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Speed camera paradox

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 Fozzy 16 Oct 2020

I quite often see people posting warnings on local town Facebook pages about the locations of mobile speed cameras. These are inevitably followed by comments criticising the poster and pointing out that they can be fined £1000 for warning others it is there. 

However, this seems utterly illogical to me when considering the alleged aims of speed cameras. If they are sited in areas where there have been speed-related accidents previously, surely people knowing they are there and slowing down would be beneficial? However, that doesn’t catch speeders and generate fines, but it does reduce the danger of speeding drivers.

What is preferable; slower drivers, not causing a danger by excessive speed but then not getting fined, or speeding drivers getting fined but still presenting a danger to other road users/pedestrians? 
 

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In reply to Fozzy:

You cannot be fined for warning people. 

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 cp123 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

Advising others of the location of a speed trap is not illegal, this was tested by in the law lords via DPP vs Glendinning (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2005/2333.html).

Flashing headlights in your car, for any reason other than to warn others of impending danger, is against the highway code, so don't do that.

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 marsbar 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

The police have been known to put locations in the local paper as they want people to slow down.  

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In reply to Dan Arkle:

But you can be fined for obstructing the police, if it's a mobile camera.

I read about one court case and here's how it seemed to translate as:

You flag someone down approaching a mobile speed camera.

1.) if he was speeding and slows down to less than the speed limit, you have obstructed the police by helping him avoid prosecution: you are in trouble.

2.) if he was speeding and gets trapped above the limit he's getting a fine , points or even a ban so you haven't obstructed the carrying out of justice;

3) if he was actually under the speed limit when you flagged him you have committed no offence since he wasn't on the way towards a prosecution.

That was a case some years ago; obviously different trials might have different outcomes but that was one i remember reading about.

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 Stuart William 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

What happens if it’s not a he?

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 Blanche DuBois 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Stuart William:

> What happens if it’s not a he?

His head explodes due to the confusion.

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 Webster 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

exactly, the purpose of speed cameras (in the UK at least) is to make people slow down, not to catch people out. the cameras legally need to be clearly marked and visible. alerting others to their presence is surely doing a public service.

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 lithos 16 Oct 2020
In reply to cp123:

> Flashing headlights in your car, for any reason other than to warn others of impending danger, is against the highway code, so don't do that.

really?  i don't think this is true, can't see anything in here

 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/index

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 Naechi 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

How would they be able to prove you knew the speed was over the limit?

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In reply to Fozzy:

I like to post warning people of the speed camera on my street. I haven't seen one here yet but you never know.

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In reply to Fozzy:

Another way to look at it, if people know where the camera is they can speed everywhere else. 

There is often one on the A64 between Leeds and Scarborough but it moves about that much that your a fool if you speed on any part of that road. 

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In reply to Stuart William:

Then she flutters her eyelashes at the coppers and gets away with it.

Since you asked 

(That was for Blanche, actually)

Post edited at 19:02
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 Darron 16 Oct 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> The police have been known to put locations in the local paper as they want people to slow down.  

That is the norm in Adelaide, Oz.

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 Stuart William 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

Same for everywhere I’ve lived in the uk I think. The force post the locations for each coming week online. They were there if you could be bothered to look, which I never can be. 

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In reply to Stuart William:

> Same for everywhere I’ve lived in the uk I think. The force post the locations for each coming week online. They were there if you could be bothered to look, which I never can be. 

Me neither, fines and points are really easy things to avoid when it comes to speed cameras. 

Don't speed. It's as simple as that. 

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 JimR 17 Oct 2020
In reply to Dax H:

If someone gets caught speeding and gets a fine and points, it tends to alter their behaviour meaning a lot less speeding rather than just a one off avoid the speed camera action

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 ericoides 17 Oct 2020
In reply to Dax H:

> There is often one on the A64 between Leeds and Scarborough but it moves about that much that your a fool if you speed on any part of that road. 

If you tell people about movable cameras do you tried in the courts of assizes?

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In reply to Fozzy:

> What is preferable; slower drivers, not causing a danger by excessive speed but then not getting fined, or speeding drivers getting fined but still presenting a danger to other road users/pedestrians? 

I made this argument when I was clocked by an unmarked van in a layby up near the Millstone pub above Hathersage.  This was some years back when they had just extended the 30 limit way out beyond the village and there were no repeater signs.  I'm not usually one to whine about a fair cop but I thought this was unreasonable.

I had to look up the location on the ticket and wasn't aware that I'd been clocked, so if the purpose was to warn me that my driving was posing a risk to others, it utterly failed. 

The argument obviously fell on deaf ears and answer to my point about the lack of signs was that I should assume that the previous limit was still in force unless I had seen a notice to the contrary - which is legally accurate, but unhelpful under the circumstances.

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 deepsoup 17 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> This was some years back when they had just extended the 30 limit way out beyond the village and there were no repeater signs.

30 limits don't have repeater signs* so you shouldn't expect to see one anywhere ever, however 30 is the default anywhere (other than on a motorway) that there is street lighting so unless you know differently maybe it's best to consider every street light you see to be a 30mph 'repeater'.

Of course that's no help if the limit has recently been changed so you think you do know for sure what it is.

* - having said that the street lighting is a bit sparse on that stretch of road.  It was obviously a common problem because it kinda sorta does have repeaters now.  Actual repeaters are against the law within a 30 limit so instead it has unofficial red 'advisory' signs saying "30mph speed limit in force".  Mounted on the lamp posts.  Dur. ;-)

Edit to add: photo nicked off Google street view.

Post edited at 11:58

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 timjones 17 Oct 2020
In reply to lithos:

You'll find it under H for headlights which points you to rule 110.

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 Mattia 17 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

A little off-topic: As a driver having passed my license exam outside the Uk I've always been baffled by the way UK speed cameras are clearly marked and visible from afar.

In practice, I find that drivers tend to step on the brakes coming up to a speed cam, slowing down their vehicle way below the legal limit, just to accelerate (above the speed limit) a few yards beyond the speed cam. Needless to say, this creates an odd accordion effect for the traffic flow. I colleague of mine categorically drives 90mph+ on motorways with hardly a speeding fine for a decade.

I understand the concept of 'camouflaged' speed cams, leading drivers to assume that there could be a speed trap anywhere and therefore keep their speeding in check. When, in turn, speed cams are clearly visible, doesn't that just achieve a temporary slowing down of traffic for the tiny time frame that the cam is in operation? How can that be a deterrent in the long run?

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In reply to Mattia:

You need to be British to understand, its all about giving the motorist a sporting chance what what. 

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 lithos 17 Oct 2020
In reply to timjones:

thanks I searched for headlights found nothing ! 

rule 110 is exactly as i rememeber it being taught 30 yers ago, nothing to do with danger ...

"Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users."

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 timjones 18 Oct 2020
In reply to lithos:

> thanks I searched for headlights found nothing ! 

> rule 110 is exactly as i rememeber it being taught 30 yers ago, nothing to do with danger ...

> "Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users."

Surely it is entirely to do with danger?

Isn't it  to let another road user know that you are there when you believe that they have not already seen you and that their oversight poses a risk?

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 off-duty 18 Oct 2020
In reply to cp123:

> Advising others of the location of a speed trap is not illegal, this was tested by in the law lords via DPP vs Glendinning (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2005/2333.html).

That case actually didn't state that. The signalling lorry driver was acquitted because the prosecution were unable to demonstrate that his behaviour had caused any drivers to change their speed and avoid the speed camera, and you cannot "attempt" a non-indictable offence.

Had there been evidence of others being alerted, he may well have been convicted.

Post edited at 11:22
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In reply to off-duty:

I thought the crux of the matter was whether or not his intervention changed the behaviour of the motorists, not whether or not he had alerted them.

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 off-duty 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> I thought the crux of the matter was whether or not his intervention changed the behaviour of the motorists, not whether or not he had alerted them.

Yes, my final paragraph muddied the first!

"Had there been evidence of others changing their behaviour he may well have been convicted"

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 cp123 18 Oct 2020
In reply to off-duty:

I think the distinction is whether you are aiding someone who is already committing a crime avoid getting caught or not.

So advising someone who is already speeding that there is a trap ahead could see you prosecuted. Advising someone not to speed when they are not speeding is not a crime.

So simply advising others of the location of a speed trap before they set off in a car, such as through social media, cannot be illegal as the crime of speeding has yet to be committed.

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In reply to cp123:

I still think that advising a speeder only makes you liable to prosecution if he then backs off and avoids the trap: if he continues regardless, the police can prosecute him, justice is served and money goes into the coffers so you haven't actually obstructed any of this process.

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 Pbob 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

Careful scrutiny of the evidence shows that the risk of accident at the site of a previous accident actually goes up if a camera is positioned there. I.e. they actually make the road more dangerous. It would be interesting to know how that varies if drivers are warned or not.

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 Naechi 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

What if there is no trap? What if as the person advising the speeder not to speed either doesn't know or care if there is a speed trap round the next corner resulting in a lower speed and no speeding prosecution?

*not asking specifically you for answers just asking...

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In reply to Naechi:

In that case it's just a good citizen going about his business attempting to slow down traffic which is going too fast. No different from telling someone not to drop litter or clean up after their dog.

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 Naechi 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

But then couldn't that be used as a defence if the police feel that a warning to slow down is a malicious attempt to foil the speed trap?  Who would the burden of proof be on? Was the witnessed warning signal more "look out speed trap" rather than "stop driving like a knob" - would the speeding drivers interpretation of said signal matter? 

Post edited at 20:14
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 ThunderCat 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

It's a remarkably divisive subject on forums.  I tend to be of the "speeding fines are completely voluntary.  If you've got a set of eyes, a footbrake, a working speedometer and a sense of duty to other road users you will never catch a speeding ticket" camp.  And what you tend to get in return for are replies of "sanctimonious holier than thou do-gooder who never breaks the speed limit"

I can't think of any other crime that gets one shouted down so much.  If I criticised shoplifting and used the same train of thought I'd probably get a thumbs up..  But speeding is treated differently.  I don't really care if it's a money making scheme if it also penalises the people who are knowingly flouting it.

I try my absolute hardest not to break the speed limit for a host of reasons.  Not getting a speeding fine is one of them but it's pretty far down the list.  Giving a damn about other motorist, cyclists, pedestrians is much higher up there so I have very little sympathy with anyone who receives one (being on the receiving end of a written off car where alcohol and speed were a factor helps a little as does living in an area which seems to have turned into Brands Hatch since lockdown started).   Being a holier than thou arsehole isn't one of the reasons.  It's because I owe it to every other person I'm sharing the road with.  My wife drives, my daughter drives. We transport our grand daughter in our car.  I want everyone to be driving as safely and considerately as I try to.

From my own point of view, if you warn someone of a speed trap ahead then they're going to slow down momentarily and then carry on above speed once they've passed it.  If they get caught and fined, then it might have a modifying effect on their driving and speed for a much longer period of time.

It would be very interesting if there were any stats to back up whether actually receiving a fine for speeding might modify ones behaviour to speed less.  

For the record I've had a speeding fine.  Long time ago on the coast road between Sunderland and South Shields.  Bang to rights.  Paid my money and promised not to take my eye off the speedo again

Edited - seem to have almost gone into rant mode there....breath....

Post edited at 20:27
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 ThunderCat 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> In that case it's just a good citizen going about his business attempting to slow down traffic which is going too fast. No different from telling someone not to drop litter or clean up after their dog.

Or is it someone saying "Oy mate, stop dropping litter for a moment there's a copper round the corner.  Carry on doing it when he's out of sight though and you'll be ok"

Post edited at 20:35
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In reply to ThunderCat:

I've been done for speeding three times, ironically twice on a stretch of dual carriageway less than two miles from my house where the mobile trap is a fairly regular feature. But on those three occasions I was not speeding deliberately, just carelessly.

contrast that with a journey down from Galloway yesterday where I wilfully travelled at 75 mph plus every time I got in a 70 mph area. I'm not saying I was right to do so but i had plenty of company.

Basically i will never knowingly break the limit at slower speeds . I accept that on the occasions I got caught I deserved punishment , even if just for being negligent. 

But at motorway speeds I am far less bothered about sticking to a limit which is fairly meaningless to me. It's not like a safety film which shows you the difference between hitting a pedestrian at 20  mpg and 40 mph: once you are travelling at more than a mile a minute these things stop being significant, at least in the eyes of lots of road users.

And, out of interest, how many UKC ers who have got speeding tickets have actually incurred them on a motorway?

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 ThunderCat 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

"75 mph plus" is a little bit vague Tom...

I dunno mate.  I'm not quite in the old fart brigade yet but personally speaking I think 70mph is fast enough to get me to where I want to be.  If I need to get there sooner, I'll leave a bit earlier.  It's done me ok up to now.  

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 john arran 18 Oct 2020
In reply to ThunderCat:

I think the difference between speeding and littering is that littering is always wrong, whereas speeding may sometimes not be, depending on the stretch of road it's on. We all know that the highest safe speed to drive varies continuously with the visibility of every bend and every straight, and it's unfeasible to vary the speed limit continuously to match that. So limits are necessarily and understandably set to a level at which they're right for tricky sections but pretty conservative for straights with good visibility. 

That's not to excuse speeding, but it would be a lot easier to respect speeding cameras  (and fines) if they were to be always placed on the most dangerous section of road. As it is, it often feels like cameras are placed on sections of road where people are most likely to be going over the limit, which are actually the places least likely to be dangerous.

In any case, behaviour is gradually changing and people are much more aware nowadays that they need to always have one eye on the speedometer, which is far from ideal but does result in slower traffic at least.

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 ThunderCat 18 Oct 2020
In reply to john arran:

> I think the difference between speeding and littering is that littering is always wrong, whereas speeding may sometimes not be, depending on the stretch of road it's on. We all know that the highest safe speed to drive varies continuously with the visibility of every bend and every straight, and it's unfeasible to vary the speed limit continuously to match that. So limits are necessarily and understandably set to a level at which they're right for tricky sections but pretty conservative for straights with good visibility. 

I fully appreciate what you're saying, but then who should decide?  The person with a destination to reach and a deadline to reach it in is probably not the person to be making that judgement call and since we all think we're a better driver that we actually are, we're probably all going to drive faster than is safer on a lot of occasions given that kind of latitude. 

It must follow that every crash where speed was a factor was caused by a driver who thought "given the conditions of this road / the weather / the light / my driving ability, I am currently driving at a safe speed".  And in each case they were wrong.  Is it not better to err on the side of safety and accept that speed limit? 

And yeah, I appreciate I'm sounding more and more holier than thou.  It's not intended.

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 Davidlees215 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

Back in the early 80s my Dad passed a police car with a speed gun and the after rounding a corner flashed his lights at a few people coming the other way. There was another police car sat there waiting for people to do just that and pulled him over. He was charged with something along the lines of 'obstructing the police in their duties' and ended up with a criminal record. 

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In reply to ThunderCat:

My wife's 1.2 Skoda Rapid. It will probably do three figures but has never been near it.

But it's a mark of the times that economy, emissions and gear ratios are such that such a small engine can cruise comfortably at 80 mph showing a fairly relaxed 3000rpm ( and that's with a five speed gearbox)

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 henwardian 18 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

Cameras are there to make money, not improve road safety, even the most cursory look around your local speed cameras reveals that they are not placed at dangerous areas, they are put in places where speeding is most likely, typically:

- at the end of downhill section on an otherwise level road.

- at the lowest speed limit section of a road which frequently changes limit (e.g. 50, 40, 30, 50, 60, 30, etc)

- on clear, straight, open sections of road with an unusually low limit.

- immediately after a lowering of the speed limit.

- on the only straight section of a country road which otherwise has no opportunities for overtaking.

It could be argued that they improve safety as a byproduct I guess but it isn't their real aim. Tbh though, I think for some particular cameras there could be a robust argument made that they make the road less safe.

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 daWalt 19 Oct 2020
In reply to henwardian:

dangerous areas / places where speeding is most likely, 

Erm, yes. 

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In reply to Pbob:

> Careful scrutiny of the evidence shows that the risk of accident at the site of a previous accident actually goes up if a camera is positioned there. I.e. they actually make the road more dangerous.


Who has been publishing the results of this "careful scrutiny"? 

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In reply to Tom V:

> And, out of interest, how many UKC ers who have got speeding tickets have actually incurred them on a motorway?

Possibly me, I can't remember whether I was on actual motorway or if I was still in Cornwall, but I am going to say motorway as I remember it feeling like "big road"

83mph

Ironically this was not long after I bought my Nissan 350Z but I wasn't driving the 350Z at the time of this speeding; if I had been, I would most likely not have been speeding at all. 

I was in a rented Ford C-Max which was so much quieter and less "involving" than the 350Z, that I had not noticed that my speed had drifted upward. 

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In reply to Fozzy:

Get the Waze app - warns of static and mobile speed cameras 

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In reply to Tom V:

> And, out of interest, how many UKC ers who have got speeding tickets have actually incurred them on a motorway?

I came close once about 30 years ago. I was pulled over and the officer was saying I was doing over 95 mph, I refused the fixed penalty and said take me to court. I also asked him to witness the amount of stuff I had in the back as a representation of the weight I was carrying. He asked why and I pointed out that I would be happy to prove to the court that my van would not go above 80mph when it was empty so there was no way it was doing 95 + fully loaded. 

He sent me on my way. 

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 yorkshire_lad2 19 Oct 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

In addition to all the other points made

  • car speedometer or sat nav speed reading (often 5mph different at higher speeds),
  • 10%+2 or not? (zero tolerance coming back in)
  • the arrival of compulsory speed limiters in new cars with effect from 2022 is over time (as new car replace old cars) probably going to make speed cameras redundant.
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In reply to Dax H:

I didn't think my van would make it above 70 (2000 1.9TD VW T4). On the motorway on the way home earlier I was cruising at 74 until I looked at the speedo and backed off (must have been going down hill).

A section of dual carriageway near where I live has a 50 speed limit for pollution rather than being unsafe for people at 70 (60 in the van obviously). Which would make me wonder what would the benefit be from a speed awareness course, if you are doing 60 on a road designed for 70.

Post edited at 18:28
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 Stuart William 19 Oct 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

There probably remains a benefit in that it takes up a day of your time and costs you 80 odd quid so still provides a disincentive to speed. Possibly less effective if nothing taught is relevant to your offence, but I imagine that what you learn on the course is secondary to the cost and inconvenience in terms of modifying people’s behaviour. 

Edit: As a personal example, I am more careful about speed since doing a speed awareness course - not because of anything I learned, but because I know that next time it is points and a fine and will be even more expensive. 

Post edited at 18:36
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In reply to Stuart William:

> As a personal example, I am more careful about speed since doing a speed awareness course - not because of anything I learned, but because I know that next time it is points and a fine and will be even more expensive.

I’ve done the speed awareness course three times. Make of that what you will 😃 

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In reply to JoshOvki:

I was on the flat so definitely not speeding. 

My last awareness course was for doing 57 in a 60 but being in a van it was a 50 limit. One of the lads at work got one for 68 on a dual carriage way in a van. I questioned it on the course and was told its because vans don't handle or stop as well as a car. 

They bloody well do but rules are rules. I flick my speed limiter on when I'm on a dual carriage way or national speed limit road now. Often ends up with a tailback behind me though. 

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 Stuart William 19 Oct 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes we’ll, to be more honest I’ve gotten lucky a few times in the meantime... but I definitely have more of a panic when I think I’ve been caught now. 

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 Davidlees215 19 Oct 2020
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

> the arrival of compulsory speed limiters in new cars with effect from 2022 is over time (as new car replace old cars) probably going to make speed cameras redundant.

Might be wrong but I think the compulsory speed limiters will be the ones like the one I have in my new focus. You can override it either by putting your foot to the floor or going into the programmer and turning it off. Sometimes you need to override it as well as it occasionally gets the speed limit wrong, a couple of times mines suddenly tried to get me to go 30 where it's national speed limit as the sat nav thought I was on a different road. Also, I'm fairly certain it limits you to about 4mph below the speed limit. Certainly if I use Google maps as a sat nav it says I'm doing 66 on the motorway so I just change it to let me go 4mph over the speed limit. 

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