Friday, July 06, 2007

Speed Cameras

I thought I'd do a post on speed cameras because one way to tell if someone is Labour or Tory is to ask them their views on speed cameras. Labour people instinctively feel they are a Good Thing: they save lives and it is no hardship to slow down, so they feel that if you get caught and fined for breaking the law it serves you right. Tories by contrast don't give a fig about the law, don't believe that speed cameras save lives, and feel it is their right to break the law with impunity and that speed fines are a "tax".

To inform the debate I thought I'd look up the guidelines as to where you can put speed cameras.

For fixed site cameras, the guidelines are as follows:

1. There must be at least 4 fatal or serious collisions per km in the last 3 calender years

2. at least 8 personal injury collisions per Km in the last three years

3. Collisions where causation factors are not speed related must not be included.

4. At least 20% of drivers are exceeding the speed limit in this spot.

5. Collisions are clustered close together around a single stretch of road or junction

6. There has been a site survey carried out by a road safety engineer that has concluded that there are no other obvious practical measures to improve road safety on this strtch of road.

7. The cameras must be well signed and highly visible.

If it is a digital enforecement site, there must be at least 5 fatal or serious collisions per km in the spot in the last three years and at least 10 personal injury collisions.

It is clear that the cameras are put where there has been a serious problem and where the local authority is trying to prevent further accidents. You could say that the cameras are shrines to the dead, as if there were no accidents on that stretch of road, there would be no camera there.

So why do Tories object? I think it's down to their lack of community spirit. They feel that their pleasure in speeding is more important than other people's lives. Labour people feel the opposite: the community good is more important than minor unimportant pleasures like speeding. Tories also seem to have a more cavaliar attitude to obeying the law than Labour people. At the end of the day we can only conclude that Labour people are just nicer and more humane. You have to have a hard-hearted and possibly cruel attitude to your fellow man to become a Tory.

1 comment:

Political Umpire said...

Snowflake I think you've deviated from your normal standards of research: you only say you "think" it's because Tories are heartless and that Labourites, by contrast, "instinctively" feel compassionate.

There are some serious points about the effectiveness of speed cameras v other methods of reducing accidents. You don't cite any proof that they save lives. They are the wrong type of cameras too - they only judge the speed at the point of passing the cameras, which leads to momentary breaking followed by acceleration.

Similar points arise with things such as speed bumps. Some argue that they reduce speed and therefore must be A Good Thing. But they also cause drivers to slow down and speed up, which increases fuel consumption and emissions.

Speedbumps also cause damage to tyres and suspension parts - the latter are made from non-renewable resources and both involve environmentally unfriendly manufacturing processes. They also cause congestion on neighbouring roads which people choose in preference.