/ 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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pickle says:
15 August 2010

Convincing arguments for and against! We were a law abiding nation – once – and given proper moral guidance, we could be again.
On balance, I am against speed cameras – motoring is a serious job and drivers have a dangerous weapon in their hands. Any car – or lorry – can cause grevious harm in the wrong hands. All the more reason to improve driving instruction in the first place.
There is no such thing as an accident




Frank Davis, why do you think pickle’s views are claptrap?


I completely agree with Pickle. except that driving instruction per se does not make good drivers. There are far too many bad drivers – usually those that don’t read the speed signs that are on all major roads close to the speed cameras.- They tend to ignore their driving instructions after a few weeks after their test.

paul says:
21 January 2011

‘pickle’ has it right; better driver training. The air is a very much safer place in which to travel than roads – no one has yet ever crashed with the sky!, but pilot training is very much more disciplined and extensive than that for student car drivers. I recall my youngest daughter learning to drive and on returning home from a driving lesson with a local school, she told us how her instructor had told her that he thought that he ‘could soon get you (her) through’. I told her that I was not happy for her ‘to get through’: I wanted her to be so thoroughly profficient that she would stay unhurt and alive. I took over her tuition and persevered until I knew she would be a safe and confident driver. From the point where she was talking of ‘getting through’ to when she passed the test was, for her, a rather disagreeably long few months! She’s enjoyed a safe, accident-free Twenty years or so now.
Message! – Get rid of all the ‘Safety’ nonsense, including cameras and start making people aware of the value of their own self-preservation by thorough, disciplined driving tuition.
But of course, if we all drive so safely – not necessarily slowly, REVENUE will diminish and that says it all?


1.Cameras criminalise the ordinary motorist for a simple mistake, often in non hazardous places.
2. No one is prepared to spend money to modernise the system.
3. Idiots need to be caught.
4. Roads are congested.
5. Cameras are the only solution on offer. They are ugly, as are the signs that accompany them.
6. Humans in authority should set realistic speed limits and review those in their patch regularly. They should listen to what the motorist has to say now and then.
7 Gone are the joys of the open road. Society has gone into reverse. How sad.
8 Keep enforcement cameras in places where they matter.
9. Police should set an example at ALL times.
10. Fit sensible, variable limits to all motorways. Ensure everyone keeps to them.

Allan33 says:
25 August 2010

Cameras DO NOT “criminalise” motorists. It is a motoring offence, NOT a criminal offence. But I have little doubt that you know that anyway. And what constitutes a “simple mistake”? And how do YOU know that they are “often in non hazardous places”?

Cameras are set to trigger at 10%+2mph above the given limit – ie 35mph in thirty limits, 46mph in forty limits and so on – and the average speed of people caught speeding in 30mph limits, for example, is 39mph (source: Roadsafe), and 85% of people caught were driving at 37mph or more (source: ACPO).

As for “non hazardous places”, just about all cameras in use today are only there because there were four (or more) fatal or serious injury crashes in the three-year period prior to the installation of the camera, because THEY were the criteria set by the DfT (as of since the commencement of the Safety Camera Partnership programme back in 2002).

And what do you mean that: “Cameras are the only solution on offer”? Would you mind elaborating?

As for cameras being ugly, have you written to your local Partnership to ask them if they can beautify them? Or hows about we hide and conceal them all……….

And when you say: “Gone are the joys of the open road”, what do you mean exactly?

And ditto: “Police should set an example at ALL times”.


Shot down in flames…well, maybe it will teach me a lesson or two. I bow to your superior knowledge on information from ACPO and Roadsafe. However, I’m not the only one to believe that some cameras – not all – are there with an eye to the revenue they produce. Of course I can’t give you chapter and verse and this is debatable. So, yes, you are correct to shout at me for making this generalisation. I don’t totally withdraw it. Nor the idea that individual authorities can set their own flash points and it is not a good idea to rely on any formulae to avoid being caught. I keep to the limit.

Like most humble mortals I get my motoring wrong now and then. I try and drive sensibly and carefully, but inevitably there have been times when the car has gone faster than I wanted it to. I correct this. Do I slam on the brakes when I am surprised by a thirty limit round the bend? No, I let the car slow down naturally and then keep to the limit. Usually, I’m there abouts before hand anyway. A simple mistake can, of course be serious, but I was drawing a distinction between those who deliberately set out to ignore the rules and those who transgress by accident. Again, perhaps you were right to critisize this generalisation.
As far as I know, no one has produced any deterrent alternative, since speed cameras were introduced. Speed bumps, chicanes etc reduce speed, but th