Well it wasn’t today…but I read some great news a few days ago in The Guardian.
They’ve apparently been about in various forms for 105 years, but only in the last ten have they become such a widespread money grabbing nuisance. I’m talking about Speed Cameras; the yellow blight on motorists that flash cheerily at you to let you know they’ve just stolen 60 quid of yours, not to mention brought you that little bit closer to losing your license.
I feel particularly vehement toward speed cameras due to a couple of bad experiences, including one in which my license was revoked for 28 days and they whacked me with a £300 fine – because the other thing wasn’t punishment enough (and they didn’t get paid to take my license off me).
The thing is, I wouldn’t mind so much if they were introduced to aid the public, or if the general population both approved and desired them as unmanned guardians of the road. As far as I know though, nobody voted for speed cameras. There was no public referendum that chose the speed camera as the most efficient and sure fire method of reducing unsafe motorists. Honestly, I think their recent usage has been managed by accountants rather than health and safety personnel. The same Guardian article reports that “the most profitable one in Britain…pulls in more than £150,000 a week”!!
Apparently the new Government coalition have cut funding for Speed Cameras, resulting in Oxfordshire council turning off all 72 of it’s cameras and other councils following suit. It’s not all good news though, many of the cameras will remain positioned by roads to act as a deterrent as one will never be entirely sure if they are functioning or not.
It seems to me that I spend more time looking at my speedometer in built up areas than I do looking at the road (hyperbole people…I’m not really that dangerous!) Far more effective, in my opinion, are the signs that declare what speed you are travelling at to remind you that you’re going to fast. Educate the public, guide them, steer them away from dangerous speeds. Hitting the wallet is both ineffective and unjust. Anyway, I’m just glad that the number of the thieving bastards is being reduced.