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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 00:01 
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Eric Bridgstock wrote:
Evidence that speed cameras are known to make our roads less safe
Mon, 19 Oct 2009 22:09:34

Dear Lord Adonis,

This email exposes the fact that not only do speed cameras make our roads less safe, it reveals that the authorities promoting them and responsible for their use (DfT, Highways Agency and many others) know that cameras are detrimental to road safety and yet they continue to make bogus claims for their effectiveness. Those same authorities also believe that it is tolerable to continue with their use while drivers learn how to mitigate the negative side effects that they cause.

As a safety professional (responsible for safety cases for systems as diverse as air traffic control radars and weapons), I find that not just unacceptable, but wilfully and criminally negligent.

The use of speed cameras (fixed, mobile and average speed) must be suspended as quickly as possible.

Over the past two years I have corresponded with numerous road safety individuals and bodies across the UK and beyond (including all on this email distribution), looking at the evidence used to support claims such as “speed cameras save lives”. I have reached the conclusion that no such evidence exists. There are plenty of examples of dramatic falls in collisions and casualties after cameras are installed, but what is lacking is any evidence that the camera has made a positive contribution to this outcome; the supposedly impressive results are actually due to statistics and trends and other effects. The Four Year Evaluation Report compiled in 2005 is often cited as proof that cameras are effective but includes no evidence whatsoever to support that claim.

In recent months, average speed cameras (ASC) have been hailed as revolutionary – avoiding the problems of distraction and sudden braking associated with fixed/mobile cameras. But when the Highways Agency recently sent me a copy of “Safety Camera Technology at Roadworks – Final Report, March 2008”, I found that it conceded that several hazards are created by the deployment of ASCs:

· Sudden braking

· Distraction

· Reduced headway (time between vehicles)

· Lane changing

The report also acknowledges that there are no proven safety benefits (collision/casualty reduction) and that there is a need for driver education campaigns may become of increased importance to encourage “correct behaviour”.

These conclusions are all the more surprising when you realise that the participants in this study were employees of the HA or the consultancy preparing the report (many subjective comments suggest that they are predisposed to the “potential benefits of speed cameras”.

The HA report can be downloaded from http://www.ha-research.gov.uk/projects/ ... hp?id=1258

Safety engineering is guided by a number of principles, one of the most important being the order of precedence for methods to address hazards, as follows:

1. Eliminate the hazard.
2. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing engineered mitigation strategies (such as safety interlocks such as the safety catch on a gun).
3. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing mitigation strategies based on human factors (labelling, training or procedures).

In the case of ASCs, the source of the hazard is clear – it's the introduction of the cameras. It is no more than wishful thinking that drivers can be educated to deal with that hazard - that is very poor, indeed culpable, safety engineering.

As there is no safety argument for using the cameras, the first choice is to remove the cause of the hazard (i.e. take away the camera); increased and signage and driver education (as proposed by the report) to mitigate the hazard are covered by number 3 on the list and are therefore much less satisfactory and will never be as beneficial as eliminating the source of the hazard.

A “safety device” that actually reduces road safety until drivers adjust to it is totally alien to all safety thinking and culture.

The HA report was comparing ASCs with fixed cameras, concluding that ASCs had fewer drawbacks. I have explained above that there is no safety argument for the deployment of ASCs, and it therefore follows that no speed camera should be allowed to be deployed on our roads as it is decreasing road safety. Mobile cameras are worse than fixed cameras in this respect.

To support my claim about distraction, the following story appeared in the press in the last week:

It was bad enough for Tony Allen to see motorists constantly speeding through his village at way above the 30mph limit. But when an uninsured driver ploughed into his garden wall causing £3,500 damage, he decided that was the last straw. The 60-year-old builder constructed his own mock speed camera from a wooden box painted yellow, complete with a silver foil flash and lens, and installed it in his front garden. Tony Allen says he will not remove a mock speed camera from his front yard, despite the potential for legal action. But police have warned Mr Allen that he could face legal action if a motorist should crash and claim that the fake camera was a distraction.

The corollary is that any crash near a real speed camera could result in a claim of distraction. I know of at least two cases in the UK where a coroner has cited a speed camera as a contributory factor to the death, distraction in both instances.

For about five months until March this year, I presented evidence and arguments to officers at the DfT (Mike Fawcett and his team) but it was clear that they were not interested in facts that challenged their cherished view that speed cameras performed road safety miracles. This shocked me and caused me to look even deeper into this "speed camera industry" and the influence of the many vested interests (I am convinced that many are open to accusations of fraud).

I have deliberately circulated this email widely, including many of the individuals and organisations who have, sometimes unwittingly, provided me with the evidence against speed cameras summarised in this message. I have done this firstly to fulfil a peer review process – if anyone can prove that any of my claims are wrong, I would be pleased to hear from them. Secondly, I want to draw the attention of as many people as possible (including the Transport Select Committee and journalists) to the £100 million a year scandal (the approximate amount spent on procuring, operating and maintaining speed cameras) that is having a detrimental effect on road safety while Crown servants issue statements about speed cameras that are palpably untrue.

Only last week, over a tenth of Paul Clark's speech at the PACTS Conference amounted to a defence of speed cameras (including attributing reductions in killed and seriously injured of 42% and 50% - “Early evidence suggests they [average speed cameras] can deliver a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries”.

Speed cameras have now been in use for around 15 years; if they really “worked”, there would be no need for government ministers to spend valuable time defending their use through such risible claims, their results would speak for themselves.

I have seen claims that speed cameras have arrested the previous downward trend in road casualties, even claiming that, had the downward trend continued there would have been 10,000 fewer deaths over those 15 years. I’ve not checked the calculations in detail but, from a safety viewpoint, given the many negative effects that cameras have on driving, I consider that a credible, and tragic, outcome - certainly more credible than reductions of 40% or 50%.

The conclusion from this is that speed cameras must be phased out as quickly as possible (a few months maximum) – with the money saved being diverted to driver education programmes and increased police patrols.

I have prepared extensive material expanding on this summary and will send it to the same recipients separately within the next day or so, as soon as I have completed all sections.

Please note that, although I have contact with organisations such as SafeSpeed and the ABD, I am not a member of any of them nor do I have any affiliation. I have used my safety engineering expertise, coupled with my experience gained during my time as a former Chairman of the London and Herts RoSPA Advanced Drivers Group, to form an independent view. It is clear that, until now, there has been a paucity of independence in the assessment of speed camera effectiveness.

I look forward to hearing from you and would be willing to meet to discuss this matter.

I also welcome contact from any recipients of this message but please note that I work full time and will be out of the country from 23-26 Oct inclusive.

sincerely,
Eric Bridgstock

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:11 
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Find this Eric Bridgstock and give him an honorary membership!!! This other report is clearly showing the same things that TRL-595 did. Think the conference in South Wales might be more interesting in the view of this second report as it further goes to support the safespeed view (have you noticed the DFT's side swipe at SS?? They say there is no safe speeding behaviour.... :D )


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 22:52 
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I know EB :)

He's rather busy doing his contribution. :) And knew Paul and is v familiar with the Safe Speed materials.

Regarding the 'safe speeding' comment they are of course confusing 'speeding' for conditions, and exceeding the numeric legal limit.
There is never a time when it is safe to drive (ride) at an inappropriate speed of course.
Speeding behaviours can be safe and can be dangerous and everything in between, they can be legal and illegal - of course.

There is of course a lot involved in 'safe speeding behaviours', and delves into psychology, and an individual road users, attitude, knowledge, skills and abilities. To judge the road user and whether they are safe and appropriate for conditions, that person will need to be present to appreciate the whole environment. Sometimes prior to situation might be important too.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 22:57 
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The follow up -
Eric Bridgestock wrote:
In my original message yesterday, I promised a follow-up with detailed arguments to support my case. This is that message. I have included the original message (with a couple of changes) at the start. The detail follows immediately after.

This email exposes the fact that not only do speed cameras make our roads less safe, it reveals that the authorities promoting them and responsible for their use (DfT, Highways Agency and many others) know that cameras are detrimental to road safety and yet they continue to make bogus claims for their effectiveness. Those same authorities also believe that it is tolerable to continue with their use while drivers learn how to mitigate the negative side effects that they cause.

As a safety professional (responsible for safety cases for systems as diverse as air traffic control radars and weapons), I find that not just unacceptable, but wilfully and criminally negligent.

The use of speed cameras (fixed, mobile and average speed) must be suspended as quickly as possible.
You have a duty of care to minimise the risk to the public caused by measures taken to improve road safety. You are failing in that duty every day that a speed camera remains on a UK road.

Over the past two years I have corresponded with numerous road safety individuals and bodies across the UK and beyond (including most of those on this email distribution), looking at the evidence used to support claims such as “speed cameras save lives”. I have reached the conclusion that no such evidence exists. There are plenty of examples of dramatic falls in collisions and casualties after cameras are installed, but what is lacking is any evidence that the camera has made a positive contribution to this outcome; the supposedly impressive results are actually due to statistics and trends and other effects. The Four Year Evaluation Report compiled in 2005 is often cited as proof that cameras are effective but includes no evidence whatsoever to support that claim.

In recent months, average speed cameras (ASC) have been hailed as revolutionary – avoiding the problems of distraction and sudden braking associated with fixed/mobile cameras. But when the Highways Agency recently sent me a copy of “Safety Camera Technology at Roadworks – Final Report, March 2008”, I found that it conceded that several hazards are created by the deployment of ASCs:

· Sudden braking

· Distraction

· Reduced headway (time between vehicles) - exacerbated by the sudden braking

· Lane changing

The report also acknowledges that there are no proven safety benefits (collision/casualty reduction) and that driver education campaigns may become of increased importance to encourage “correct behaviour”.

These conclusions are all the more surprising when you realise that the participants in this study were employees of the HA or the consultancy preparing the report (many subjective comments suggest that they are predisposed to the “potential benefits of speed cameras”).

The HA report can be downloaded from

http://www.ha-research.gov.uk/projects/ ... hp?id=1258

Safety engineering is guided by a number of principles, one of the most important being the order of precedence for methods to address hazards, as follows:

1. Eliminate the hazard.
2. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing engineered mitigation strategies (such as safety interlocks such as the safety catch on a gun).
3. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing mitigation strategies based on human factors (labelling, training or procedures).

In the case of ASCs, the source of the hazard is clear – it's the introduction of the cameras. It is no more than wishful thinking that drivers can be educated to deal with that hazard - that is very poor, indeed culpable, safety engineering.

As there is no safety argument for using the cameras, the first choice is to remove the cause of the hazard (i.e. take away the camera); increased signage and driver education (as proposed by the report) to mitigate the hazard are covered by number 3 on the list and are therefore much less satisfactory and will never be as beneficial as eliminating the source of the hazard.

A “safety device” that actually reduces road safety until drivers adjust to it is totally alien to all safety thinking and culture.



The HA report was comparing ASCs with fixed cameras, concluding that ASCs had fewer drawbacks. I have explained above that there is no safety argument for the deployment of ASCs, and it therefore follows that no speed camera should be allowed to be deployed on our roads as it is clearly decreasing road safety. Mobile cameras are worse than fixed cameras in this respect.

To support my claim about distraction, the following story appeared in the press in the last week:

It was bad enough for Tony Allen to see motorists constantly speeding through his village at way above the 30mph limit. But when an uninsured driver ploughed into his garden wall causing £3,500 damage, he decided that was the last straw. The 60-year-old builder constructed his own mock speed camera from a wooden box painted yellow, complete with a silver foil flash and lens, and installed it in his front garden. Tony Allen says he will not remove a mock speed camera from his front yard, despite the potential for legal action. But police have warned Mr Allen that he could face legal action if a motorist should crash and claim that the fake camera was a distraction.

The corollary is that any crash near a real speed camera could result in a claim of distraction. I know of at least two cases in the UK where a coroner has cited a speed camera as a contributory factor to the death, distraction in both instances.

There was a collision in the TOD enforced roadworks on the M25 in Essex this morning.

For about five months, until March this year, I presented evidence and arguments to officers at the DfT (Mike Fawcett and his team) but it was clear that they were not interested in facts that challenged their cherished view that speed cameras performed road safety miracles. This shocked me and caused me to look even deeper into this "speed camera industry" and the influence of the many vested interests (I am convinced that many are open to accusations of fraud).

I have deliberately circulated this email widely, including many of the individuals and organisations who have, sometimes unwittingly, provided me with the evidence against speed cameras summarised in this message. I have done this firstly to fulfil a peer review process – if anyone can prove that any of my claims are wrong, I would be pleased to hear from them. Secondly, I want to draw the attention of as many people as possible (including the Transport Select Committee and journalists) to the £100 million a year scandal (the approximate amount spent on procuring, operating and maintaining speed cameras) that is having a detrimental effect on road safety while Crown servants issue statements about speed cameras that are palpably untrue.

Only last week, over a tenth of Paul Clark's speech at the PACTS Conference amounted to a defence of speed cameras (including attributing reductions in killed and seriously injured of 42% and 50% - “Early evidence suggests they [average speed cameras] can deliver a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries”).

Speed cameras have now been in use for around 15 years; if they really “worked”, there would be no need for government ministers to spend valuable time defending their use through such risible claims - their results would speak for themselves.

I have seen counter claims that speed cameras have arrested the previous downward trend in road casualties, even claiming that, had the downward trend continued there would have been 10,000 fewer deaths over those 15 years. I’ve not checked the calculations in detail but, from a safety viewpoint, given the many negative effects that cameras have on driving, I consider that a credible, and tragic, outcome - certainly more credible than reductions of 40% or 50%.

The conclusion from this is that speed cameras must be phased out as quickly as possible (a few months maximum) – with the money saved being diverted to driver education programmes and increased police patrols.

Please note that, although I have contact with organisations such as SafeSpeed and the ABD, I am not a member of any of them nor do I have any affiliation. I have used my safety engineering expertise, coupled with my experience gained during my time as a former Chairman of the London and Herts RoSPA Advanced Drivers Group, to form an independent view. It is clear that, until now, there has been a paucity of independence in the assessment of speed camera effectiveness.

I look forward to hearing from you and would be willing to meet to discuss this matter.

I also welcome contact from any recipients of this message but please note that I work full time.

The remainder of this message provides detailed evidence and argument for the statements that I make above. I have accumulated material to support every claim that I make.

===========================

I begin with my assessment of “Safety Camera Technology at Roadworks – Final Report, March 2008”, published by the Highways Agency.

Firstly, a few overall comments (note that the terms TOD (time over distance) and ASC (average speed cameras) are used to mean the same thing):

1. The main thrust of the HA report is that TODs are better than fixed cameras because they do not cause as much sudden braking or distraction – but they still cause hazardous driving behaviour such as sudden braking, distraction/glances at speedometer, reduced headway (time between vehicles) and lane changing.
2. The report acknowledges that “no reliable, detailed, or above all statistically significant evidence has so far been found regarding the impacts of TODs, be it on roads with or without roadworks”. There is nothing in the report to claim that TODs improve road safety.
3. Participants are employees of the HA or the consultancy (Scott Wilson) and, from most of the comments, are pre-disposed to the idea that speed cameras will bring benefits, if only drivers knew how to respond to them.
4. A key recommendation is that drivers need to be educated to mitigate the hazards introduced by speed cameras.

In summary, TODs trigger hazardous driving behaviour and have no proven road safety benefit. The safety case for their use is therefore non-existent.

The same argument applies to fixed and mobile cameras, which are acknowledged by all to have even worse effects on driver behaviour.

It follows that all speed cameras (TOD, fixed and mobile) should be removed from our roads.

Detailed comments and extracts from the HA report are:

1.1.9 (bullet 4) Driver glance patterns at TOD enforced roadworks can differ substantially from the norm (evidence of both greater and less distraction has been found

1.1.10 A questionnaire … has revealed that while TOD enforcement is viewed more favourably by the public …. There is still a lack of understanding of the (potentially) beneficial effects that TOD enforcement may have.

This comment presumes that there are benefits from speed cameras. I have seen no conclusive evidence of benefits from the use of any speed camera deployment. This comment is based on a false premise.

1.1.12 bullet 2 public outreach/driver education campaigns may become of increased importance to encourage “correct behaviour” that will in turn enhance operational efficiency of roadworks.

Another dangerously misguided comment – this is referring to the need to educate drivers in order to reduce the hazards to the public caused by the cameras.

Safety engineering aims to eliminate hazards, failing that implement engineering mitigations to reduce the risk, and finally develop training and procedures to use the system safely.

A supposed safety system that introduces risk to the public, which can be mitigated only by human factors solutions is no safety system at all and cannot be deployed.

1.1.14 “there are still issues needing to be resolved including …. Safety issues potentially arising from reduced, and more consistent, headways, as well as complex driver distraction issues.”

3.1.3 bullet 3 “although figures are in print, no reliable, detailed, or above all statistically significant evidence has so been found regarding the impacts of TOD systems, be it on roads with or without roadworks”

This comment could equally be said for any speed cameras.

4.1.5 In the case of TOD enforcement such behaviour [surfing] is futile with sudden decelerations producing only small changes in the overall transit time, however that is not to say that it may not occur due to the lack of understanding on the part of the driver.

It does happen – I see it frequently at “vultures”, and near collisions as a result. This is confirmed in para 4.1.10, which refers to excessive braking, near misses and “knock-on” accidents.

6.1.2/3 Participants were recruited from HA (and had some working knowledge of speed enforcement systems) and through family and friends of Scott Wilson project staff.

The fact that these participants were not at all independent seriously undermines any positive claims for the benefits of TOD speed cameras and actually makes the criticisms and perceived problems all the more damning.

6.2.4 9% of drivers passing TOD cameras braked heavily.

All unpredictable braking events are hazardous. The fact that there are only a third as many for TOD as there are for fixed cameras is not a recommendation to use TOD – it is a comment that both are hazardous.

6.2.30 “the need to monitor one’s speed between camera points is essential to ensure compliance and hence the driver may have to make a number of continued checks on (and thereby be distracted by the need for increased observance of) their speedometer.”

7.2.2 The report compares an average 0.75 injury accidents per over the previous 3 years over the span of the site (with no road works) to zero over the three months of the TOD enforced roadworks. It acknowledges that these figures cannot be used to draw conclusions about the safety benefits of TOD cameras. In fact, given that they are comparing a stretch of road with and without roadworks, with different speed limits, enforcement, and other engineering (cones, signage, etc.) there are so many confounding variables it would be impossible to draw any safety conclusions from this study. This point is reflected in the last bullet of 8.1.1.

10.1.2 “[the project] has found little clear, scientifically significant evidence on the effects of either [TOD or fixed cameras]. This paucity is particularly noticeable with respect to TOD enforcement…”

In summary, I found that the report acknowledged that several hazards are created by the deployment of ASCs:

· Sudden braking

· Distraction

· Reduced headway (time between vehicles) - exacerbated by the sudden braking

· Lane changing

The report also acknowledges that there are no proven safety benefits (collision/casualty reduction) from any speed camera system and that driver education campaigns may become of increased importance to encourage “correct behaviour” with TODs.

These conclusions are all the more surprising when you realise that the participants in this study were employees (or their friends/family) of the HA or the consultancy preparing the report. Many subjective comments suggest that they are predisposed to the “potential benefits of speed cameras”.



Evidence of Effectiveness

The National Safety Camera Programme Four Year Evaluation Report, prepared by PA Consulting, was published in Dec 2005 and is often quoted or cited as proof that cameras “work”. It used the following four so-called measures of effectiveness:

1. “vehicle speeds were down at camera sites" - with no clear link to road safety improvement in terms of likelihood of collisions, and hence no proven road safety benefit.
2. "casualties and deaths were down at camera sites" – but, given that cameras are installed after an atypically high cluster of collisions, selection effects such as regression to the mean would virtually guarantee that was always likely to happen, regardless of any measures taken at the sites. The report did not attempt to establish any credible causal link between the presence of the camera and the reductions in collisions. I will return to this point later.
3. "positive cost benefit" - This is the claim that first convinced me that cameras are based on fraudulent claims. The calculations use Value of Preventing a Fatality (VPF) but treats them as if they are costs and “return on investment”. The cost to the county/country of a fatality is not around £1.5M and to claim that one life saved represents a return on investment of £1.5M is patently a lie. The real costs of a fatality (from Highways Economic Note 1, Table 3) are typically £5000 - £20000 (costs associated primarily with emergency services and hospital). The only way to get return on investment in cash terms is through fining drivers, many of whom are driving around the 85th percentile speed (and therefore probably quite safe), but the revenue from fines is never mentioned in the return-on-investment discussions, hence my belief that fraud is being perpetrated in the name of road safety. I am currently in correspondence with the National Audit Office on this matter.
4. "public support" - based on loaded/biased survey questions. Public support has zero value in a safety management system. What matters are the results in terms of fatalities, casualties and collisions across the whole region, not just at a few specially selected sites. But there was no holistic measure of road safety across the region in the PA Consulting report; just measurements at specific sites and no control experiment to see if the effects "at camera sites" would be the same if all of the signage and engineering changes were made but without adding a camera.

None of these four measures addresses casualties/collisions holistically, across the whole region. This Evaluation Report provides no evidence of road safety effectiveness of speed cameras.



What causes accidents?

It is common to read reports about a “speeding driver” causing death, injury or other damage. In virtually all cases, it becomes clear that the root cause of the crash was drink, drugs, police chase, “joy rider” in a stolen vehicle, etc. It is not possible for an accident to be caused by someone driving faster than a speed posted on a sign. Of course higher speed will make the severity of any collision worse, but it will not be the cause the collision (except possibly in extreme circumstances in which case there will usually be another root cause). Speed cameras address a symptom of bad driving (exceeding the speed limit) but collisions are prevented by addressing the root causes of bad driving, and that can be done only through driver education and increasing police patrols

Apart from the factors such as drink, drugs, crime, etc., most collisions are caused by poor observation, poor concentration, lack of signalling, misjudgement, lack of anticipation, reduce safety margin, tiredness, and so on – rarely, if ever, simply by exceeding the speed limit.



Why a camera cannot prevent an accident/collision/casualty

As already mentioned, many reports show that accidents/collisions/casualties fall at camera sites but there is NO EVIDENCE that any of this is due to the camera. To claim safety benefit, there must be credible causal link between fall in incidents and the role played by the camera. (to illustrate this, a speed camera installed on the runway at Charles De Gaulle airport following the Concorde crash could not claim credit for no crashes during take-off since July 2000 – yet this is the sort of illogical claim routinely made for speed cameras by Partnerships and others who advocate their use).

I explain below why reductions in accidents and casualties CANNOT be due to a camera (or at least the likelihood is diminishingly small). In order to understand this, we need to look at the “anatomy” of an crash (and I believe virtually all crashes can be characterised in these terms – I’m open to offers for a real or imaginary incident which does not).

The first "ingredient" is a hazardous condition - this could be a tired driver, a driver using a mobile phone, an overtaking manoeuvre (being on the wrong side of the road is always potentially hazardous), a bald tyre, and so on. These are, if you like, "accidents waiting to happen".

But in order for these hazards to develop into a crash we require an initiating (or triggering) event such as a misjudgement, a manoeuvre without looking or signalling, a road-user failing to respond to a traffic signal or, in the case of the bald tyre, sudden braking or steering on a slippery surface.

Once the initiating event has combined with the hazardous condition an accident sequence has started and it will become a crash unless something can stop it or, technically, mitigate it. In most cases this boils down to reactions of the drivers involved and can be aided by active car safety measures such as anti-lock brakes. Ultimately, if a collision happens, only "last-ditch" safety features such as airbags, crumple zones and seat-belts or road engineering such as crash-barriers can reduce the severity of the collision.

So, in order for a camera to prevent a collision it has to either remove the hazardous condition or the initiating event, or mitigate the accident sequence once it has been triggered. I have asked many experts in this field to describe a credible scenario where a camera can do this and they have failed. I have asked for examples of actual accidents where it could be said "if a camera had been present then that would have been prevented; I have had no offers. I have asked for imaginary scenarios where the camera prevents a collision in the way I have described above; again, no credible offers.

Most road safety devices have a clear link to preventing collisions or preventing injury - seat-belts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, rear-fog lights, solid white lines, crash barriers, for example, all can easily be explained and many people will testify that their lives have been saved, or a crash has been prevented, by them. As far as I can see, such a linkage does not exist for cameras.

Cameras are always installed where there has been an unusually high spate of incidents and where there is a “speeding problem”. Statistically, the incidents in the following years will nearly always be lower at that camera site. There seems to be an acceptance among all parties that RTTM is responsible for most of the fall in the statistics at a camera site, but it is often asserted that the camera "gets the credit" for the rest. That is a leap of faith for which I see no evidence. The test is very simple – take that “high spate of incidents” and explain how any of them could have been prevented – if that is not possible, then, coupled with my explanation of the anatomy of a crash above, there is no logical reason to suppose that a speed camera of any type could ever prevent a crash or casualty. This is the heart of my claim that there is no safety benefit to be obtained from speed cameras.

Without the logical, credible link between the camera and a road safety benefit (in terms of a collision prevented), the statistical claims for reductions in crashes at camera sites have little or no credibility - they must be due to statistics or other factors (recognised or not). This applies to all types of speed camera – fixed, mobile or average speed.

Paradoxically, there is more evidence of cameras contributing to crashes than there is that they prevent crashes…..

Examples of cameras contributing to deaths

Fatalities across the Northern Region of Scotland have increased 30% annually for the two years after speed cameras were introduced (2004 = 20, 2005 = 26, 2006 = 34) – and the Partnership continued to issue press releases boasting of reductions at camera sites.

At the inquest into the death of Mrs Myra Nevett in 2004, the Coroner considered that a speed camera contributed to the tragedy. Quoting from the BBC website…

John Pollard, the Stockport Coroner, partly blamed the death of Myra Nevett, 69, in a road traffic accident in Disley, Greater Manchester, last year on the presence of a camera. The coroner said roadside yellow cameras can distract drivers “even momentarily” who glance upwards and at their speed rather than the road.

Arthur Hadfield, the motorist involved in the accident, has been charged with driving without due care and attention and will appear before Stockport magistrates next year.

The inquest was told that Mrs Nevett, a retired school bursar, was fatally injured on December 16 as she crossed the A6 on her way home. She died in Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.

Mr Pollard told the hearing that the speed camera could have caught the attention of the driver at just the wrong moment.

His view was endorsed by PC Michael Jeffrey, the accident investigator at the scene. He said: “They do tend to divert drivers’ attention away from other areas and they concentrate solely on their speed.”

Then there is this report from Feb 2009:

A DRIVER may have been killed because he braked suddenly after spotting a speed camera.

Police say Graham Davies, 45, is unlikely to have even been speeding when he lost control of his car.

The businessman died instantly when his Skoda Fabia hit a lamp-post near an accident blackspot on the A9. Traffic policeman George Fergus claimed braking was a natural reaction for any driver unaware of their exact speed.

He told an inquiry: "Witnesses said that, for no apparent reason, the victim's vehicle braked heavily, there was a lot of smoke and the car veered left and collided with the lamp-post."

Graham, of Stockton-on-Tees, crashed near Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Fergus added: "There is no reason to believe Mr Davies was speeding.

"However, we find many drivers - when approaching a camera - see the camera or road markings and it is a natural reaction to brake hard then check their speed and accelerate again.

"I believe that is what has happened here.

"He has braked hard then lost control."

Perth sheriff Michael Fletcher will issue a fatal accident inquiry report on the tragedy last May.

The death of Graham Davies is not an isolated incident. It may be that fatalities are comparatively rare, but the familiar sights of brake-lights and skid marks near speed cameras suggests that there are plenty of less serious incidents and near-misses. It is inconceivable that others have not been injured by collisions triggered by speed cameras. The HA report confirmed that such behaviours are widespread.



Finally, for now, I quote Paul Clark’s recent speech at the PACTS conference:

“And we remain committed to using and speed cameras. Cameras are not cash driven. They are not a tax. They have one purpose and one purpose only - and that is to reduce speeding where there is a history of accidents or where there is community concern about speeding.
As far as I’m concerned, the best camera is one that doesn't issue a single ticket as it means people are driving safely and within the speed limit. Drivers who abide by the speed limit, and therefore don’t put other road users at risk, have nothing to fear from cameras. Only those irresponsible enough to break the law pay penalties, just as other lawbreakers do.

And evaluations from around the world have shown that cameras bring huge road safety benefits. They reduce vehicle speeds, they reduce accidents, they reduce deaths and they reduce serious injuries.

Our own National Safety Camera Programme underwent an independent four-year evaluation, the report being published in 2005. It found a 42% reduction in people killed or seriously injured at camera sites across the 38 partnership areas. In short, they save lives.

And as you know, we’re also using average speed cameras to slow down traffic on key sections of our road network – either where there is a history of collisions along a stretch of road or in motorway road works. Early evidence suggests they can deliver a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries.”

Rhetoric, and misleading cherry-picked statistics and sound-bites.

· No mention of the numerous negative effects on driver behaviour introduced by camera enforcement.

· No mention of deaths attributable to speed cameras.

· “Early evidence suggests they [TOD cameras] can deliver a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries.”?? No mention here of the statistical trends (eg regression to the mean) caused by selection effects – merely the suggestion that the speed cameras get all of the credit for any reductions. Utter nonsense.

· “evaluations from around the world have shown that cameras bring huge road safety benefits” No such evaluations exist, nor could they. The negative effects of speed cameras, as expressed in the Highways Agency report easily outweigh the supposed benefits.



Summary

I have used a system safety approach to explain in considerable detail why it is virtually impossible for a speed camera (of any type) to prevent a collision/casualty. I am open to any challenge on that, explaining where my approach is flawed and providing a credible counter example.

An official report from the Highways Agency recognises that speed cameras of all types cause hazardous driving behaviour. Their only proposed “solution” is to educate drivers to reduce the associated risk. This is unacceptable and positively dangerous thinking as it will never deliver benefits equal to the negative effects.

Drivers need to be educated, but not in how to negotiate the hazards introduced by “safety cameras” (sic) but in how to deal with the real hazards on the road, caused by road layout (junctions, white lines, bends, hills, traffic lights, etc), conditions (day/night, sun, rain, ice, fog, etc) and other road users.

The DfT also needs to be educated in what causes collisions and how they can be prevented. Their current obsession with speed management is fundamentally flawed.

You have a duty of care to minimise the risk to the public caused by measures taken to improve road safety. You are failing in that duty every day that a speed camera remains on a UK road.

As always, I have extensive further material to support every statement and claim that I have made.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 22:00 
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Quote:
Safety engineering is guided by a number of principles, one of the most important being the order of precedence for methods to address hazards, as follows:

1. Eliminate the hazard.
2. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing engineered mitigation strategies (such as safety interlocks such as the safety catch on a gun).
3. Reduce the risk associated with the hazard or accident by implementing mitigation strategies based on human factors (labelling, training or procedures).


How many times have I pointed out hierachy of controls as stated above (ERICPD ring any bells ?).


Quote:
4. A key recommendation is that drivers need to be educated to mitigate the hazards introduced by speed cameras.

In summary, TODs trigger hazardous driving behaviour and have no proven road safety benefit. The safety case for their use is therefore non-existent.

The same argument applies to fixed and mobile cameras, which are acknowledged by all to have even worse effects on driver behaviour.

It follows that all speed cameras (TOD, fixed and mobile) should be removed from our roads.



Again I've mentioned that we do not control a hazard by introducing another, see also:


Quote:
Safety engineering aims to eliminate hazards, failing that implement engineering mitigations to reduce the risk, and finally develop training and procedures to use the system safely.

A supposed safety system that introduces risk to the public, which can be mitigated only by human factors solutions is no safety system at all and cannot be deployed.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 15:56 
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As a safety professional (responsible for safety cases for systems as diverse as air traffic control radars and weapons), I find that not just unacceptable, but wilfully and criminally negligent.


One legal requirement (in H&S Law) for safety cases is that they are managed by a 'Competant Person' This is a person who has the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience (in some cases qualifications) to perform the role and knows the limitations of said appropriate skills, knowledge, experience (in some cases qualifications).

If we apply that to the DfT and the camera partnerships I wonder how many would actually meet the criteria of competence ?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 20:37 
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Safety Engineer wrote:
Quote:

If we apply that to the DfT and the camera partnerships I wonder how many would actually meet the criteria of competence ?



NOW -I am still trying to work out how a fixed camera can be expected to set up a safety zone ,in all conditions and weathers and what programming ( other than detection of a speed above that set by law ) has been done .Does it ,perchance flash a warning that conditions are icy/foggy ( too much and it's useless)/ wet ( again too much and it fails) .

Does it perchance in bad conditions ( where it cannot visibly see traffic ) flash a warning that visibility is poor or when the temperature is low that there is a risk of ice or if it is raining heavily that there is a spray /poor adhesion risk .
I always had it drummed into me that when setting up a safe system ,any change in conditions should require a rethink at the very least ,and if anything caused a possible breach of my safe system ,it had not been set up correctly and needed to be investigated -any possibility of danger to occupants of that safe system caused it to be cancelled .Yet here we have a system where someone can ( as SCPs say) commit an unsafe act (speed) in that safety zone and the zone is allowed to exist without alteration .


Perhaps someone somewhere ( in charge of road safety ) needs to go on a safety course to understand that the basic udea of safety
IS TO PREVENT ANY UNSAFE ACTS
BEFORE THEY HAPPEN

But then it would seem that this is not as profitable as the Titanic principle - wait till something goes wrong and fine the offenders.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 09:09 
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I don't normally wade through long posts like that, but more fool me.

They must really dislike it when some smart alex comes along and with the power of expertise and knowledge and blows their propaganda out of the water. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:55 
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adam.L wrote:
I don't normally wade through long posts like that, but more fool me.

They must really dislike it when some smart alex comes along and with the power of expertise and knowledge and blows their propaganda out of the water. :)


Actually: No
As in they don't like it, dislike it, or even care.
Speed cameras used as a safety system have been illogical since their inception.
They are still here.
Instead of examining their good, or bad, as a safety system (since we already KNEW that they could not be such a safety system) we should be examining their use as a means of raising revenue, building empires of employment and their implementation and purchase as a means of diverting public funds to the bank accounts of chosen people and organisations (which also includes the association of chief police officers (plc [guarantee]))
Since the modern [public] view of safety is that of busybodies telling others they cannot do something because it may lead to any sort of accident or risk, I feel that putting the above view of safety management to the public (while correct and right) will find no favour or understanding.
*I* know that a correct safety regime is necessary in my industry, and hence in other industries (which includes roads....since the majority of the traffic is involved in work of some sort) but the PUBLIC do not understand the message and in many cases do not WANT to understand the message.
The MESSAGE is blurred by the frequent incorrect safety decisions frequently referred to in the popular press.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:37 
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any one have an idea about the number of jobs created by the speed camera industry verses the number of jobs lost because of it?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 13:09 
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Eric Bridgestock wrote:
In recent months, average speed cameras (ASC) have been hailed as revolutionary –

....

http://www.ha-research.gov.uk/projects/ ... hp?id=1258

I've recently ripped through this report.

Critically, this report is all about enforcement, not about safety, but it's far worse than that. This is a really crap evaluation, as it stands it is meaningless and proves little.

The data sets have no significant resolution: 1 road each, 23 drivers each [and some of that data was lost] - that's it!
The same drivers weren't even tried on both the M1 and M4 meaning there's no fundamental basis for comparison; those roads are in different countries!
The recruitment characteristics for the two groups weren't exactly similar, but then again they are in different countries!

'Bias on selection' rears its ugly head: “far sharper and earlier speed reductions may be taking place at SSE roadworks
The large change of speed on the M4 suggests there is a significant distance between the 50mph limit sign and the ‘start of road works’ sign.

The roadworks/contraflow themselves may be different, this in itself can influence driver behaviour.

The score breakdown for the M4 wasn't given, even though one was for the M1 (table 1) - how can we know how similar they are/aren't?

The traffic gap analysis (6.2.26) means nothing without comparative traffic volume data ('n' can mean almost anything).
Without that knowledge, one could (wrongly) infer that there is a reduced gap between vehicles for the M1 data 'TOD causes bunching'.
6.2.27: for the both the M1 and M4, 100% were in the 'n' 'l' and 'm' bands; therefore 0% were in the 'c' "closer than 1.5 seconds" band :scratchchin:

Table 8 (mislabelled as table 7 - the least of several basic errors for that table alone):
There is no 'glance' examination for the M4, so this is absolutely useless as a tool for comparison.

Crucially, the table shows drivers have their eyes on the speedos for an average of ~6.3% of the time - that's really quite scary. Surely this is well above what can be expected on a road without the threat of cameras (assuming the 'non-enforced' means the section within after the limit reduction but before the first speed camera).

The "% change" data column contains a data error. For subject 23, 20.4 to 19.2 is not a -20.42% change. Correcting for this brings the net average from 2.14 to 3.89 :roll:
The 0.64 is almost correct but the 6.2 [%I non-enforced, subject 19] value is wrong, it should be 6.9.


All in all, I would say that report is a whole load of nothing. The errors contained within reflects poorly on this professional organisation, one which is tasked with evaluating road safety :o

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 16:11 
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Steve wrote:
All in all, I would say that report is a whole load of nothing. The errors contained within reflects poorly on this professional organisation, one which is tasked with evaluating road safety :o



As in the IPCC is tasked with evaluating AGW ?
The parallel is obvious.
Organisations given a job of research find that being correct wins no prizes.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 09:05 
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Hello

My name is Stephen Davies, My brother was Graham, of Stockton-on-Tees, who crashed near Auchterarder, Perthshire.
at a speed camera and was killed when he hit a nearby lampost,

Some time after the accident I visited the site to see If I could figure out for myself what had happened.
I was disgusted to see that all of the roadside protection (crash barriers etc.) were placed specifically to protect the speed camera installtion only, and not to protect motorists at all, the camera is located on a slight bend and coincides with a right turn sliproad through the central reserve to Auchterauder Station.

As it is on a slight curve, the markings are offset, no doubt to counter parralax error in the camera viewing angle.

In my opion this is the worst spot to installl a speed camera as so many other things are "going on".

this is a copy of the reply I got from the coroners office when I mentioned these concerns

...........................

Dear Mr Davies,

Following your email below I arranged to meet with the crash
investigator to go through the points that you raised. Given your
expressed concerns I also led evidence from an additional witness, the
traffic officer who initially attended at the scene and spoke with
witnesses. Both of these witnesses are experienced police officer with
specific experience as toad traffic officers in the Perth area

At the inquiry I raised on your behalf the concerns you expressed
about the positioning of the speed camera and also the ending of the
crash barrier prior to the lamp post that was struck by your brother's
vehicle.

Neither officer considered that the position of the camera created an
unacceptable risk although they both agreed that it is possible that
your brother saw either the camera itself of the road markings and
braked sharply as a result of which the car veered to the left and
came off the roadway. They each said that it is their experience that
drivers tend to slow down when they become aware of a speed camera
even if - as was the case with your brother - they are within the
speed limit. Both officers expressed the view that to some extent this
is what a speed camera is intended for and one of the officers gave
evidence that so far as this particular camera is concerned it appears
to have had an effect
- this was in his view an accident blackspot but his experience was
that the number of accidents had reduced since the camera had been
sited there 9 or 10 years ago. Both officers gave evidence that the
approach to the camera and the junctions was a sweeping right hand
bend and that prior to the camera itself which is painted in the usual
yellow and orange reflective paint, there is a road sign warning of a speed camera.

So far as the barrier is concerned each officer accepted that had the
barrier extended to the lamp post it would probably have protected
your brother's vehicle from striking the post so severely. They each
made the point that he was extremely unlucky to strike the post at the
point that he did - but they also said that had there been a crash
barrier the likely result would have been that the car rebounded back
onto the carriageway at a time when the road was extremely busy,
possibly leading to a multiple car accident.

I did not explore the road layout with the witnesses. You made the
point in your email that generally roads in the UK are poorly laid out
and I think this is a point that is well made but is also well known
so far as roads such as the A9 are concerned. Sadly a fatal road
traffic accident on this road is not an uncommon event and there is
considerable local media and political pressure to improve the A9
generally. As you correctly observe this is dictated by political
priorities and I took the view that as these issues are already well
established there was little point in exploring them once again.

The Sheriff is still to issue his verdict but I think that it is
likely that it will be what is known as a formal verdict namely
formally recording the time and place of your brother's death along
with the cause of death. An inquiry such as this has to proceed on
evidence and while there is clear evidence of how the crash occurred,
there is nothing that the Sheriff could be expected to rely upon about
why the crash occurred - there is no evidence of any obstruction or
event occurring in from of your brother which might have distracted
him and while the police officers each stated that the speed camera
possibly caused him to brake, they acknowledged that they were to some
extent speculating and I would not expect the sheriff to consider this
to be firm enough evidence to support a finding that the sudden
braking was due to the camera.

I said in my previous email that I would enclose relevant excerpts of
the crash investigator's report and I do this now. I also attach a
copy of the sketch plan prepared him.

............................................................

I can send these if you require them
Stephen


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:26 
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Hello Stephen and :welcome:

I'm sorry to hear of your brother's death and very grateful for your open and frank post. I'm sure you'll find plenty of similar view on this board - certainly braking for a camera even when at or below the speed limit is a common occurence - I've done it myself in the past! As for the other factors, we can, of course, only speculate I'm afraid.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 14:24 
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On the M6 near Lancaster, there has been a prolonged set of road works with SPECS cameras monitoring the 50 mph restriction.
I have been through every weekend in each direction, and behaviour in the restrictedzone has been appalling.
Many drivers have were tailgating the vehicle in front, for long distances at speeds of 40 to 48 mph. Very few drivers have reached 50 when space allowed - at nights I fond myself passing scores of slow moving vehicles. Yet the space available is more than available in other dualled roads where speeds are well above 50 mph. Much of the work was done behind temporary concrete barriers, reducing the risk to the workforce!

Now, the road works have finished, and the cones etc. are gone - but the SPECs installations are still in place for the moment.
However, a large sign as you approach the first one proclaims "SPEED CAMERAS NOT IN OPERATION".

Why? If the cameras posed no risk, and there are no speed limit signs to indicate any change to the NSL, then why bother with this sign?

Elsewhere, cameras out of use are often bagged. WHY??

SOMEBODY in authority is obviously aware of the risk that cameras pose, whether they are in operation or not!

CHARLATANS!!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 14:35 
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Hello Stephen.

I'm sorry for your loss.

This campaign has plenty of evidence and logical reasoning showing how our road safety policy has become badly misguided by our reliance on these cameras.
We have successfully tested many strong arguments against SCP (Safety Camera Partnership) staff who lurk on these forums.
The critical thing you should know about this campaign is that it calls for, among other things, speed limits and the enforcement of them where exceeding them causes danger. Like everyone else, we do not want a 'free for all' on our roads.

There are several confounding factors which prove there has been a gross exaggeration of the claims of speed camera effectiveness. A great place to start reading is here (RTTM); this has been proven by a widely-accepted, in-depth university study (the only one of its kind, done by camera supporters). That together with long-term trends (the rate of fall of fatalities we already had before cameras came about) has in turn proven that the claims regarding speed camera effectiveness has been exaggerated by 550% - that's hardly insignificant! Believe it or not, this fact and figure has been widely accepted, even by camera proponents, but they usually sweep that little gem under the carpet.

Then there is the (as yet) unquantified but entirely reasonable confounding factor of 'bias on selection', where the cameras (camera sites) get the credit for KSI reduction yielded from other nearby independent safety measures (e.g. a new pedestrian crossing within a camera site). This could well prove cameras have a negative impact on road safety - meaning cameras have been causing accidents, that negative effect being masked by these confounding factors which make the contribution from cameras appear positive.

Then one must consider the effect of displacement of real traffic police whose numbers have declined since the introduction of these cameras, even though traffic levels have increased. Only trafpol can detect, immediately halt any form of dangerous driving, as well as prevent offender misidentifying themselves; this is what we need, but cameras cant do any of that, yet they are intended to replace trafpol (and have been)...

The campaign has documented many other negative side effects, one of which could well be applicable to your loss.

I'm happy to expand upon these factors if you wish, but I urge you to read the campaign pages and through these forums as well.


For everyone else: here's a news article (link) further describing this particular tragedy.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 15:26 
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Hi Stephen and :welcome:

Your post is most welcome and I imagine must have been both hard to write and painful to recall. I lost my brother some years ago, albeit not in a RTA. So I can imagine how you feel; I am truly sorry for your loss.

Thanks for the link Steve, I didn’t read that at the time but I think the DA comments at the end are absolutely spot-on!

I think someone needs to remind the Government what the hec roads are for and why we invented cars in the first place. It seems to me they have forgotten that society needs to be mobile in order to function.

Their stupid attempt to slow everything down and get everyone off the road without a viable alternative cannot possibly work but they are riding on a tigers back with the “speed kills” theme so I don’t expect a U-turn or common sense anytime soon from them.

Off the top of my head I can list a few dangerous situations which contribute to KSI: -

Drink
Drugs
Mobile phone usage
Unlicensed driver
Poor training and education of new drivers
Bad health, sub-standard eyesight etc.
Extreme tiredness
Dangerous driving or Driving Without Due Care and Attention.
Parked dangerously
Bad weather
Poor lighting
Speeding

"Did someone say Speeding?” "Well we could help with all these dangers using extra traffic police but it just so happens we have something we can install and also make money from, so let’s make a case for it"

And so, it came to pass…

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The views expressed in this post are personal opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of Safe Speed.
You will be branded a threat to society by going over a speed limit where it is safe to do so, and suffer the consequences of your actions in a way criminals do not, more so than someone who is a real threat to our society.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 17:09 
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Hi Stephen

Welcome, hope you like it here.

Something I noticed in the response from the coroner:

Quote:
They each made the point that he was extremely unlucky to strike the post at the point that he did - but they also said that had there been a crash barrier the likely result would have been that the car rebounded back onto the carriageway at a time when the road was extremely busy, possibly leading to a multiple car accident.


It does beg the question, given that there are barriers that deform and absorb so why would the car have been rebounded into oncoming traffic?

Assuming that the barrier around the camera is of a type that would bounce a car into oncoming traffic, why is it acceptable to have it around the camera but not around the lamp post? There seems to be a contradiction here - it's ok to have a potential hazard to protect a camera site but not around a lamp post.

Strange reasoning, but to be fair not unusual given the way local authorities operate when it comes to traffic engineering.

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Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is done.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 18:27 
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Just a short note on this subject. Consultants Scott Wilson have been quoted and Derbyshire County Council and their cronies employ this bag of redundent pinball machine designers. Most of the highways projects which have been carried out in this area had to be modified after around 12 months, one being at a junction at which the main hospital was sited. Buses exiting this hospital did not have enough room to turn right and kept hitting the centre traffic light island by about a foot. This was modified no doubt after complaints from the bus companies which must have had high tyre replacement bills. It is nothing but a viciuous circle with Councils,SCPs,police, magistrates,CPS, and all the other minions. A totally unacceptable situation. OLLIE


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:48 
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The really ironic thing was the Police telling me that they still use film camera's in Perthshire and only have 6 inserts for in use in the whole area, but at that time of Grahams crash the camera in question did not have one fitted,

It was just an empty enclosure

so even if he had been speeding he may have set the flash off, but it would not have been recorded!

Stephen Davies


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