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Exposing incompetence, greed, waste, danger and corruption in the speed enforcement industry
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UK Road Sense, Dorset Way / A3049 50 limit






DorsetSpeed is not just about attacking the DSCP. Over the years many positive suggestions have been made. This almost resulted in some projects with Bournemouth Council, I actually had a meeting with James Duncan before he departed, about lower cost electronic pedestrian crossing signals, and Mike Holmes offered a test site for a “smart camera” I had suggested, capable of solving other problems. After some significant effort on my part and after some great money saving proposals had been made, all communications suddenly stopped and I’ve heard nothing since. Perhaps it was all getting too sensible and efficient for council staff to cope with!

Here is what I think should happen: 

  1. Road safety efforts should seek to gain the trust and support of the majority of drivers who are not reckless, dangerous, or likely to cause accidents.
  2. Speed limits must be set realistically, and ideally should be set based on what is likely to be a safe speed to drive the road, not as a way to reduce the effects of an accident caused by all reasons other than speed. Before you throw up your hands in horror, see the next points.
  3. Efforts need to be made to detect the real reasons of accidents and systems should be developed to target them directly. With the proper reasons of accidents properly targeted, and speed limits which are realistic and credible, accident rates could fall significantly, but whatever we do there will still be accidents. Reducing speeds until we have no injury (the current approach) will eventually succeed, but only once cars have been banned altogether. 
  4. Congestion and unacceptably high journey times are becoming a real problem. Encouraging and keeping traffic flowing at a reasonable rate will bring environmental and financial benefits for all while reducing stress, fatigue, traffic density and accident opportunities.
  5. Those who cause accidents through any kind of driver error should receive points and fines automatically. Drivers need to be thinking “I must not collide with anything”, not “I must remember to slow down for that speed camera”.

Technology has moved on and we could be doing so much more than just trying enforce a particular speed, regardless of the dynamic factors which can influence the safe speed dramatically – another reason why a limit does not provide some magic threshold of safety. Because there has been so much effort to argue the case for speed cameras, nothing has been done to move forwards. We should be using technology by now to detect: 

  1. Driving too close
  2. Bad lane positioning / erratic driving
  3. Some vehicle defects
  4. Incorrect used of sliproads

…..and maybe more.

 

A new generation of smarter cameras could be providing not only more intelligent enforcement but also real time continuous traffic data for traffic management and planning, rather than the disastrous road surveys we occasionally get. We could be doing so much better. The same data would reveal cloned vehicles (same number seen in different areas at the same time) and be very useful for tackling many forms of crime. I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t care at all if the police know where I am. These things can be easy and cheap with modern day HD cameras and ever decreasing computing and data connection costs.

There must be a combined effort to improve road safety AND efficiency. From where we are now, the opportunities are fantastic.