13 May 2009

A very busy speed camera

We celebrate our 500th blog entry with a post that's likely to get your blood boiling!

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported how one speed camera in Whiteley, Hampshire, had caught, on average, more than one driver a minute breaking the maximum speed limit.

Winchester County Council felt they had to act, following numerous complaints from local residents that far too many cars were exceeding Yew Tree Drive's 30mph speed limit.

A total of 23,500 drivers have been caught in the first two weeks of the camera's operation. While the camera may have caught such a high number of speeding motorists, it's certainly not acted as a deterrent - something the DfT is keen to have the public believe. Some civil servants refer to them as "safety cameras", giving a more positive spin to the much-hated Gatso speed camera.

The government has said that local councils now have the authority to reduce speed limits from 30mph to 20mph without the need to pass legislation to do so. Increasing speed limits still requires changes to local by-laws. Those passionate about civil liberties see the prospect of many 20mph speed limits or zonal areas as another infringement on being able to go about their business unhindered by the government of the day.

The LEYTR area was one of the first in the country to adopt 20mph zones, with both Hull and Grimsby having numerous. Since 2001, Hull City Council has introduced 85 20mph safety zones, more than any other authority in the UK. The city council claim a 90% reduction in accidents that result in the death of a motorist or pedestrians. Typically, accidents have reduced by 60%, and all done without the use of speed camera, just the installation of speed humps and a reduced maximum speed.

Is this preferable to having lots more speed cameras erected all over the country? (CW)