/ Motoring

Best comments: Are you for or against speed cameras?

Speed camera sign on road in Scottish highlands

Speed cameras – you either love ’em or hate ’em. The debate, started by motoring expert Richard Headland, fired you all up. Now it’s time to read the best comments and vote in our poll – for or against speed cameras?

Speed cameras have clearly polarised opinion. Richard’s article sparked a heated debate, leading to over 200 comments.

Many of you felt speed cameras did nothing for road safety, but others said it was madness to turn them off. So here’s a selection of the best and a poll to decide once and for all – should speed cameras stay or go?

Arguments for speed cameras

Peter Vaughn: “I have rarely heard anything so stupid as getting rid of speed cameras. They are proven in independent research to cut down accidents and deaths in particular areas – so are we expecting boy racers and others idiots on our roads to automatically slow down when requested to do so? You must be joking. The only reason they slow down is because of the fear of a fine and points on the licence.”

R Fletcher: “Speed limits are already widely ignored. Removing cameras can only make it worse, and will give those addicted to speeding the feeling that the authorities don’t really care.”

David Wilson: “I wish, I wish… that there were more speed cameras. Clearly the proceeds from the fines should go to local councils, not only to help them in their own traffic management, but also to encourage them to install more.

“As a resident of Brighton I am fed up with motorists speeding along the seafront – this is MY seafront, with MY family and friends and their children […] crossing the road to get to the beach.”

Kevin: “What is wrong with this nation? We don’t want ourselves or our families put in danger by selfish drivers driving at excessive speeds, yet we want the freedom to drive at speeds far in excess of the legal limit! I think the truth is we all break speed limits and we don’t like being caught. Only way to avoid fines and penalties is not to speed. We should not turn cameras off.”

Justin Cooper: “Before I retired I was responsible for, among other things, where cameras went in my council’s area. It is a fact that all the cameras I had put in place were at sites that had an accident record. At these sites, the number of accidents after […] went down.

“It would be much better if cameras were hidden but only at spots that are genuinely known to be dangerous. That should be in parallel with a general (upward) review of most speed limits; e.g. m’ways to 80mph.”

Arguments against speed cameras

CW (in reply to Justin Cooper): “Of course accidents went down, you waited until there had been an unusually high number of accidents! If you’d stuck a garden gnome beside the road, accidents would have gone down.”

dabhand16: “If safety cameras were only used in accident black spots where speed was a factor in the majority of the recorded accidents they would be accepted more. It has been established that many are sited in locations where there were few accidents.”

Andy Hale: “I’ve never been ‘done’ for speeding, but I loathe speed cameras. I feel intimidated by them and I’m glad that for 15 years up until last September I lived in North Yorkshire where there are none. Whenever I travelled to other parts of the country I felt I was under big brother type observation.”

Sharon Metcalfe: “Get rid of speed cameras. They are just there to make money that never even gets ploughed back in to repairing local roads.

“All speed cameras do is make you look down at your speedo to check that you are exactly at the speed or under it. Braking to get to the correct speed is downright dangerous.”

Keith: “I am ex traffic cop and now voluntarily survey speed limit orders as we all should. The assumption that they are there for a reason is false. Most of the orders I have on file are totally arbitrary, unscientific and have no accident history attached. Neither are the police instrumental in setting them. As a result most speed limits […] are in fact for no apparent reason at all and most are totally inappropriate.”

Adam Sanders: “If we continue to dumb down the motorist and tell them what to do, they will concentrate less. Speed humps, traffic lights, cameras, even signage not only distract but actively discourage them from concentrating on driving.

“It’s time we started to give people (and drivers) some credit for their intelligence. Only then will we see some real reduction in road traffic accidents.”

Read the original article and all comments on the speed cameras debate here.

Are you for or against speed cameras?

Against (53%, 425 Votes)

For (47%, 382 Votes)

Total Voters: 807

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Comments

THEN and NOW.

Down the straight, free as a bird,
Double-de-clutch and down to third.
Round the bend and accelerate out,
Flat out at sixty or there about.

Watch your thirty now my dear,
There’s a camera lurking very near.
Mind that rubber, road speed bump,
Did you see that red light jump?

Down to second to tackle the slope,
Engine roaring, but it can cope.
At the summit the clear road’s view,
Cross the downs to adventures new.

Forty, fifty, thirty all the way,
Lots more cameras ask for our pay.
Single lanes and traffic cones,
Warnings of disaster zones.
~
Boy/girl racers zoom with glee,
If they can do it, why not me?
I could show them how to speed,
But laws prevent this wicked deed.

Nanny State and crippled roads,
Enormous lorries with heavy loads.
Chaos in our towns and cities,
No more money in their kitties.

So, cameras, bumps and other traps
Are scattered piecemeal on the maps.
Legal limits, slow as snails-
-Hear the motorists’ whines and wails.

Yes, it’s crowded, we all know,
And it often makes us slow.
But, those who bash the motoring clan,
Please, be on our side when you can.

Elle Humphreys says:
22 August 2010

I am famous in my family for driving slow, such that each member of my family was aghast when I informed them that I had received a speeding ticket (for ‘speeding’ at approximately midnight on a wide, deserted road, where I was driving absolutely safely – and had not known that the speed limit was 30 – I had been clocked not much over that). In fact, my family simply could not believe that I had indeed got a ticket. Imagine then, when over a year later, when I got another, in fairly similar circumstances – they were in shock – me, the slowest driver they knew!
Whilst I do not consider myself the most technically competent driver, I can categorically state that I drive carefully and at a speed that is absolutely safe for the specific conditions at any given time (e.g. I drive at 30mph, or much slower, down country lanes where the limit by our ‘Don’t-Get-It-Right Speed Tsars’ states you can drive at, say, 50mph). My two tickets criminalised me, have made me resent ALL traffic laws now and have, without question, proved that speed cameras do not catch speedsters – they also convict the very careful. My tickets have proved, without doubt, that cameras are not for catching speedsters – they are completely indiscriminate. The fact that they selected me means that absolutely anybody is liable to be selected too. That is not justice – the selected ones are just plain unlucky! (One town councillor told me that he had never been caught but not because he didn’t speed, as he admitted he did, but because he was lucky!) What law is fair that convicts people on the basis of: you were just plain unlucky!
I shall, despite my contempt for speed cameras, continue to drive safely and not speed, as I’d like to continue to stay alive and not be a danger to others.

Sorry you broke the law – you exceeded the speed limit by your own admission – you should know the speed of the road you are on – So the speed camera did exactly what it was designed to do – catch drivers that exceed the speed limit.

They are not indiscriminate – They catch speeding motorists. They caught you.

If they were indiscriminate – they would catch me – I don’t exceed the speed limit.

No ifs or Buts – Speed Cameras catch speeding motorists.

Speed Cameras must stay.

  • (Edited by moderators – again too much shouting)
  • Allan33 says:
    31 August 2010

    No Elle, you have NOT been “criminalised”; speeding is a motoring offence NOT a criminal offence (it’s probably because you read the Daily Mail or the Express or the Sun that you’ve been led to believe that’s the case, but it’s not). And cameras don’t “convict” anyone Elle. They are there to deter the speeders from speeding, and to a large degree that’s precisely what they do.

    As I said already in another post, the average speed of people caught speeding in 30mph limits is 39mph. I’d be interested to know where you were caught on each occasion. It was obviously unfamiliar territory, and you somehow managed to miss the warning sign on each occasion. Are you sure you were focussed on the road and not perhaps speaking to someone on your mobile phone Elle? Now come on, be completely frank with us.

    Allan33 says:
    1 September 2010

    .

    Elle: Do you have contempt for the boy-racers and speedfreaks who race around everywhere they go endangering people’s lives?

    .

    I have not come across such foolish nonsense in print where the writer has attached their name (presumably). Any sensible person can be sure you were speeding, however little above the prevailing limit, and knows you were fairly caught. To do it a second time demonstrates the absurdity of your article.
    You are not criminalised you are caught, pay up and stop telling us how astounded your family were, they should have told you your `fortune’ the first time and then there may not have been a second.
    The final paragraph of your letter does not add credibility to your complaint it merely demonstrates to us other worried drivers who have to share the road with you that there is someone out there at the wheel of a metal killer who doesn’t know what they are doing.

    Big D says:
    23 August 2010

    Fixed speed cameras are just an accident waiting to happen I can’t recount how many times a car has went zooming past me to find see a camera and slam on there brakes meaning I can’t pull out into the overtaking lane to over take the driver in front how panic at the sight and slows down. The only way round this is to use average speed cameras that in my opinion would be more acceptable than the fixed units.

    Peter says:
    24 August 2010

    It is very interesting to read that some of our counties have switched off their speed camera, when their arguement all along was that they were their for safety reasons and not revenue.

    However, I understand that since all the revenue go’s to central govenment, these counties are not so keen to foot the bill for operating and maintaining the camera’s, so where in their ethics, does the safety theory fit into it ???

    Allan33 says:
    31 August 2010

    Simple solution Big D, just hide/conceal all the cameras!

    Allan33 says:
    31 August 2010

    And Peter, you’re missing the point completely, either deliberately or naively. The Tories have an agenda to abolish cameras, if they can possibly get away with it. That’s why they join in with all the lies and disinformation about cameras, and use terms such as “the war on the motorist”. It’s hard to imagine that some people swallow such poppycock propaganda nonsense, but they DO. There is no “war” going on against anyone, just a sensible and pragmatic programme of camera enforcement designed to deter the speeders and complement what the traffic police are already doing. By withdrawing and cutting central funding the Government gives its buddies in the shires the excuse to switch off their cameras.

    The answer to your problem is not to blame the camera, or the driver speeding by or the driver in front of you who slows down in panic but to leave a very safe distance between yourself and the car in front at all times. Sensible driving, crisis averted.

    Tailgating and dangerous driving should be prosecuted. The irony is that the idiot who slams on the anchors at the site of a speed camera doesn’t get punished. The tailgater’s do not get punished. The people who drive on roundabouts without signalling do not get punished. The people who sit in the overtaking lane on dual carriageways at 60MPH do not get punished. The people driving at 45 MPH on dual carriage ways forcing HGV’s to overtake them do not get punished.

    So it’s a complete load of b******s really isn’t it?

    2 million people a year getting fined, means the system is broken, the limits are too low. the money should be spent on police patrols and prosecuting the above offenders.#

    Speed is by no means a measure of safety in the modern world.

    Fixed speed camera’s in built up area’s near schools/hospitals etc would be acceptable providing they are preceeded with a flashing warning sign telling the driver to slow down. These should be placed at a reasonable distance to enable the offender to attain the correct speed without causing an accident. If they then fail to heed this warning then a huge penalty should be issued.

    But fixed speed cameras have Speed Limit signs well in front – and camera icons in front of them – they are highly visible – and have white markers shortly afterwards and well visible *before* you pass the camera. They *are * placed at a “reasonable distance to enable the offender to attain the correct speed without causing an accident” That’s why they are there..

    The trouble is speeding motorists do not bother to see them – and are caught – *then* complain!!!

    Speeding motorists *should* be punished – Hence fixed speed cameras must stay.

    Graham Marsden says:
    26 September 2010

    @Richard – Not all fixed cameras have speed limit signs in front of them by any means!

    On more than a few occasions I’ve seen a sign warning of cameras ahead but *no* limit repeater sign which is ridiculous.

    Graham,

    I can only say that ALL speed cameras I’ve passed ever since they were first installed however long ago that was – were all preceded by speed limit indicators and normally camera signs.

    However some can be obscured by large lorries that drivers tend to drive too close so obscuring their vision – or – a tree foliage has very rarely temporarily obscured it.

    But there are no speed cameras that precede the statuary speed signs – What too many drivers want is constant reminders that they are breaking the speed limit. The responsibility of the driver is to be aware – at all times – what the speed limit actually is AND what speed they are going. Then they won’t break the law..

    Again sorry but if you ignore speed signs you are to blame – there does not have to be repeater signs – drivers are expected to have working memories while driving.

    Cameras must stay.

    Graham Marsden says:
    26 September 2010

    @Richard

    There is general requirement in Direction 11 of the The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 to “provide speed limit repeater signs at regular intervals”, now it may be *your* experience that “ALL speed cameras you’ve passed […] were all preceded by speed limit indicators and normally camera signs”, however it is *my* experience that I have seen speed cameras in locations where they have *not* been preceded by speed limit repeater signs “at regular intervals”.

    Of course the most sensible place for a repeater sign would be attached to exactly the same pole that the speed camera warning sign is fixed to, but that seems to have not occurred to some authorities (it would be cynical to say that, as when cameras used to be deliberately concealed behind road signs etc, that this was simply to enhance revenue generation…)

    To glibly say that “drivers are expected to have working memories” is to miss the point.

    @Richard
    What about drivers that are unfamiliar with an area, it is like running the gauntlet.
    I’m beginning to hate this country, it appears to be full of pontificating t***s and sucking the life out of the wallets of hard working people.

    In Norfolk there are few speed cameras and I feel that generally they are in the right places. However, there are a lot of speed camera warning signs [sometimes with no indication of the prevailing speed limit] along roads where no cameras are in use. This is presumably in case they want to station a camera van at the roadside and catch errant drivers as it avoids having to erect a temporary [and noticeable] sign that would alert approaching drivers. However, the descriptions in the Official DfT Know Your Traffic Signs manual state that these signs are for where there actually is a camera in use – not where there might be one but it’s not switched on, or where a mobile camera unit might park up one day.

    I believe the existence of speed cameras does have a restraining effect on drivers. I think many drivers treat the normal built-up area limit of 30mph with contempt and something has to be done to make those roads safer; on balance cameras are an efficient way of achieving that objective. What must accompany speed cameras is clear and visible signage of the prevailing limit and sufficient forward visibility for downward changes in limits. Too many roads have overgrown hedgerows [or just bad sign location] that gives rise to the need for rapid deceleration on going from a 60 mph stretch into a 30 mph zone section. The greater use of repeater signs and road surface markings are economical ways of addressing the conscientious drivers and sensible signage for bends and other hazards would contribute enormously to road safety by encouraging drivers to get down to the right speed and into the correct gear in good time. Some villages have stretched out their 30mph sections far beyond necessity which brings speed limits into disrepute but the mobile enforcement units seem to target these sections rather than where greater dangers exist. I think the best warnings which do the job, are economical to operate, and do not penalise the driver, are the solar powered neon signs that show the limit and flash a Slow Down message to oncoming vehicles. Town and village councils can pay for these to be installed out of their local revenues and they certainly have a speed calming-effect.

    Allan33 says:
    31 August 2010

    The following is a link to a paper on the RoSPA website entitled ‘Ten Reasons to Maintain Speed Camera Enforcement’, and it’s well worth reading:

    http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/policy/statements/safetycameras-funding.aspx

    As a motorist I am fully in favour of speed cameras and have nothing to fear from them as I keep to the speed limits. Others I know do the same. There is nothing difficult in this.
    Speed cameras have been shown to be effective in substantially reducing accidents at the places where they are situated. The savings to the NHS and to the police from the reduced accident levels have far exceeded the government’s income from fines.
    My only complaint is that they are too conspicuous and well-publicised, suggesting that it is OK to break the law where there are no cameras.
    The inconsiderate law-breakers will see the proposed switching off of cameras in places like Oxfordshire as a green light to ignore the speed limits, which are there for everyone’s benefit. ‘Education’ has not worked in reducing speeds, – the only language understood by many drivers, it seems, is that of fines and penalties.

    If speed limits were set at a sensible rate, then there would be nearly 100% compliance.
    How many times have you seen people applying the brakes at speed camera sites when they were already travelling at the correct speed for fear of being prosecuted by faulty equipment? What effect does this have on traffic especially during busy times? Traffic backs up for miles and people are at a standstill further back spewing out noxious fumes and damaging the environment needlessly. Speed cameras are a scourge.
    Dangerous driving I am in favour of prosecuting.

    [Edited by moderators: profanity]

    I drive within the indicated speed limit on most roads, the only exception being the motorways where I drive at around 65mph. This is not a `holier than thou’ attitude it just seems sensible to me, I use the `Cruise Control’ on my car and this speed allows me to overtake lorries normally and stay out of the melee on the outside lane with the constant lane changing and dodging traffic doing up to 90mph, we’ve all seen it. Who are these idiots who have to get somewhere 15 minutes earlier than the regulation speed limit will let them?
    I regularly use the 50mph A2 between Bexley in Kent and the Blackwall Tunnel in London, I drive at steady speed of 50, as do most of the other cars, and see the thoughtless few racing up the inside or charging through gaps faster than the rest of us and putting on their brakes at the occasional camera. We, the steady ones, know we’ll catch them up when the A2 comes down to two lanes or when we get to the Tunnel area where the traffic invariably comes down to a crawling pace, so what’s the point of their rush?
    This scenario is repeated all over London and all over the country no doubt. Maybe there wouldn’t be so many more accidents without the cameras but we `normal, steady drivers (the majority)’ like to go about our lives not terrorised by fools who think the rest of us are there as an impediment to their progress and have an entitlement to do just as they please. Long may cameras remain with us and may they increase in number.
    I drive a lot of miles in France and like to see their Policemen parked in a layby with a hand held camera occasionally or hiding in the bushes clocking their own idiots. Its a pity we don’t have a stronger police force in this country who weren’t hamstrung by pressure groups.

    You’re actually doing 60 MPH as the speedometer always reads low.
    Thank you for unnecessarily blocking up Britain’s roads.

    If more pedestrians and cyclists looked where they were going half the time there’d probably less need for speed cameras. As a pedestrian, cyclist and a motorist I always feel that when I’m one of the latter that I’m, just more than slightly, picked upon.

    The authorities need to look more carefully at the data surrounding causes of accidents and not always assume the motorist is at fault.

    Show me a driver who says he (or she) has never exceeded the speed limit and I will show you a liar.

    But the problem is that people are complaining that because they have been caught by a speed camera – the speed camera must go – not the same thing at all.

    I have exceeded the speed limit when going downhill – but never in the vicinity of the highly visible speed camera.

    Even if I had I wouldn’t complain about it – but pay up for breaking the law.

    Pay up?????
    Show me the victim of the “crime” first….

    Graham Marsden says:
    26 September 2010

    This conversation starts with a false premise: “Speed cameras – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em” implying that either you support *all* speed cameras or *none* which is ridiculous.

    Speed cameras do have a place, but only where they will actually promote safety, rather than simply being sited for revenue generation. The current guidelines for locating them are ridiculous and ill thought out and simply bring the whole setup into disrepute.

    I have heard that the radar controlled signs that flash eg “30mph” if you approach them too fast get much better results in slowing traffic than a camera which often seems to be treated as something to be “dodged” by slowing down and then speeding up again by many drivers and I think that many more of these should be used as they appear to get much more respect.

    Sadly that is only because radar controlled signs are new – directly the poor quality drivers get used to them they are ignored.

    Speed cameras had a similar effect – until some councils started to only activate the speed camera intermittently – Now on the A10 some drivers ignore the speed cameras because they are often off – showing that those drivers ignored speed limits too.

    Martin says:
    20 January 2011

    As one of the very few drivers who always drive within the speed limits, I think this conversation is a waste of time. When 6 people were recently shot in America, it was in our national headlines but when 9 people die unnecessarily on UK roads every day, no one cares. If we did, we would have done something about it long ago. It’s not rocket science, I myself have devised a set of actions which I am convinced would reduce so-called “accidents” by at least 75% and traffic jams by at least 50% but no one is interested. Occasional campaigns by South-West constabularies using un-marked police cars, have shown how easy it is to halve the number of road deaths in this region.
    In the meantime, I continue to drive within the speed limits because, if I was involved in a collision, I would not want to feel responsible. I do, however, have to put up with frequent aggressive behaviour from other motorists who blame me for restricting their speeding – swearing, shouting, fingers, overtaking over double white lines, undertaking when turning right, overtaking when turning left and tailgating – I was even rammed once. I sometimes wonder whether it is this aggression from other drivers that makes other normally responsible people frightened to observe the speed limits.

    Speed plays a part in less than 5% of accidents.
    You can’t argue with statistics.

    GGA says:
    24 April 2013

    In regard to the man who made a comment about Garden Gnomes;
    We do not appreciate your derogatory joke about Gnomes. We found it rather upsetting and, in fact, somewhat distressing. We are very sensitive about our species as we have never been accepted by your kind, and snide comments like yours really set the tears a-rolling. You appear to be stating that us Gnomes are useless yet this is far from the truth. Ever since god created us we have worked our dear little socks off to guard your shrubbery and foliage, and this is the reward we get? Please take into account how your little “joke” has made us feel. Think before you speak.
    Yours sincerely, The GGA. (Gnome Grotto Association)

    Perhaps we should call the cameras ‘Speed enforcement and revenue generation cameras’. That would at least be honest.

    The speed limits for motorways are ridiculously low.

    95% of drivers break the speed limit therefore the law cannot be upheld by consent.

    Mick H says:
    6 April 2015

    No doubt there are many drivers who have 48 years insurance no claims as I do but it has not been easy earning those years of no accidents. Thankfully although I am 74 I have not as yet got the reactions of a slug. May be it’s because when young I was a ton up kid on a motorbike !
    It seemed clear to me and a few other motor engineers from the start in 1999 that most motorists are gullable & the speed cam fraternity would screw us all especially the drivers who have their whits about them and who I deem to be ‘nippy’. The situation is totally out of control regarding the blatant money raking purposes by Mobile scamera men. They have not a shred of scruple and the operation has become more blatant with the mobile van very near to where the limits change on three lane carriageways with no possible pedestrian contact and clear in front for hundreds of yards and thus it is crystal clear they are after divers money and the operation has nothing whatsoever to do with actual ‘road safety’. In addition to this money raking idea it is far more serious due to the chance that even decent safe drivers could loose their much valued licence or else drive like a slug.

    ken fisher says:
    15 February 2019

    i would like to know if mobile speed cameras are painted that colour for the reason that they are easily recognised. if that is the case how is it justified that they operate in my area in the dark?