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Comment from: Grant

Firstly congratulations on highlighting the report with the regression formula stuff.

I particularly liked the section about the difficulty of finding control sites since they would need to be 'treated' as well since it would be morally wrong not to do so.

That brings me on to your email correspondence with Sgt. Crawford.

As a general observation, based on a visit to the Speed Enforcement office of another police force early last year, I have to say that the people I met then are genuinely personal certain that the process they support is for the public good. Indeed many of them claimed friends and relatives killed or injured due to speeding traffic. Some even pointed to their own injuries picked up from speed related (in their view) incidents. I suspect Sgt. Crawford comes from a similar situation. The text seems quite impassioned rather than a completely mechanical dismissal.

Sadly his personal moral simile (re treating serious illness) whilst worthy, does not stand up to consideration since the case is not absolutely proven, which is what you are suggesting in the first place.


On the west coast of Africa many people, mostly children, die every year from the effects of various treatable diseases. There is one in particular, can't recall which at the moment, that is very treatable with drugs which could be manufactured. The treatment however costs a couple of hundred pounds or so. The production costs for 50,000 treatments a year (approx figures) are relatively high since the drug is of no use elsewhere so there is no world market. also the main problem area in Nigeria, where there is little money, despite the oil, and from where payments are rarely made. 

So, there is a cure but it is not economically viable for the western owned drugs manufacturers, or the govts. to which they pay taxes, to make the cure available. So 'we' cannot claim the moral certitude that Sgt. Crawford implies even though we might wish to.

The second problem I have with that view is closer to home. Tobacco and Alcohol, one way or another, each cause more suffering, to casualties and their families, every year, than do road accidents. This has been something that govt's could do something about quite easily of course, though America's prohibition era suggests they would fail! But they want the money generated from taxes.

Given that we must all understand the personal dangers involved, why don't we all abandon the smoking path?  Why did we ever start?

Surely these would better moral crusades than speed cameras?

Lastly, for now, comes the problem of focussing on only one aspect of the problem which you point out in your mail. I refer to this as 'Measuring the wrong thing'. I believe this leads to all sorts of problems through all aspects of our lives, very often due to external influences over which we have limited or no control.

To return to a medical tack, there was a recent news article (or 2 if I recall) suggesting that new research was leading people to the conclusion that treatment for a severe illness ( I think it was MS?) was completely inappropriate as, for about 100 years, everyone had accepted a particular diagnosis of the underlying cause which had now been found to be less than complete. So nobody had looked for alternatives. There are many similar examples I believe. It's things like that that worry me about a blinkered and fixated approach, no matter how well intentioned (or even apparently successful over a short period of measurement) it may be. How many people go untreated then?

My thoughts, for what they are worth.

Best regards,


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