UK Speed Cameras Caught 1.87m Motorists in '05
A recently released report from the UK's Ministry of Justice has inspired some organizations to predict the imminent demise of the speed camera. Speaking to The Times, the RAC foundation's executive director claimed a victory for vox populi— even though camera-issued speeding tickets declined by just 40k. "This shows the outcry by millions of drivers has finally paid off and forced councils and police to exercise more discretion," Edmund King pronounced. "There is no doubt that enforcement was getting out of hand, particularly with the use of speed cameras." Yes well, "ring fencing" (letting councils keep the fines to pay for "safety camera" programs) ended the following year. One might also surmise that the 2.1 percent drop can be attributed to motorists losing their license, or learning how to avoid speed cameras, or rising gas prices, or administrative cock-ups, or the margin of error, or something. At least the Times remains skeptical about the fall in the number of drivers disqualified on penalty points (down 2k to 29k). "It is unclear whether this was because drivers slowed down or because they persuaded someone to take the points for them." Oh, and The Newspaper reports that the UK's number one traffic cop, South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, faces a driving ban after a speed camera clocked his Audi A8 doing 90 in a 60mph zone on the A5 at Halton in North Wales.
A lucrative misrepresentation says speed is the casual factor in great numbers of traffic collisions, injuries and fatalities. If that were really the case super highways would be the most dangerous places on earth. They aren’t. Cutting in and out of traffic, following too close and driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions are the real causes, but nobody has invented a device to measure these as handy and profitable as the radar speed timing device. The dirty little secret? In real world use radar guns, while accurate, are hopelessly misleading. A radar speed timing device determines speed by calculating the return time of an invisible radio beam reflected from a distant object to the transmitter-receiver. Trainee radar operators are told the signal locks onto the lead vehicle. Not so. The signal is returned from the largest object within range, often a mile or more. The speed of a big rig traveling even a great distance behind a car will be measured but in all probability the car driver will be charged with the offense. The radar operator, lacking the foggiest notion what is actually being clocked, will sincerely testify he observed the car traveling faster than the permitted speed. Radar speed timing devices are subject to a host of errant radio signals including garage door openers, poorly shielded two-way radios and many other RF sources. Shaking a large key ring down signal of a radar speed timing device will rocket the reading off the chart. In fact radar operators confirm device calibration by striking a tuning fork. Certain frequencies produce 30-mph and 50 mph speed readings. Speed radar guns have tracked apartment buildings at 90-mph notwithstanding everybody knows few can go anywhere near that fast, even downhill! Radar speed enforcement has virtually nothing to do with traffic safety. If it did most radar traps would be situated in high accident areas and school zones, but that is not typically where they are encountered. The logical conclusion: radar speed enforcement is primarily revenue generation. In fact, radar speed timing devices produce a financial bonanza for governments, manufacturers, and insurance companies and are widely and fraudulently accepted by an unquestioning civil service judiciary. Another profitable fairy tale holds beverage alcohol impaired drivers are the cause of a tremendous percentage of traffic accidents. This is untrue for much the same reason.
Gardiner, You are absolutely correct about that. I was twice made victim of this by police who in my opinion took advantage of this to quickly rack up the ticket count. Simply by setting up their trap where a busy highway was in the background, they assured themselves of writing up their quotas as fast as they could write. The first time, I was a kid, but the second time I was more educated. I got the ticket dropped by the prosecutor without even hiring a lawyer. I suspected that I was a victim a third time, but by simply driving down the street and observing from a parking lot I learned that this cop was actually not even using his radar gun between stops. He was also taking advantage of a speed limit sign that was knocked over. He was waving people over before they even entered the lowered speed area marked by the downed sign. Lastly, he was back dating the ticket by a day (likely to cover up from taking a day off). Got out of that one also, but the lawyer fee was the same as the ticket.
When an ordinance, law, or regulation is routinely ignored by the majority of the citizenry, it is both unenforceable (except randomly and capriciously, a mockery of justice) and a "bad law", which should be repealed or ignored (e.g. see Thomas Jefferson's "Kentucky Resolutions").
Fallout11, If I meet Mr. Jefferson in the afterlife, I will have to remember to smack him for not putting that into the Constitution.