/ 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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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)
  • Member
    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 ???