Speed Traps - John Davis
In this splendid forum, and in the HJ newspaper columns, the subject of the purpose of speed traps, radar guns, cameras ete, is often discussed. My view is that speed is only one of the many factors in road traffic accidents and the official figures & reports bear this out. However, if anyone is in any doubt that speed traps are installed for safety reasons only, and not a means of generating income, should consider the well documented cases of those citizens giving other motorists a warning that a speed trap/hand held gun etc is present on a particular road. The "warning" of a speed trap, which, in itself, is as good a deterrent as the actual trap itself, results in court proceedings and a hefty fine, and it is hypocritical of the authorities to deny that the true purpose of speed cameras is to take a bit more money off the motorist. All motorists should try to obey speed limits but, there seems to be a growing number of convictions for minor speed transgressions, and many laughable penalties for that minority of motorised hooligans who, by their appalling driving, give all motorists a bad name.
Re: Speed Traps - James Fox
In Sheffield the South Yorkshire police publicise the locations of all their speed traps - ( mainly at accident blackspots ) and take the view that if they never catch one speeding motorist then the cameras have done their job. It is difficult to argue with this logic.
Re: Speed Traps - Kevin Alder
I believe that many motorists don't even notice speed limit signs. But very few motorists fail to see a red light, even if they decide to ignore it.

Most drivers are concerned not with road safety, but with their own safety. Speed limit signs are not threatening, but to cross a red light is obviously and immediately dangerous - not to others, but to oneself.

I believe that speed cameras should be incorporated into speed limit signs so that the threat, albeit merely financial and/or points on the licence, becomes as real as any other threat. Motorists would very soon learn to obey the rules in the same way as train drivers, ferry captains and airline pilots (all of whom are subject to all sorts of controls such as radar surveillance and rigidly enforced signalling systems which many motorists regard as some kind of infringement of civil liberties, but which make those other public transport systems almost completely safe to use).

Everybody is entitled to an opinion about speed limits etc, but nobody is entitled to make unilateral decisions about which rules to obey and which ones to ignore.
Re: Speed Traps - Jerry Parker
Couldn't agree more with the sentiments of the above three contributors. Nice to see that the people are more concerned with road safety than their selfish need to drive at speeds which contribute to not only the number of accidents but also to their severity. If anyone wants to see how lethal a speeding car can be in incompetent hands they should come to Saudi Arabia where I am currnetly working! The British Motorist should be campaigning for the proper use of speed traps and cameras (i.e.their installation in urban areas, near schools etc) and not in increasing the speed limit.

Re: Speed Traps - Martin F-N
I too worked in Saudi for a while and I agree the driving is appalling. On one occasion I was taken into town by a local with his family and his 2-year old son sat on his lap throughout the journey with his wife sitting in the back. I did express my concern naturally, but he just laughed it off. However, I digress...concerning the use of the speed trap of which I have been a victim several (er 3) times, I think that the main culprits when accidents are concerned are the reckless drivers who weave in and out of traffic. use mobile phones without a hands-free kit (amazing for company drivers!) and lighting cigarettes/changing radio stations, etc. and not those who exceed the limit by a few mph and well chosen places. Perhaps the police ought to redirect resources into this area and leave us decent drivers alone or send us on our way with a warning. If I get any more points I'm off the road and without a job. I haven't caused and accident and I respect others on the road.
Re: Speed Traps - steve paterson
I might be a bit pedantic about this, but as I understand things, it's illegal for a driver to warn other driver's that they approaching a speed trap. Is it legal for the police to warn drivers about a speed trap.
Re: Speed Traps - James Fox
How can it be illegal to warn other motorists of a speed trap? surely if the purpose of the speed trap is to encourage motorists to drive more slowly as the speed trap is in a potentially dangerous place, it can only improve safety...........

The AA was established to warn of speed traps
Re: Speed Traps - Alan Talbot
I believe its normally seen as an attempt to pervert the course of justice, but since this is a rather serious offence any prosecution would probably be under an obstruction of a police officer in the course of his/her duty. I stand to be corrected.
Re: Speed Traps - steve paterson
I think the AA might have been aware of the legal situation. They saluted members when there were no 'problems' and ignored them when a speed trap was nearby. I don't know if you can be prosecuted for ignoring somebody.
Re: Speed Traps - andrew smith
This of course would not be necessary if the majority of cars were not exceeding the speed limit. Not because these people are dangerous lawbreakers but because the speed of modern traffic is often higher.
Safe driving is not about rigid adherance to a posted limit but awareness of the road you are driving on. The reason the police target this particular offence is because it is easy to prosecute on the basis of this measurable quantity not because it is more serious.
Re: Speed Traps - Honest John
If Jerry is working in Saudi Arabia then his head is in the sand and he does not realise the need for speed in this country.

Re: Speed Traps - Mark
Actually, HJ, I think speed is unnecessary.

If you look at what causes problems its mostly people driving too close together so that any small incident creates an instant queue of traffic.

Driving faster is also less economical and more damaging to the environment.

Can you give one good reason for an increase in speed to be necessary? I'll warrant that at least one person on this site will be able to give you an equally, if not more, viable reason for staying within our current speed limits.
Re: Speed Traps - richard turpin
There are many people in government and in the police, including chief constables ,who favour an increase in the national speed limit to 80 on the ground (among others) that most drivers ignore the 70 limit (IN GOOD CONDITIONS)( for the umteenth time) That's not a playground argument.
Re: Speed Traps - honest john
It's the difference between getting back to base in sensible time and being able to answer maybe 60 e-mails in a couple of hours or getting back to base two hours later and not being able to ans............
Re: Speed Traps - Chris
Ha ha. As most racing drivers will tell you it's average speed that counts, not top speed. On the race track that can usually be achieved by overtaking and escaping the traffic, but as happens in F1 in the laps before pit stops, it's often better to put in a slower lap to avoid catching back markers too soon. When people try to drive faster than the average speed of the traffic it causes bunching, which actually reduces the average speed further - and is very dangerous. We might find that average journey times dropped if the speed limit on motorways was reduced to sixty-five and policed ruthlessly. We'd also use much less fuel, make less noise, make travelling more pleasant, kill fewer people etc. etc. People who break the speed limit are bad drivers. Period.
Re: Speed Traps - Kevin Alder
Actually, HJ, in many cases its the difference between life and death.
Re: Speed Traps - Cliff Pope
Would it be obstructing the course of justice to stand outside a bank holding a sign warning people that robbing banks was wrong and they would probably be photographed if they tried?
Re: Speed Traps - richard turpin
Andrew Smith is spot on. Paradoxically the increase in the number of cameras means that commuters, who know where the cameras are, can now speed where there are none with virtually no chance of getting caught because the number of traffic cops has been reduced. The answer must be variable limits. Slow when it's dangerous, fast when it isn't. That might inject some sanity back into the system.
There seem to be a lot of people on this site who favour more enforcement etc. I wonder whether there is a single person in the whole country who has never exeeded the limit. I doubt it. People who live in glass houses........
Re: Speed Traps - Chris
> There seem to be a lot of people on this site who favour more
> enforcement etc. I wonder whether there is a single person in
> the whole country who has never exeeded the limit. I doubt
> it.

I don't think anyone's denying that they've ever exceeded the limit. But there is a big difference between going over it momentarily and habitually speeding "because everyone else is doing it". A playground argument if ever there was one.

Value my car