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(Scotsman)   Speed cameras dramatically cut speeding on one of Scotland's major highways. Those of you who have long argued that traffic cameras are a cash grab rather than a public safety measure can apologize for your poor judgements in the thread to the right   (scotsman.com) divider line 22
    More: Interesting, Transport Minister, Inverness, lorry driver, Police Scotland, speeding  
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525 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Jun 2014 at 12:46 PM (45 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



22 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-06-18 09:47:57 AM  
They are still a cash grab.
 
2014-06-18 09:52:03 AM  
Speeding cameras belong in the same category as commercial homeowners' associations and for-profit prisons.
 
2014-06-18 10:56:24 AM  
subby missed the part where (TFA)  The lorry speed limit will be increased.

In other words, they're not going with the American tactic of using artificially-low speed limits to churn up added speeding-ticket revenue.

Long story short, it's not cameras or reducing speeds that reduces crashes, it's getting the speeds evened out. The dead-straight four-lane limited-access road with a revenue-generating 45mph speed limit that has drivers doing anywhere from 40 to 70 will have a lot more crashes than the road with the 65mph speed limit that has drivers clustered in the 60-70 range.
 
2014-06-18 12:36:52 PM  
How about spending the money on driver training instead of cameras?

I don't know how things are in the UK, but here in the states, the basic requirement for obtaining a license to operate a 2 ton death machine involves demonstrating the ability to parallel park and/or fog a mirror.
 
2014-06-18 12:54:07 PM  
Cutting speeding != improved road safety

It's about getting people to drive sensibly in the conditions. If you're doing 90 at 6am on a Sunday with no other motorists around, you're driving safer than someone driving at 70 in the rush hour.

My town pulled all the cameras out, and it had no effect on deaths or serious accident for the following 3 years.
 
2014-06-18 12:55:20 PM  
It's Scotland. If you want the locals to slow down you put up billboards reminding them that speed uses more gasoline.
 
2014-06-18 01:04:08 PM  

Those of you who have long argued that traffic cameras are a cash grab


I'm pretty sure most of that cash-grabby ire was directed specifically at red light cameras, rather than at all cameras.
 
2014-06-18 01:05:03 PM  
I was told there were no true Scotsmen.
 
2014-06-18 01:20:27 PM  
It's hard to see the new park-speed-zone cameras in Chicago as anything but a cash grab. There are no signs indicating the zone within 100 yards of any of the cameras, and most of them are around the corner from the actual zone, with signs like this:

theexpiredmeter.com

In my neighborhood, one of the above signs is about a foot behind a tree, so you'd have to slow down to 5 mph and look really quick to even see it, let alone know what it was saying. Another one is technically two streets away, so if the arrow was accurate, there would be another vertical stretch sticking up from the right end. Also, it's possible for me to enter my local supermarket's parking lot from one street, exit onto another street (perfectly legal, assuming I actually went into the store at some point) and not see a single sign indicating a speed zone.
Not to mention that the same park has a 25mph zone on one side, 30mph on the opposite side, and no speed zone at all on the other two sides. It's as if they tried to make it as confusing as possible.
 
2014-06-18 01:32:58 PM  

Englebert Slaptyback: Those of you who have long argued that traffic cameras are a cash grab


I'm pretty sure most of that cash-grabby ire was directed specifically at red light cameras, rather than at all cameras.


Nah, all camera-based law enforcement is a farce. I certainly don't feel safer knowing that someone behind me might not know about the speed camera trap and come barreling into it while everyone else slams on their brakes for the 100' zone before resuming their, obviously, highly unsafe speeds as soon as they get by.
If it's really a public danger, fix the problem. Don't just document it.
Removing human judgement and not attempting to stop the activity is not law enforcement, but rather a high speed toll road.
 
2014-06-18 01:52:24 PM  
A local municipality finally admitted that the cameras they have in place actually cause more accidents than they save.  However they have become so dependent on the revenue from them that they cannot afford to remove them.
 
2014-06-18 02:24:55 PM  

TetrisBlock: I was told there were no true Scotsmen.

Speeder
 
2014-06-18 02:36:29 PM  

Land Ark: Englebert Slaptyback: Those of you who have long argued that traffic cameras are a cash grab


I'm pretty sure most of that cash-grabby ire was directed specifically at red light cameras, rather than at all cameras.

Nah, all camera-based law enforcement is a farce. I certainly don't feel safer knowing that someone behind me might not know about the speed camera trap and come barreling into it while everyone else slams on their brakes for the 100' zone before resuming their, obviously, highly unsafe speeds as soon as they get by.
If it's really a public danger, fix the problem. Don't just document it.
Removing human judgement and not attempting to stop the activity is not law enforcement, but rather a high speed toll road.


How do cameras "remove human judgement" if a human being is still reviewing the footage they gather (if not before the ticket is issued, at least when it's challenged in court)? At that point they're simply multiplying the places and times that law enforcement can be watching for traffic enforcement purposes.

The thing is, in my limited experience with them, they DO stop the activity. They added red light cameras to a few intersections near my house that were absolutely notorious for red light running, and red light running dropped very noticeably within about 3 months and has stayed low. Before the cameras, you had to wait 5 seconds after the light turned green, making absolutely sure that no one was going to fly through before proceeding, because someone did on nearly every cycle (I think primarily because the main road is a wide, highway-like road with a 45 mph speed limit, but with many people going 55-65 mph or more). So I don't really buy that argument that they don't stop the activity, because I watched it change with my own eyes. Now, red light running is a rarity there, so apparently 3 months was enough time to nail a small percentage of drivers who were responsible for most of the problem and teach them not to do that there.

I like how the authorities generally handle the cameras. They apparently have a human review every ticket before it's issued, and they claim to only issue tickets in about 15% of cases flagged by the cameras.  And they don't engage in any of the BS I've heard about some places doing like shortening yellow light cycles or ticketing people for right turn on red after they've come to a full stop first. I've driven through the intersections hundreds or maybe thousands of times since they instituted the cameras, and I've never gotten a ticket despite a few times I was cutting it close. So I'm convinced they are only issuing them to blatant offenders.

So I've got no problem with red light cameras as long as a human reviews the video and there are appropriate controls on how they are used. If your local area sucks for cameras, blame your leaders, not the whole concept of cameras.
 
2014-06-18 04:31:56 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: How about spending the money on driver training instead of cameras?

I don't know how things are in the UK, but here in the states, the basic requirement for obtaining a license to operate a 2 ton death machine involves demonstrating the ability to parallel park and/or fog a mirror.


The UK driving test is reasonably tough.

The A9 is quite famous in the UK for interesting driving.

E.g.  http://cars.uk.msn.com/features/25-of-the-uks-fastest-speeders?page=1 2

Whereas the Rannoch Moor road is prettier, much quieter and doesn't usually have speed traps. Erm, a friend told me. Do come visit Scotland.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-06-18 06:17:01 PM  
So these are radar instrumented speed cameras, or the ones that take note of your tag as you go by, and if another camera notices it again further away than you could get by traveling the speed limit, you get sent a ticket.

Because the latter is not only checking your speed, but tracking you too.
 
2014-06-18 06:38:12 PM  

Vlad_the_Inaner: So these are radar instrumented speed cameras, or the ones that take note of your tag as you go by, and if another camera notices it again further away than you could get by traveling the speed limit, you get sent a ticket.

Because the latter is not only checking your speed, but tracking you too.


The second.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPECS_(speed_camera)

In the UK, speed cameras are normally painted bright yellow and they're not supposed to be hidden. And there must be signs to remind drivers they're there on that section of road.

So you have to try quite hard to get caught.
 
2014-06-18 06:42:27 PM  

Vlad_the_Inaner: So these are radar instrumented speed cameras, or the ones that take note of your tag as you go by, and if another camera notices it again further away than you could get by traveling the speed limit, you get sent a ticket.

Because the latter is not only checking your speed, but tracking you too.


That's all kinds of stupid. The guy who drives nonstop a hair over the speed limit gets ticketed, but no ticket for the lunatic who goes screaming down the road at 90 (mph) but visits a rest area or stops to gas up?
 
2014-06-18 07:28:43 PM  
Set the limits in a realistic way that accounts for the condition of the roadway and capability of the vehicles likely to use it and I give zero farks how you enforce it. There is absolutely no good reason I can't drive 85 along most of the stretch I take to work in a perfectly safe way at low volume times. I haven't owned a car that could not meet that standard since at least 1998. Even whatever half-assed garbage Daewoo is making these days can do that.

if you pull me over for driving 85 in that stretch when the next closest car is 800 feet away it's just a cash grab and you can go skullfark yourself with a rusty screwdriver.
 
2014-06-18 10:11:53 PM  
Average speed limit goes down, amount of accidents involving passing doubles. Way to go guys. Way to go.
 
TKM
2014-06-19 02:56:05 AM  
Hard hat, hIgh visibility vest, clipboard, dark glasses, fake mustache, Krylon disguised as Windex.

Next.
 
2014-06-19 10:18:54 AM  

Gulper Eel: Long story short, it's not cameras or reducing speeds that reduces crashes, it's getting the speeds evened out. The dead-straight four-lane limited-access road with a revenue-generating 45mph speed limit that has drivers doing anywhere from 40 to 70 will have a lot more crashes than the road with the 65mph speed limit that has drivers clustered in the 60-70 range.


Yeah, and they are measuring "success" as reduced speeding.  I don't care--to me, success is reduced harm--and normally you don't see that if you look carefully.  (For example, red light cameras will cut accidents in the intersections--and increase them near the intersections.)

Trainspotr: Also, it's possible for me to enter my local supermarket's parking lot from one street, exit onto another street (perfectly legal, assuming I actually went into the store at some point) and not see a single sign indicating a speed zone.


You don't even need to go into the store.  The laws are normally written about using a parking lot to avoid a traffic control device.  Last week I drove through 4 parking lots in a row, in two of them I did not stop at all other than to exit, in the other two stopped only because of other traffic.  I wasn't even interested in the stores.  In the fifth I found the person I was looking for.  (I only had cross streets, I didn't know exactly where he was.)

Mnemia: I like how the authorities generally handle the cameras. They apparently have a human review every ticket before it's issued, and they claim to only issue tickets in about 15% of cases flagged by the cameras. And they don't engage in any of the BS I've heard about some places doing like shortening yellow light cycles or ticketing people for right turn on red after they've come to a full stop first. I've driven through the intersections hundreds or maybe thousands of times since they instituted the cameras, and I've never gotten a ticket despite a few times I was cutting it close. So I'm convinced they are only issuing them to blatant offenders.


What happens with the right on red cases is that drivers actually quite reasonably do not come to a full stop.  Watch the behavior of a line of cars attempting to turn right on red:  The first guy stops at the red light, then pulls forward to the position where he can see if it's safe, then goes if it is.  The guys behind, however, treat that inspection position as the place to stop--and thus technically blow the red light.  To behave legally in this case slows the traffic flow (assuming there's a reasonable chance of actually doing the right on red) for absolutely no safety gain.

That being said, it sounds like you had a real problem at that intersection.  How long has it been, though?  Even if they start out with good motives in time the true problem goes away and the cameras produce red ink--and they likely start playing games to keep them in the black.
 
2014-06-19 01:01:50 PM  

Loren: What happens with the right on red cases is that drivers actually quite reasonably do not come to a full stop.  Watch the behavior of a line of cars attempting to turn right on red:  The first guy stops at the red light, then pulls forward to the position where he can see if it's safe, then goes if it is.  The guys behind, however, treat that inspection position as the place to stop--and thus technically blow the red light.  To behave legally in this case slows the traffic flow (assuming there's a reasonable chance of actually doing the right on red) for absolutely no safety gain.


I don't agree that that is "absolutely no safety gain". People rolling right turns on red can be quite dangerous for pedestrians in particular, because pedestrians will often enter the crosswalk from the right (which is the opposite direction from where most drivers are looking when they're attempting to make a right turn on red - drivers are generally looking left towards the traffic stream in order to find a break in which they can make their turn). Coming to a full stop gives time to read the situation fully and look for unexpected events (like that pedestrian stepping off the curb from the right). The behavior you describe with motorists following the car in front of them is also quite annoying for people trying to cross on foot, because once the "train" starts moving people feel like they don't have to stop at the crosswalk even though the pedestrian has the absolute right of way when the light is red. I've seen pedestrians get hit that way before. So I do come to a full stop before I turn right on red, and I support people being ticketed when they don't. (Actually, I'd prefer we just abolish right turn on red at most urban intersections, but unfortunately it's hard to overcome the cultural bias towards prioritizing "traffic flow" over safety).

That being said, it sounds like you had a real problem at that intersection.  How long has it been, though?  Even if they start out with good motives in time the true problem goes away and the cameras produce red ink--and they likely start playing games to keep them in the black.

It's been several years, and red light running seems to still be low. I will note that it was only a few large intersections that were having a really serious problem: at most of the smaller ones it was less of an issue. Again, I think it was related to excessive speeding by some motorists more than anything because of the highway-like feel of the road there (it's a 45 mph speed limit divided highway). So people were going way too fast for a street with traffic lights on it because it felt like a rural highway to them despite it actually being in an urban area. We've also had very little traffic enforcement in the past in the area, which I think made some people think they could get away with going that fast. The red light cameras ended up being a good solution, seemingly, because they solved most of the red light running/speeding problem (rear end crashes don't seem to be such an issue, either, I'm guessing because the sight lines are such that people can easily see the lights at these intersections changing way in advance and because there is a very long yellow light phase. If you run those lights still, you're either going WAY too fast or you're choosing to do it deliberately).

I agree it would be BS to have cameras if there were a short yellow phase, etc. But that's not the case here, and the cameras seem to only be used at the few intersections that had a serious problem and a lot of resulting T-bone crashes.

I'm not convinced that the local authorities are using the cameras as a revenue producing device, given all of this evidence. I think they're genuinely trying to improve safety, and may well be "losing" money on the cameras. Even if they're losing money, I still think they're worthwhile, because they're just a component of policing. We don't expect other cops to make money for the city, so why should expect red light cameras to be profitable? I'm happy for them to be money-losers as long as the suppress the dangerous activity (and a long-sighted government would probably recognize that they are saving money in other areas, such as emergency response costs, due to spending that money there).
 
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