The Beginning Of The End For Speed Cameras In The UK?

from the one-can-hope dept

The UK was one of the first to embrace speed cameras, but it looks like things are starting to go in the other direction. Chris Clark points us to a (video) news report from the BBC highlighting how funding is drying up for speed cameras in the UK, and multiple cities have been ditching them (and, by the way, not noticing any increase in accidents or casualties). The video, of course, shows police and other speed camera supporters insisting that speed cameras save lives, and that taking them away will lead to harm... but they don't actually present any evidence. What is clearly presented, however, is that governments are increasingly less willing to fund speed cameras, and most of the money today is for upkeep, rather than installing any more.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 10:58pm

    I know this is the wrong place to ask, but I can't find the right place...

    What's up with the icons?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 11:21pm

    In the u.K. they even have a club for people who burn down speed cameras :)

    The best way to break them is to burn them according to some people who have done it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 11:31pm

    Not here

    I wish the same could be said for South Australia. They seem to be proliferating like locusts here.
    No only do we have the combined red-light / speed cameras at intersections, we have the mobile ones mounted in parked unmarked cars which can appear anywhere in the state.
    Strangely enough, though, they never seem to be where accidents occur. They are always on roads where limits change frequently (and arbitrarily) and, if possible, at the bottom of hills.
    But we are told incessantly that they are not revenue raisers, they are there to save lives...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Not here

    Just thought I'd mention that I haven't been caught by one, so I'm not a disgruntled fine payer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:07am

    Re:

    They are unique to each IP so we can tell the anonymous cowards apart.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    drewmerc (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:34am

    only reason they are not paying for more is the uk has hit saturation point, there's no room for any more

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:51am

    They work ok here.., in Oz

    we've had them here in Australia for a very long time, most people are used to them. And avoid fines by not speeding. Its that simple, if you are within the speed limit you can go past as many speed cams as you like. And nothing happens :)

    Yes, over the years there have been problems with them, but they generally get sorted out.

    they announced on the news that they were introducing more here, and putting them in accident hot spots. The police making the announcement said they pay for themselves in less that one day.

    And that is a good thing, because its only getting money off those who break the law and speed. If you dont speed you dont pay for them.

    They are effective, because as a driver I know speed cameras exist, and that I might be caught by one, so I drive at the speed limit and dont worry.

    If you dont want to pay a fine, you dont speed, its not hard.
    You dont have to be caught by a speed camera to know they exist and that if you speed you can be fined, so I have never been caught for speeding, and I have never been in an accident (after 35 years of driving).

    So speed cameras dont effect me, and in the same way they do effect me in that I dont speed anyway, and do not have accidents. So I would not be counted in statistics that speed cams do any good, but it changes the way people drive and view what speed they go.

    So they are a win win, for the police, and for the people who dont break the law, the only people who would complain about them are those who want to break the law and get away with it..
    And I dont really care what they want, and would prefer they get caught and lose their licenses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re:

    That is incredibly full of win. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Croques, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:45am

    Falling revenue

    We all have access to GPS gizmos that warn of cameras ahead and make sure we aren't caught.

    Local authorities aren't daft; if the income stream is drying up then they'll scap them.

    It really does prove that it was an cash-generating scam from local government in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:46am

    Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    You realize that speed cameras are notorious for being wrong about who is speeding, right? So... the speeders that you're complaining about may not actually be speeders. You know, kind of how your fellow Australian, David Thorne, wasn't actually selling drugs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:13am

    Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    "And avoid fines by not speeding."

    Really? In my experience, when you're dealing with fixed speed cameras (the majority as they don't require direct staffing and are so cheaper), everybody still speeds. They just slow down immediately before the camera's position then speed back up again afterwards.

    Everybody still speeds, just not where the cameras are.

    "And that is a good thing, because its only getting money off those who break the law and speed. If you dont speed you dont pay for them."

    There are many incidents of false accusations by speed cameras. Drivers of bicycles and stationary vehicles have been called to court to defend themselves against tickets. There are multiple incidents where people have had to prove in court that their vehicles are not capable of going the speeds that the cameras say they are, and not everybody has the patience or resources to fight these things in court.

    They're a very imprecise way of measuring speed. Even if they weren't, the other problem is that they do nothing to improve safety. Even if a driver is speeding, that doesn't always mean "dangerous".

    For example, which of these is more dangerous: driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit through a school zone, at 2am, not tired or intoxicated in dry clear conditions or driving through the same point at 3pm on a school day, 1 mph below the speed limit, in foggy & wet conditions? One of these is clearly more dangerous, yet the camera will only target the safe one.

    On top of all of that, many speed cameras only record the vehicle being used, not who's driving it. Many times, people who aren't even in the car at the time of the incident are affected.

    So, inaccurate readings, lots of false accusations, no safety improvement, no deterrent to people who want to speed. See the problem?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:49am

    Re: Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    Really? In my experience, when you're dealing with fixed speed cameras (the majority as they don't require direct staffing and are so cheaper), everybody still speeds. They just slow down immediately before the camera's position then speed back up again afterwards.

    The other thing is when you're going through an area with speed cameras what are you looking at?

    Are you looking at the road, other vehicles pulling out of intersections, that young child just waiting to run out into road after her ball?

    No, you're most probably looking at the speedometer. At least more than you should be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:10am

    Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    And avoid fines by not speeding. Its that simple,

    Assuming that they are working correctly - which isn't certain. We had a case here in the UK where the camera was issuing tickets to people stuck in traffic queues at around 15mph ( it wa a 60 or 70 limit). Seems the camera had a software bug...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    AJ, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re:

    "They are unique to each IP so we can tell the anonymous cowards apart." Very nice!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Sidzilla (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:12am

    It's not about money, it's about safety

    At least that's what they said when putting them in. People protesting didn't make a bit of difference. The fact that they have zero impact on safety didn't make a difference. Now they are costing money. Suddenly they don't want to have them any more. But it wasn't about revenue generation, really and truly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:43am

    "What is clearly presented, however, is that governments are increasingly less willing to fund speed cameras, and most of the money today is for upkeep"

    Government funding? I thought these things were paying for themselves and then some. Where did all the money go?

    Good riddance ... hello audit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    Perhaps we can use some high speed bullet club for red light cameras? Just sayin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    The problem is that speed guns need to be periodically calibrated. How often do these speed cameras get calibrated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Berenerd (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 5:31am

    I have gotten 2 tickets...

    I have beaten both here in the US cause neither one could ID the driver (I was driving in both but hey, they can't tell me who was driving). By law they can't give a speeding ticket to a car, only a driver.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re:

    wow... that's pretty sweet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Truebuzz (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 6:43am

    In US private companies install and maintain them

    It is my understanding that in the US the cameras are owned, installed and maintained by private companies. They receive a percentage of the revenues...which are reported to be quite hefty, so I guess we are out of luck here. And I seriously doubt they are not highly profitable in the UK. I did not know that they cannot ticket a car, only a driver in the US. I am skeptical about that one, parked cars are ticketed all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Icons

    I think I have seen my icon change from story to story. That would mean they are unique to each IP only within a single post, which if true would be awesome (keeping their ability to separate the multiple Anonymous within a comment thread without compromising our anonimity).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Why would the government need to fund speed cameras? They are a major source of income for the police around here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Black Patriot (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    How often do the police officers get proper training to use them effectively, and how often are they told to ignore their training to fill their quotas (they may deny it but every police force sets quotas)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Freedom, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Arizona Experience...

    The Governor of Arizona (Jan Brewer) declined to renew the highway/freeway cameras contract in our state. They literally just went off last week.

    As someone that drives a lot, it has been interesting to watch the subtle changes over the last month or so in my state.

    In the past, I would drive across the valley and literally see NO, NONE, not even 1 highway patrol car. Now that the cameras are down, I see AT LEAST 1 patrol car on every major stretch of road.

    This got me to thinking, what is better, a speed camera that the locals just game and quickly figure out that without patrols that they can just slow down and then go 90 to 100 to the next camera with literally no worries of getting caught, or one where you the common person doesn't do 90/100MPH because of fear of get caught in the wrong lottery.

    I think speed cameras especially at the freeway level are a perfect form of micro-management and we all know that micro-management is bad for so many reasons (although in today's political environment you'd think micro-management (cough) heavy regulation was a good thing). Much better to just punish the true offenders that are the real safety risk and not going with the natural flow of traffic - for that, you need a police officer and patrols.

    I'm also frankly happy to see a presence of patrols again. For me, just having the cops active again on the freeway provides extra safety, etc. that cameras just can't provide.

    Freedom

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Re: I have gotten 2 tickets...

    In South Australia the fine is automatically issued to the registered owner, who has to pay unless they provide a statutory declaration as to who was driving the vehicle at the time (I'm looking at my wife here who has had two in the past three months - in my car!!!!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Icons

    Ooh, pretty - I have a different icon because my first post was from work and my second from home.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Re: In US private companies install and maintain them

    He's wrong. In cases where the driver can't be identified, the owner of the car is ticketed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Re: Arizona Experience...

    Your attempts to associate micro management and heavy regulation are misdirected. Photo Camera's enforcing speeding are no more or less heavy nor micro managing than police cruisers enforcing speeding. The regulation is in fact unchanged, only the enforcement is different.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Dave, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Revenue?

    Of course it's all about revenue. Why else would mobile speed traps be set up near the end of a limited area, within metres of the speed de-restriction sign or, as elsewhere near me, approx. 400 metres after a fixed speed camera? This is also near a show-ground and whenever there is some sort of function on the premises, the mobile unit appears and stays there all day, which is somewhat unusual. The cynical amongst us might think that it's just there to catch all the strangers in town.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    DanVan (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Don't speed and you won't be caught

    It really is that simple

    The lack of accountability is shocking

    Rather than not speeding, people are crying about getting caught and how it should be someone elses problem

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: They work ok here.., in Oz

    The other issue being that they have been shown to increase rear-end accidents, so if the goal is safety then...?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    You do realize that speed cameras have been shown to increase accidents at intersections, right? The last research I saw, noted a slight decrease in T-Bone accidents in some intersections (usually there was no decrease) and a significant increase in rear-end accidents.

    Unintended consequence much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This