Friday, October 22, 2010

Speed Camera Removal - the Backlash

The Coalition have guaged the public reaction very, very wrong if they think that removing speed cameras will be popular.

People in residential areas are sick of speeding and dangerous driving, like this guy who made his own DIY deterrent after a mobile speed camera was removed from his road. I've previously posted about signs of a public backlash against the camera-removal policy. Where cameras are removed, speeds go up, and deaths and injuries will follow as sure as night follows day. When the papers fill up with stories about crashes where there used to be a speed camera, it doesn't take Einstein to figure out what the public reaction will be. I wonder if Philip Hammond would like to apologize to the mother of the first victim?

People don't like getting speeding tickets, but they like speeding even less when they're the victims of the danger it creates.

There are alternatives to speed cameras. Unfortunately, physical measures to reduce speeding are very expensive. A single speed hump costs around £2000 installed, for example. Speed-activated signs are not cheap (£5000 a pop) and bring in no revenue. In addition, they may be less effective once people get used to the fact that there's no speed enforcement going on. With 20% manpower cuts, there won't be enough police to crack down on motoring offences and in any cases the penalties are not much of a deterrent.
Given that there's precious little money in the highways budgets for more engineering measures, and there'll be less revenue in fines coming in, it's rather difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Coalition's road safety strategy is looking dangerously threadbare, and dangerously irresponsible.

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