Road Safety News

New ABD patron adds to outspoken comments

Friday 8th February 2013

Godfrey Bloom MEP has made more controversial comments in the discussion thread that resulted from the remarks he made when he was unveiled as a new patron of the ABD.

Mr Bloom marked his appointment as a new patron of the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) with an extraordinary verbal assault on, among others, his fellow politicians, journalists, senior policemen, speed cameras and speed awareness courses.

He subsequently added a post in the discussion thread (below) in which he said, tongue in cheek: "More cameras are the answer of course. Huge salary hike for the salesman, shareholders of the camera owners and manufacturers and 25% of the take to the police and council."

Mr Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, is an ex HGV licence holder, former British Army competition driver and retired investment banker. The ABD says that he is also “highly knowledgeable about statistics and their misuse”.

In his strongly worded opening statement, Mr Bloom said: “For many years I have become uncomfortable with the lack of basic understanding of road safety concepts. Politicians generally understand very little about anything. They have no formal training, have to re-seek office regularly, they ‘knee jerk reaction’ to problems originally often of their own making.

“Road safety problems manifest this phenomenon particularly. Activity is always cost based. So Government gets rid of the highly trained and motivated British traffic policeman, acknowledged to be the best in the world, because they were deemed too expensive.

“Not only are cameras on sticks cheaper, they actually make money. This enormous scam is a political dynamic allowed to flourish by astonishingly lazy journalism. This sort of thing is a reflection of modern society.

“However, infinitely more alarming, is that the police have now bought into the scam. Local politicians and policeman of senior rank have no training in interpreting statistics. They are therefore prey to every camera (snake oil) salesman that comes up their drive. They will glaze over if you talk of regression to the mean, or the implications of a Simpson's paradox.

“In short you can sell them anything. Resources therefore go to the wrong place. The speed awareness lectures, read from flawed scripts to bewildered middle England drivers who were 'nicked' for doing 34mph in a 30mph district, and blackmailed into handing over cash to avoid a potentially damaging license endorsement.

“These lectures should be given (with a better script) to lower sixth form children one year away from their first car. Young men still kill themselves in appalling numbers while their parents waste half the day listening to the drone of the classroom bore who means well but understands nothing.

“The ABD has given me fresh hope. Their expertise is enormous and in-depth. They, and a few others, are joining the fight back for motorists against the money grabbing establishment, fake charities, and fellow travellers. I am proud to be a patron.”

In welcoming Mr Bloom, Brian MacDowall, ABD acting chairman, said: "Godfrey is spot on with his comments; the ABD knows he is on the same wavelength as the majority of the public who are sick to death of being over regulated and over taxed out of their vehicles; the political class see drivers as a cash cow to be milked at will.

“We are delighted to have him and our other outspoken, independently minded patrons, on board; with people of Godfrey's calibre we will be better equipped to fight back against the continuing war on the motorist."

Click here to see the full list of ABD patrons.


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Duncan: I am not sure what you're getting at. Are you implying that no-one is to blame for individual road accidents and therefore no-one can be held liable? Your previous post mentioned 'wider problems in the system' - can you elaborate on that?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

Mr Bloom does not tell that truth and epitomises the type of person and attitude that excuses law-breaking motorists who slaughter and maim innocent men, women, young people and children.

If we had Data Recorders (Black Boxes) fitted in all road vehicles, it would be a deterrent to law-breaking motorists and like aircraft Black Boxes would aid investigations, and victims would have a better chance of justice. Excuses are made regarding civil liberties, but where is protest of invasion of civil liberties regarding CCTV in hospitals for example?

As for Mr Bloom’s insulting comment regarding a ‘distressed mother’, I should like to know if Mr Bloom is married, has children - and had his child been slaughtered or maimed, would he then show more compassion for his child’s killer or maimer than for his child?
Bridget Wall

Agree (11) | Disagree (3)

It is sensible to look at other casualty prevention disciplines to see what we can learn from their methodology and we should do so. It is also sensible to take account of the practical considerations.

In 2011 the AAIC received 788 reports of air incidents, including 15 fatal air crashes in which 18 people died.

In the same year there were 151,474 injury causing road collisions reported to the police in which 1,901 people died and a total of 203,950 people were injured.

Air crashes and casualties have never remotely approached the numbers involved in road collisions. The number of aircraft movements per 24 hours is also a fraction of the number of road movements.

The number of variables and combinations of circumstances leading to a crash on the roads are infinitely greater than in the air.

We can and should learn from each other. But let's not kid ourselves that the AAIB model can simply transfer to RTC investigations. It's easy to suggest it, but how would it work and who would fund and staff it?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

Maybe the statement from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch will clarify things.

To improve aviation safety by determining the causes of air accidents and serious incidents and making safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence
...It is not to apportion blame or liability.

When the road safety industry works in the same way that the AAIB does by not relying on blame and liability, perhaps we will begin to make progress.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (5) | Disagree (6)

Following, Duncan's comments re-aviation crashes and comparisons with accidents on the road, isn't it because 'planes have black-box recorders that they are able to 'give up their secrets' so easily? The sooner we have the same thing in road vehicles the better - it should revolutionise collision recording and remove a lot of the suspect statistics.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (8)

Whilst I agree with the writer about investigating air crashes to the N'th degree, when the road is closed for even a short period to allow collision investigation there is a huge outcry on why the police need to do that and certain Highway Authorities complain about journey times and targets! There has been a loss of life and the family need to know why whether it has been done with a weapon or a vehicle. The offenders must be brought to justice. There will never be a forensic investigation as in an aircrash due to cost and pressures to open roads. In answer to other comments, speed does kill, as does excess alcohol and a myriad of other things. You want to speed, go on a track day.
Olly, Lancs

Agree (20) | Disagree (5)

The following is an extract from the ABD SE Newsletter and illustrates the unfairness that motorists have to suffer

Justice for all.

For the period 2010/11 Police in East Kent let off 1,463 people with cautions only, for crimes of violence, shoplifting, burglary, drugs, robbery, criminal damage etc. which were considered too low key to bother with. At the same time every single person caught on a speed camera was prosecuted.
Bobbio Chiswell Green

Agree (15) | Disagree (15)

If this was a discussion group for people with an interest in aviation safety, how worried would you be right now?

Unlike the aviation safety industry where facts and only facts are used to make the system safer, the road safety industry seems to thrive on dogma, half-truths and spin to the detriment of what it is trying to achieve.

Although it's difficult to believe now, 40 years ago the aviation safety industry was in a situation much like the road safety industry is today. Crashes were always someone else's fault and were usually categorised as 'mechanical failure' or 'human error'. There existed a strong punishment culture to 'fix' the problems, but it wasn't until the Staines air disaster of 1972 that people in the aviation industry finally began to realise that failures do not happen in isolation and that they are simply a manifestation of wider problems within the system.

Since then there have been great strides taken in aviation safety with each incident/accident being investigated until it gives up its secrets.

Sadly for all of us, no such sea-change in thinking has happened in road safety and until it does happen we will continue to be surrounded by a fog of misinformation, suspect statistics and people shouting at each other.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

Agree (16) | Disagree (4)

Dave says that "no one on this item" has provided evidence about supposed speed camera benefits, but I frequently refer to GB of data, analysis and correspondence on it at That no one has commented here on it suggests that those who have bothered to read it prefer to ignore what they see, rather like those who complain about a lack of information on the EU:

damning evidence that the DfT lied about camera effectiveness, just as Transcom now confirms did in the West Coast Main Line fiasco.

Vehicle activated signs provide similar (apparent) benefits to cameras at 2% of the cost without penalising millions of drivers.

Many Partnerships continue to claim camera benefit as if long term trend, regression to mean and local changes in traffic volume did not exist.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (9) | Disagree (15)

Yes Idris, but only up to a point. One can research and acquire knowledge about a subject matter as an interested observer or enthusiastic amateur – that’s fine - but such people shouldn’t presume that this then gives them the same level of expertise as those who are involved with it day-in, day- out. Those involved in an official capacity are inevitably going to have the opportunity to experience more first hand; be privy to certain information; interact and learn from others from other disciplines and end up with a more balanced, detailed knowledge of the particular subject. Anyone on the outside, spending hours on the Internet is never going to get that – there will always be gaps in their knowledge which means they will always be at a disadvantage when discussing or questioning aspects of the subject – particularly in this field.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (16) | Disagree (7)

As a "distressed" mother I regret that road safety cannot be viewed as important to everyone. I agree with many of the opinions of Mr Bloom i.e. the absence of traffic police and certain inappropriate speed limits. I am much more exercised by the frequent mis-use of yellow boxes and roundabouts and refusal to use dual lanes at traffic lights and then merge courteously. However I distrust those who speed and refuse to accept the fine. Individuals must respect laws whether they agree with them or work to change them. Fireguards for young children are mandatory. Society accepts that protection is required and the same should be true on our roads.
Vicki Stone MBE, Learn and Live

Agree (18) | Disagree (1)

It isn't a contributor’s credentials that are important, it's the quality of evidence they present. The problem I find with Mr Bloom's response, and I would like to thank Mr Bloom for responding, is that he hasn't provided any evidence of what effect speed cameras actually have. In fact no-one on this item has.

In my view, Mr Bloom needs to present the evidence he has for his views and, if he finds that speed cameras have not been evaluated to the required standard, then, as an elected politician, maybe he is in a position to commission that research. For instance, he could initiate scientific trials of speed cameras.

We do need to move away from policies based on opinions and towards proper testing and evidence.
Dave, Slough

Agree (16) | Disagree (4)

Would Mr Bloom kindly name the "bogus charities" to which he refers?
Alex, Wirral

Agree (14) | Disagree (3)

To Hugh - I believe in free speech but also that wisdom is not necessarily restricted to those professionally involved. The industrial revolution happened here, not elsewhere, and we remain by far the most inventive nation in the world - including many ideas developed in amateurs' garden sheds - because of freedom to say what we think rather than being patted on the head and told "Go away and leave it to the professionals".

Here (unlike the EU) dissent is essential to progress - as Road Safety GB agrees.

I also believe that those who are mistaken have their part to play because even mistakes stimulate the debate that is essential to clarifying issues and finding solutions.

In road safety all of us have the same stake, whether paid or not. Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (12) | Disagree (9)

Lots of interesting debate here. A couple of years ago one of the comments I posted was 'Most people support the use of safety cameras - until they are caught speeding by one! Then it's in an inappropriate position, hidden up a tree, got an invisibility cloak around it - the make of which isn't approved by the Ministry of Magic etc! That's human nature.'

Call them enforcement cameras if you like, I'll go along with that.

I've also heard this comment a number of times, 'The officer who nicked me for speeding/carelees driving etc just didn't want to listen to my reason for doing what I did. He or she must have been short of the required number of nicks that month.'

Most will whinge when they they are reported for committing a traffic offence, it doesn't matter if it was a camera or a highly trained roads policing officer. Simple answer - don't break the law and you will not get nicked - be it by an automated device or the mark 1 human eye ball!
Mark - Wiltshire

Agree (23) | Disagree (9)

Neil Hopkins of Sussex Camera Partnership chooses the A24 southbound Grinders Lane junction as his best example of a successful camera, claiming: "There have been no other interventions that would account for the dramatic drop in the figures and, therefore, we must conclude that these cameras have had a significant effect".

Perhaps Mr Hopkins could enlighten us as to the dates of: 1. The limit reduction to 60MPH with yellow surround 60 signs; 2. The installation of coloured cats eyes; 3. The laying of coloured tarmac strips on approach and across the junction; 4. The installation of a speed interactive sign?

I know this road well and I'm sure all or most of these were installed at a similar time to the camera and any could have contributed to the reduction.

As an accident(and near miss) free advanced motorist with a clean licence, I feel I have some qualification to comment. This crossover DC junction 'can' be hazardous. It has excellent visibility and I suggest is safe for more than 70MPH provided there are no vehicles or indeed pedestrians waiting to cross.
Leo Bowden, Sussex

Agree (13) | Disagree (6)

As someone else has raised the question of contributor’s credentials, I’ll do the same. When, some time ago, I started reading the news feed and people’s comments thereon, I presumed that all those who commented were, to varying degrees, professionally involved in road safety or traffic engineering and therefore had a certain level of experience and knowledge on the subject and that certain fundamentals were taken as read and with whom the finer points of the subject could therefore be discussed – almost like a think-tank – but at times it’s more like a thick-tank, with uninformed opinions, knee-jerk responses and ‘facts’ put forward, of the type often overheard in pubs and bus queues. So unless one knows the background of those who comment and can acknowledge their expertise (or not) and decide whether to give some credence to what they say, I often wonder if there’s any point posting comments.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (10) | Disagree (13)

I agree with Godfrey Bloom.

Unrealistic speed limits enforced by speed cameras are not the answer. They do not catch dangerous road users (eg. under the influence, unsafe vehicles, unlicenced, uninsured, driving without due care, etc.). Speed cameras also cause accidents by distracting other road users. That in itself is dangerous.

I think history could teach people about road safety by looking at old road safety videos, which could teach them how to control a vehicle and read the road ahead rather than just staring at the speedometer.

I also think that all road users should have mutual respect for each other and understand the problems that other road users may face. As a pedestrian, cyclist, driver (three wheelers, cars, camper and horsebox) and horse rider, I know how to respect other forms of road user. Maybe other road users could learn from that.
Phil, Kent

Agree (33) | Disagree (11)

No problem Mr. Lawson.

I have an honours degree in Automobile Engineering and worked for 7 years as a design engineer for Ford Motor Company.

I have looked at the whole issue of 20mph speed limits in urban areas and perhaps one could say that this is a specialist area of expertise.

I wouldn't count myself as a Road Safety "expert", but merely make comments from my own experience and knowledge. Some people feel those comments are relevant and some do not.

When I started campaigning for wide-area 20mph limits in 2004 there were no such limits in the UK. Now 8m people live in local authorities that believe that 20mph is the right speed limit for residential roads and ones with high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.

I like to feel that I have made some positive contribution to these decisions and the debate on lower speed limits in urban areas. I would point out that it is communities themselves who are making such decisions.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (15) | Disagree (33)

We seem to have lost our way in setting the speed limits, which increases the antagonism around enforcement. Extending a 30 mph limit out between arable fields on a laser straight road with no pedestrians does nothing for road safety or anything else. Whatever happened to 85 percentile analysis, or was it too complex for campaigners to understand?
PhilT, Peterborough

Agree (34) | Disagree (7)

The panacea of speed cameras have done road safety a great disservice and have claimed successes that are nothing to do with their installation.

So it's good to have an individual with the commitment to challenge road safety 'facts' based on the way roads are currently policed (or not as is usually the case). So many vested interests and so many with much to gain from stat manipulation. An independent eye is therefore a good thing as no one wants road safety compromised - just honesty and an end to motorist fleecing and bullying.

Where is the camera van that I see most often? Is it where it would be welcomed by the village shops or by my kids' school? No, never. It is always by a challenging (uninhabited) busy junction where 4 lanes merge downhill and a jab of throttle can often help the merge. Kerching! We don't buy it any more.
D Evans, Cardiff

Agree (33) | Disagree (11)

I see Rod King is posting lots of comments on this article. We know lots about Mr Bloom's background, but none at all on Mr King's despite the fact that he talks about road safety widely. Nothing very obvious anywhere on the internet. Perhaps he could inform us what scientific training or other education he had, and what his career was before he became a self-appointed expert on road safety.
Roger Lawson, London

Agree (30) | Disagree (10)

Well done to Mr Bloom for having a clean license and 40 years NCD, but if these two things allow one to claim expertise on this subject, then as I (and no doubt many others) have the same 'credentials', why am I not nodding my head enthusiastically at everything he says? Perhaps there's more to being a road safety expert than meets the eye. It being one's profession possibly?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (20) | Disagree (17)

Perhaps Mr Bloom would be interested to see how we install cameras here in Sussex -

Injuries are one part of the spectrum. Speed across the network is another. And the decision on any cameras is taken with consideration of both of those factors, and more.

Trust that this assists with knowledge sharing etc.
Neil Hopkins, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership

Agree (18) | Disagree (26)

Goodness, all this talk of speed cameras.

Doesn't Mr Bloom know they only catch the people who are exceeding the maximum speed allowed on that stretch of road?

Perhaps ABD could concentrate on informing people that the law should not be broken rather than perpetually whinging about the cost of breaking the law.

Surpisingly ABD seemed all too ready to brag about his opening salvo, but now we find he has given his "final word" because he is far too busy to enter into any further correspondence.

Well, at least that's something to be thankful for.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (24) | Disagree (39)

Let me respond briefly as I am pressed for time. One, my experience is my evidence, eight years as an MEP, fifteen years as a parish councillor with significant files as matters of road safety in which I have taken an interest for over 30 years, many of which were involved in Army vehicle training. I have correspondence and many interviews with police at senior level which demonstrate quite clearly they have no experience in the interpretation of statistics nor does it form any part of their training programme. Certainly up until 2011. Check the syllabus of senior command training.

Let me explain the concept of the Simpson’s paradox. Take a stretch of road which has no speed camera (i.e. 95% of roads) take two fatalities one day on that stretch of road and the immediate installation of a speed camera. There are no further deaths on that stretch of road for 2 years. It is a sleepy area with very few road deaths per year. The region appears to have halved total road accidents since the installation of the camera. Ergo speed cameras save lives. So that is what the graphic or hologram will show. It looks like a no brainer to a policeman, local councillor or a TV presenter. The point will be heavily endorsed by a bogus charity supported by a distressed mother and pictures of those killed in the accident. A wonderful sales pitch for the speed camera salesman. It’s all there emotion, scientific ‘facts’, view sympathy etc etc.

More cameras are the answer of course. Huge salary hike for the salesman, shareholders of the camera owners and manufacturers and 25% of the take to the police and council.

The Simpson’s paradox? Well the two people killed were victims of an uninsured underage hooligan at the wheel of the car. Had the cameras been there before the incident it would have obviously made no difference as there would be no deterrent effect on the dangerous driver.

The authority representatives are not trained to drill down on the provenance of the statics. Nor it is in anyone’s financial interest to do so.

There are thousands of text book examples and hundreds of personal examples. Let me give just one more.

When ‘Green’ funds were invented for investors 15 years ago (I think by Friends Provident, now since debunked) they got off to a cracking start. In the top quartile of all UK equity funds for 2 years. The statistics showed there ‘green’ investing was good. The sales team had a field day. Enter Mr Simpson again; the two years in question were when small companies played catch up in a bull market. Most ‘Green’ equities were small so they crested the wave of small company out performance. If you looked at the statistics when only small company index members were represented the green fund fell to 3rd quartile. You have to know what you are looking for.

Now a final word because I do not have the time to enter into correspondence. I am a professional financial economist and I sit on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Most of my time is taken therefore in interpreting EU and UK government statistics, they are designed quite specially to pull the wool over the eyes of the innocent. i.e. most TV presenters.

My role in this field is cross party, not political. I have a clean license and 40 years no claim discount (I would argue those 2 things alone would entitle me to claim expertise, better than any polytechnic certificate or NVQ in road safety). If anyone wants to know more about me, see my speeches or check out my articles on matters economic, visit my website –

In short I have nothing to gain politically or commercially for my input into this subject is to protect my constituents from the perpetual theft by the state perpetrated on the motorist.
Godfrey Bloom

Agree (42) | Disagree (26)

Mr Bloom seems to have a reputation.

I note in the election details for PCC for Humberside it said: "Mr Bloom said he has a "strict no-tolerance view of anti-social behaviour" and he would give the local community the police force they deserved."

Of course Mr Bloom knows all about “anti-social” behaviour after having been “ordered out of the chamber of the European Parliament after he directed a Nazi slogan at a German socialist."

See the BBC Report at

Maybe the people in Humberside really felt that they didn’t deserve the sort of police force that Mr Bloom had in mind when he only got 16% of the vote in the PCC election.

Of course if you are a grumpy old driver and really like to have a go at politicians, the police, road safety officers, speed cameras, journalists and the world in general, then its good to know that the Alliance of British Drivers is always there to take you in. They seem to be ideally matched.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (23) | Disagree (28)

Godfrey Bloom states that speed cameras are an "enormous scam", suggesting that the claimed benefits were actually the result of "regression to the mean, or the implications of a Simpson's paradox." Before making judgement on him, I think we need 2 questions answered:

1) What evidence does Godfrey Bloom present to support his views?
2) What policies would Godfrey Bloom propose in order to improve road safety?

BTW, had anyone else heard of "Simpson's paradox"? I hadn't so I researched it and it's quite fascinating. Regression to the mean is why KSIs reduce at speed camera sites but I'm not sure how Simpson's paradox can confuse speed camera statistics though.

Lastly, does Godfrey Bloom know that the argument about the effects of speed cameras could be decided by implementing scientific trials, without having to consider regression to the mean or Simpson's paradox?
Dave, Slough

Agree (23) | Disagree (16)

"In the context of Mr. Bloom's comments and Mr. Hopkins' response I have made available at graphs of all reported Sussex casualties from 1989 to 2011, including comparisons with national trends that readers may compare and contrast.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (17) | Disagree (14)

Idris and Dave

You have expressed your views on the topic of right to silence and I'm now drawing a line under that dialogue.

Some readers may be surprised that we permitted this strongly worded exchange, but I must point out that it was Idris who raised the subject of exercising his right to silence in a case relating to a speeding offence committed in a vehicle registered in his name.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (19) | Disagree (3)

Challenging bad law is one thing, being told by the highest court in the land and then the ECHR that your're wrong and still not being able to accept it is bordering on the dillusional and displays stunning arrogance.

Cameras may not be the last word in casualty reduction but they're an effective tool for enforcing one of the rules of the road. Or are we to deal with infringements on a case by case basis which would cost the tax payer hugely?
Dave, Leeds

Agree (29) | Disagree (19)

Those who disapprove of my right (and duty) to challenge bad law understand neither the law, why it is bad, why Liberty fought the case nor why every lawyer I knew approved. It is not about speeding but about "the right to silence", a vital principle of our law for centuries along with "innocent until proven guilty" and "beyond reasonable doubt" an essential defence against an over-mighty or corrupt State.

It remains available to every murderer, rapist, terrorist or other criminal - excepting only drivers/keepers in relation to "modest" offences (fine <£1,000 (£2,500 on motorways) or jail).

Dave is wrong - registered keepers of vehicle involved in burglary, murder (or death by dangerous driving) are legally entitled to refuse to identify.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (18) | Disagree (19)

Perhaps the unnamed offender ("47 in a 30") felt that posted speed limits and stopping distances were not really relevant to them, as their normal method of 'safe driving' entailed swerving around every unexpected hazard without the need to slow down at all!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (15)

NIP is a warning that you may face prosecution because your vehicle has been connected to an offence. It seeks to identify who the driver of a vehicle was at the time of the offence. Just as if a vehicle had been used in a robbery the police would call on the registered keeper to find out who was driving it at the time. Refusing to name the driver is in effect aiding and abetting. If you're the registered keeper of a vehicle you have a responsibility to know who's using it.

As with many other offences those who decide to accept they were in the wrong and accept the consequences of their actions often get a lighter punishment.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (20) | Disagree (18)

In explanation, I think that Idris is referring to a case where a car was caught travelling at 47mph in a 30mph limit and the registered owner of the car refused to name the person who was driving the car at the time.

The owner then took his case to all the higher courts possible in a 'Don Quixote' style attempt to avoid his responsibilities as a registered keeper of a car. He failed.

Those who don't wish to be held responsible for the use of their registered vehicles whilst on the public highway, including the organisation referred to above, were dismayed.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (24) | Disagree (16)

Having taken the "right to silence" to the Grand Chamber ECHR, I confirm that S172 is not only blackmail but also attempts to pervert the course of justice, thousands of times a day:

NIP's say, in effect "We think you committed a crime but as we can't prove it we insist you must confess. If you refuse the penalty will be much worse, including costs, legal fees, your name in the paper and 6 not 3 penalty points". (A vital difference for many.)
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (20) | Disagree (26)

Neil and Eric

Thank you both for your interesting contributions to this discussion thread. You have both had the opportunity to articulate your positions but I'm going to draw a line under your dialogue at this point, to avoid repitition. Thanks for your co-operation.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (21) | Disagree (4)

Mr Bridgstock
I didn't bring his brother's tragic death into the discussion as that is something that a camera almost certainly wouldn't have prevented.

I wasn't with the Partnership in 2002, but here's a link to local media coverage where the Judge references their speed as between 80 and 90mph:

Of course, we won't know for certain if the people involved would have been "racing" at those speeds if a camera had been present or not. But I believe that it would have formed a deterrent and would have given them more time to react to the roadworks (whether or not they were properly signed).

Had the drivers been doing 60mph then their reaction distances would have been shorter and their vehicle's kinetic energy lower - and this may have made all of the difference.

But we do know, looking at the data for the camera in question (as per our website and which is validated with the DfT) that KSI collisions at the site have gone down from between 4/5 per 5 year block pre-installation to 1 in the 5 year block post installation.
Neil Hopkins, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership

Agree (22) | Disagree (17)

Mr Hopkins.

I did not ask for statistical trends, which can be influenced by numerous factors. My question related to actual incidents and what could credibly have prevented them.

The report states: "Barry Dey, 29, was killed instantly after a car travelling at 80mph on the opposite side of the A24 Ashington bypass from Horsham to Worthing ploughed across the central reservation into his van."

I do not see how a camera could have prevented that - why (root cause) did the car cross the central reservation and, even if he had been doing 60, it's likely to be a tragic collision.

"His brother Tim died in a crash near Alton in Hampshire when he was struck by a motorcyclist travelling on the wrong side of the road." Again, no reason why a speed camera could have prevented this.

Safety engineering involves hazard assessment and measures to remove the root causes of the hazards.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (19) | Disagree (26)

In reply to Mr Bridgstock, if you look at the camera map on our website ( you'll be able to see the history of KSI collisions across our area per camera, with data going back to 1990 in most cases. Overall, the KSI casualties at all of our camera sites have decreased although there are one/two exceptions (and these are being looked at for other measures eg engineering work).

You'll also be able to turn on the layers showing Fatal, Serious and Slight injuries layered across the map - not just at camera sites to give you a picture of our casualties on all roads.

Of course, you'll never be able to prove how many people have NOT been injured because of any intervention - whether that's a speed device or not.

However, there is one camera that instantly springs to mind - A24 Southbound at Grinders Lane (use our address search to find it). That camera was turned on by a mother after one of her sons was killed in a speed related collision (this story from The Argus refers - ). Since 2005, the section of road directly protected by this camera has seen 1 fatal injury.

If you look at the statistics for this camera, you'll see that the figures were much higher pre-installation. There have been no other inventions that would account for the dramatic drop in the figures and, therefore, we must conclude that these cameras have had a significant effect.

Trust that this helps.
Neil Hopkins, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership

Agree (25) | Disagree (19)

I challenge Mr Hopkins to find a single crash/casualty where it can be claimed that a previously installed camera (or any other speed intervention (lower limit, humps, etc)) could credibly have prevented it. I am confident that he will not and that is why the term "snake oil salesman" is relevant, along with the comments about trends and statistics.

And Bloom's comments about SACs delivered to experienced drivers to explain why 35mph is dangerous but 33 is fine also hits the target.

There has always been valuable work to be done in road safety, but over the last 20 years too much of it has been diverted to speed management rather than educating all road users in the skills needed to stay safe.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (22) | Disagree (27)

Neil Hopkins' response:

I have taken the editorial decision to publish Neil Hopkins' response in full even though it considerably exceeds the permitted word count as Mr Bloom makes a number of comments that I feel should be addressed by someone from a road safety partnership.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (33) | Disagree (1)

Not too surprising, all in all.

However, what's obvious is that Mr Bloom is making assumptions based on his beliefs as to how things run.

For example, here in Sussex, we've got a dedicated analytical team looking at data from a wide number of sources to build up a picture of what's actually happening on the roads. There are other teams throughout our partners who look at issues on the local level too, making recommendations to political leaders based on sound analysis.

This is why we have specific criteria for installing new speed cameras (which seems to be the bulk of his argument) and why we don't just stick a camera in any-old-where (which could inflate the amount of money received from the Speed Awareness Course while having no casualty reduction benefit).

We also have criteria for where our mobile teams operate from. And all of this is public domain information via our website.

We employ people to develop the insight needed to develop casualty reduction initiatives (not just speed enforcement), which negates the comments about "snake oil salesmen" - which I genuinely don't understand even at a procurement level. Mr Bloom and others must remember that it is not the camera manufacturers who dictate how many cameras are installed or where they're installed - it's the governing bodies of the Partnerships based on analytical insight (at least here in Sussex).

The same holds true for engineering works (again, here in Sussex. I don't speak for any other Partnership). Engineering is expensive and has to be backed up with data showing the need for any measures before they're enacted.

The "blackmail" comment is an interesting one. Taking up points or an educational course as an alternative is a choice following a person being found guilty of committing an offence. It's not 'blackmail' in the legal definition as far as I can see (here's just one source: ).

If people don't like it, don't commit the offence in the first place. Sure, there are lapses in judgement with some people - which is why the educational course is designed to offer some updated skills coaching. Many of our course attendees email us afterwards with messages of thanks for the course, saying how they feel that it has improved their driving.

Mr Bloom also wipes over a lot of the good work that is being delivered in schools/colleges to new/up-and-coming drivers, work which is intended to keep them safe - not only by considering their speed related behaviours, but also on other topics such as drink-driving, mobile phone use, passenger distractions and so on.

There is a lot of work being delivered to road users of all kinds aimed at changing behaviours and saving lives. Speed is just one part of this mix.

Finally, this comment is deeply interesting:

"Politicians generally understand very little about anything. They have no formal training, have to re-seek office regularly, they ‘knee jerk reaction’ to problems originally often of their own making."

From the ABD's own website, this is the list of its patrons:

Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe
Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln
David Morris, MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale
Cllr Glenys Robers, Conservative Councillor for West End Ward in Westminster
Sammy Wilson, MP for East Antrim

All politicians, you'll note... Although one must assume that they're not being tarred with their colleague's brush.
Neil Hopkins, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership

Agree (37) | Disagree (12)

At last a politician who understands just how dangerous the "Camera Cult" has become ...most refreshing!
Nick Lowings Monmouthshire and France

Agree (26) | Disagree (25)

Godfrey Bloom is an unusual politician who says what he believes, ignoring political correctness and other modern pieties that so harm everything it touches. Whatever else opponents might say of him, no one to the best of my belief, ever says Mr. Bloom does not does not mean what he says or say what he thinks. We need many more like him in politics and beyond - I have grown weary of thinking "I heard what he said - I wonder what he really thinks?"

I read the article critically but found not one word with which I disagreed, including gross incompetence even at senior levels, failure to understand even basic statistics, deliberate misrepresentation, short-termism and refusal ever to admit fault.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (26) | Disagree (24)

They probably wanted him for his diplomatic skills:
Mike, Bristol

Agree (16) | Disagree (5)

In a statement full of sweeping generalisations I can't help but focus on the one that says "Politicians generally understand very little about anything". And the fact that, although the ABD invites a wide range of celebrities to become patrons, all its current patrons are ... well.... politicians.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (26) | Disagree (9)

Wise and knowledgeable people will welcome Mr Bloom, but will the vested interests of certain sectors of the 'road safety' industry be so welcoming?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon.

Agree (24) | Disagree (19)

......and doesn't let facts get in the way!
Right Road NW

Agree (27) | Disagree (16)

At last someone who tell it like it is.
A Melton

Agree (26) | Disagree (26)

Blooming marvellous. A breath of fresh air.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (31) | Disagree (33)