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Speeding fine?


It was disappointing to read the letters regarding safety cameras (NCE last week). One might have expected that those with an engineering training would have ascertained the facts before formulating opinions.

All over this country civil engineers in local authorities and the Highways Agency are taking the lead in forming safety camera cost recovery partnerships. Are they the pawns of stealth taxation or promoting these partnerships because they know safety cameras work?

There was considerable research into the use of cameras before the government began its hypothecation pilot.

This showed that cameras cut the number of accidents at black spots. Since then, highway authorities have continued to monitor the impact of safety cameras and publish the data.

In Cambridgeshire independent analysis concluded that our cameras have reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured at the sites they are installed by 37%.

There is an inherent assumption that all that is being done is the introduction of cameras. Yet traffic calming schemes, pedestrianisation, traffic signals at urban junctions and roundabouts at rural junctions all cut accident rates as do the myriad of minor adjustments to road signs, markings and road layouts.

Most highways authorities publish the results of their continued monitoring and ours, warts and all, can be found on Cambridgeshire's website. You need look no further than that for honesty.

Bob Menzies, road safety and signals manager, Cambridgeshire County Council, Bob.Menzies@cambridge shire. gov. uk

I fully support Mark Whitby's comments about cyclists and pedestrian safety and would applaud greater involvement from the Health & Safety Executive to protect the most vulnerable users of highways - including, if needed, prosecuting designers.

As a cyclist, a very large source of frustration is the attitude and actions of highway departments and engineers.

Many give the impression that anything other than a motor vehicle is a nuisance, and is either marginalised or ignored.

Cyclists have a legal right to use both sides of the carriageway safely. A cycle lane placed on one side only, for example, does not take into account the needs of the cyclist and can present an increased accident risk when crossing busy roads.

In the unfortunate case of a serious accident, I feel the HSE should investigate. Any failure by the engineers to take into account usage and reasonable expectation of cyclists and pedestrians should result in prosecution.

Cyclists ask for thought and consideration from highway engineers. Advances have been made in some areas, but normal roads are still the main channel for cycling and considerate design including an understanding of the capabilities of cyclists is vital.

Nick Chapman, nick.

Speed limits should not be enforced because, according to NCE readers (27 June):

Speed only kills 120 and seriously injures 1200 or so people a year (R Taylor).

Multiple convictions might compromise my high mileage lifestyle (J Walton).

lt would hinder my ability to dodge children while I speed though their neighbourhood (J Smith).

The most compelling arguments in favour of better speed enforcement, it seems, come from those who oppose it.

If you feel you need a 10% 'comfort' zone then drive at 27 mph instead of 30mph. If you are driving through a residential area with poor visibility then slow down so that you can stop within the distance you can see.

That is simple, responsible driving and should not need to be enforced by law.

To quote the highway code, speed limits are not targets. It is every driver's responsibility to assess the conditions and ensure that, if the unexpected happens, he can react in time to avoid causing injury or loss of life.

Alasdair Massie, Parkman,

Speed limits are there to protect the public from bad drivers. How do we stop this kind of bad driving? Simple you might say - catch them.

If you don't want to be caught for speeding don't speed! Speeding and inappropriate speed equal bad driving and bad driving can kill and cripple others. I have no sympathy for anyone caught and neither should you.

Michael Woods (AM), WSP Development, Croythorn House, 23 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH4 3TP

I grew up believing that the policeman was my friend. Yet since the introduction of more and more laws about motoring, to the extent that to run out of water in my windscreen washer is a criminal offence, we have all become criminals. The policeman is now my enemy.

The irony of all this is that when I am prosecuted for a speeding offence, the policemen, the courts, the judge, the typists and everyone else involved in the legal process has almost certainly recently committed the same offence and would not be ashamed to admit it privately.

The only real offence is to get caught!

My concentration is now focussed not so much on safe driving but on observing lots of road signs. By introducing more and more control we make drivers less and less responsible for thinking about safe driving.

The principle of visible cameras is the same as the principle of visible policemen - to discourage people from breaking the law. When people see the cameras and associated road markings they slow down.

When they don't see them they speed and then get fined.

Neville Burt

We need both to educate drivers to eliminate the 70% of accidents attributed purely to human error, and to reduce the severity of the other accidents by getting people to slow down.

Driving at 30mph is no worse than driving at 15mph in your 1.5 tonne killing machine until you transfer its kinetic energy into pushing a five stone child or an OAP down the road.

Lets get it right. You have the choice of weapon - a highvelocity one is the choice of most assassins.

John C Bullas, Southampton, johnbullas@hotmail. com

Nick Jones' comments (NCE 27 June) that 'speed does not kill, bad driving does' and that driver education is the solution to reducing road accidents miss a few basic points.

If everyone drove with due care and attention at all times, speed enforcement would be irrelevant. Unfortunately, many people don't do as they should all the time - even when well educated.

It is difficult to catch motorists driving carelessly unless their actions result in a tragedy as there simply aren't enough police resources to see and enforce near-misses. There is overwhelming published evidence that speed cameras are effective in enforcing speed limits and that injury reductions occur as a result, but the fact is that speeding is endemic and almost seen as a right by some motorists.

It is this culture of speeding as acceptable that needs to change if the government is serious about its targets for reducing injuries from road accidents. Increased use of speed cameras are a step along the way. Surely the Institution has a duty to support this.

Dan Hopgood, dan. hopgood@lineone. net

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