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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Speed and the motorist (and speed cameras). The subject has been controversial since the red flag law was withdrawn in 1878. Don”t forget we commemorate the event every November with the veteran car run to Brighton.
The whole idea of speed cameras and the speed limit needs looking into. According to a government review last week the positioning of speed cameras has shown they are all in the right place. Eric Morecambe might have said that they were the right cameras in the wrong places (after probably being stopped by the long arm of the law in the Lower Harpenden Road). The review concluded that none of the new yellow cameras should be removed, or in other words they are all perfectly positioned!
ABTN is not opposed to speed cameras. They have a role to play, but like many ideas ”for the good of the motorist” they themselves have been overtaken by the desk bound civil servant. (It is an ABTN theory that those who impose driving regulations should drive themselves ” that would reduce bureaucracy by a certain percentage.) Speed humps were another good idea to help safety that has been completely hijacked by the anti-motoring brigade. If the limit is 30 mph surely one should be able to drive over them at 30 mph in reasonable comfort and not the 10 mph that is often the case. One notorious stretch near Wembley Stadium in North London has 27 speed humps in less than half a mile. It”s more like driving in the back streets of Baghdad without the bullets.
Have you driven a 1960”s car in recent times? They cannot stop (drum breaks), cannot go around corners (cart springs), but can still get up to 90 mph and lack even the most rudimentary of safety equipment. It was into this society that the 70 mph speed limit was introduced. In the 21st century even the Smart Car can get up into the eighties and we are (right) protected by seat belts and air bags . If there is one law broken in this country more times than any other it must be the motorway speed limit. Stick to 70 mph even in the centre lane and you will be flashed, hooted at and made to feel second rate.
A major review needs to be undertaken on the law of the road focussing essentially on speed limits and their implementation.
Should the motorway speed limit be raised to 80 mph? And whilst on that subject why not ban vehicles over a certain height from the outside lane where they obstruct the view. That would get rid of the ”white van” brigade and make it far safer as one looks ahead.
Councils should be forced to implement the current rules covering humps.
And finally there has to be transparency (a wonderful word now used to uncover all sorts of fundamentally dishonest acts) in the way that speed cameras are sited. The criticism is that they are a money-raising exercise for the Treasury in 2002-03 raising ”73m in fines for the partnership bodies of police and councils of which ”7m went to the Exchequer. It now appears that hundreds of speed cameras have been paced at locations without a history of road casualties. The Department for Transport had previously claimed that cameras were placed only where there had been a minimum number of injury-causing accidents. However a draft 140-page handbook issued last October allows discretion over where 15% are located. The handbook was placed in the House of Commons library but the Department failed to announce that it had changed the rules. According to official figures 59% of drivers exceed 30mph limits. Cameras can also be placed on roads ”that do not meet minimum engineering requirements” or where they are worrying residents (or some residents as is usually the case).
Speed limits and speed cameras. It”s not unlike parking. Put in the restrictions and it just moves the problem to another stretch of road elsewhere, it does not actually solve the problem.
There has to be a compromise in the 21st century. It”s no good the government coming out with figures that are blatantly of no value and at the same time we don”t want high-speed motorists on unsuitable roads. Nor taxation by stealth. If the government really meant what it says it would demand speed restrictors in every car. There has to be compromise. It is an issue that really needs to be looked into.