It was around 11pm and as I was about to turn off the motorway the overhead gantry read;
“Stranded vehicle ahead”.
I know this stretch of road on the M20 and so knew that there are “smart motorway” cameras about a mile or so down the road from where I was turning off.
I almost carried on my planned route but thought to myself “I bet there’s no stranded vehicle and this is just another excuse to turn the cameras on”.
So my curiosity led me back on to the motorway to see with my own eyes and… you guessed it:
70mph turned to 50mph, to 40mph and then back to 70mph.
And of course, no stationary vehicle.
There can surely only be two possible explanations for this;
1) That there was a stranded vehicle earlier and the signs and variable speed limit cameras hadn’t been turned off (incompetence) or;
2) That there was never a stranded vehicle in the first place and it was just an excuse to switch on the cameras (fraud).
How is it possible that in one of the Worlds leading democracies the Highways Agency is being allowed to commit this fraud (or behave so incompetently) time and time — and time — again all over the UK?
Just last week I was travelling back from Aylesbury on the M1 and came across the variable limit just before the M25.
Each time I braked heavily to avoid the suddenly stopping traffic I looked in the rear view mirror and winced, hoping no one was going to plough in to the back of my car
The abuse of these variable limits by the Highways Agency is sheer insanity and we need to find a way to get our voices heard…
A study just out has uncovered that nearly one in three Motorists are being fined every year in the UK for Speeding.
As many as 12 Million drivers receive a penalty notice each year. That’s one every two and a half seconds.
These speeding fines are bringing in more than £800M in revenue.
And that’s excluding the additional revenue ‘earned’ from the 1.2 Million drivers who are railroaded in to attending for profit speed awareness courses…
The study was conducted by Dr Adam Snow, a lecturer in Criminology at Liverpool Hope University.
He also discovered that that Eight Million parking fines are issued by Councils each year, while 2.5 Million Motorists are penalised for using bus lanes.
We know from numerous DriveProtect and BTST Member reports that this is often merely due to running slightly over the bus lane line to — for example — avoid someone turning right.
Dr Snow calculated that Councils in London alone raked in more than £371M from issuing parking and traffic fines.
The figures cover March 2015 – March 2016 and include fines from Fixed Penalty Notices and Council issued Penalty Charge Notices.
Dr Snow thinks that the record number of fines are due to the introduction of more automated speed camera technology as seen on “smart motorways”.
Anyone who actually drives on these motorways will surely agree that the complete and utter — some would say fraudulent — mismanagement of these variable speed limits is at the route of the problem.
I wonder how long it’s going to be that — as happened in Spain some years ago — the Government and Councils become reliant on this revenue and blatantly accept that it’s a revenue generation method rather than having anything to do with serving the public?
Perhaps that’s already happened…
“I hope this report provides the start of that debate about the acceptability and appropriate place for automation in road traffic enforcement”.
Ahmen to that…
All the best,
Not already a DriveProtect Member? You can join here
A Freedom of Information request by a Motorist fined by a Speed Camera on London’s North Circular has uncovered that the camera made £1.5 million in fines in just six-months!
Terry Payne made the Freedom of Information request after being fined by the camera last year.
It revealed that since it went live in April 2016, it generated over 15,000 fines at £100 each before October.
Mr Payne said: “That single camera is making millions!”
His Freedom of Information request also revealed that the camera averaged 154 fines per day in the busiest month of May.
He believes that so many Motorists were caught because they were unaware that they are driving in a 30mph zone on the road, which typically has a 40 or 50mph speed limit.
“I think the general point is that people are simply unaware that they are driving in a 30mph zone.”
“The results of the request suggest that there is something wrong with the signing along that stretch of road for so many people to be caught and fined.”
Transport for London said in a statement: “The limit on the A406 Gunnersbury Avenue has been reduced to 30mph from 40mph to ensure the safety of all road users and contractors working onsite to upgrade Power Road Bridge.”
We’re not sure whether this is London’s highest earning Speed Camera or not, but surely it must be up there…
All the best,
P.S. If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect you can:
The Former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, has been fined £1615 (£900 fine, £625 costs and £90 “victim surcharge”), plus 6 penalty points after being convicted of failing to supply the information of the Driver after a recent speeding ticket.
His car was “caught” at 37mph in a 30 limit in January.
Staggeringly given his background in Law — he was awarded a Law degree in 1962 and became a practising Queen’s Counsel in 1982 — he completely messed up his defence!
Under the section on the NIP where an alternative driver can be named, he simply wrote “Wife”.
As someone with a working knowledge of the law, this beggars belief and surely invited the Court to come after him!
District Judge Barbara Barnes even described Lord Howard’s defence as “credible” and said she genuinely believed he and his wife had “racked their brains” to remember who was driving.
But she still found him guilty because he should have given his wife’s full name and address on the form, rather than simply writing “Wife”.
I’m sure that Lord Howard didn’t involve a Lawyer, because the “strategy” he used is almost guaranteed to fail.
If he had taken advice from specialist Lawyers, I think it’s very unlikely he would have found himself in Court in the first place.
And if he had, I’m sure it’s very likely from our experience (and the Judges comments) that he would have been found “not guilty”.
The Lawyers at DriveProtect are always asking me to remind Members to contact them the moment they receive a ticket or summons, and to not do anything without speaking to them first for just these kinds of reasons!
So if you’re a Member, there you go, I reminded you! 🙂
All the best,
P.S. If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect, you can become one here.
I was sitting in the inevitable traffic jam at the Dartford Tunnel on Monday evening, contemplating the road sign that said (paraphrasing) “traffic jam deliberately created for your safety”.
As I had nothing else to do, I started to consider that EVERY SINGLE TIME the government interfere with roads with the pledge that they are going to improve traffic flow, it always seems to do the exact opposite.
I remember in the town where I grew up, there was never a traffic jam on the main road in 15 years.
Then one day the local council decided to install a traffic light system at the end of the road and – you guessed it – a CONSTANT traffic jam!
Where I live now in Kent, some major road alterations on the one way system have taken place to supposedly ease congestion.
Before the works began the congestion was quite acceptable for a big town and the traffic flowed pretty well.
After the works, it’s much worse!
It’s the same story with these new variable speed cameras and “smart motorways”.
As far as I can tell, they have made congestion significantly worse than it was before.
The only thing that I couldn’t work out as I sat there waiting for them to open the barrier before the tunnel to let us through was:
Why do the Highways Agency keep doing this?
I have to confess that I couldn’t really come up with an answer (other than assisting revenue collection from the variable speed cameras).
I’d love to hear Members thoughts on what’s going on here.
You can comment below.
All the best,
Note: comments may take a while to appear as they are manually approved to avoid spam bots.
Sky News have conducted an investigation in to the extent of the information ANPR cameras are collecting — and keeping for 2 years — about Motorists journeys each day.
ANPR cameras to scan Drivers number plates and then log their journeys.
Whenever a vehicle passes a camera, it’s registration photo is taken and then added to the central database, which is then accessible by any Police force.
We first uncovered the fact that Police forces were doing this almost 10 years ago, just after the system was introduced in 2006, but the information being collected and stored on us has rocketed since then.
Here’s the headline figures:
– 9000 fixed ANPR cameras are recording us every day;
– In one single week last year over 238 Million ANPR photos were taken;
– The Governments database currently holds 22 Billion photographs of us on our daily journeys;
– Police can access these photographs without a warrant;
…and indeed they made over 300,758 checks in 2014, which was up from 194,317 in 2012;
The Information Commissioner’s Office has voiced concerns…
Jonathan Bamford from the ICO said “You’ve really got to ask the question about the extent of ANPR and the amount of records that it’s collecting.
“There are a lot of people going around on their ordinary day to day business doing nothing wrong, innocent individuals. Those are being acquired at the rate of 30 million or so a day and being retained for a number of years.
“You end up with a picture where there’s not a lot of our lives taking place which the state can’t gain access to in some ways.”
But more importantly, what do you think?
Please leave your comments below…
All the best,
There may be a delay between leaving your comment and it appearing on the site due to manual approval to stop spam
A city councillor, Sean Chaytor, has claimed that his local Safety Camera Partnership only install speed cameras where they will make the most money.
Mr Chaytor claimed that Safer Roads Humber refused to move a speed camera to an accident blackspot because of the amount of money it made where it was.
He said: “I wonder about the responsibility of this organisation when a former chief superintendent of police in Hull asked about relocating a camera from outside the police station in Clough Road, to an accident blackspot where there had been three serious accidents”.
“The response he got from the safety partnership was, ‘Well it makes enough money where it is, why should we move it?’They weren’t interested in the casualties, they were interested in the money. This is disgraceful.”
He went on to say that the cameras facing away from the city of Hull only exist only to generate money.
“Daltry Street flyover in Hull is the highest income generating site in the entire fleet area. If it were taking vehicles and slowing them down coming in to the city I could understand it, but it is catching vehicles out of the city.”
Isn’t it refreshing to hear a politician stand up for what’s so obviously right to most people?
Perhaps if there were more like Mr Chaytor in positions of local influence who made a point of speaking up, the menace of speed cameras with the only objective of extracting money from our wallets would be wiped out?