Adam's Blog

Fines For Going 1mph Over Speed Limit Coming?

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According to a report seen by a mainstream Sunday newspaper, the National Police Chiefs’ Council have started an official review, with a view to fining motorists for doing just 1mph over the speed limit.

This idea has been discussed in the press before, but now seems like a distinct possibility of becoming a reality in the UK.

The Councils ‘Lead on national roads policing’ Andy Bangham is strongly in favour of the proposal, according to the report.

I wonder if he realises just how much concentration it takes to stick exactly to the speed limit unless you have — and are comfortable using — cruise control, which of course far from everyone does/is!

I tried it myself on a new average speed camera section of the M20 just last weekend.

The cruise on my car wasn’t working (it works when it feels like it apparently!) and I was trying hard to make sure that I didn’t average more than exactly 50mph on the 3 lane motorway by manually moderating my speed.

It occurred to me just how taxing and downright dangerous it is to be constantly looking back and forth at my TALEX to make sure I wasn’t going too fast!

I would say at least 50% of my attention was taken up by what speed I was doing, and trying to mentally calculate (guess) how much I needed to slow down to make sure the average was no more than 50mph.

In my opinion this process of constantly looking at and minutely adjusting your speed is about as dangerous as texting while driving (which I seriously don’t recommend!) and significantly less dangerous than talking in to your phone while driving, which are of course both illegal.

It would surely be even worse to be constantly looking up and down at your speedo — as opposed to a TALEX or other dash mounted GPS device — which is usually not in the line of sight of the road ahead and – incidentally – isn’t usually very accurate either…

I would imagine Andy Bangham’s answer to this would be that the speed limit is the maximum speed, not the average speed you should be doing.

What I would say to that is that, in general, the speed limits on “smart motorways” are WAY TOO LOW for anyone other than the most incompetent driver!

So to expect Motorists to give themselves an arbitrarily self imposed lower imaginary speed limit, so as to be sure not to stray slightly over the actual legal speed limit is unlikely to happen.

Put another way, drivers are always going to be pushing the maximum speed limit because it’s perceived to be – I think rightly — too low in most cases.

What I think is going to happen if the proposal is approved is that the number of speeding fines will rocket…

There were 2.1 Million speeding tickets (excluding court summons, so read “minor offences”) in England and Wales in 2016.

Just imagine how many drivers would be fined if this proposal gets approved.

And just imagine how many avoidable accidents would be caused by drivers being distracted by monitoring their speed to the nearest 1mph and braking — with those behind them also distracted for the same reason! — because they are worrying about getting a ticket due to a minor error.

Do you agree or disagree?

BTST Member Poll:

What’s your opinion on the “fined for going 1mph over the limit” proposal?

 

Are Speed Cameras Part of a Wider Conspiracy?

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I was thinking the other day while driving to visit my parents on the south coast that it feels like the new speed limit on motorways is 50mph…

For what felt like half the journey I was looking at my Talex constantly to make sure I wasn’t going over the speed limit.

It was on this journey that it occurred to me:

I’m actually driving along in fear of the Government!

I was worried that if I strayed a few MPH over the (ridiculous) 50mph speed limit, the Government would take action against me — i.e. make an attempt to rob me of money (fine) and my freedom to drive (ban).

This was despite the fact that I wasn’t doing — and wasn’t planning on doing — anything wrong!

As you’ll know if you’re a long term BTST Member, I’m not exactly someone who shies away from challenging authority.

But despite this, I was fearful of the consequences of not exactly following a rule (i.e. the 50mph limit)!

This made my mind wander back to a film I watched a few years ago called Demolition Man.

In it, whenever anyone stepped out of line (swearing for example), the Government instantly issued a penalty charge for the infraction through their all seeing / all hearing network.

Now before you think I’ve gone completely mad, let me say that I’m not a big conspiracy theorist.

But I am interested in history and have read books and watched documentaries about some of the World’s dictators, and the techniques that Governments and rulers have used through the ages to try to control “their” population.

Fear is invariably one of — if not the most — powerful tools in their arsenal to get the population to be unquestioning and compliant.

It suddenly made a lot of sense to me — is it possible that the Government are using long and pointless average speed camera zones to subtly make the population more compliant, in an effort to gradually move us more towards a police state?

What do you think – is this just a wild conspiracy theory or could this possibly be whats happening?

You can leave your thoughts in the comments below:

All the best,

Adam

Highways Agency: Incompetence or Fraud?

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I was driving home from a kart race last week.

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…

Please post your suggestions below!

Adam

1 in 3 British Motorists Fined Each Year…

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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…

Dr Snow:

“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,

Adam

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The Speed Camera that made £1.5 Million in Six Months…

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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,

Adam

P.S. If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect you can:

Become a Member online: here

Request a callback: here

…or give us a call on 01843 232 791 (option 2)

Maximum Speeding Fines To Increase…

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On April 24th, Magistrates in England and Wales will be given new powers to fine Motorists one and a half times their weekly income for “more serious” speeding offences.

The previous maximum that Magistrates were allowed to fine was 1 weeks income, but on Tuesday this week it was announced that this amount will be increased by 50%

Magistrates will be advised to fine drivers found guilty of “more serious” speeding offences the new maximum penalty.

Here are the speeds at which Magistrates will be told to award the new maximum fines:

20mph speed limit: 41mph or more
30mph speed limit: 51mph or more
40mph speed limit: 66mph or more
50mph speed limit: 76mph or more
60mph speed limit: 91mph or more

70mph speed limit: 101mph or more

The new maximum fines come in to force on 24th April this year.

If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect, now would be a very good time to join…

You can either give us a call on 01843 232 791, request a callback here or become a Member online here.

All the best,

Adam 

Councils to Enforce Motoring Offences in 2017?

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Under a new proposal put forward to the house of commons, councils across the UK could be handed new powers to fine motorists for minor motoring “offences”.

If approved by MPs in the New Year it will mean that the enforcement of “moving traffic offences” will switch from the Police to councils.

Currently this system of council enforcement is only allowed in London boroughs, due to some legislation passed more than a decade ago.

One council “money trap” in Fulham — Britain’s most lucrative box junction — has made more than £12 million in fines over the past 7 years.

In another area of London, a bus lane camera earned the council £525,000 after just one week of operation!

Councils outside of London can only currently fine motorists for either parking violations or for entering a bus lane.

However, that’s all set to change if the proposal is approved.

The AA have said they think the new powers would see hundreds of new CCTV cameras go up across the country as part of a new “war on motorists”:

“The real problem with a proposal like this is that once local authorities get the powers and start pulling the cash, they get addicted.

“They get dependent on the cash and even when flaws in their traffic management are revealed they have no desire to change it, as the cash will dry up.”

The MP and roads campaigner, Charlie Elphicke said: “This a terrible idea and will see councils using motorists as a cash cow.”

“Giving the councils total control of when and how to fine millions will be too big an opportunity for them.”

Councils across the UK are currently averaging £4 million a day from parking fines (which is one of the two “offences” they are already allowed to enforce).

Howard Cox from FairFuel commented: “This sounds like nothing more than a money raising scheme to replace Government shortfalls in local funding.”

But what do you think?

Leave your comment below…

All the best,

Adam

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Michael Howard fined £1615…

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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,

Adam

P.S. If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect, you can become one here.

Traffic jams being caused by the Highways Agency?

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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,

Adam

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Your journey is being tracked…

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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,

Adam

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