Jay Leno on Top Gear: Shoot Speed Cameras

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Legendary talk show host Jay Leno views speed cameras as one of the reasons the UK no longer feels like a free country. Appearing Sunday on the top-rated BBC show Top Gear, Leno suggested that as a visitor, the number of cameras in England is overwhelming. He also suggested that US drivers have a much less tolerant attitude toward photo enforcement. “See in L.A., people would say, ‘why not just shoot them out?'” Leno said. “In L.A., a day doesn’t go by you don’t see a styrofoam cup stuck over the lens of the speed camera.” The line about shooting speed cameras drew both laughter and great applause from the crowd. Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson even appeared momentarily surprised at his counterpart’s suggestion of vigilantism.

The US public has become increasingly aggressive against the use of automated ticketing machines. A pair of Montgomery County, Maryland, photo radar units this week found themselves covered with spray paint. One unit had its lens covered with red paint and the second had black paint cover two lens squares and a straight line offering something of the look of a smiley face. The speed cameras were installed to issue tickets to the visitors of a nearby country club located on Seven Locks Road.

A similar incident was reported in the state of Arizona over the weekend. A member of Camerafraud.com snapped a photo of a speed camera on State Route 51 that had its lens covered in black spray paint ( view photo).

UK vigilantes, however, have been far from inactive. This week a speed camera in Kent on the A21 just before the bridge near Tonbridge was set on fire and destroyed. Although Leno referred to speed cameras being defeated with styrofoam cups, he was actually referring to red light cameras. California law prohibits the use of cameras to issue speeding tickets. San Jose was the last city in the Golden State to give up on photo radar in 2007 after a court ruling chastised local officials for defying the law.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Aug 07, 2009

    Agreed! I think inattentive, unsure, distracted, and/or slowpoke drivers are responsible for far more accidents and deaths on the roads. I vote for stricter road-testing. For drivers and cars. And don't give me any nay-nay's about testing cars. Dashboard instruments, seat belts, headlights, turn signals, brake lights (and brakes!) should all be in functioning order before a tag is issued or renewed.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Aug 07, 2009
    DasFast : What is protocol if two strippers are walking down the street on a hot summer day (enthusiastically replenishing the other’s sun amplifying baby oil glaze with water guns) and a few drops were to ricochet off an unnaturally firm F cup, inadvertently smearing the lens? Public obfuscation? Haha! Honestly, I don't think there's any "protocol" for such a situation, although my first inclination would be to smile and compliment them on their lack of tan lines. No obfuscation there!
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.