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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 03:50 
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Father who put up his own DIY speed camera told HE could be sued if there are accidents
By Andy Dolan - Last updated at 9:25 AM on 14th February 2012
* Kevin McCarthy built £250 camera after driver did 98mph in 40 zone
* Council refused to reduce speed limit to 30mph
* Traffic speeds dropped after he installed the dummy camera

After five years of watching vehicles speed through his village at up to 98mph, Kevin McCarthy decided something had to be done.
Exasperated at the council’s failure to lower the speed limit or install a speed camera, he built a dummy camera on his land – and within a fortnight traffic speeds dropped.

But the same council has now told the father of four he could be blamed if drivers crash while trying to slow down to avoid being ‘flashed’ by the fake device.
Convincing: After the council refused a request to install a real speed camera in Ompton, Notts, Kevin McCarthy spent £250 making his own
Convincing: After the council refused a request to install a real speed camera in Ompton, Nottinghamshire, Kevin McCarthy spent £250 making his own

It has warned him he could be sued if anyone claimed they were ‘distracted or influenced by the “camera”.’

Mr McCarthy, 50, said: ‘I’ve been told if someone causes an accident by obeying the legal speed limit through the village, then it’s my fault. That’s madness.’ The interior designer, who had a welder friend make the £250 device out of scrap metal, said: ‘It’s just the job.’
Villagers in Ompton, Nottinghamshire, have been campaigning for a 30mph speed limit ever since it was first cut from 60mph to 40mph six years ago.

Nottinghamshire County Council has refused on the grounds that the village – a scattering of around 20 properties along the main Newark to Ollerton road – does not meet its criteria for the lower limit.
Reprimanded: Now the district council has told Mr McCarthy that he will be responsible for any accidents caused by the fake camera
Reprimanded: Now the district council has told Mr McCarthy that he will be responsible for any accidents caused by the fake camera
Two temporary ‘interactive’ speed signs have been placed there since the limit was originally lowered.

Mr McCarthy said villagers had in the past been on a police speed watch course, where they were taught how to use a speed gun. ‘Once we caught somebody coming through the village at 98mph and we regularly have cars and bikes coming through at 60 to 70mph.
‘You can tell when somebody’s sticking to the limit because they look so slow.
Fear: Mr McCarthy claims that getting out of his drive is like 'taking your life in your hands' while his wife Julie almost crashed into a lorry going 60mph
Not working: The speed limit through Ompton was cut from 60mph to 40mph six years ago, but attempts to get that lowered to 30 have failed
‘The speed of the traffic makes it extremely difficult to get out of my house and on to the main roads in the morning – most think nothing of doing 60 or 70mph.’
Matters came to a head recently when wife Julie, 52, who helps run their design business, was almost hit by a speeding HGV as she turned out of their track.
Mr McCarthy added: ‘We have a problem with speeding through this village and it’s not going to be long before it kills someone.’

The council sent an official to see the ‘camera’, who asked him to remove it. But because the replica is on his own land, the authority is powerless to force him.
Mr McCarthy said the letter from Nottinghamshire County Council then arrived.
In it, the district highways manager wrote: ‘I fully appreciate your reluctance to remove the “camera”. However I must reiterate that if an accident occurred and anyone claimed they were distracted or influenced by the “camera” I believe you would be liable for civil action.’
Councillor Richard Jackson, the county council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, said: ‘We agree that the camera is having an effect on reducing speed.
‘However, we do have concerns that, without the correct warning signs, it is a potential hazard as it is causing motorists to brake suddenly.’
He said speed cameras had to be properly positioned with correct warning signs, and added: ‘We fully understand the concerns of residents in Ompton... and we are hoping to put in a permanent interactive speed sign in the near future.’
Shameful that the Councillor never mentions that all speed limits need to be properly assessed and research properly carried out to find the 85th%ile. And that it is not up to ignorant local perceptions to set road safety policy.
So by only stating that they decide where the speed cams go he has in essence said we decide not you. However he misses all the real reasons that must be based on science and engineering and truth to ensure safety for all.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 08:23 
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I think this guys comment on the Daily Mail website sums it all up nicely.

Quote:
Having looked on Google Maps it appears that from this bloke's entrance the road is absolutely dead straight for over 200 yards in one direction and nearly 400 yards in the other, at which points the road develops quite gentle curves. Why such a straight road with good sight-lines should be subject to a 40 limit, much less a 30, is difficult to imagine. The main problem seems to be that he "has difficulty getting out of his house in the mornings", in other words he has to stop and wait for a suitable gap in the traffic instead of being able to pull straight out so he wants all the traffic slowed down. He must have known what the road was like when he bought the house, but having moved into his house he wants everyone else slowed down to suit him.




We have junction near us,... http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=st+geao ... 66047&z=15

that the "locals" want a set of traffic lights on. As you can see there isn't really a problem getting out of the junction. Whenever I drive past it , even at peak times, there is never more than about four cars waiting to exit.

Some awful driver who probably can't judge speed and takes for ever to emerge safely, has probably complained to their friendly, best mate councillor and now all traffic on the main road will be backed up for ages waiting for one "Dithering Doris" to emerge once a week.

When are we going to bring common sense back to road design in this country and take it out of the hands of "do gooder" councillors who know nothing about roads but everything about point scoring in their little "empires"?

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My views do not represent Safespeed but those of a driver who has driven for 39 yrs, in all conditions, at all times of the day & night on every type of road and covered well over a million miles, so knows a bit about what makes for safety on the road,what is really dangerous and needs to be observed when driving and quite frankly, the speedo is way down on my list of things to observe to negotiate Britain's roads safely, but I don't expect some fool who sits behind a desk all day to appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:18 
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And of course this, from an official source, supports the argument that the presence of a speed camera can in itself cause accidents.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:00 
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camera dummy wrote:
‘The speed of the traffic makes it extremely difficult to get out of my house and on to the main roads in the morning – most think nothing of doing 60 or 70mph.’

How did he manage to pass his driving test? This country is full of roads where one is expected to be able to pull out with passing traffic doing 60/70mph - any non-motorway NSL road. This man must be a real danger on the roads if he is licensed but can’t manage that! There’s more:

graball wrote:
I think this guys comment on the Daily Mail website sums it all up nicely.
Quote:
...He must have known what the road was like when he bought the house, but having moved into his house he wants everyone else slowed down to suit him.

And
article wrote:
... ever since it was first cut from 60mph to 40mph six years ago.

So how did he manage back then?

The dropping of travelling speeds doesn’t mean the impact speed will be any lower, especially since cameras divert awareness of the road ahead.



I find the sentiments in comments section most gratifying: the highest comments are all about the acknowledgement that cameras cause crashes; the lowest are those in support of ‘camera dummy’

I’m guessing it is absolutely perfectly legal to take an angle grinder to it ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:02 
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If it is on his property then no that would be a crime ... but Police and Councillors can and should demand it's immediate removal.

This highlights some of the ongoing preoblems with the speed camera industry mentality.
The chap starts to focus on speed issues, because he believes what he is told that speed is a massive and dangerous issue (it's not of course) for road safety.
The Council lowers the speed in the area, for whatever prior reason, then the chap has a problem pulling out. This perfectly illustrates that when you slow traffic you bunch it up.
Place a camera (or cameras thanks to his efforts) and that distracts people from ever considering allowing the chap out as they are far too focused on ensuring the safety of their licences and livelihoods, land lifestyle.

I wonder if we asked him "has it got harder to pull out in the last 2yrs ?", and then researched whether his road has got any busier in recent years, what those answers would be. Since the whole Country has been reducing overall traffic by 6% it is likely that he will have seen less volume, not more.
That by rights ought to have helped him.
Although sparsely spread traffic can prevent people from pulling out than higher speed traffic, as it tends to 'open put more' in flow. That can help people to pull out.

Although the VAS are better they do still have to factor into the whole environment of considerations when travelling.

I recall once I found cops at the end of my driveway and they claimed to be ensuring that traffic was going at the speed limit to help me pull out. I politely but immediately, told them that if I couldn't pull out into a 60mph road then I shouldn't be driving. They left a few minutes later never to be seen there again ! :)

Whilst this chap may have lost some confidence in his ability, it may in part have been brought on by Councillors to reduce the road from the initial 60 to 40. Plus if it is really hard (and some can demand patience to await a gap) why not simply go left and then find a suitable right turn to enable the intended direction ?
People can prefer to be moving than sit stationary for too long.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 17:55 
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No doubt he will be campaigning for traffic lights for him to emerge from his drive next.

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My views do not represent Safespeed but those of a driver who has driven for 39 yrs, in all conditions, at all times of the day & night on every type of road and covered well over a million miles, so knows a bit about what makes for safety on the road,what is really dangerous and needs to be observed when driving and quite frankly, the speedo is way down on my list of things to observe to negotiate Britain's roads safely, but I don't expect some fool who sits behind a desk all day to appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 00:29 
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The obvious question, of course, is why HE could be prosecuted if drivers brake suddenly for his "camera" but SCPs can't?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 18:35 
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Simple solution is in the hands of LA.Does it need planning permission .If yes - then take it down or get charged for it's removal . If no ,then is it a device complying to regulations. The truth is in that . If local/county officials would get off those cushy seats and investigate ,rather than kow towing to what they think is public opinion, then this sort of thing would get banned . Or as my County Councillor keeps on saying "I've told them that this is the wrong road to go down ( cameras/bumps etc) ,and now when it all goes t*ts up ,I'l be the first in the press to say -"I told you so ,some years ago""
I've got a similar arguement going on via a local councillor on pets .
Press reports keep on telling ( nay nagging) council tenants that they need "permission " to keep a pet . I have a dog, which I have permission to keep .No problem .But ,now the view seems to be that cats aren't considered to be "pets" . So ,are they vermin ,that I can shoot/poison etc ,to keep out of my garden -NO( and IMHO,rightly ,says the RSPCA) . But those people in Licac Ivory towers love cats . So they seem exempt from any form of registration ( and digging up my front garden and crapping in the beds) . DOG POO, so the lilac ladies tell us ,contains a bug that can affect the eyesight of children( seem familiour propaganda) ,but it's visible. Meantime , I've often had a flower bed dug up to find lumps of cat muck buried . More a danger to toddlers who love to play in soil ,as the feline version of the bug is as dangerous.

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Drivers are like donkeys -they respond best to a carrot, not a stick .Road safety experts are like Asses - best kept covered up ,or sat on


Last edited by botach on Mon Feb 20, 2012 18:47, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 18:45 
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Quote:
If local/county officials would get off those cushy seats and investigate ,rather than kow towing to what they think is public opinion,


I say, steady on old boy....that sounds a bit like WORK...you can't have these poor people going down with work related stress, they may not be able to return to that dreaded four letter place (work to us) for several months, if they do.

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My views do not represent Safespeed but those of a driver who has driven for 39 yrs, in all conditions, at all times of the day & night on every type of road and covered well over a million miles, so knows a bit about what makes for safety on the road,what is really dangerous and needs to be observed when driving and quite frankly, the speedo is way down on my list of things to observe to negotiate Britain's roads safely, but I don't expect some fool who sits behind a desk all day to appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 19:57 
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Mole wrote:
The obvious question, of course, is why HE could be prosecuted if drivers brake suddenly for his "camera" but SCPs can't?
Absolutely. They can hardly say - people wouldn't know it was there, as we never know for sure (e.g. awithin 400yds of sign) where they may be.
This is not saying that good obs won't help, of course it will. But if a cam is placed in an unpredictable location and take motorists by (even more) surprise.

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