Author Topic: Speed spin  (Read 12259 times)

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Offline trinity

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Speed spin
« on: March 10, 2004, 02:12:28 am »
If you drive back here from Cambridge the way I do, you come off the M11 at Duxford and go along the A505 toward Royston. Half-way along there is a speed trap of the gatso variety. Some distance before the speed camera there is a sign, warning you that it is there. The sign used to say, honestly enough, "Speed Camera", above one of the box-brownie icons. Or it might have said "Police".

This has (officially) had the "Speed"  (or "Police") pasted over, very obviously, with "Safety".

The use of these things for "safety" purposes is doubtless worthy of debate. The blatant renaming is spin, pure-and-simple. And the trouble with spin is that all it achieves is to destroy the credibility of the spinner. Maybe someone should have told the local constabulary about this.
 

Offline Margaret

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2004, 01:11:27 pm »
Surely they are for safety purposes. Isn't that why speeding is dangerous because it is unSAFE. Perhaps the police think that speeding vehicles will think twice when reminded that it is unsafe rather than that the police are thinking they are just breaking the law which a vast number of drivers think they can do. Whatever they call them they are unfortunately needed because of the dangerous speeding. I have had many a near miss on that stretch of road by some maniac doing 90 miles an hour or more.
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2004, 07:14:21 pm »
Speeding isn't dangerous per se, it is speed that is inappropriate for the road conditions that is a problem. 70mph on an empty motorway is one thing, 30 mph around Chancellors at drop off or pick up time would be reckless. The problem is that most cameras do not discriminate: the ones on the M25 in the variable speed section do.
The change in name is more to do with trying to change the image of cameras as revenue raising instruments. The recent review of all speed camera locations found 2 interesting things: first all cameras were in the 'right' place (thats a suprise!) and that a new rule had been introduced that allowed these unaccountable partnerships to locate cameras 'where there was a reasonable case for preventing an accident'. Such a case could be made by the local community. So cameras do not even have to be located at accident blackspots - the rule gives the 'safety' camera partnership a considerable degree of discretion.
From another perspective its also part of the endemic 'safety culture' which attempts to eliminate all risk in life - a philosophically and practically impossible task. The result is that we are all smothered in a blanket of regulations, red tape and bureaucracy.
Lets face it: fewer people die on our roads every year than in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain or Italy. Even allowing for differences in population.  Are we prepared to accept the current levels of risk associated with driving at the moment and deploy these resources elsewhere to tackle the rising tide of crime? ???

The second point relates to control. As these partnerships are meant to be self funding, they can exist in perpetuity, unaccountable and unelected. Like all bureaucratic organizations, unless we the taxpayer have control over their purse strings, they will live forever. Is it time for the community at large to demand democratic control over this unelected body?  >:(

Without consensus over acceptable levels of driving risk or democratic control over the partnership, the easy to tax motorist with his number plate and driving licence number all linked straight to his home address will continue to be an easy target, both to deal with in the crime figures and for more tax. Lets face it, in comparison to burglars, muggers and other less savoury folk, you can nearly always catch a motorist! :)
 

Offline jet

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2004, 08:51:35 pm »
Its so easy, don't speed, don't get flashed and watch the cameras all get taken down.
If you can't see a speed camera it suggests to me that people are not really using their eyes enough.
regards,
jet
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2004, 09:59:03 pm »
Quote
Surely they are for safety purposes. Isn't that why speeding is dangerous because it is unSAFE. Perhaps the police think that speeding vehicles will think twice when reminded that it is unsafe


I very much doubt it. It is far more likely to be some politician who considers people are daft enough to change their opinion of the things as revenue streams. Won't happen.

And it is inaccurate, too. "Speed camera" is a perfectly accurate description of what the device is, does and is intended to do. Clearly, there is some relationship between speed and accidents - but not all of that relationship is direct. The direct bit is due to reduced time available for reaction, and increased kinetic energy in any resultant "excursion".

Indirectly there is a relationship in that speeding motorists are more likely to be guilty of other careless or offensive driving traits, such as  tailgating, "cutting up", undertaking and so on.

The thing is, that tailgating and the like are dangerous at any time. The danger associated with speeding varies with road conditions.  

So to replace an accurate term, "Speed Camera", with a politically-motivated, less-accurate and partly incidental term, "Safety Camera" can only be spin.
 

catbirder

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2004, 11:59:34 pm »
As jet says, it's so easy - keep within the speed limit and you don't have to worry about the cameras, and you certainly wont have to worry what they're called.  

You can then devote all this energy to a much more worthwhile cause.



 

Offline Margaret

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2004, 10:14:32 am »
I for one am glad that the government is making money out of people who regularly flout the laws. The police don't just discriminately stick cameras where they feel like it they put them where accidents have happened or are in serious danger of happening, after all they are the ones who have to constantly suffer the stress and unpleasantness of having to attend these accidents often very gruesome ones, so on a personal note I'm sure they want to do everything in there power to stop it happening and if that means fining somebody who is incapable of driving at the desinated speed then so be it. After all as stated, they have better things to do than worry about speeding cars and clearing up the mess they cause. As catbirder and Jet say, don't speed no need for cameras. Also just because speeding is a minor offence  compared with burglaries etc. dosn't mean people should be allowed to get away with it. What the cameras are called is imaterial, we all know why they are there.
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2004, 11:21:57 am »
The point is that the safety camera partnerships DO now have the power to indiscriminately stick cameras anywhere.  :o
I think you are all being optimistic: I agree with not speeding, but these cameras are here forever whether you speed or not because we as the public on whose behalf they are supposed to operate have no control. If we all stopped speeding they would still be here.  ???
You wait: in a few years you will not only have to pay your road fund licence, but each time you drive you will pay a further fee dependent on the time of day and the distance travelled. How will this be done? By the next generation of big brother technology - satellite tracking. :o
I would rather the effort and expenditure that goes on these cameras went on catching what I think are more serious law issues like domestic violence, murder and the rest. The alternative is to treat speeding like parking (up to the point where injury occurs) and to decriminalize it. When injury occurs it becomes a criminal offence.
The point is to stop people speeding, thats all: making them criminals as well means the alienation of people who would normally support the police and try and help where possible.  :(
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2004, 11:24:01 am »
I forgot to say, unless you want to pay a shed load more taxes, choices have to made as to where funds go. Do you want to imporve the 97% unsolved crime rate (Thats for the Met but Herts is not much better) or hit identity carrying motorists. I know where my vote goes....
 

Offline jet

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2004, 11:31:08 am »
All these things can be solved by lobbying politicians and getting organised. The problem is that the great unwashed minority have elected a totalitarian government headed by an eu laccy.
Regarding the Royston to Baldock road. It is a nice stretch of road which is capable of being driven at an average of 60 mph plus. What is the point of speeding on this road when there is always a tail back at the Baldock lights, cruise it, enjoy it, save fuel.
As for speeding, a case is reported in the Sun today of a woman who despite a clean licence from the year dot, managed to get three speeding tickets just taking her dogs to the park for a walk and back. A motoring organisation said it was ridiculous. Yes it is ridiculous that someone could think it acceptable to drive at 40 mph in a 30 mph area not once but three times in one morning. The cameras were concealed, just like a child can be concealed by a parked car.
Answer stop speeding, watch the system collapse, passive resistance rules.
regards,
jet
« Last Edit: March 11, 2004, 11:34:15 am by jet »
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2004, 09:54:07 pm »
Quote

I would rather the effort and expenditure that goes on these cameras went on catching what I think are more serious law issues like domestic violence, murder and the rest.


The trouble is, that catching wife-beaters and murderers costs more money because the lay doesn't allow them to be shot. Catching people speeding raises revenue - especially if they're speeding by just a little bit so it can all be done automatically.

What I want to know is who is going to pay for all this satellite tracking gubbins - which will presumably require some sort of installation in the vehicle. I suspect I know the answer to this. :-(
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2004, 09:55:20 pm »
Quote
I forgot to say, unless you want to pay a shed load more taxes, choices have to made as to where funds go. Do you want to imporve the 97% unsolved crime rate (Thats for the Met but Herts is not much better) or hit identity carrying motorists. I know where my vote goes....


Nope. Politicians being what they are - and particularly because it isn't their money - you will *always* have to pay a shed load more taxes.

 

Offline Margaret

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2004, 01:29:38 am »
Where the cameras are and what they are called and who put them there is imaterial. Don't speed then no revenue, no need for cameras, lives saved. Surely a camera is better than having the police waste their time looking out for speeding motorists WHO SHOULDN'T BE SPEEDING IN THE FIRST PLACE.
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2004, 01:57:56 am »
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Surely a camera is better than having the police waste their time looking out for speeding motorists WHO SHOULDN'T BE SPEEDING IN THE FIRST PLACE.


Well, no, not really. Because deploying cameras has two highly undersirable effects:

1. They make people slow down in a very limited part of the road. One exception to this is the SPECS system that has two cameras some distance (1 mile or 1 km) apart, that use number plate recognition to detect vehicles entering and leaving a block, then work out mean speed over the block. But these are very expensive and they only really work on motorways. Cameras in general don't stop speeding in general, unless the roads are pretty much saturated with them. Putting them in "blackspots" tends to support the claim that speed is dangerous when it is inappropriate to the road conditions, rather than being dangerous per se.

2. They put ticks in boxes and provide a (IMHO spurious) justification for reducing the number of traffic police. These police are, to my mind, vastly more effective - and even cost-effective - than cameras because they can detect other forms of dangerous driving - and forms that are always dangerous like tailgating, undertaking and so on. That apart from the fact that they provide a very visible, mobile deterrent and with first aid training can assist accident victims, which cameras cannot. They are also able to ensure that accidents don't get worse - by controlling traffic post-accident - which again cameras cannot.

I'm *not* condoning speeding. I am pointing out that speed cameras are from a safety perspective highly suboptimal and at the same time very dangerous because they give the politicians and the beancounters reasons to cut back on the truly optimal safety measure of having enough, properly trained police men and women available. It is this political aspect that I particularly object to - because none of the recognition of these camera suboptimalities are new. They have all been said before. But the politicians have reason to defend them, so we get spin such as calling them "safety cameras" (which is a poor description), versus "speed cameras" which is true and accurate.

Speed cameras can have a beneficial effect. But the politicians' attempts to spin them just reduces the credibility of the cameras further than its already suboptimal level.
 

Offline Margaret

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2004, 11:23:36 am »
Trinity, all you have said just confirms my opinion that a speed camera, no matter what it is called, is better than nothing. There are not enough police to go around and I suspect that is more due to nobody wanting the job (and who can blame them) as well as the poor wages and conditions. But it all boils down to if there is a speed restriction on the road then follow it. If you do not agree with it then try to get it changed, don't just ignore it which is just flouting the law and makes anybody doing it just as guilty as a burglar etc. Just because it is a minor offence (unless someone is killed or seriously injured in an accident) doesn't make it alright to do it.
 

Offline jet

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2004, 12:56:37 pm »
Police, poor wages and conditions?  I don't think so.
How many jobs train on full pay in only two years, have early retirement, overtime and a good pension. Car provided :) fast track promo ( if wanted)
Now as far as speed cameras go, the media is on a bandwagon, saying what speeders want to hear, unfair this, unfair that. None of them advocate abiding by the law and thus avoiding penalties.
If you want to visit Gatso ville just drive on the A127 into Southend, every traffic light, every stretch of road has a camera, result the traffic drives at a steady pace close to the limit.
Strange thing is that the boy racers use the Southend esplanade as a race track, yet don't seem to be put off by the cameras and police prescence, why because they treat the stretches between cameras as a race track.
regards,
jet
 

John_fraser

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2004, 01:55:37 pm »
Personally I don’t have an issue with speed cameras as I don’t speed, because I accept that speeding is dangerous and illegal. I don’t believe they are a revenue raising tool, but I think they should be! There should be more and the fines higher because IMHO a “stealth  tax” on speeding – i.e. dangerously and illegally driven - cars is a satisfactory way to raise money. The idea should be extended to other antisocial and/or dangerous illegal behaviour such as heavy fines for littering, spitting, swearing, playing music at “objectionable” levels, urinating in public places etc.

All of these “taxes” would be voluntary as you don’t have to incur the fine, and possibly reduce the mandatory taxes. If you don’t want to pay the fine, don’t speed.
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2004, 03:39:31 pm »
Quote

All of these “taxes” would be voluntary as you don’t have to incur the fine, and possibly reduce the mandatory taxes.


Yeah, right. And *that* is going to happen.

Incidentally, I don't know if anyone has used GPS in a car. But the signals are pretty marginal - and they don't survive things like tree cover very well. Now, given that the solution to my objection of coverage (speed cameras are very poor because they cover a very small stretch of road) is to use satellite tracking, would anyone care to bet that the politicians who advocate such things would want to cut down all the trees just so that their satellites can see the cars ?
 

John_fraser

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2004, 08:12:14 pm »
With GPS you have a receiver not a transmitter. The satellites don't "see" the car, the car sees the satellites and works out its position from that.
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2004, 10:26:46 pm »
Quote
With GPS you have a receiver not a transmitter. The satellites don't "see" the car, the car sees the satellites and works out its position from that.


You'll still have the signal attenuated by trees, or by buildings in an urban area. Which means a more powerful transmitter. Particularly given that, to avoid needing lots of satellites, the orbital component would have to be geosynchronous - which is even more of a problem for urban use at UK lattitudes, because of the angle the satellite appears in the sky.

All of which tends away from a cheap installation in a vehicle. I don't see why I or anyone else should have to fork out for this - either personally or through taxes, just to make the politicians' ideas work. I don't see where the benefit is to anyone who isn't a politician.

The trouble is that the most cost-effective solution would be to have something like a GPS-based system that determined vehicle position and speed, but with no satellite uplink - rather using cellular radio to do the uplink. But this brings us back to cutting down the trees just to make the politicians' ideas work.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2004, 12:28:24 am »
GPS is not done by geosynchronous satellites. From memory there are 15 or 28 satellites in orbits that mean that at least three can be seen from any point on the Earth at any time. The receivers work out the distance to each visible satellite by the delay on the signal. Knowing the positions and distance to three points gives it enough information to calculate its own position. The satellites were launched and paid for by the US Air force. The EU is planning a non-military more accurate version known as Galileo. The Russians have their own version

If you wanted to track cars – and/or their speeds – using GPS, you would need a recorder in the car to keep a log of where you are second to second – thereby giving you the speed. Periodically the recorder – or spy – would have to download the stored data to a central point, possibly using the mobile phone network. This “solution” means that the fact you are out of sight of the satellites for a few seconds doesn’t matter because the tracker knows where you were before you drove under the trees, where you were when you came back into view and how long that took. So it can calculate a good approximation to your speed.

Note that because your car has to record, store and send the data – i.e. the satellites aren’t watching you – there would be a market in devices or services to circumvent the spy before it sends the data in.
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2004, 12:50:56 am »
Quote
GPS is not done by geosynchronous satellites.


*Sigh* Yes, I'm aware of that. It is also beside the point. The point there is that GPS needs to have a large number of satellites partly to provide the "triangulation" (and, yes, I know it isn't strictly speaking done by triangulation, either), and partly to provide coverage.

The point about geosynchronous satellites is that if you don't use such a vehicle, you need more satellites to provide continuous coverage of a given region, because any particular vehicle, "A" will only be within practical range of that region for a portion of its orbit - you need other vehicles to provide coverage when satellite "A" isn't in practical range of the region you want to cover.

In any case, whilst trees might not make that much of a hole in the logs that a vehicle would keep, built-up areas certainly would. GPS reception isn't very good in those areas at all. "Satellite monitoring" sounds nice and SF-ish, and spinny, which is presumably why the politicians like it (again, it is other peoples' money, not theirs).

Roadside transponders would be a better way to do things, though at the cost of being vulnerable to vandalism in much the same way as are Gatsos. They'd also reduce the cost of installation in a vehicle. The transponder network would be pricey to set up, though, and doubtless none-too-popular. So we can expect to see the poor little parliamentary dears spinning themselves off their trunnions over any such scheme.


 

Offline jet

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2004, 02:27:56 pm »
It is interesting to read the divisiveness that even a simple disscussion amongst like minded people about a surveilence method for Joe public can bring.
GPS is so good that the CAA does not approve its sole use in aircraft, because it is so unreliable.
Facts are that sat. tracking is all about control, it will start with cars and finish with subcutaneous implants at birth.
It is not there for any benefit other than to satisfy the power fix of the worlds goverments.
regards,
jet
Who is looking over his shoulder, when he should be looking up :o
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2004, 09:25:35 pm »
When will thinking about speeding on an open motorway or absent mindedly exceeding the limit for a second or two become a crime?

Better solution - let the computer drive the car! If you don't mind the frequent crashes!

As these partnerships are self funding ( the fines pay for the cameras) they will NEVER disappear. But we the community should have a direct say over where they go and more importantly the speed limit in our area. I would like a camera on the A1000 to monitor the new 40 limit southbound prior to the Kentish Lane  / Georges Wood Road section. There would be fewer skid marks on the road and in a few other places.
;D
One final point: speed is the MAJOR factor in only 15% of all accidents, but is in the top 3 for about 60%. Looks like a fallacious argument to me. If we do want to improve driving, then spend the money on more training to reduce the other 85%. ;)
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2004, 09:40:18 pm »
Quote
But we the community should have a direct say over where they go


Tut tut. You'll be asking for democracy next. Governments don't even bother to consult anybody when they make large scale changes in the constitution (indeed, they even leave off large scale changes unfinished when they realise half-way through that the result might well undermine their own and their arguments for holding on to it.

 

AgentOrange

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2004, 10:31:56 am »
Something about 'No taxation without representation' and a taste for tea springs to mind.....
 

Offline jet

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2004, 11:21:30 am »
Something worth considering is that despite every measure to make the roads safer, fatal accident rate stays the same.
In view of the increases in traffic this demonstrates how safe modern cars are despite crashes.
As for taxation, we have a government elected by less than 15% of the population, they got in because of silly voting for marginal parties which would never ever get in.
Two party system would help?
regards,
jet
Or should we just let the EU run us totally and be done with it?
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2004, 10:04:53 pm »
Quote

Or should we just let the EU run us totally and be done with it?


Given that the problem seems to be huge amounts of tax and minuscule amounts of representation, I fail to see how even more tax and less representation would in any way help slve the problem.

Or are you advocating revolution ? :-)

(Typos fixed. Fingers. Grrr!)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2004, 12:10:49 am by trinity »
 

John_fraser

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2004, 11:56:09 pm »
Quote
But we the community should have a direct say over where they go and more importantly the speed limit in our area.
Who is the "community"? The people driving the cars or the people living on the roads? Depending on who you ask, you'll get more or less cameras.

Quote
One final point: speed is the MAJOR factor in only 15% of all accidents, but is in the top 3 for about 60%. Looks like a fallacious argument to me. If we do want to improve driving, then spend the money on more training to reduce the other 85%
There are accidents and there are accidents. In the vast majority of car accidents there is no lasting damage and the car can be repaired. In a small minority someone is killed or crippled and can never be repaired, so you can’t just look at the absolute numbers. You have to look at the consequences.

If someone is hit by a car travelling at 20mph they have a 90% chance of escaping serious injury. At 30mph the odds become 50/50. At 40mph the chances are better than 90% that they will be killed or seriously injured. So even where a drive’s excess speed didn’t cause an accident it will have made the consequences worse.


P.S.
A geosynchronous satellite would be useless for working out your position. The thing would be too far out for you to accurately work out the distance to 3 of them, which is one of the reasons why GPS isn’t geosynchronous.
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Speed spin
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2004, 12:22:18 am »
Quote

Who is the "community"? The people driving the cars or the people living on the roads? Depending on who you ask, you'll get more or less cameras.


Indeed. The same goes for the argument that "your views would change if one of your family were killed in an accident". I'm sure they would. Then again I'd offer myself as an argument for not using this sort of change as the basis for making law - were it down to me I'd execute bicycle thieves.

Quote

If someone is hit by a car travelling at 20mph they have a 90% chance of escaping serious injury. At 30mph the odds become 50/50. At 40mph the chances are better than 90% that they will be killed or seriously injured. So even where a drive’s excess speed didn’t cause an accident it will have made the consequences worse.


Data such as that has the problem that it tends (note - tends) to apply in built-up areas where people are more likely to be hit by vehicles. Simply because there are more people and more vehicles around. OTOH, congestion in built-up areas is likely to make the traffic go slower and therefore reduce the lethality according to your figures.

But it clearly isn't practical to reduce motorway or dual-carriageway speeds to 20mph in case vehicles happen to hit someone. What would be interesting to see would be similar data for inter-vehicle collisions (or vehicle-static obstacle) on fast roads. And then to multiply the lethalities by the the probability of an accident. Using modern vehicles.

I am, by the way, perfectly serious. It could well be that speed cameras are a very cost-effective way of saving life, although I'm not aware that this is proven. It could also be that there is a very much greater problem in built-up (or, more likely, suburban roads where there is still a high population density, but the traffic tends to be faster), and that something other than a pure focus on speed would yield better results.
 

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