Thursday, February 08, 2007

In response to Paul Burgin

Paul Burgin of Mars Hill has posted a criticism of Mike Penning for his demand that speed cameras be axed. I intended to post a reply on his blog, but it became it a bit of a rant, so my response to Paul is below.

First of all the Early Day Motion which Mike Penning has tabled is actually very reasonably worded - this is not a crazy suggestion that all speed cameras be ripped up, rather an acknowledgment that speed cameras may not be the answer and that the government should review all locations and where they do not improve road safety they should be removed. It isn't a crazy right wing plot.

Part of the problem with speed cameras is that there is a perception that they don't help to reduce accidents and are used merely as cash cows for the Treasury. Why, for example, is the money raised by speed cameras not invested in road safety campaigns or road improvements?

As a driver who has been known to drive very slightly above the speed limit very rarely (!) I actually find the flashing signs which monitor your speed and flash the limit if you are exceeding it far more effective at making me think about my speed. As usual the first port of call is taxation!

The current speed limits are completely irrelevant to today's society and transportation - more flexible speed limits are required with variations on fines etc - exceeding the speed limit by 5mph outside a school is far more dangerous than exceeding it by 10mph on a clear motorway.
The speed limit on motorways should be raised and have variations depending on the weather - again someone driving at 65mph on the motorway in the pouring rain is much more dangerous than someone driving at 80mph on a clear day.

Speed cameras are blunt instruments which cannot solve road safety problems. I would much prefer investment in cameras which monitor tail-gating or police patrols which checked quality of driving rather than speed.

Speed cameras don't stop speeding -they stop speeding for the small patch of road that they cover; invariably causing sudden braking and a disruption to the flow of traffic.

This is not an apology post for bad, fast or dangerous driving - just a recognition that speed cameras are not the answer.


Anonymous said...

It's not just me who thinks this then!

Paul Burgin said...

My response, as published on my blog:

"No it is not a surpirse sadly enough.
The speed camera is not perfect, but neither are human beings. Yes there are those who are caught who have just gone about mph over,but that can mean the difference between life and death for, say, a small child in a 30 mph zone.
There are many, not the majority, but many drivers out there who are selfish and therefore dangerous, not every driver is as thoughtful and as conscientious as you are. More people get killed on the roads than anywhere else involving transport. I see your point about tail-gaiting (a particular hate of mine) etc.. but is that really a feasible and workable idea, and do the police have the manpower and resources to have roaming patrols to the extent that they are needed.
I can see some of the concerns and sympathise, but as I said before, to me this is about road safety and I just want to see the most effective way of penalising those drivers who are selfish and thoughtless on the road without a strech on manpower and resources."