New Stealth Speed Cameras – M25

Last week, the conversion of the hard shoulder between Junction 5 and 7 on the M25 was completed.

It’s aim is to reduce congestion on one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

As part of the £129 million conversion, speed cameras have been introduced on the 20-mile stretch for the first time ever.

BUT…

The Highways Agency have refused to provide the locations or reveal how many of the cameras are in operation, in spite of Government legislation encouraging transparency when it comes to fixed speed cameras.

Hugh Bladon, spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “These ‘stealth cameras’ are just another way to kick motorists where it hurts – the pocket.

“The Highways Agency don’t want people to know where the cameras are so they get the money.

“If there are problems with people driving in a particular area, by all means put a camera in, but at the very least make it clear where they are.”

The new cameras are the old “stealth grey” in colour, it is reported.

The new Hadecs (Highways Agency digital enforcement camera system) cameras have been placed at 46 sites on the M25 altogether with up to six cameras per site, depending on the lane configuration in the area.

The cameras are mounted on a pole just before the gantry with additional cameras mounted on the gantry leg.

Keep an eye on your speed if you are in this new widened area!

All the best,

Adam

“The CCTV Traffic Wardens” (last night)

Did you see “The CCTV Traffic Wardens” on Channel 4 last night?

It was filmed in Bristol.

Here were the most “interesting” bits…

– The UK has the most expensive car parking in the world;

– Last year councils handed out £270 Million in fines to drivers;

– The camera car featured in the program issued £35,000 of tickets in 2 weeks.

– Shopkeepers feel their businesses are under attack.

The program showed officials vilifying someone who stopped to spray deodorant as if he was some kind of menace to society.

However, he wasn’t actually in the way, slowing traffic down, or causing any sort of problem to anyone — except for the traffic officials it would seem —  whilst stopped for all of 30 seconds in a loading bay.

They lifted a mini after stating as a matter of fact that it was causing a mile long tailback.

It would be easy to look at the edit and think “fair enough”, however when you looked at the footage closely (I rewound it quite a few times, exciting life I have!), it was clear that the mini was doing nothing of the sort.

The traffic was still flowing side by side in the 2 lane road, as it would have been had the mini not been there.

The jam was in fact caused by the traffic lights leading on to the roundabout at the end of the road…

The irony is that the flat bed truck used to remove the car DID cause a tailback!

CCTV operators then took great pleasure in ticketing a delivery driver in a LOADING BAY while he was making a delivery to a local business. Seems the problem is that he was unloading rather than loading.

Likewise with a DHL driver who had taken pains to park in such a way as to not hold up traffic whilst delivering stock to a local business, but was ticketed none the less.

Incidentally, the law states that loading bays can be used when heavy purchases are being carried to a car.

Don’t get me wrong here – I hate traffic jams with a passion and especially when they are caused by people being selfish or stupid.

However, in all of the above examples — which seem to be the vast majority, assuming the program was representative — this was absolutely not the case.

In my opinion it’s big brother gone mad.

If you are out and about in Bristol, be warned!

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Speeding fines increase to £90

Speeding fines are set to rise by 50 per cent, from £60 to £90 under proposals unveiled by government ministers last week.

Interestingly, the news appeared to be ‘buried’ by the media.

Rather than the obvious headlines like the one to this blog (above), the press coverage I saw (which admittedly was not comprehensive because I purposely avoid the main stream media like the plague) talked about fine increases for the much more unpopular (and dangerous) offence of texting whilst driving.

When they took office, the Coalition promised to end what they called “Labour’s war on the motorist” after accusing them of using drivers as a “cash cow”.

I wholeheartedly agreed with this approach, as did around 90% of BTST Members based on surveys.

Yet based on the latest available Government figures, the latest changes would net the Treasury an additional £33.5 million a year in motoring fines.

That might sound like a lot of money, but in the context of income from taxes and national insurance contributions, which were £522400000000 (£522.4 billion) in 2010-2011, it represents around a 0.006 increase in income.

That’s like £15.90 to a man who earns the average national wage of £26,500.

Is that really worth pissing off 38 million motorists over? I can’t see it myself, unless we are really that desperate for money as a nation…

If it makes you sad, then take solace that you are not alone.

If this news makes you want to become a Member of DriveProtect, give us a call.

Adam

DriveProtect: 01843 232 791
Become a Member Online: Here

change in the law

 

 

Last month the Law in the UK changed in regards to people being able to claim back their costs if they are acquitted of Motoring charges.

From October (last month) if you WIN your case:

1-
You can now only claim back your costs at legal aid rates;

2-
Only the accused can now claim their costs, and not a third party insurer, such as DriveProtect.

So what does this mean to you?

Well, from now on, no claim can be made other than for contractual costs between the accused and his/her solicitors.

(that means no recovery on behalf of third party insurers such as DP)

…and the amount you can claim back is now limited to legal aid rates of:

– £26.30 per hour for travel and waiting;
– £62.50 per hour for hearings;
– £55 per hour for preparation and attendance

As you can imagine, Lawyers are pretty p***ed off with the new rules 🙂

In my opinion, the Government is legislating to let the police and CPS waste thousands of pounds on pursuing Motorists, but allowing them to screw the innocent — i.e. people who win in Court!

If you are NOT a DP Member and you use Lawyers then this will effect you significantly.

Here’s how:

Say that you use a Traffic Lawyer as below to defend you against a Motoring offence, and that their rate is £220/hour, which is quite a common rate:

1 hour initial consultation = £220
4 hours case preparation = £880
2 hours traveling time = £440
Expert witness = £300
2 hours in Court = £440

Total paid by you = £2280

This is a pretty typical cost for Speeding Defence from a decent Traffic Lawyer.

So you’ve paid £2280. Here’s what you can now claim back if you win:

1 hour initial consultation = £55
4 hours case preparation = £220
2 hours traveling time = £52.60
Expert witness = £0
2 hours in Court = £125

Total you can claim back (if you WIN!) = £452.60

Total loss to you (again, if you WIN) = £1827.40

Whatever you think about Lawyers charge out rates (believe me, I am not exactly a fan of them myself!), this is surely a complete injustice.

If you *win* your case — in other words you are proven in Court to be INNOCENT — then using a typical example like above, you would still be nearly £2000 out of pocket!

If you are a DriveProtect Member, worry not. We have done the numbers and it is not a problem to continue on the same contractual arrangement with all Members, both past and future.

This is because we have extremely favourable terms with our Lawyers because we give them such a volume of business.

This WILL definitely dent our profitability, but I would rather that than for us to start messing about changing Membership terms.

If it’s ever a problem in future then I would rather raise the premiums by a pound or two per month rather than penalising Members when they really need us due to this awful legislation by the Government.

If you are not already a Member and these changes have spurred you on to join us then give us a call on 01843 232 791 (option 2), request a callback here, or join online here.

All the best,

Adam
P.S. There is the BTST Members discount on the last link above 🙂

M62 JCT 29 & 30 fines cancelled!

If you or anyone you know has been caughton the cameras between JCT 29 & 30 on the M62 and paid the fine, you should be able to claim the fine back and have the points removed due to what we have discovered.

A DriveProtect Member (Peter Hall) recently received TWO tickets on this stretch of road
within one week of each other.

Our Defence guys headed up by Matthew Coxall sprung in to action and we got both NIPs cancelled.

Here’s how:

We requested calibration certificate for the cameras from West Yorkshire Police as on their website, there was no certificate displayed.

Instead of a copy of the certificate, Peter was sent a duplicate of the original NIP.

Undeterred, we requested a copy of the certificate again, as well as asking some questions about the signage on the road and requesting the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).

Then, on 25th July (just 6 days after the original alleged offence), Peter received another NIP from the same cameras for driving at 58mph in a 50mph limit — the same speed as the first alleged offence.

Peter was assured verbally by West Yorkshire Police that they did have the Calibration
Certificate and they were just waiting for their website to be updated so that it would be
showing.

As it turned out, the Police quickly dropped both NIP’s, sighting the road signage issues as the reason.

However, Peter is convinced that the real reason is in fact that they never had the Calibration Certificate in the first place.

If you have been caught on this stretch of road and paid the fine then you should write to West Yorkshire Police asking for the Calibration Certificate for the camera that captured the alleged offence.

If they can not supply it, you should request that the fine be refunded and points deducted
from your licence.

Their address is:
Central Process Bureau
Casualty Reduction Section
PO Box 1105
Bradford
BD1 4WA

Tel: 01274 376 815

If you need our help, email in or call the DriveProtect Membership team on 01843 232 791.

All the best,

Adam

Mystery Attacker Wages War On Speed Cameras

A mysterious person who has presumably fallen foul of Speed Cameras at some point recently has been on the attack in Kent, armed with stickers with high tack glue to cover the lenses!

What I find interesting (apart from the inherent comedy value (is that just me?)) is the fact that the Camera Partnerships spokesperson seems to blatantly lie on two points:

1) That they don’t have the resources to take the stickers off.

OK, I don’t know that this is a lie but I am pretty sure that it’s not true. We have the resources, and I can assure you, they have a lot more money to play with than we do!

I do believe they are going for the public sympathy vote. Can’t see that one working some how!

2) That the speed cameras are placed where people have been killed or seriously injured.

This has been proven time and time again to simply not be true (in the vast majority of cases).

I would be interested to know whether Katherine Barrett actually believes what she is saying, or is just towing the official propaganda line.

She was also keen to point out that the “Vandal” faces jail if caught.

I’ll stick my neck on the line here and say that personally I hope they don’t!

Let me know your thoughts below.

All the best,

Adam

Dodgy Box Junction fine…

We’ve just had this penalty charge notice sent in from a Member.

She stands accused of stopping in a Box Junction.

But..

Wait until you see the pictures:

As you can clearly(ish) see, she has not actually stopped in the Box Junction at all!

It just goes to show that you should ALWAYS challenge these penalty notices because often they are simply wrong.

Happy motoring,

Adam

How To Plead Mitigation…

Bit of a long newsletter this week, but I think you’ll like it, and you just might sleep a little better at night by knowing this…

When you get a Speeding Ticket, most people think that there is only one of three things that can happen:

1) You accept the points and fine;
2) You fight it (either pre-court or at court) and win;
3) You fight it and loose.

However, there is a fourth VERY IMPORTANT possibility:

4) You accept that the alleged offence happened and plead Mitigation.

What does this mean?

Many people inadvertently incriminate themselves before speaking to a Lawyer. This is one of our Lawyer Matthews pet hates, and it’s why we always ask DriveProtect Members to contact us the moment they receive a speeding ticket.

On another occasion, you might not actually want to contest that the alleged offence happened, but points on your licence would mean a ban due to the totting up process.

In these cases, your strategy should be Mitigation!

Here’s how it works:

Simply, you persuade the magistrates or District Judge (DJ) that you are a jolly decent chap (or lady) and that giving you a harsh sentence would not really be in the public interest.

Instead a little slap on the wrist should be just fine.

I’ve seen this in action and heard stories many times and it’s also worked wonderfully for me personally in the past (not on a speeding case but something else), as I mention below.

Imagine a 1 week ban and a £60 fine compared to a 6 month ban and a £775 fine.

These were two real cases in which the people involved had committed basically the same offence.

In one case the gentleman went in with an attitude of “screw you!”, and in the other the Lawyer talked to the Magistrates about how the man was an upstanding citizen, had done this charity work, belonged to that club and so on.

It reminded me of the time I first met our Lawyer Matthew.

He was representing me in a personal matter that I won’t bore you with, but was quite serious. He told the Magistrates about how I owned Talex and it was sold in Halfords (at the time), how I had seen someone get stabbed the week before and called an ambulance and so on.

Everything he told them was true but the point is that they lapped it up.

“Oh, he’s not an oike, no need to punish him too much”.

Whether this attitude is right of wrong is irrelevant.

The important fact is that *it works*!

So if you’ve dropped yourself in it, or are facing a ban, fear not. The success rate with Mitigation is really high 🙂

And if you’re a Member at DriveProtect at the time of the alleged offence, it costs virtually nothing to be represented by us at Court.

All the best,

Adam
P.S. If you’ve got questions about DriveProtect you can request a call back from the Membership Team here.

Is It OK To Speed In The Rain?

Have you ever noticed how mobile speed traps hardly ever operate in the rain or in icy conditions?

They almost always only operate in good weather conditions.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the roads are MUCH more dangerous when it’s wet.

This is especially true when there has been a long dry spell, and then the rain comes.

Rubber from cars tyres gets embedded in to the road surface over time and when it rains, the water draws the oils in the rubber to the surface, making it like an ice rink for a while until the oils get washed away.

But how often do you see mobile camera vans out in the rain?

Seriously, think about it.

I have NEVER seen them!

I think what it indicates is that Mobile Speed Traps are more to do with generating revenue than they are to do with keeping us safe on the road.

But what do you think?

Post a comment on the blog…

All the best,

Adam

P.S. Sadly we’ve had to introduce comment moderation due to someone (with the same IP address but 4 different names and email addresses :-)) having a conversation with themselves. Rest assured that all genuine comments will be ‘allowed’, it will just take a while for them to appear…

Best Testimonial Yet?

I just received this email from Jim Henderson, who is a DriveProtect Member:

Mr James henderson
(Address removed for privacy)

To whom it may concern

I spend a lot of time on the road in my capacity as a courier / driver, I enjoy my work and I really like being out on the road, but like most people, there are other things to look out for apart from other drivers and pedestrians. By this I mean speed cameras, speed traps, average speed limits and police cars!

I’d already picked up a few points in the beginning of the year by flouting the limit in a section of roadworks.

After I got stopped, I decided to become pro-active and installed a sat nav with live traffic and speed trap updates.

However, I was still concerned about gettin stopped if I took my mind off the ball.

This is when I first came accross the drive protect website.

At first, i was sceptical.

The advertising looked good, the service provided looked even better but I still wasn’t convinced.

Then back in may, i had another close call and decided to try drive protects services. What could I lose, except a small monthly payment for peace of mind?

Upon contacting drive protect I was asked to provide details of my licence, driving history ect and all seemed reasonable. I duly set up the direct debit for the payments and forgot about it.

Later in the year I got stopped again. This time I received a lot more points than I expected, then almost a month later I was stopped once again. Every time by a covert speed camera held by an officer parked somewhere obscure.

Now if I had seen a bright yellow jacket I would have been looking at my speed, sometimes just the sight of a police car is enought o get most drivers to slow back down to 70!

By the time I had seen the police car it was too late. I was duly booked and processed.

i got straight on to drive protect.

This was much easier than I expected, I was advised to be represented in court by drive protects own legal team. I went to court and met with my brief. She was very knowledgeable and confident and did a sterling job even though as it turned out the magistrate had already made his mind up what to do.

So I got banned.

This is when I was convinced that there would be some loophole or reason not to cover me.

Not so!

Immediately I was told, after checking a few details, that I would be covered for all my transport costs.

Still doubtful, I collected all my train tickets and taxi reciepts and posted them near the end if the month. Within a day, I received an email confirming that my receipts had been received and that my bank would be credited accordingly!

I’m still amazed.

This company really does look after its customers. Pain free registration, super friendly staff and meticulous attention to detail make these guys the ones you need on your side if you drive. So that’s most of us!

At last, a way of covering yourself against losing your licence.

I can wholeheartedly reccomend drive protect if you want to make sure your life isn’t turned upside down by this country’s ridiculous points system.

Jim Henderson

Sent from my iPad