Variable Speed Cameras Raise Millions – Where Are They?

Friday, 26. May 2017

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

As we all know speed cameras are only there to help to save lives not raise revenue – yer right!! I actually don’t mind speed cameras if they are genuinely saving lives, in towns, near schools and old people’s homes or where there are likely hazards on a stretch of road such as horses or a particularly bad bend where people have had accidents. But what about the variable speed cameras on motorways?

 

The overhead speed signs that change with road conditions. Now gradually slowing cars down whilst you approach a traffic jam is fine but when you’ve passed the broken down car on the opposite side of the motorway, that all in front slowed down to have a look at, rubbernecking, and the road is clear in front but the speed limit lights are still showing 30mph is it right to cop drivers on camera anxious to get a move on?

 

Well it seems that these variable speed cameras are earning a fortune with cameras between junction 19 and 20 on the M4 in Bristol raising a massive £4,032,000 since they were installed in July/August 2014. Confused.com have revealed the top 5 money making variable speed camera stretches of motorway in the UK with the Bristol stretch of the M$ responsible for issuing 40,320 penalty notices.

 

The findings revealed that 210,000 motorists have been caught out by sudden speed changes raising at least £21 million in fines – staggering. The standard fine for speeding is £100 with 3 points on your licence but penalties can increase to £2,500 with a ban if you are excessively over the limit.

 

Want to know the other speed camera ‘black spots’? Next on the list was on the M5 at Almondsbury  – Easter Compton J16-17, since June 2014 variable speed cameras have raised £2,739.800, Luton in Beds. J10-11 on the M1 has raised £2,175,100 since September 2013. Next comes the M25 in Surrey, J9-16 that has raised £1,919,400 since 2014 and finally, again on the M25 near J27 in Epping, Sussex since January 2013 they have raised £1,888,800. So there you have it, you have been warned! By Graham Hill

Government Plans For Major Introduction Of Average Speed Cameras

Thursday, 26. May 2016

I don’t know about you but speed cameras totally confuse me. Many have been shut down around the country because they were too expensive to keep going which is strange because I would have thought anything more than a couple of fines a week and they would be in profit.

I’m a believer in speed cameras being installed near danger spots such as schools, old people’s homes and play areas but as we know they were often put up behind a bush, tree or building where there was no extra danger to pedestrians or other drivers, they were there to catch motorists and boost the coffers of the local authority or those managing the cameras.

Well that’s what I thought but I clearly got that wrong with so many shut down. On the other hand those who argue against speed cameras would claim that they are unnecessary as the number of detected motoring offences more than halved between 2004 and 2014, from 4.33 million to 1.62 million, in their minds proving that cameras are unnecessary. Really?

Maybe it has something to do with the huge drop in active speed cameras. Having reviewed the situation a committee of MP’s have suggested that relatively low cost average speed cameras should be used more widely. These would help to replace the large drop in traffic police who not only caught those speeding but also acted as a deterrent parked at the side of motorways or simply cruising our roads.

The committee have recommended that revenue generated by fines should be re-invested, through road safety grants, rather than kept by local authorities. Even with the shut down of many Gatso’s 90% of all Fixed Penalty Notices in England and Wales are detected by cameras. Exceeding the speed limit resulted in 254 fatal accidents in 2014, 16% of all fatal accidents, as well as 1,199 serious accidents.

Whilst the committee has recommended the use of average speed cameras there are some experts that have said that you have to ask why people speed and in many instances it is a result of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so these people get away with a fine and points for speeding when in fact they were committing a much more serious crime.

Speed cameras also allow those driving carelessly or without due care and attention to get away with a relatively small fine and 3 points. Personally I’m not sure what the answer is but time will tell if the roads are made safer through the installation of average speed cameras on motorways and A roads. By Graham Hill

Report Suggests That Speed Cameras Could Lead To More Accidents

Friday, 30. October 2015

As we know many local authorities have questioned the effectiveness of speed cameras with some switching them off completely as they found them just too expensive to maintain. But the presence of speed cameras, whether working or not, are considered to be braking ‘black spots’.

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A study carried out by driver data firm, Wunelli found that hard braking was on average 6 times more likely to occur just before a speed camera with some sites up to 11 times more likely. The report raises concerns that speed cameras actually encourage poor driver behaviour with drivers braking hard within 50 meters of a camera then speeding up immediately after.

The conclusions were reached after analysing data collected collected over a billion miles of motoring resulting in a top ten of speed camera braking black spots. The events were collected within 50 meters of each camera and between 50 and 100 meters in residential areas with 30, 40 and 50mph speed limits.

Founding director of Wunelli, Paul Stacey, explained that he wasn’t in favour of speeding and wasn’t opposed to speed cameras but the report questioned the value of speed cameras as safety tools. He went on to say, ‘They appear top encourage poor driving behaviour. After hard braking, drivers often speed up again.’

Looking at the top ten, number 1 on the list is on the M4 near to Boston Manor rail station, West London. They recorded 57 hard braking events within the 50 meter range, that is 11 times the average. In 2nd place, again 11 times the norm, was a camera on Rochdale Road in Middleton, Greater Manchester. Followed by a camera on the A4146 Leighton Buzzard Road in Hemel Hempstead, Herts running at 8 times the average number of events.

The highest number of single hard-braking events was found at the camera on the A40 Western Avenue, Ruislip, North West London. Here drivers hit the brakes 261 times within 50 meters of the camera. The usual response came from the RAC Foundation pointing out that the law is the law and no-one should be exceeding the speed limit in the first place which would mean that drivers wouldn’t have to slow down at the sight of a speed camera. Really?

Well who’d have thought? The fact is that there must be a better way of controlling speed, someone needs to get their thinking cap on. By Graham Hill

Shouldn’t There Be An App For Congestion Charges & Tolls?

Friday, 27. February 2015

There should be an App for that! How many times have you seen something or done something that is a complete pain in the jacksy thinking – there should be an app for that on my phone. It would make life so much easier. I thought this at the end of last year when the new Dartford Crossing charge system was introduced.

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I agreed that introducing some other form of payment that no longer required the use of payment booths would speed up the flow of traffic, having spent what seemed like days in Dartford crossing tailbacks, but I have to say panic sets in when suddenly you are required to make the trip and know that you need to prepay the fee, pay within a day or be fined.

The same applies to congestion charges, you are happily following your sat nav directions, that incidentally doesn’t give you an option to avoid congestion charge zones, and suddenly you realise that you are ‘in the zone’ and you haven’t paid! Good Lord, time for a heart attack. To make life easier fleets are calling for a new scheme that is controlled by the DVLA as they hold all of the required information on cars and their keepers necessary to centralise a payments system.

They suggest that if drivers enter into the London congestion charge zone, and it’s only a matter of time before other towns and cities introduce this cash cow into their own central areas, or they have a toll to pay, that it is controlled centrally, thereby reducing time and admin on both sides.

Around 100,000 to 120,000 Dartford crossings are made every day with between 15,000 and 18,000 charges remaining unpaid. This costs the Highways Agency about £40,000 per day which equates to £3 million since the scheme started last November. Now whilst it’s not my nature to sob into my cup-a-soup over the losses sustained by the Highways Agency it made me think that there should be an app for that.

Set up all your details including credit card details in your phone and when you need to pay a toll or enter a congestion zone tap the app, tap the charge, eg. London Congestion Zone or Birmingham M6 Toll and Bob’s your cross dressing aunty – job done! I appreciate that you can set up an account for the congestion zone or the crossing but you are not in control.

Could you remember if you crossed the Thames at Dartford on the 15th January? But with an App it could also send confirmation to your email address. I know I’m bloody brilliant! You would think in this day and age when we get Internet access via our car radio and even our watch, that it wouldn’t be a massive step to create an app that we actually need! By Graham Hill

Women Faster Drivers Than Men – It’s A Fact

Thursday, 26. February 2015

I am sitting here with a smirk on my face as I am surrounded by women who believe that they are less aggressive drivers than me and men in general! As if?

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Well I can announce today, thanks to a survey carried out by telematics technology provider, In-Car Cleverness, that women are faster drivers than men – it’s official, we have the statistics and as we know statistics never lie!

In order to come up with this astounding piece of information they surveyed the driving habits of those driving rental cars. They monitored the hire of over 10,000 rental vehicles and found that female customers were more likely to exceed speed limits than men. In fact the survey showed that women exceeded the speed limit 17.5% more times than men.

Having said that they returned fewer damaged cars than men. In fact they found that 84% of cars returned with scratches, dents and punctures were driven by men. Hmmm. By Graham Hill

Plans To Vary And Even Remove Roadwork Speed Limits

Sunday, 4. May 2014

I hope, like me, you understand the need to cone off road works on motorways for the safety of those who work on the roads. I don’t even mind the mile or so of cones, aimed at slowing down the drivers before the actual road works begin, having read some absolute horror stories of workers, killed or maimed by drivers trying to jump one extra place on the road before being forced over by one lane.

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Having had the misfortune of having a flat tyre on a motorway and being forced to stop on the hard shoulder whilst cars and trucks come pounding past, even at 70mph, made for one of the most frightening experiences in my many years of driving. So I understand the need for worker safety but when I start throwing toys out of the pram is when I am travelling along the long stretch of M25 restricted to 50mph followed by a long stretch of A23 at the end of the M23 restricted to 40mph when there is no bugger working. In fact I am often, at 3.00 in the morning, the only driver for miles but I still have to stick to the road work restrictions for fear that the average speed cameras report me for doing 10mph over the restricted speed.

Even when I’m convinced that the cameras aren’t able of taking pictures or measuring your average speed at night. Having suffered these constraints for a couple of years already I was very pleased to see that the Highways Agency were considering introducing variable speed limits on sections of motorways being worked upon.

English: Road works This is a road works at th...

English: Road works This is a road works at this location, in time for summer driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new average speed limits would be assessed on a case by case basis but it is expected that limits could be raised at off peak times and times when no one was working on the restricted section of road. About bloody time! By Graham Hill

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Is It Time To Increase Speed Limits Asks Graham Hill

Saturday, 3. May 2014

We are back onto speed limits. A new study, carried out in Denmark over the last 2 years by the Danish Road Directorate, has concluded that higher speed limits on not just motorways but also single carriageway rural roads makes roads safer and saves lives.

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They increased the limits on rural roads from 50mph to 56mph which resulted in fewer accidents. Slower drivers were observed to drive faster and faster drivers actually dropped their speed by 1mph. This resulted in less frustration and less overtaking as the differential between the fastest and slowest drivers decreased.

On sections of their motorways where speed limits were increased from 68mph to 80mph 9 years ago fatalities also dropped. The Alliance of British Drivers suggested that the latest moves by the Government to restrict speed limits further could be a step in the wrong direction following these findings.

A spokesperson for the Transport Research Laboratory was a little more cautious and said that the findings were ‘interesting’ but was more interested in the risk of injury rather than the risk of a crash which is what the report focused upon.

I can see the argument for higher speed limits on motorways, certainly after certain times at night when there are fewer cars on the road but not sure about single carriageway rural roads. It will be interesting to see if the Government takes this up. By Graham Hill

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Will The Speed Limit On Motorways Increase To 80mph?

Saturday, 29. October 2011

I just love the way that the press looks at a fact and pretty much turns it into fiction in an effort to make a headline. Lets take all the talk recently about raising the speed limit to 80mph from 70mph. Whilst 79% of company car drivers are in favour of the increase we hear all the arguments from the do-gooders that spout on about increase in accidents, Read more

Graham Hill Explains Some Of The Latest Car Technology

Saturday, 22. October 2011

You may be led to believe that manufacturers were simply concentrating on fuel consumption and CO2 output these days to the point of obsession, when designing cars, leaving everything else to simply tick over. And to an extent you are right with many manufacturers moving from full spare wheels to skinny spares and now the totally impractical Read more

New Technology Speed Guns To Capture More Drivers

Monday, 15. August 2011

Police officer using a hand-held LIDAR speed gun

Image via Wikipedia

Speeding convictions are set to increase as the technology moves into the 21st century. The latest speed guns incorporate video which can record the car, its driver as well as date, time and speed. The TruCam speed trap is expected to be available to all police stations in the UK and is so portable that all traffic police will be able to carry one Read more