Thursday, 29 January 2015

Smile please, you're on camera

Hello. I think I should get Nellie Knowitall, our guest contributor, to write this post, it's right up her street, but as she is swanning around somewhere in the Bahamas, I won't disturb her. I am sure I am just as capable of stating the bleedin obvious, so I'll rattle it out myself.
Speeding, what do you think of speed cameras, or any cameras for that matter. There is an article in a well know national newspaper this morning entitled 'Know your enemy : there are 20 different kinds of cameras spying on motorists : spot them before they spot you.' Some are used to catch criminals, monitor traffic, or collect data. But large numbers are used to issue fines, which total £284 million pounds a year. They are despised because most of the money goes to the treasury. Every time you drive you are spied on.

Most of the population of Britain seems to hate them, they are labeled as 'cash cows' for the government. Ok, these are my thoughts, my simplistic way of looking at things. If you don't drive over the speed limit you will give the government nothing. If you don't park where you are not supposed to, you will give the government nothing. I have been caught speeding three times in the 45 years I have been driving, all in commercial vehicles, and all when I had a lapse of concentration for a few seconds. Not slowing down enough from 36mph when I hit a 30 limit, at 6am when there was no traffic about. Passing through a roadworks on an the A1M and didn't get down to 50mph quick enough, on a Sunday when it wasn't very busy. And coming out of a built up area on a wide road thinking the speed limit must be 40 when in fact it was still 30 for a little while longer. All my fault. My licence is clean now, and has been for some time, I have learnt my lesson. Driving over the speed limit costs money, so why would I put myself in that situation now.

You can get a speed camera detector gizmo for your car, it will bleep as you approach one, they can cost around £180. Why would you want to pay that much, when all you have to do is watch for the speed limit signs, make a mental note and adjust your speed accordingly. Simple really, it costs nothing to concentrate.

There are web sites out there which show where speed cameras are located. So, say you are planning a journey in an area you are not familiar with, would you spend time searching a map to find where all the cameras are? What if you decided to go off route during your journey and you didn't have the correct map, you are stuffed then, unless of course you have access to the maps in a sat nav. Jeez, there are enough distractions on the road without introducing more. For safety's sake you are supposed to be watching the road ahead, not eyes up in the sky searching for cameras. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to take note of the speed limit signs, then glance at your speedometer and make sure it is reading the same or less than the speed indicated on the sign. What could be chuffin easier than that!

Then there are web sites which tell you how to avoid paying fines, for goodness sake, you got caught, you pay. Don't speed, you won't get a fine. Simple.

A lot of the comments on the article are from people who object to Big Brother watching them, and I can't understand that. If you are doing something you shouldn't be, or if you are somewhere where you shouldn't be, then you have cause to be worried. Security cameras and speed cameras can work in your favour if you have nothing to hide. My car is street legal, no worries there. I don't mind the cameras in the High Street, I would rather someone be watching out for my safety. I don't mind cameras inside shops, useful tool to deter thieves.

When I retired the pressure came off to drive anywhere fast. I did take some risks, that was the nature of the job, but now I can go about my business in a more leisurely way. I have forgotten how to rush, everything I do is at my own pace. And it's lovely, I have time to smile at the cameras.
Thanks for reading. Toodle pip,

28 comments:

  1. I'm totally in agreement with you but I do find when I stick to the speed limit I'm constantly having impatient drivers driving up my rear end and have had them beeping their horns at me on occasions to try and intimidate me into driving faster.

    Hands up I do occasionally drive with "flow" and find I'm up to 10 mph over the limit and then slow down, people seem to think it's an unwritten rule to go that little bit over the limit.

    It's not worth it on your pocket and especially now the insurance companies use any excuse to double your premiums.

    I'm such a whinge bag sorry xx

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    1. I agree PID. By far he worst sort are the average speed cameras that are flying up everywhere. Controlling your speed for long stretches of road is far harder then sharp braking for. Camera. And the government have sussed that!! Good blog Ilona.

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    2. Why would you sharp break for a camera? Shouldn't we all be driving within the limit? This also stops the cameras from revenue raising. All to simple really! Jenny.

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  2. I'm sure with the advent of the mobile phones there is even more lack of concentration for the speed zones. I'm with you, if you don't want a ticket for speeding, then don't speed. Here in Texas, many of our highways have high speed limits (since the roads are miles between cities). People tend to drive about five miles over the limit. So when they recently raised the speed limit to 75 on a stretch of highway, people drive 80!

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  3. Couldn't agree more . My mother's name was Nellie and she would agree too!!!

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  4. The speed camera works fairly if it is calibrated to the laws of the region it's operating in. Here in NJ it's legal to cross an intersection on the orange light. But the cameras set up by many towns as revenue enhancement, though they were officially about safety, were designed to send automatic tickets, very expensive, moving violations, to thousands of people who did that. Turns out the people who designed them were totally ignorant of the law. So, many many tickets have been voided, fines returned, and cameras disabled. And they found that in any case it really didn't make any difference to accident rates even when they operated. So I'd say it's a mixed blessing.

    It doesn't help that in a contiguous state it is in fact illegal to cross on orange!

    And we do have deliberate trap areas where many tickets are issued because the speed limit went from 45 to 25 in less than 50 yards. Try braking without causing a pileup in that situation!

    I don't mind surveillance cameras in hallways, elevators, etc., for safety reasons. But speeding, well, that's a tricky one.

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    1. You have orange lights in Jersey? Texas just has the standard Red, Green and yellow.

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    2. That yellow is called orange in NJ!

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  5. I agree with you on all counts, I do have a sat nav and keep it on when driving, even if I am not using it. It beeps when the speed limit changes and again if there is a speed camera near. I use as a belt and braces with my odometer. It is all too easy to lose concentration and of course there are the hell drivers who tailgate and toot and flash at you to go faster. My response is to gradually ease of the accelerator and slow down, then I smile and wave as they roar past me in a cloud of testosterone and temper.

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  6. We have a gizmo attached to the car which monitors driving. We don't speed...our insurance goes down. We don't hard brake or super accelerate...our insurance goes down. Makes sense to us!
    Jane x

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  7. Very well said-I heartily agree!

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  8. I was puzzled at that article too and completely agree with you. A lot of people do not like to admit to mistakes or wrong doing and that the rules should not apply to them. I really should stop reading that well known national newspaper and their silly articles... Debbie.

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  9. Well said. jac.xx

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  10. I totally agree with you, if you don't break the law, you won't get caught. On the occasion I was, the Speed Awareness Course offered in lieu of points was excellent. It's amazing how unpopular this view is in general conversation! I would go further and say it's daft to have police officers standing out where they can be seen, when doing speed checks, so that folks brake like mad. Why not allow them to tuck themselves away and get a true picture of what motorists are up to. Better still, uses the extra revenue to offset our council tax!

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  11. Hi, Ilona. I have mixed feelings about cameras everywhere and our "new normal" under "big brother's"scrutiny.Traffic violations and road bullying behaviour can be monitored much better by cameras than a cop in a car ready to pounce I think.Yes it's a cash grab, but if people are driving recklessly and endangering others by breaking laws then it's important they are caught at it and pay for their infractions .It hurts more if it's through a person's wallet and may actually get people to think twice before they do it again.Even if it's just a few who have learned from it. The video taken from those cameras also is used in "Amber Alert" situations and criminal and terrorist inquiries.I've not had a ticket for speeding in over fourty years and use cruise control on my car when highway driving,and I watch the road and read signs (also have a clear driving record)Still,I'm not sure it really makes us any safer to be filmed all the time,and I'm not well read on that topic.The bigger danger to me is the deterioration of our civil rights and liberties by the "legal"use of these cameras.It's possible to track people and their movements now,identify them through face recognition software and other methods.That is really unnerving to me and I wonder what's coming next?.

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  12. I live in Houston, TX. One mayor had the speeding light cameras posted on all the major street lights. Quite a cost, I'm sure, but it would have eventually paid for itself. Therein lies the problem. Seems local citizens were outraged and caused the cameras to be turned off. So how there are cameras still there but (technically?) not working. I was neither for or against but I did lean to the side that they would cause traffic to follow the speed rules more closely. Disabling the speed cameras seems to say we have speed limits but we're not going to enforce them. What's the use of only catching part of the speeders. The other half can still cause accidents.

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  13. The cameras in the USA are often calibrated wrong, on purpose, and issue tickets wrongly. It is pretty near impossible to dispute the ticket, since I assume it arrives in the mail weeks later. Even one second of a shorter yellow light can lead to a ticket. And no, I do not want the government tracking me everywhere I go. It is creepy and could be misused by governments in the future. We disagree, but let's still be friends!

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  14. Interesting comments, especially from Destemona. I too am uncomfortable with being under constant scrutiny from Big Brother, but if you're not doing anything wrong you have no reason to be worried. My small sleepy town was the scene of a horrible shooting in which a policeman died last week and, because of the security cameras onscene, the murderer was instantly identified and dealt with.

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  15. Its a speed LIMIT not a TARGET.
    I've been lucky enough to have never had any points for speeding despite driving for a living.
    As you said you feel pressured into driving faster to get the job done but as far as i'm concerned i don't see why i should put my licence and livelihood at risk and the last thing i need is points.
    Like you say, you've nothing to fear if your behaving yourself.
    Dave.

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  16. Thank you so much for this post. Sometimes I think I am an idiot because I follow the speed limits and cannot understand the rage about the traffic cameras. Most people seem to consider them an attack to their civil rights. They all know better which speed is appropriate, at least this is how they drive.

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  17. Whilst I agree in principle that there is nothing to fear if you haven't done anything wrong, I will add that I don't like where all this surveillance of us is going. Our privacy is definitely being taken away bit by bit. My husband has shown me a website called Don't Spy On Us/The Problem, which I haven't finished reading yet, but it seems to highlight a real problem.

    Joan (Wales)

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    1. Agreed. There are so many people in so many countries throughout history who've had nothing to hide and been been doing nothing wrong but have been spied on and "dealt with".

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  18. A very simplistic view, and difficult to contradict.

    Must admit I don't like them, having been the victim of several of these money-generating devices, and been invited to attend 2 speed awareness course (for what they class as low-level offences). Motorists are easy targets for generating cash, as somebody said, I'd be a bit happier if the money was spent on improving the roads instead of frivolous schemes devised by government officials with nothing better to do?

    Hardest part is sticking to the 70 mph on a clear M-way, modern cars have a tendency to find their ideal speed above this.

    Also they're very sneaky about the places they position these things, some stretches of road have reduced limits for no apparent reason other than one warning sign.

    I don't mind so much the town centre cctv monitors, they can be used to discourage what I would class as real crime, and ensure prosecution of the offenders.

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  19. Well said Ilona. My sentiments exactly. Don't break the law. Don't pay any fines! Simples!!! Ann x

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  20. Hi Ilona, I'm 100% in agreement with you on this one and I fully support our governments raising revenue through these means. This is a 'tax' on people who choose to pay extra and that's wonderful for those of us who don't want to pay anymore tax than we absolutely have to. Unfortunately, these cameras are not catching the erratic drivers. Something seriously needs to be done about mobile users, tail-gaiters and those who cut in front of you causing you to break. I am all for cheaper car insurance for drivers that stay within the law. Wish we had this here but we don't. Bring it on I say. Same goes for parking tickets. My workplace is across the road from a shopping centre car park. People can park in 4 hour or all day spots. I am always surprised how many colleagues choose the 4 hour and risk getting booked just because it is too far to walk to the all day areas. It is not really too far to walk, just people can't be bothered and they pay dearly for the convenience. Great post.

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