Landmark decision as local council withdraws funding for speed cameras
23 October 2008

Swindon’s speed cameras are to be removed after local councillors voted to withdraw funding for them in what is being hailed as a landmark decision.

The nine member ‘cabinet committee’ of Conservative-led Swindon and Wiltshire council voted unanimously to end £350,000 of funding a year for fixed cameras. Any revenues that these cameras generate are paid directly to central Government.

“Nationally, only six per cent of accidents are caused by people breaking speed limits," said councillor Peter Greenhalgh, citing a recent Department for Transport study. "Yet almost 100 per cent of the government's road safety money is being invested in speed cameras. I can see that’s wrong.”

Not everyone agrees with the decision to abolish fixed cameras. Local Labour councilors are opposed to the decision and Wiltshire Police claim the speed cameras are responsible for a 70 per cent drop in serious accidents.

Local police officers will now be carrying out more mobile speed checks.

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23 October 2008

Much as I hate to endorse plod sitting in a bush with a radar gun, the way to reduce speeding is to be totally random in your placement and catch people doing it because they think they won't get caught. Only an idiot gets done by a fixed speed camera, only a speeder gets done by a man in a hedge.

23 October 2008

Well done Swindon, let's hope other areas follow suit. I realise the police forces and government statisticians will automatically dismiss the views of anyone who loves cars/motoring and joins in Autocar debating forums as being an unrepresentative petrol head. However, it has to be said that most drivers these days are obliged, if they wish to retain their licences, to spend an unhealthy proportion of their driving time monitoring their speedometer and looking out for the latest design of speed camera.

It seems that part of the remit of most mainstream car designers is to disguise how fast the car is going to aid noise reduction and increase refinement, which doesn't help reduce inadvertant speeding. I wonder how many people are run down because they didn't hear the car coming and the hapless driver had crept effortlessly over the speed limit?


23 October 2008

I never understand the argument that speed is only a factor in some accidents. The remaining collisions are the ones between stationary objects, presumably.

23 October 2008

The council is right in saying that spending 100% of the road safety budget on cameras is wrong.

Camera's do have their place. Accident black spots at junctions, dangerous stretches of road and outside schools are ideal places for them. Fixed points with regular potential hazards, cameras should be left in these locations.

Where I take issue with the use of camera's, is where the roads only issue is speed, not safety. I know it's an old drum that's been banged regularly but speed doesn't kill, misuse of speed does.

If Swindon have got their heads screwed on and apply a sensible strategy with proper traffic policing (read tax and insurance evaders as well as good old fashioned stop an warn tactics) then they could show the rest of the country the way to go!



It's all about the twisties........

23 October 2008

[quote RobotBoogie]I never understand the argument that speed is only a factor in some accidents. The remaining collisions are the ones between stationary objects, presumably.[/quote]

It does make sense if the word 'speed' is preceded by the adjective 'excessive'. For example, someone driving along at 50mph in a 60 limit is not driving at what a camera would recognise as excessive speed, but if they are trying to drink a cup of tea and take part in a conference call on their hand-held phone at the same time then they are almost certainly more of an accident waiting to happen than someone giving their full attention to the road at 68mph.

And there's the great failure of speed cameras - they operate on the presumption, perpetuated by tiresome 'Speed Kills' campaigners, that driving at a speed faster than the posted limit is the most, indeed the only, dangerous thing you can do on the road. Got no insurance? Four bald tyres? Enjoying a good old chat on the phone while you tailgate the car in front? No worries, go for it - as long as you're not speeding you'll be fine!

Removing speed cameras and replacing them with proper traffic police patrols can only be a good thing.

23 October 2008

Durham has done without cameras for some time and, I believe, enjoys a lower than average RTA rate. Good on Swindon.

23 October 2008

I'm actually pretty much in favour of strictly policed speed limits (pause for booing) and would actually like to see them lowered in many places.

I think the idea that speed limits perpetuate a myth that safe driving only consists of watching your speed is a bit of a stretch. What speed limits really represent are a useful shorthand to keep drivers of average ability in check on roads where there are hazards and they are also something that is enforceable in a practical sense by police officers of average ability.

The ideal that drivers should be capable of deciding what is a safe speed I think vastly overestimates the skill of many motorists and also of the enforcement abilities of the police. A good illustration of this is the 30mph limit in urban areas - on lots of these roads, advanced drivers that I know will slow to 20mph or slower because they believe that to be the appropriate speed - but almost no-one else does.

Of course there are lots of other dangerous things you can do in a car than be a few mph over the limit but almost all those things are made worse by higher speed, and often exponentially so, hence keeping speeds under strict control on hazardous roads is a good idea.

23 October 2008

I can't really understand the excitement. I mean, if you get nicked by a fixed camera then you're obviously not concentrating as hard as you should do. It's the mobile ones that are the real buggers...

23 October 2008

Speed cameras have failed and have merely underlined the authorities lack of understanding of the problem.

Catching people driving at excessive speed is far too late to be an effective solution in accident prevention. Since the original cameras were declared to be sited at known 'accident black spots', they have proliferated into every area of motoring life with almost negative, or negligible results.

To defend Policing the roads by camera is extreme short sightedness

23 October 2008

One aspect of habitual speeding that gets neglected in these debates is the extent to which excessive speed means that other road users especially cyclists, pedestrians, and children travelling to school are intimidated off the road. They dont want to get killed by a lawless motorist to prove a point - so they stay home, use their own or parents car and get fat. Why should other road users be expected to judge excessive and inappropiate speeds? Speed limits are much more respected in most US states through strict enforcement and better attitudes it makes it much safer to cross a road or pull out.


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