Caught on camera: 149 mph tops list of England and Wales’ speeders

12.00 | 28 May 2014 | | 58 comments

A motorist on the M25 at Swanley holds the record for the highest speed clocked by a speed camera in England and Wales between April 2013 and May 2014. 

The 149 mph figure was revealed following freedom of information requests to 39 police authorities by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). 85% of police authorities responded to the FOI request.

The highest speed recorded on a 30mph road was 96mph on the B1288 in Gateshead. On a 50mph road the highest speed was on the A414 at Stanstead Abbotts in Hertfordshire where a motorist clocked 119 mph. The highest speed on a 60mph road was 127mph on the A413 Wendover By-Pass.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “149 miles per hour equates to nearly two and a half miles in a minute. If anything goes wrong at that speed, you’re unlikely to walk away and are a grave danger to the innocent road users around you.”

“Speed limits are a limit – not a target to beat. Unfortunately this message has not got through to many motorists and it’s clear that efforts to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving continue to fail.  That’s why we need sustained campaigning by the Government, motor industry and charities to keep ramming home the message that excessive speed kills. 

“Catching speeders at two or even three times the limit also shows the importance of keeping speed cameras at well-known black spots.

“The current guidelines on sentencing for excessive speeding offences are out of sync with modern roads, modern vehicles and society’s view of the value of lives lost in crashes. 

“We all share the roads with these speeding drivers and the Government must crack down on them with more consistent penalties and tougher measures to break their addiction for speed.”

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    Well Hugh, I have ridden down the motorway at over 150MPH and nobody batted an eye. Mind you it was on the Autobahn in Germany a country noted for its apalling accident record.

    The press release gives only four instances of evil speeders. Let’s assume for a minute that if there are 30 million drivers in the country banning these four people would only make the system 4/30,000,000ths ‘safer’ as a result. Not much of a payoff is it?

    When you consider the legion of drivers that are banned from the roads every year, you would expect these disqualifications to have had a significant effect on the accident rate. Trouble is that this doesn’t seem to be bourne out by the facts and if there has been any effect then it will be negligible at best. This is yet another indication that the punishment culture is entirely counter-productive.


    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I don’t know if that’s a serious question Eric, however if a Police officer triggers a camera they still have to justify their actions and at these speeds, whether they are taken off the road or not I presume would be up to the police authority and possiblty the courts if they were prosecuted. I remember you saying yourself that certain police officers have the abilty and authority to drive at these speeds if necessary.

    It may surprise you and Dave to know that speeders are not necessarily hardened criminals, so let’s assume that the subjects of this news item are ‘members of the public’ with no dubious ‘reason’ or excuse to behave like this, which is most speeders.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Hugh
    As Dave Finney observed in commnent #1 “Were they drug-dealers, criminal gangs, in stolen cars, or were they Police or other emergency services on 999 calls?”. We have no indication of the circumstances or culprit. If it were a blues and twos police car doing 149mph in a 70, do you still think they should be taken off the road? Yes or no?


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Fortunately Duncan, ‘everybody else’ does not do 96mph in 30, or 149mph in a 70. You can investigate their resident pathogens to your heart’s content if you want, but in the meantime and for everyone’s safety, they should be taken off the road via the enforcement system. Agreed? Yes or no?


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    All systems are run through a series of rules, so I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of them. What I am against however, is the idea that enacting and enforcing more and more of those rules makes any difference whatsoever to the underlying safety of the system.

    Hugh asks “at what speed thresholds would I have regarded them as resonsible and law abiding?” The answer to that question is the same as it’s always been and that is “roughly the same as everybody else would do in similar circumstances.”

    The ‘rules’ of the road transport system are mostly defined by you doing what everybody else does. This is the first and most important rule as it shows the inate capacity for human beings to learn from other people. You can punish people as much as you like if they don’t do what everybody else does, but you’ll never learn why they thought it was OK to break the convention in the first place.

    Somebody overtakes on a double white line and in the punishment culture they are fined or banned. Taking the new view of accident causation we ask why the driver thought he could get away with breaking the rule and what the circumstances were that influenced his decision. The information you gain from making these enquiries is of enormous value to understanding the shortcomings and ‘resident pathogens’ in the system and once you understand them you can begin to eradicate them.


    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Duncan:
    You must surely agree that the offenders referred to in the news item are ‘bad apples’? If so, do you not also agree that it was right that they had been detected and dealt with by the law (i.e banned)? Out of interest, assuming you agree, at what speed thresholds would you have regarded them as resonsible and law abiding and not ‘bad apples’?


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Duncan
    So, exactly what are you proposing? More rules, fewer rules, less enforcement of rules. It just isn’t clear.


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    I’m inclined to think the Highways are a system which is unsafe (because it of necessity permits conflict) but equally made unsafe by its users. Every system that sets rules assumes people will break them, otherwise there would be no need for a penalty regime. Question is, would the Highways be safer if there were none at all? I suspect not.

    Not sure about the statement “most accidents happen when people are operating entirely within the rules of the system”. The rules prohibit driving without due care and attention, failing to stop/give way and all manner of other behaviours.

    The balance between casualties ocurring within the rules and outside of them may simply reflect the proportion of travel done in each way. That doesn’t mean a camera is an inappropriate response to a problem site where people consistently disregard the speed limit.


    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    Rod:
    I think you’ll find that the statement “you can’t punish safety into a system” means that the system will not become any safer irrespective of the number of people you punish for breaking the rules. The road transport system is inherently unsafe, a fact that becomes clear when you realise that most accidents happen when people are operating entirely within the rules of the system. For sure there are some headline grabbing events where terrible accidents have happened due to a blatant disregard for the rules, but these represent only a very tiny minority. If you have a system that regularly kills people when they operate within the rules and only rarely when they operate outside them then it’s fairly obvious that there’s something wrong with the system and there’s something wrong with the rules.

    We punish over two million people a year for ‘speeding’ and so you would have thought that enormous number would be having a profound effect on the accident rate. The fact that the rate is hardly changing at all does not bear this out yet many people still think that more punishment is the answer. My only interest is in making the system safer by understanding the human factors involved so forgive me if I don’t subscribe to the punishment culture that has proven not to be of any benefit. -NVT-


    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Duncan keeps talking about “not punishing safety into a system” but he needs to clarify whether he is:-

    1) against any rules being set
    2) against any technology that identifies if rules have been broken
    3) against any penalty when those rules have been broken and detected.

    All a speed camera does is to detect whether an infringement has taken place. It is the owner of the vehicle that decides whether to accept or contest the evidence collected by the camera.

    It seems to me that if you don’t have any penalty (punishment in his terms) then effectively you don’t have any rules.


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Tim,
    I will probably have to repeat this until I’m blue in the face, but the fact is that you can’t punish safety into a system. A system is either unsafe, but made safe by the people operating within it, or it is safe and made unsafe by the people operating within it. Speed cameras assume the latter state to be correct when in fact it is the former that properly describes the system. -NVT-


    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I am heartened by Eric’s acceptance that some enforcement may be beneficial to safety and that failure of judgement causes most crashes. Although why experienced drivers should not be guided away from grossly exceeding safe speeds is still a mystery. If measured speed is an artificial construct, the sacred 85%ile principle must be artificial squared. It assumes the judgement of most drivers is correct and they take account of all risk factors not just those that threaten them, and that this does not vary.

    The idea that some cameras are risk generators and others not sounds like a line of reasoning that does not determine the speed of approach to a camera but is used to try to vindicate outcomes retrospectively.

    Eric I will read your material with interest. I see it contains details of tragic incidents involving fatalities at camera sites which evoke my heartfelt sympathy, but none detailing the loss of loved ones at locations where speed enforcement was not carried out. It describes itself as “a near-proof” of the non-value of cameras.

    Imagine the baying that would arise if a public body were to do such thing. Proof is proof, anything else is not.


    Tim Philpot, Woverhampton
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    Honor is correct in stating that mean and 85%ile speeds should be collected. But DfT guidance actually states that “mean” speeds should be used as the basis for determining local speed limits (01/2013 para 35). This change away from the use of 85%iles was originally made in the 2006 guidance.


    Rod King – 20’s Plenty for Us, Cheshire
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    To get back to the news item Eric, the type of motorists referred to in the article ARE the hazards and the devices used to detect and prosecute them are not, as Tim has eloquently explained.

    Even if it were logistically and practically possible to ‘set’ speed limits at your magical, misunderstood and oft-quoted 85th%ile speed, an awful lot of speed limits would have to be lowered. I get the feeling that you and certain motoring pressure groups do not want that.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I note that the three justifications for speed limit setting that Eric has put forward relate only to the drivers or vehicles and not to the many others who use the roads e.g. cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders, children; who have also to use and cross i.e. share the same roads. Local Highways Authorities must take account of both the mean speeds and 85% along with the type and use of the road, other users and so on. It’s not just about the speed most drivers might prefer.


    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    Tim says “Whenever you catch a ball or cycle round a corner you are making speed calculations”.

    Duncan is the expert here, but even I can see that to catch a ball you are actually calculating where to put your hand, and when, and how much it may hurt. The actual speed of the ball or the bike is incidental – experience tells you that a cricket ball hit from 50 years away is likely to hurt but you have no idea if it it travelling at 30, 50, 70 or 90mph.

    Similarly, for cycling round a bend the “calculation” is “will I skid, or fall off?”

    Driving is similar – to be safe, the calculation is “will I avoid a collision” or “could I stop in the event of an incident?”. This explains why it is possible to drive safely indefinitely with a broken speedometer – your judgement is independent of actual speed, and it is failure of judgement that causes most crashes.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    For the record, Hugh, the three bullets describing the purpose of speed limits were originally defined by the late Paul Smith. I agreed with him. What is it about them that you disagree with? I found them today via a web search on the ABD website, while at my workplace, but the ABD would have taken them from Paul.

    It is nothing to do with not liking speed cameras, it is a drive to improve road safety, partly by avoiding introducing hazards.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Speed limits per se is not really what this news story is about, however just for the record, Eric’s explanation of them (or to be precise, the ABD’s explanation which he’s copied) is way off the mark. We know you don’t like speed cameras Eric – just leave it at that.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    If limits are set at the 85%ile speed they contribute to road safety and provide a positive contribution in the following ways:
    • They guide inexperienced drivers away from grossly exceeding safe speeds.
    • They warn drivers of expected hazard density.
    • They provide a basis for enabling the police to prosecute those who drive at recklessly high speeds for the conditions.

    Setting limits lower than the 85%ile (and one of the criteria for camera placement is that the prosecution threshold is lower than the 85%ile) and then enforcing at those levels is what introduces the hazardous behaviours I have described previously. Such actions are therefore harmful to road safety.

    I note (Tim) no reference to any independent report that considers these negative effects and demonstrates a net positive outcome.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    I think Tim puts it over better than anyone. Keep ’em coming Tim..you’re on a roll!


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Duncan makes an interesting point, and I concede that measured speed is an arbitrary construct. But I would have to contend that while we don’t generally calculate speed arithmetically we all make functional speed calculations in everyday acts: we just do them subconsciously. The survival of the species may have depended on being able to anticipate the movement of fish to know when to throw the spear. Whenever you catch a ball or cycle round a corner you are making speed calculations.

    Measured speed became useful with the mass use of powered transport and the conflicts that creates. The modern car insulates the driver from many of the factors which would assist them to make reasoned decisions. The considerable number of lone motorist collisions would suggest motorists still overestimate their vehicle control in spite of all assistive technology, and anecdotal evidence suggests that some motorists’ concept of risk extends only as far as those visible factors that threaten themselves. In this context, setting arbitrary parameters has a clear value in regulating behaviour.


    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    Eric, I do not advocate the wilful increase of hazard (your analogous “slippery step”) to encourage compliance. The thought is repellent and exposes your entrenched blindness to the fact that a camera is not a hazard. Your clear philosophy is that speed limits should not be enforced in case this causes a negative reaction by offenders.

    Essentially this means that speed limits don’t exist and by extrapolation many other interventions by the forces of law don’t either. Civil disobedience has achieved many fine things but the freedom to disregard collective safety arrangements is not one of them; yours is a recipe for anarchy.

    I take my views not from any report which by definition homogenises results but from association with an extensive safety camera scheme in which no site to my knowledge has been the “cause” of increased casualties and many have had positive results. The problem here is the motorist not the camera, and that is where the solution lies.


    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    I just love these exchanges because everybody is arguing over something that doesn’t actually exist, at least as far as the human brain is concerned anyway. Speed (the result of distance travelled divided by the time taken) is not a calculation that our brains are capable of doing, although we can do the mental arithmetic if given the numbers, simply because we don’t have the neccessary neurons to do the sum. Because of this shortcoming speed information has to be delivered to our senses from an external source such as a speedometer, something that was only invented a few decades ago.

    If our survival as a species had relied on us knowing the actual speed of objects then we would no doubt have been wiped out long ago so it’s surprising that speed features so strongly in our modern culture. By focussing on an external construct (speed) rather than looking at the internal functions of the brain, the pro and con speed factions are doing the public a serious disservice. -NVT-


    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I agree with Hugh

    Tim Philpot (four posts below) has brought a ray of clear and impartial thinking and commonsense to this discussion thread.


    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    (Eric)

    Fascinating…I’m sure it’s an accurate report.

    By the way, wasn’t Tim’s comment and argument excellent? Concealing the cameras would solve the perceived sudden braking and distraction problem at a stroke and allay your concerns.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Tim
    Usually risky to move to analogies but …

    I suggest the stairs are the road and a slippery step designed to “discourage running on the stairs”, and clearly signed as such, is the speed camera.
    Do you advocate a slippery step?

    Crucially, returning to the cameras, a collision triggered by a reaction to a camera would be unlikely to occur if the camera were not there. Where is the evidence that more collisions are being prevented by that camera than are being triggered by it? I know of no reports acknowledging these negative effects and showing a net benefit. Can you enlighten me?


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Hugh
    I am aware of reports, particularly in the US, where amber light times are deliberately shortened to increase revenue from “red light jumpers”, and which lead to increased rear-end shunts from sudden hard braking.
    Here is an example report
    http://www.alternet.org/story/145752/cities_shortening_yellow_traffic_lights_for_deadly_profit
    It emphasises the need for road safety personnel to set timings, speed-limits etc according to good road engineering rather than at the whim of politicians or the public.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric:
    This is akin to blaming the stairs because you fell down them while running. A speed camera is an inanimate motionless object. It does not, indeed cannot cause sudden braking.

    What does is the fear experienced by a motorist realising they may be held to account for failing in the responsibilities they have agreed to. The situation is of their making, the consequence their choice.

    This is not a problem with the camera, but as said, there is an obvious agreeable resolution which is to conceal the cameras. Ironically they have only been fitted with hi-vis backing to satisfy people who complained that if they were there for safety reasons rather than revenue raising they should be clearly visible.

    As for distraction, this is anything you and anyone else wants to pretend qualifies, police cars, lollipop ladies, zebra crossings, the list is endless and so pointless.

    It’s questionable whether anyone who can’t control their tendency to distraction should really be driving. In any other walk of life where you had the potential to kill someone the onus would be on you to demonstrate competence.


    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    Eric:
    As Tim has mentioned traffic signals, have you thought about looking into the effectivenesss of red light cameras? Your criticisms of speed cameras could also apply to these surely? I’m not aware of any motorists pressure groups specifically devoted to these however.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Unlikely actually Eric. The last time I looked at a camera partnership’s website was probably about two years ago when I last worked with one of them and it was certainly not for inspiration!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for speed cameras – they’re justified, but the organisations behind them don’t really help themselves with their too limited a view of their effectiveness and over-reliance on data to justify them.

    I think I’ve said before, the cameras’ contribution to accident prevention – like most interventions – is actually incalcuable and to try and ‘prove’ otherwise is pointless and will be a never-ending task.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Tim
    If you introduce something on the roads which increases risk (causes sudden braking and distraction to name but two hazards) and which requires driver education to mitigate that risk, then you need to demonstrate that the net contribution of that intervention is positive.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    An inanimate object cannot be the cause of a collision unless it is improperly placed or moves into the normal path of a vehicle. The contentious issue is driver reaction to the presence of a camera. Drivers are expected to show awareness and adherence to speed limits to qualify for a licence and agree to abide by them when they accept it. What is shown by all research on the subject is not that cameras are bad but that some drivers react badly to them, and this is a case for better driver education, not removal of cameras. It might even be a case for concealment of cameras.

    Any intervention can be decried. Why are certain parties not calling for the removal of traffic lights because they encourage drivers to jump them? Or crossing patrols because they undermine parental responsibility? Or for the repeal of all speed limits because they distract drivers from the task in hand? There is a notable correlation between independence and extreme views. Those of us who are not independent but are accountable recognise the complexity of interventions and do not rely on black and white answers.


    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    Hugh
    It would be equally valid to compare some of your comments with those that can be found on, say, Camera Partnership websites. I believe you used to work with speed cameras? In the same way, I would expect an account of a particular football match in The Independent to have similarities to one in the Telegraph.

    I am bound to have some thoughts and ideas in common with other engineers analysing this issue, and have occasional communication with some of them (as well as with “camera supporters”). Crucially, I am free of any external control over what I can say and have no other influences, such as financial.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric’s definition of ‘independent’ seems fair i.e “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself”, “not relying on another or others for aid or support”.

    I’m sure therefore that any similarities between what he (and one or two others) sometimes says on this forum and what can be found on sites such as the ABD and Safespeed – to name but two – is purely coincidental.

    I confirm that I am also independent and have not been sponsored by any organisation or manufacturer to say this.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Nick
    You seem to be confusing impartial
    “unbiased, unprejudiced, equitable”
    with independent
    “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself”, “not relying on another or others for aid or support”.
    I know of no-one on this forum who is impartial. I am one of the few who can claim to be totally independent.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric

    My last contribution to this thread.

    You came onto this forum and made a very wide and sweeping statement:

    “Certain elements of enforcement do not fall in that category and actually have a net detrimental effect”

    I did not publish it initially because I doubted you would be able to back it up with an independent source who would validate your claim, but you then specifically asked for it to be published, which I have done.

    Now what I’m asking is for you to prove your claim with a link or reference to an independent study. Not work carried out by you or anyone who has campaigned long and hard against speed cameras, because you can hardly be considered impartial as you have clearly stated your position on countless occasions.

    It would appear to me that you are unable to provide a link to an independent study carried out by a recognised source such as an academic organisation etc to substantiate your claim.


    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    Further to Eric’s clarification, I’m now presuming (with some relief) that none of the individuals who ‘disagreed’ with Ruth Gore’s earlier comment, are actually involved in road safety or accident prevention. I was worried there for a moment.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Nick
    For the record, my work is INDEPENDENT – no commercial or other vested interest, not a member of any organisation – and it is based on sound safety engineering principles that I have applied professionally for 25 years. The only problem is that it does not suit the view of the establishment, which is stacked with vested interests.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Nick
    You’ve, possibly unwittingly, hit the nail on the head. You say that “(there may well be) others in the opposing camp very keen to promote the effectiveness of cameras”. I suggest that their enthusiasm is driven more by their vested commercial interest than any (unproven) safety effectiveness view.

    The rest of us campaign passionately against the effectiveness of speed cameras simply through years of analysis and correspondence – with no interest other than improving road safety and ridding our roads of hazardous interventions.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric

    Here’s the problem as I see it.

    Regular readers will know that you, Idris, Dave and others campaign passionately against the effectiveness of speed cameras.

    Equally, I accept there may well be others in the opposing camp very keen to promote the effectiveness of cameras.

    Is there an independent study – published by an academic or independent source – that backs up your claim that:

    “Certain elements of enforcement do not fall in that category and actually have a net detrimental effect”

    If there is, I’m sure that readers would be very interested to see it.


    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    Nick

    You already have it – the Bridgstock Theory and Corollary – reviewed by numerous “experts” in both camps and yet to be disproved. Idris’s work in progress is also showing no or negative benefit from cameras. Dave Finney’s published paper also aligns.

    How many more will die through the deployment of speed cameras?


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric
    For the benefit of our readers could you please provide a link to a source which underpins the following statement which you make below:

    “Certain elements of enforcement do not fall in that category and actually have a net detrimental effect”


    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    Hugh
    My original comment explained that but it was moderated.

    The bit removed said: “Certain elements of enforcement do not fall in that category and actually have a net detrimental effect.”


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    That’s taken as read Eric. Still doesn’t explain the ‘disagrees’ though.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Idris:
    That the equivalent to building about 3 miles of extra motorway a year. I will leave it to you to guess which I would value more highly.


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Rod,are you not aware that speed cameras cost £100m a year, have cost so far close to £2bn and that there is no way on earth they cover their costs.


    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Hugh (and Ruth)
    The only “strands” that have a place in making our roads safe are those which have a proven or credible positive effect on road safety.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Who, on a road safety forum, could possibly take issue with Ruth Gore’s comment enough to ‘disagree’ with it? Very odd. Which bit did he or she not agree with?


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Isn’t road safety a mixture of tools?

    Engineering, education, raising awareness and enforcement to name just a few strands. They all have their place in making our roads safer.


    Ruth Gore, Safer Roads Humber
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    Of course the assessment of the risks of speed cameras has to be weighed against the risks of non-compliance with speed limits. I suspect that the latter has contributed to rather more than 5 fatalities.


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Thanks Tim for the correction. I think I was responding to the expression “huge resources” which did seem rather a hyperbole. Does anyone know the base running cost of a modern digital camera including depreciation/leasing and maintenance?


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    On a point of fact I have to take issue with Rod’s comment below. The overall cost-benefit balance of safety cameras may be debated from now ’til judgement day, but their installation and maintenance consume significant resources regardless of the number of activations. The operation of any enforcement system (parking is just the same) involves a precarious balancing act: too little activity and it is ineffective, too much and it attracts the label “cash cow”, losing the trust of the community it is intended to serve.

    Ironically, successful enforcement systems cut off their own oxygen supply, unless they are underpinned by dedicated funds. The technology is on its way to do what Rod desires with covert and randomly-placed cameras, and I see some merit in a road network where motorists should at all times act as if their speed is being monitored, now that conscience and responsibility are not fitted as standard. But in reality any operational case for such enforcement will have its limitations, and can only ever be relied on as a partial solution.


    Tim Philpot
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    I don’t disagree with the laws, but when the enforcement of those (speed) laws by cameras is on record as contributing to the deaths of at least five road users, then we have a serious road safety issue that needs to be debated and resolved. We must not continue to enforce laws regardless of the consequences.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Eric
    Obeying the laws which are set is surely fundamental to any discussion of road safety.Don’t the rules of the road underpin everyone’s responsibility and actions whilst using the roads? Do you disagree?


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    I think the IAM made this particular enquiry simply because they knew it could generate a sensational headline. A FOI enquiry asking how many vehicles were stopped for exceeding a weight limit for instance, probably wouldn’t.


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    It is Rod who is missing the point. This is a road safety website, not a law enforcement website. Similarly, the IAM is principally (supposedly) a road safety organisation. Dave Finney asks highly pertinent questions, answers to which would shed much light on the issue.


    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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    Dave is missing the point. Speeding is the criminal offence in question.

    Whether the speed was “dangerous” for the conditions is also irrelevant. I understand that “strict liability” in motoring law applies regarding being the registered keeper of a car exceeding the speed limit and that drivers do not have the ability to adjust the maximum permitted speed based on their judgment of the “danger” involved. And let’s remember that a speed camera consumes no resources. It’s the speeders that they record that consume the resources.

    To my mind the sooner we can move towards covert and randomly placed cameras, then the better.


    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    The IAM chief executive seems to have jumped to conclusions despite vital information being missing. Were they drug-dealers, criminal gangs, in stolen cars, or were they Police or other emergency services on 999 calls? In particular, were all of the motorists successfully prosecuted? If not then are speed cameras the right answer to the problem? Would the huge resources speed cameras consume produce better or worse road safety if it were instead spent on traffic Police who can prosecute such drivers?

    Also, were the speeds dangerous for the conditions? Were there children playing, cyclists, pedestrians, rain or fog? Or were the roads empty, perhaps at 3am? Did a crash actually occur at the time, or did the same drivers crash while speeding at other times?

    With sensationalist stories lacking vital information such as this, is it possible to have a calm and rational debate about evidence?


    Dave Finney, Slough
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