The ‘Safety’ Camera Myth

I just drove past a mobile safety camera (official name) van, publicly known as a speed camera happily booking drivers as they pass. It’s been parked on a section of road that opens out from a 30mph single carriageway into a 40mph dual carriageway, and vice-versa (I believe it covers traffic in both directions) so it’s easy to accelerate too early, or brake too late and to get caught out.

Another thing, it’s sited right before/after a school, reinforcing the safety point.
But the school is closed because of the COVID19 pandemic. And it’s a Saturday morning. And the roads are almost empty.

I’d say that the clearer roads would mean that people are more likely to drive faster to take advantage of this, so are more likely to get caught. Cynical me would say that Kent County Constabulary are not actually concerned with safety, but revenue.

I got caught by one of the blighters a few years back and had the option to attend a “Speed Awareness Course” for £100 instead of receiving an £80 fine and three points on my licence. I went on the course, and it was most enlightening. It was a whole day affair in a sweaty little conference room in the middle of summer, the facilitators were almost like concentration camp guards in their attitude to attendees and spent the day showing videos, lecturing and belittling us. It was crammed with facts and statistics such as number of deaths from drug and drink driving, but there was one statistic that was missing. I held my hand up to ask about it and was prompted to speak.

“So, this is a speed awareness course, we’ve seen and heard lots of statistics about road deaths of different types, but I’ve not seen a single statistic relating to the number of accidents/deaths caused by speed.”

The look on their faces was one of shock. They didn’t have any figures and glibly said that they would have to get back to us.

“But this is a speed awareness course, right?”

The look on their faces swiftly changed from shock to sheer anger, and it was so long ago, I cannot remember what their retort was, but it was sufficient to stop me in my tracks and put me back in my box. Essentially, it was dissent is not tolerated, and if you don’t conform, you’ll fail the course. From recollection, this could mean my having to stump up additional costs and taking the points.

Next time I’ll take the points, rather than indulging a pair of KCC gestapo officers thank you very much.

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