There are some things in life that I just don’t understand. The other day I passed a speed camera with an orange cover over it with the words “OUT OF ORDER” written in large black letters on it. So what does this mean? Is it telling motorists they need have no worries about being caught speeding? I know that just the mention of speed cameras opens a whole can of worms for some people, but I find this hard to get my head round! If it’s not working why tell anybody? I’m trying hard not to come down on one side or the other as the pros and cons of speed cameras can be a really hot potato – if you know what I mean (it’s strange but I always feel that I have to ask: Do you know what I mean when I say, if you know what I mean?) You know what I mean? I’m not going any further with that, it’ll drive me crazy (and you).
Anyway, getting back to this particular camera, further up the road, before you get to it, there’s a sign warning drivers they are approaching a speed camera. (As I think there is in most cases). So it’s not unreasonable to think you have to be pretty stupid to get caught by it. So long as you drive at or below the set speed limit as you pass the camera, (and for a few hundred yards just to be on the safe side) no problem (or fine). Now I know that is a cynical point of view but it is a fact. I’m sure that if you asked you would find that is what happens most of the time (obviously there are exceptions otherwise no one would get caught exceeding the speed limit). Now before all those who would claim to always drive within the speed limits start jumping up and down – if you know what I mean! I’m not saying it’s ok to ignore or exceed speed limits, I’m just saying that the only effect these cameras have is that most drivers do not exceed the speed limit for a few yards either side of them, and that’s about it. Think of all the things they don’t do: they have no effect on drivers who are exceeding the speed limits on other parts of the road network, driving whilst under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, using a mobile phone, without road tax, MOT and/or insurance, unsafe tires and/or brakes, false number plates, tailgating. The list just goes on and on. Although it requires drivers to ensure they don’t exceed the limit for just a few yards, according to David Millward, Transport Editor for The Telegraph, speeding fines, were paid by just under by one million drivers in England and Wales in 2010.
That’s a lot of stupid drivers. I’m going to stick my neck out now and say I think there are a lot of crap, stupid drivers out there, and amazingly, a lot of new (and newish) cars without working indicators (a lot of them seem to be Audi Q4s and BMW X5s) – my pet hate (and I really mean HATE) are those stupid, thick, selfish, deadheads who just cannot hold back a few feet, but have to stop in that section on a roundabout that states in large white letters ‘KEEP CLEAR’ so that other drivers on their left can pull out and carry on round the roundabout and be on their way. Don’t get me started.
Let’s get back to the speed camera. Now there is a cover over it telling everyone it’s not working many drivers will not now be slowing down at this point (even for a few yards). I keep on thinking about it, trying to work out if it’s fair or not. Think about those drivers who are not familiar with the area. There they are, driving along minding their own business, when all of a sudden they see a sign warning them of a speed camera up ahead. This gets them all alert, pulse racing, eyes scanning the side of the road for the big yellow box. How do you think they feel when they get there and find it’s out of order? Shit, I needn’t have slowed down. It could be very stressful for some. Is that fair? Of course there are those who wouldn’t have seen the warning sign let alone the speed camera. These are the real speeders but because the camera is out of order they won’t be caught. Is that fair?
Also according to David Millward, speeding fines go to the Treasury, fees for speed awareness courses are retained by police forces and safety partnerships. (It is this cash which is paying for the cameras). The courses currently made available by 41 forces across the country, cost from £70 to £97 – slightly more than the existing £60 fine, but motorists who volunteer to take a course avoid three points on their licence.
If this camera is not catching those who speed past it, fines are not being paid or courses paid for. Therefore the money (tax) will have to be found in other ways – is that fair? Seriously though, why tell everyone it’s out of order. Is there some law that requires this to happen? There are, no doubt, a lot of you out there with strong views on this issue and you will have to work it out for yourselves. You know what I mean?