average speed versus standard speed cameras

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by sparkling_quavers, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    As I believe average speed cameras are now being used (or trialled) in parts of the UK. What do you think - are they better? or fairer? There must be a large propotion of drivers who, although don't speed on most roads, probably average 80mph on the motorway. Will this actually make the roads any safer or will this just bring more money in? I think the most dangerous driving is the people who slam on the brakes when a camera comes up - causes the traffic jams as well. Hopefully this system might go some way to alleviate that problem.
  2. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    They are very precise and can get you for just a few miles an hour over for a small stretch of road. They have them on the way in to Nottingham - and myself and much of Nottingham were "got" by them during the first few weeks about 5 years ago... Even the local vicars wife got got - which rather took the heat off me! :-D
  3. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Not better or fairer really. I imagine they only work where people drive at a relatively constant speed. It's really difficult to average anything like 30 in a built up area because you keep having to stop at junctions etc (very inconvenient it is too!). So I guess they will be used on motorways and ring roads to catch people doing 75 - 80 rather than in cities to stop people doing 35 - 40. I'm not advocating speeding, but these cameras do look more like a money spinner than a safety feature...
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2006
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    All I will say is this: Statistically our Motorways are far and away our safest roads (and high on the list of the safest in Europe too), wouldn't the money to pay for these cameras be better spent installing normal speed cameras at accident blackspot sites or outside schools?
  5. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    This is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine. I don't really have an opinion as to whether average or specific-speed cameras are better or not, but I do question the reason for them being placed all over the place.

    We are constantly told that speed kills - this is true, it does. If there was no speed, there would be no accidents at all, because everything would be stationary and therefore incapable of crashing into anything else. Speeding in inappropriate times / places / weather / road conditions etc is stupid and dangerous. However, I see no reason why you cannot safely drive at 90 miles an hour down an empty motorway at 3am without risking being penalised. Speed cameras can help prevent speeding, but they don't do anything for detecting and punishing dangerous driving.

    If speed cameras are intended to be a deterrent to speeding, they would have more credibility if there wasn't a fine as well as points on your licence when you get caught. This can only give rise to the accusation that they are being used for revenue building. I have no problem with speed cameras having a higher penalty in terms of points - for example if you are caught going 10 mph over the speed limit you get 5 points on your licence, 20mph over you get 10 points etc (I think that would be a great deterrent to speeding), but I do strongly object to the stealth tax that cameras are there to generate.

    Allegedly, cameras can only be placed where there has been a fatality. I know several new roads where cameras have been installed from day 1, and there have been no fatalities. When questioned, the highways agency (or whoever it is responsible for these) respond with the answer "we thought the road had the capability to be dangerous". Which begs the question, why didn't they design and build a safe new road when they had the opportunity?

    We are not going to be able to break the culture of speeding in this country until we have appropriate speed limits. How many completely straight, flat stretches of road, well away from residential areas do you know with a 30 or 40 mph limit? I know a couple at least, and that is without trying very hard to think of examples. If you go to France for example, drive down a road and come to a sharp bend that may for example have a 90kmh limit on it. This limit (in my experience) has been set because if you try to go round it any faster than that you start losing control of the car. After you have got (safely) around the bend, the speed limit is lifted.

    It is very noticeable when you come back from Europe just how bad our driving is - we have very little respect for the laws of the road in this country, and I don't really know why this should be or what the solution is. However, I do think that if we have appropriate (maybe even variable) speed limits set on all of our roads, and policemen (rather than cameras) patrolling the roads and stopping dangerous drivers we would all be rather safer.

    Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now :tongue: Feel free to send any flames my way!
  6. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    No flame Dave, but just a few comments..

    to be pedantic speed does not kill - inappropriate speed kills, which is why our motorways - our fastest roads are also our safest.

    Now that's a great idea. The trouble is "great idea", "motoring law" and "New Labour government" are three phrases which don't seem to crop up in the same sentence too often - I wonder why?

    Sorry to quote you on this as you are only passing a message on, but this is the main reason for me posting this. Frankly the Highways Agency's statement on this is BS. I drive a 50 mile round trip to work each day. Mixed roads - A / B roads and motorways. During that journey I have to turn right across the A5. This junction is a well known accident blackspot. If I hear sirens in the morning I know thats where the various ambulances / police cars and fire engines are going. To be fair the junction design is OK, but the problem is you are at the bottom of a steep hill, and the road travels straight East West, so during the spring and Autumn months with the low sun you are looking straight into a blinding sun and can't see a thing. This coupled with the fact that the A5 is a roman road and therefore straight means that car "A" might be doing 60mph and car "B" might be doing 90mph (believe me I've seen it). Sometimes its like playing Russian roulette and certainly wakes you up of a morning. Anyway, in five years of doing this journey I have never ever seen a speed camera set up on that stretch of road, and to my mind one of the main problems here is judging variable speed of the oncoming traffic in difficult sunlight. In those five years I know there have been at least five fatal accidents at that junction. Where is the "policy" now?

    Have you ever been to Italy?? :eek:

    Appropriate speed limits - and their correct policing would be a massive step forward - but I fear I'll never see that happen.

    No flames from me - you speak a lot of sense, and seem to share a lot of my frustrations
  7. Jamie

    Jamie Member

    Yes! Utterly terrifying! I thought I was an inconsiderate driver, but blimey! You have to launch yourself across zebra crossings at the speed of sound, because they have absolutely no intention of stopping for you!!

    On the speed camera topic... I do a fair bit of motorway driving and tend to average around 80mph. I find that for the majority of my journey this speed is whats needed to keep pace with traffic. I don't soar up the outside lane with my wheels on fire, and I still have BMW drivers (no offence intended!) flashing their lights at me because I'm driving too slowly for them. Thus, I hardly think my speed is inappropriate, especially as, if they're going to stop me, they're going to have to stop the other 20-odd cars around me all doing the same speed.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't slow down for cameras and then floor it again the other side, so I struggle to see how this make our roads any safer... still their research tends to tell us otherwise... maybe all that extra money they're making is put to researching the precise kind of research required to produce the required results?? Ooh, what a cynic!

    I think that driving at appropriate and comfortable speeds, no matter how fast it is (within reason), paying proper attention to the road, and having respect for other road users, is the safest way to drive... and wishful thinking...!
  8. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Average speed cameras are good for the motorway, very good, but I don't think it would be effective in towns and cities unless they're put in areas where there isn't constant start/stop...

    As for this whole debate: If people didn't speed in the first place, they wouldn't see the need for all these cameras in the first place...

    I personally think as well that the people who drive well under the speed limit need to be pulled over by the police as well (it has happened) but I think that when people (generally very old people) drive like a snail thinking they are being safe, that they, in fact, are one of the most dangerous people on the roads...
    There's a stretch of road, national speed limit, between Plymouth and Yelverton and then Yelverton to Tavistock, single carriage, and some people insist on doing between 30 and 50mph... this is very frustrating and I've seen drivers trying to overtake along the road a lot and it's not safe... accidents have happened and will continue to do so because although the road is pretty much straight, there are a lot of blind spots (mainly due to hills)- so head on collisions happen. There's only a couple of "safe" places to overtake on this road and most the time, it's not worth the risk if you see an oncoming vehicle- I've seen too many close-shaves!
  9. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    If the primary function of a Speed Camera is to stop speeding motorists (rather than to raise money) it has surely failed to work every time a motorists is caught.

    They are primarily a money raising device, in Banbury there are speed cameras on virtually every road coming in (facinng downhill just as the speed limit is reduced) but none outside any of the schools where you have 100s of children crossing the road (there is no pedestrian crossing at my kids school either) every day.
  10. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    i think that the average one would be quite a good idea, but it does also seem as though its just another thing for the government/police/whoever gets the fines to get more money.
    as for speed cameras, hasnt it been proven that the amount of accidents actually increased with speed cameras being used? im sure i read it somewhere probably in a newspaper ages ago, and they were criticizing the government for taking no notice of the fact that they had had the opposite effect to what they were supposed to have.

    everyone sees cars speeding, then slam on because they've spotted a camera, then after the camera accellerating again. creating even more dangerous situations, which would mean more accidents.

    sorry if im opening a can of worms here, this is just my understanding of the whole thing.
  11. sunny_jimbob

    sunny_jimbob Member

    For me it doesn't matter what sort of speed camera is used - speed limits are the law and thus shoudln't be broken. The limits are there for a reason*. If someone is caught breaking a law, should they not be punished?

    * We could start a whole new debate about whether X limit is appropriate in Y place, which is neither here nor there in terms of this dicussion.
  12. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    This is the clincher. Laws are not the problem, enforcing them is. For example, just taking motoring offences, when was the last time you heard of anyone being stopped and convicted of:

    1. having an illegally spaced or lettered number plate?
    2. having those stupid lit up blue windscreen washer jets (only emergency vehicles are allowed blue lights)?
    3. having one or more unrestrained children, or animals, in the car.
    4. failing to indicate?
    5. using a mobile phone while driving a white van?

    This is Government's problem, laws are no good unless they enforce them. How many times do they react to a problem by passing another law, usually a bad law? (And how many times does the House of Lords say "This is a bad law" and then get ignored?)

    Speed cameras are about easy money. Cheaper than policemen, work 24 hours a day. If they were that serious about safety there'd be one outside every school, and by every pedestrian crossing, rather than on straight dual carriageways where the limit changes for no apparent reason. There's nothing wrong with having cameras in 20/30mph limits with obvious hazards, that's where accidents occur, but putting them on safe roads like motorways with infrequent accidents is just revenue raising to me.

    Plus - if camera is set at 70mph, but it's so foggy that the max safe speed is 45, it's useless as a safety device. This is where a policeman could do a dangerous driving charge and a camera can't. Driving is not that black and white.

    On a similar tangent, how is it that a Prime Minister can pass a law that directly benefits his wife to the tune of the best part of half a million quid a year (the Human Rights Act) and no-one says a word?
  13. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    That was the same point I was trying to make - maybe I didn't make it clearly enough!

    Actually, no I haven't! Maybe I should qualify my statement to be Northern European countries ;)

    It'll all be completely different after the Revolution. No better, just different! ;)
  14. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    are you suggesting that ALL laws should ALWAYS be adhered to, no matter what?
  15. persins

    persins Member

    I must admit that I hate speed cameras with a passion!!!!!
    There is no doubt that the average speed ones are more effective than the stand alone ones especially since you cannot tell which areas are being tracked but it does irritate me greatly. Just ask anyone from Northampton!
    I'm sure I heard that the stand alone ones actually caused an increase in traffic accidents somewhere because of all the sudden braking just before them.

    If they are used appropriately for increasing safety then that is one thing but most seem to be positioned to generate income and catch people out in my opinion anyway.
  16. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    Agreed, although I'll put my hands up, and admit to creeping over the speed limit occasionaly without noticing.
    Average speed limit cameras are a lot safer because you cannot speed at all so there's no risk of the speeding guy in front brake testing you at a camera.
    Speed limits are there for a reason; simple as that.

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