for choosing not to overtake two cyclists who were riding dangerously in the middle of a wet and windy country road. Upon my return to the test centre, I was ecstatic with how it had gone and was devastated to hear that the instructor had failed me with two "majors", one for each cyclist!

It seems they don't want you to drive quickly or safely so in actual fact I'd have been better off mowing them down. At least it would have given me some satisfaction!

Anonymous said...

If stopped by the police for genuinely careless/dangerous driving in particular conditions then fair enough. But getting done by a camera is just more or less arbitrary bureaucracy.

Expat said...

Can you argue it was a single speeding offence. Just because you were snapped twice, does not mean that you speeded twice. What if the camera's were only 20 ft apart and snapped you twice. As long as you did not slow down to less than 30 between cameras, you might get away with the second offence.

PaulD said...

I can imagine nothing worse than some smug, bull-headed "expert" feeding me crap about the danger of driving at 37mph on a deserted road at night while having to nod sycophantically in agreement for fear of receiving another penalty.

Unknown said...

I was offered one once after going a few MPH over the limit at about 2 am, but since the offence was in Oxfordshire, that's where I would have had to go for the course. They wouldn't or coudln't allow me to do it nearer to me. A bit silly, really.

I don't mind the cameras - if the speed limit and camera placing is appropriate - but I do think there should be some common sense and discretion about whether to prosecute and how many points an offence should carry. Over 26 years I've had a few speeding convictions, all of course as a result of cameras and all for going a few MPH over at quiet times. I think it's a bit daft that I need to have any concern at all about when the points will drop off and whether I can keep my licence.

It's the kind of thing that makes law abiding people think they get hammered for putting a foot wrong, when there are probably people doing much more serious things on the roads and getting away with it. The one time I stopped on the motorway to phone up about really dangerous driving (someone was playing a stupid game, moving then slowing in front of other drivers then lurching suddenly across lanes to block them if they tried to overtake), the police just weren't interested. They didn't want the registration number or location, telling me the driver would soon be on another force's patch so they "could do nothing".

Rush-is-Right said...

"Mainly spent identifying potential risks in various driving situations." (Wyrdtimes, 8.59)

Risks like concealed cops, cameras, busybodies and nosey parkers? That could be useful then.

When I lived in England I took to wearing a balaclava when behind the wheel. Whenever my car got photographed at speed I denied it was me driving. They never made it stick.

AP said...

It seems a bit ridiculous that you get two penalties for a single journey given that they want to teach you a lesson? Did the government somehow expect you to have realized your were speeding, re-educated yourself and readjusted your driving style before you hit the next camera. You committed an extended offense not two of them.

Speed school is patronizing in the extreme but worth doing to avoid the points.

Criminal said...

Got 3 points, £60 fine and locked in the back of the van as they checked if I had form - just for switching on my mobile and puuting it in the tray. Well done to the lady in blue who was horrible and offensive to me.

frankie said...

My hubby was done for speeding - he was doing 35mph in a 30mph area - seemed a bit harsh I thought, but he was over the speed limit albeit fractionally.

He's going for the course on 22nd July - but he only has to pay £60 not £95. Are you being charged £95 cos you have 2 speeding tickets?

Anyway - will let you know how it goes.

frankie said...

My hubby was done for speeding - he was doing 35mph in a 30mph area - seemed a bit harsh I thought, but he was over the speed limit albeit fractionally.

He's going for the course on 22nd July - but he only has to pay £60 not £95. Are you being charged £95 cos you have 2 speeding tickets?

Anyway - will let you know how it goes.

Unknown said...

Nearly three thousand people killed every year on the roads, and ten times that seriously injured. This dwarfs the numbers for violent crime. The comments on this post really show what an utter bunch of pratts there are in the blogosphere!

Pat said...

Its thirty for a reason they say- possibly, but what reason? The research relating collision speed to death/injury rate was published in 1969, 34 years after the thirty mile an hour speed limit was introduced, so its nothing to do with that.
More likely is the fact that only a few of the cars on the road in 1935 could exceed 30mph by much, so the limit would only affect a minority. We are similarly in doubt about the reasoning behind Barbara Castle's 70 mph limit- but we know it was introduced to stop Aston Martin and AC using motorways as test tracks, and also that most cars in the late sixties struggled to reach 80mph- so I guess its the same principal.
As to the application of speed limits to particular roads thats as often as not its the result of pressure from local activists unsupported either by the mass of motorists, the mass of local residents or any particular expertise.
WRT an above post- it is very unlikely that you would have hit the hypothetical drunk at your free travelling speed (even if you failed to see him staggering on the pavement and slow down appropriately)- far more likely you would have lost a lot of speed braking. Very few collisions involve vehicles continuing at their free traveling speed.
As for the course- not been on one, but Ive heard mixed reports, I guess it depends on the particular course you're on.

Doubting Richard said...

What you want, Iain, is PePipoo. Sod the speed cameras. They are based on a lie and a government that wishes utter control of everyone. We have a duty to resist at every opportunity.

Doubting Richard said...


Your argument does not string together. You are, in effect, saying that because people are killed on the roads then people should drive at the speed limit.

You have not considered whether the speed limit was justified. You have not considered the time of day. You have not considered how many deaths have excessive speed as a causal factor. You have not considered how much of a factor, nor the other factors. You have not considered whether an excessive speed in each case was below the speed limit, at the speed limit or a little above or considerably higher than the speed limit. I could go on, but I think the point is made. There is such a large gap between your premise and conclusion that your post is utter nonsense.

It is, indeed, you that look a prat.

Doubting Richard said...


Your point about energy dissipation is entirely correct. However the current speed limits were set in the 1960s, when drum brakes were used as a rule. How much more quickly can my car dissipate energy with all-round disc brakes, the front ones larger, etched and ventilated, attached to a chassis and suspension of much higher quality? With four-channel ABS I retain far more control of the car, so I can use maximum braking in all cases.

The King of Wrong said...

Forlornehope: yes, there are a lot of prats, and you seem to want to be chief among them.

Cars are *fundamentally* unsafe. If two tonnes of metal rolls across your ankles or knees at even 2mph, you will be crippled. Add kinetic energy, and a tank of volatile fuel, and it's lethal.

Yet, like most nanny state apologists, you seem to think that all motoring injuries can be prevented with just a bit of care. They cannot.

Unless cars are totally banned, they will kill people. By accident. There used to be lots of preventable deaths, back before seatbelts and airbags and crumple zones - back when people fitted cross-plys and radials on the same axle, and the glass wasn't laminated, and they'd drive home after a few pints. But now those things have been fixed, and the roads are about as safe as it's possible to get.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

It's clear that speed doesn't kill and loads of the other self justifying claptarp that surrounds speed cameras is simple dishonest tosh.

*ALL* the statistics for interactions between pedestrians and vehicles show that 80% of the time the pedestrian is clearly the cause - yet we don't have a jaywalking law.

Try jaywalking in Singapore....

I re-learnt a word yesterday peculation - look it up - that's what speed cameras are about and precious little else.

Having a car in our present society seems equivalent to saying look! I've got some money - come and help yourself to some...

Speed cameras bring the law into contempt - end of story.

Joe Public said...

Iain, they're excellent.

You learn most things you thought you know about driving safely, but don't.

Jon Shortland said...

We ran the first of this type of course in Northants nearly ten years ago. They work. We tracked 1,000 people who came on the course and 1,000 who opted out (all caught doing the same speed - 36mph in a 30 zone).

Those who took the course turned out to reoffend 25% less.

Education worked better than enforcement.

Patrick said...

I too was cynical, but went on the course to avoid the points.

I was surprised and thought it was well worth it...

There is a fair amount of clap trap, but it does remind you of the risks and consequences of speeding accidents.

It might make you think twice before putting your foot again. It did for me.

Pogo said...


Rule #1 of statistics... "Correlation does not imply causation".

@Forlornhope... So? At worst, 17% of those killed on the road have "exceeding the speed limit" as a contributory factor (STATS19) - and of that 17% how many are also drunk, drugged, driving stolen cars and trying to excape the police, etc? Never heard of the concept of "an accident"?

To put the road stats into perspective, what about the couple of thousand who are killed in accidents in the home? Ban homes? The thousand or so who are killed by falling down stairs? Ban stairs? The 20,000 odd who are killed by hospital-acquired infections? Ban hospitals? What about the 200 or so (generally pedestrians) who are killed on the railways every year?

Anonymous said...

The total percentage of deaths caused by statistics quoted to support various claims (drink,smoking,excessive speed, obesity, drunk driving, global warming etc etc) somehow manages to total in the region of 150%.

OK I made this up, but then so do the tossers who quote these statistics in the first place.

Sam said...

At 3 a.m. a drunk wanders out in front of you. Driving at 40 mph you will almost certainly kill him;

This is called natural selection. Don't get so drunk that you can't control your actions.


Tapestry said...

25% lower reoffending rate?! John Shortland writes.

So he means that for 75% the speed course makes no difference, and in most cases it has to be said the speeding offences committed presenet no danger to anyone anyway. Good drivers are being netted as often as bad drivers.

How many less people speed on roads where each car's speed is flashed in big red numbers as they pass by? 100% I would say.

But where is the profit in that?

I am in favour of safer driving and people going on courses, but selecting the candidates simply by virtue of their having stumbled over a speed limit by 5 mph or so, or their lack of GBP 35, seems a waste of the educational resource being made available.

If safety courses are proved to reduce accidents (which seems likely) then accident-prone drivers should be detected by the fact that they are taking part in road incidents, accidents or collisions, or any way other than this hopelessly untargeted method.

People who habitually tailgate at speed, for example could be usefully detected by cameras and invited with inducement to attend a safety course.

Most speeding can be dealt with by informing the driver that he is speeding, as in most cases the driver doesn't realise he is speeding.

With all the electronic devices available to man these days, why on earth are we still having to take our eyes off the road and look down at a display to find out what speed we are driving at? If roadside speed flashers are not going to be provided by concerned locals or central government, then vehicles should be informed electronically of the speed limit, and they in turn should tell their drivers how they are performing either with sound or light flashes.

The problem is that governments prefer to create jobs, raise money and make people feel guilty. If speeding was dealt with as it could be, the bureaucratic speeding game would be over.

Minor speeding offences (depending on road situation) are rarely dangerous, and making them the primary government intervention in road safety is pretty hopeless as a way to make roads safer, making the driver bureaucratically aware and not road aware.

As far as I know the government speed programme in total has increased accidents not reduced them, as drivers are being encouraged to focus on one single aspect of their driving, speed, when there are many aspects to safe driving.

It's 1950s bureaucracy run riot, and a dereliction of duty by government to waste so many resources, inconveniencing its citizenry and completely missing the real target of safety.

But then what government initiative has ever been effective in anything, you have to ask? Other than taxing you and wasting your money. The extraordinary thing is that in Britain the process of waste is extremely popular.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I have to wholeheatedly agree with tapestry on the speeding camera and safty issue apart from one point - that this process of waste is popular - not in my neck of the woods mate!

It is seen for what it is - bureaucratic peculation or municipal banditry.

John Woolman said...

The course content can be summarised in one simple Newtonian equation. E=0.5MV^2. Or if you hit someone at 40 mph you will transfer 4 times the energy to their fragile body that you would if you hit them at 20 mph.

An argument for better school science education, perhaps?

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Granted speed is a contributory factor to the extent of damage should an incident occur but it is not a causal factor.

Really - why aren't more pedestrians and cyclists nicked for their foolish and dangerous behaviour?

If all cars stopped there'd be no accidents ?

I suppose if the progression towards sharia law continues we'll eventually get to see (infidel) car owners prosecuted becuase a (moslem) pedestrian walked into their parked vehicle. If you've spent any time in Saudi Arabia - you'll know what I'm on about :-)

It doesn't add up... said...

How many less people speed on roads where each car's speed is flashed in big red numbers as they pass by? 100% I would say.

A dual carriageway near where I used to live had a 40 mph limit: they installed flashing digits that fed back measured speed. The consequence was that at 1-2 a.m. motorbikers would descend en masse, noisily accelerating to register ton-ups and competing for the highest speed recorded. Enough to wake you on a hot summer night when your windows are open, and only outdone by the hour long circling of the police helicopter doing night training flights - not that they ever nabbed any bikers.

Little Black Sambo said...

@Anon 30 June 1.50 p.m.
Yes, that's the one. (I think it's illegal to use it in France.)

I am still hoping to learn if it is true - or an urban myth - that Gatso cameras catch you only if you are driving away from them.

Ali said...

They do not tell you the criteria for offering a course. My offence very similar to yours & I was not offered a course.

Pogo said...


"Gatso" cameras are only type-approved for speed checking from the rear of a vehicle. However, "Truvelo" cameras work from the front. They are both yellow boxes, the Gatso being slightly larger. As to "Redspeed", which is a much smaller device I'm unsure of the working direction.

Then there's "Specs" - the dreaded "yellow vulture" average speed system, which only seems to be sited to work from the front of the vehicle.

HTH. :-)

Dr Evil said...

I have! Too much acceleration away from roadworks in Melton Mowbray. Anyway, it was me plus about 30 others being lectured by first off a police officer about speed limits signage. Quite enlightening actually. then someone talking about stats re road accidents, deaths and braking distances relating to speed. It is a re-education re parts of the highway code and information regarding speeding and braking, distances, accidents and so on. I must say that it was not the boring load of bollocks I was expecting, but a useful and educational experience. I have hardly broken the law since then. When I have it was to get out of a situation on a motorway (not much fun actually being sideswiped by a left hand drive truck on the A14 when you can hit 90 plus and get away).

Matthew Rudd said...

An advanced driver and a police officer who would rather be somewhere else will patronise you for two hours. They'll show a film depicting the devastating impact an accident has on a speeding driver (though failing to mention that pedestrians can be at fault too, irrespective of the driver's speed).

Grit your teeth and go, then have a good moan for all our entertainment afterwards.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I believe the flashy signs work to a certain extent - but the folk that set them up need to make sure that they're set to sensible speeds - there's a 30 mph sign just outside Bradford on Avon that triggers at just under 15 mph - I know becuase I drove round and round slowing down on each pass to test it ... sad, but true.

If warning signs are routinely wrong - people will ignore them.

Common sense seems in short supply both in terms of what the overall effects of speed cameras are - and of speed limits in general.

Tailgating, jaywalking and bicycle boobery should be offences that are enforced just as rigorously as speed limits.

I am old enough to remember when bicycling at night without lights got you a £5 fine - about £60 now - when was the last time you saw a cyclist prosecuted for no lights eh?

Carl said...

Tom said...
"I believe the flashy signs work to a certain extent - but the folk that set them up need to make sure that they're set to sensible speeds - there's a 30 mph sign just outside Bradford on Avon that triggers at just under 15 mph - I know becuase I drove round and round slowing down on each pass to test it ... sad, but true.
If warning signs are routinely wrong - people will ignore them."

Occasionally the actuation speed is set to well below the speed limit. The intention then is not to let drivers know they are exceeding the speed limit but simply to remind them what the speed limit is. The flashing sign does this much more effectively than the simple speed limit reminder sign.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Carl said....

"Occasionally the actuation speed is set to well below the speed limit."

Yeah... granted - but - surely that would infer that the speed limit is erm... dangerously high - at a blind junction let's say?

It seems that many council traffic depts aren't consistent with this - and since we are on about stopping distances n all, some consistency about the sign distance versus the trigger speed should apply - aren't there rules?

All I know is that it's damn annoying to be told to "SLOW DOWN!" when you are doing two thirds of the legal limit on this stretch of road.