Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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myglaren
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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

Post by myglaren »

And right on cue the insurers are going to cash in.

The Beeb.

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addo wrote:In response to the OP, perjury is a good option if the offence really was a one-off. Get an elderly relative to wear the ping.
Hmm, you risk up to seven years inside for getting caught when all you had to do is to either slow down or stand up and take your punishment of three points and a small fine, of all the silly ideas,,,,,,,,,,

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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DickieG wrote:
Xac wrote:I've said before, if I had my way I'd make all motorways and suitable dual carriageways variable speed limit, setting it at a limit which was safe for the conditions at the time (weather, traffic, road layout etc), so on a straight patch with no other cars, why not increase the limit to 100mph, where as in fog set it down to 30/40mph or lower if really bad.
100mph you must be joking :shock: having sat next to and instructed/assessed what must be approaching 1,000 drivers I couldn't think of anything more foolhardy, speed limits have been lowered in an effort to reduce the number of collisions where drivers couldn't even cope at the previous higher limit.

Having taught high speed driving on public roads for many years I cannot for one moment even consider the thought that a 100mph limit to be safe as the vast majority of drivers have the forward vision of Mr Magoo making me suspect that they are looking at the windscreen rather than through it, that's even before I get into talking about anticipation with regards to lane displacement, oh and what about slower drivers having awareness of vehicles approaching them from behind at high speed?

Whatever the speed limit some drivers will always look to exceed the set limit then moan when they get caught so set a 100mph limit and those clowns will do 120 mph :roll:
Tell me Richard, when you were teaching these drivers how to safely travel at 100mph, was it on empty motorways? I expect not. I'd imagine you'd have them out doing that speed during working hours in, while not heavy, quite a bit of traffic to give them some real world experience?
Now read what I said :)
On stretches of motorway that are empty of traffic, where visibility is good, there's no adverse camber, no bends etc, increasing the speed limit doesn't increase the dangers already present 70mph (blow out, heart attack etc). Remember this would be only between gantries on that section, the first gantry before the conditions change requiring a slower speed, would have it's signs and cameras set at that lower speed.
So for instance, straight section of motorway followed by a bendy section prone to cross winds, you might have when there is hardly any traffic on there at the time a 100mph speed limit, then dropping to a 60mph in the bendy cross wind section. At sections with busy junctions, the speed limit could be dropped to help control traffic, is it currently does around Heathrow. You may even be able to do away with the need for a police car to produce a rolling road block simply by setting the speed limit very low on the road leading up to the accident.
The number of gantries would be greatly increased and average speed limit checks in place, so your prat in an Audi (most likely) doing 120mph would find himself on the wrong side of the law.
Look at the M5 fog crash where despite the central reservations signs saying 40mph people ignored them and caused the pile up.
Had there been speed cameras there to back up the reduced speed limit, lives would have been saved.
I remember when the variable limit around Heathrow came into being, it was great, snarl ups along that section dissapeared, but unfortunately they moved further around the M25 to where there wasn't traffic control, which was a good demonstration of them working, ie where there's traffic control and more vehicles the vehicles are still moving, where there are fewer vehicles and no traffic control there's a jam.
This is a thought execise Richard, what I'd look into doing if funding was no issue.
DickieG wrote:
Xac wrote:Also have cameras to catch people tail gating!
You need to think this argument through a lot more Xac as a camera only captures one brief moment and doesn't collect the whole picture, if you are setting up an overtake then in most circumstances you should move into a contact position (what some consider to be "Tailgating") in order to reduce the amount of time taken to execute the OT, if you happened to pass a "Tailgate" camera at that precise moment you'd suffer a penalty when in fact you could be driving perfectly safely, non-starter that idea.

The only way you can detect and then prosecute drivers around inconsiderate/dangerous driving is to increase the numbers of Traffic Police, however the present government cuts have and are continuing to reduce Officer numbers considerably as they view traffic offences as not having a victim so to speak and so therefore cannot produce what is called "Clear-ups" i.e. reported and solved crimes to tell the public how wonderful they are at doing more for less :roll:
Shirley you're not one of those people that races up behind someone in lane 1 on a motorway getting dangerously close before moving out into lane2?
As a side, on single carriageway roads, if you need to get dangerously close to the car in front in order to overtake in time without colliding with on coming traffic, then you it is not safe to over take and you should realise that. It's exactly how an Audi driver went into the back of Cassy earlier this year. He was too close trying to over take on a 2 lane dual carriageway, in front of me was a Mondeo that decided it wanted to stop in lane 1, I slowed down so as to not collide with said Mondeo now parked in lane 1 and the Audi driver wasn't expecting that and was too close to prevent a collision. The Mondeo just drove away.

In Germany they have tail gating boxes on some of their roads (over here we have unenforced chevrons that you're supposed to keep 2 between you and the car in front).
The speed of the vehicles is assessed to ensure it's not a traffic jam or slow moving. If the 2nd car enters at speed before the 1st car has left the box, the 2nd car is travelling at an unsafe distance and is fined accordingly.

As for assessing dangerous driving, the simple move is to either define a new offence of "driving above the set safe speed limit" with a penalty similar to dangerous driving, ie much harsher than just a SP50, and likewise legislate that if you are driving too close to someone on a motorway then you are defacto driving dangerously.
We're not going to get back to the time where those "Police patrol vehicles only" ramps had cars on them rather than daisies, so coming up with the means to bridge at least part of the gap shouldn't be poo poo'd.
myglaren wrote:And right on cue the insurers are going to cash in.

The Beeb.
Well, they aren't allowed to load premiums against men any more so this is a way around that, as men are more likely to be caught speeding than women.

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

Post by myglaren »

Xac wrote:
myglaren wrote:And right on cue the insurers are going to cash in.

The Beeb.
Well, they aren't allowed to load premiums against men any more so this is a way around that, as men are more likely to be caught speeding than women.
It isn't a recent survey but there were some statistics generated that showed that while young men with a passenger were likely to speed, young women alone in their car were far more prone to speeding than men.

I have observed many instances of this personally, since reading the report (looking for it, clearly).

I do notice that young women seem to be the ones exceeding the speed limit in urban areas - usually on the school run :shock:


Taxis too, naturally.

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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I don't know about your area, but the schools I know don't have speed cameras despite as you say many parents dropping their kids off in a hurry. 20mph near schools and where kids normally cross the roads and strict enforcement too.
We just had a woman do a 3 point turn over a mini roundabout without indicating on the way to Danielle's parents' house.

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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No, no speed cameras anywhere near here. The nearest school, where three of my grandchildren go, is only 200 yards away and the number of people who feel the need to take little Jimmy by car is staggering. Then they park their tanks here there and everywhere - ignoring all the usual regulations of course.
Bus only link - pah! (car park either side but the paper shop is on this side), they would need to walk 20 yards over the car park, far too far when you're on your way to the gym!

One woman brings her kids to her mother's, three doors from me, removes the kids from the car for fifteen minutes, spends ten minutes getting them back in the car, drives them to school, another five minutes to get them out of the car, drives back to her mother's for another half hour.
It is literally a two minute walk from her mother's to the school along a footpath nowhere near a road apart from the last 10 yards.

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Post by addo »

It's global and chronic, that sort of dopey conduct. Breeding laziness (mind and body) and obesity rates more seriously in my book than fibbing about who was the speeding driver.

If I ever have children they will be home schooled, fast tracked to an International Baccalaureate and only go to the local school to use the library, play team sports or undertake external assessments.

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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Xac wrote:Tell me Richard, when you were teaching these drivers how to safely travel at 100mph, was it on empty motorways? I expect not. I'd imagine you'd have them out doing that speed during working hours in, while not heavy, quite a bit of traffic to give them some real world experience?
Now read what I said :)
I've read your post but your argument lacks any real knowledge or thought about the implications of what you are saying, yes I taught and drove on all types of roads (both on and off) and the honest fact of the matter is that the standard of driving in the UK is such that very few people indeed are safe to drive at anywhere near 100 mph due to poor vision and lack of anticipation unless they have been given extensive training over a lengthy period of time from very experienced instructors.

The vast majority of Police instruction is done in unmarked cars (so no advantage of a jam sandwich to identify and gain an advantage) and as in all responsible methods of instruction where there is a significant risk to health and safety learning starts to take place on what some might call nursery routes where the driver is assessed and allowed to go only as fast or as far as they are deemed capable of coping with then as the course develops the training moves onto bigger/'faster' roads. I'd demonstrate the relevant skill to set it as a benchmark for the student to attempt to emulate and develop things from there, take it from me the number of times at the start of a course that a candidate could get within a country mile of my demonstration drive in the 12 years I instructed for were well lets just say I have more than enough fingers on one hand.

How did I manage to obtain this very specialist skill? Vast amounts of very expensive training from experienced drivers handed down over many generations which started with a racing driver called the Earl of Cottenham. Police and other emergency services spend fortunes on driver training because countless studies have shown that in the long term despite the training being very expensive to carry out it works out cheaper in £'s (not to mention personal losses) than paying out for all the collisions that come about if drivers are not trained to drive at speeds in excess of the present speed limits. It was for this very reason that the Met Police Driving School was created in 1934.

What never ceases to amaze me with drivers is that many who consider themselves to be responsible/good drivers are so way off the mark from that being the reality it would be laughable if the subject wasn't so serious in its potential outcome. Where I would be quite happy to drive at very high speed they struggle to get within 30mph of my speed but when I'm only happy to do 20mph they're quite happy to do 40mph, the most common reason being that their vision is too low to see and anticipate the situation ahead of them. The point I'm making here is that the standard of UK drivers is far too low to responsibly set a 100 mph speed limit unless the driver has undertaken a very lengthy course of instruction by the 'properly' skilled/trained Instructor who isn't simply looking to tick boxes to attempt to show how good they are at instructing, so an outside body such as DSA would be needed for testing purposes who is not being paid by the person undertaking the test (for reasons which are quite obvious).

So having undertaken this high speed driving course over say the necessary six weeks of 5 days per week and obtained a pass certificate with some drivers licenced to drive at 100mph and others sticking at say 70 how on earth would you ever Police it?
Xac wrote:On stretches of motorway that are empty of traffic, where visibility is good, there's no adverse camber, no bends etc, increasing the speed limit doesn't increase the dangers already present 70mph (blow out, heart attack etc).
Does anyone know where this road is because I've spent all my life looking for such a road, where on earth is a motorway ever empty of traffic? Even at 2am there is traffic on it and that immediately brings about the issue I mentioned earlier, namely lane displacement which very few drivers have the faintest idea of how to anticipate.

For once in your life Andy you'll have to take my word on this subject that as an expert in this field setting a 100mph limit for the public is irresponsible.
Xac wrote:I remember when the variable limit around Heathrow came into being, it was great, snarl ups along that section dissapeared, but unfortunately they moved further around the M25 to where there wasn't traffic control, which was a good demonstration of them working, ie where there's traffic control and more vehicles the vehicles are still moving, where there are fewer vehicles and no traffic control there's a jam.
This is a thought execise Richard, what I'd look into doing if funding was no issue.
You obviously haven't been there very often, every day its all but gridlocked, I know that as a fact as I pass over it at that location at least twice a day.
Xac wrote:Shirley you're not one of those people that races up behind someone in lane 1 on a motorway getting dangerously close before moving out into lane2?
As a side, on single carriageway roads, if you need to get dangerously close to the car in front in order to overtake in time without colliding with on coming traffic, then you it is not safe to over take and you should realise that.
When planning an overtake and when it looks likely to be on you should move into a contact position (when planning an OT on a single carriageway road) as this allows you to take in greater information about the situation ahead, when safe move offside and having done that and taken in further information you can then make the final decision as to whether the OT is on. Moving into a contact position on a motorway at the appropriate time is useful as it sends a request to the driver in front that you'd like to pass them and are requesting them to move N/S due to there being an appropriate gap for them to move into and a significant gap ahead of them where they are not making as much progress as they could. At no point do I advocate staying in contact for more than just a few seconds.

One of the biggest problems drivers have with overtaking is that haven't got the faintest idea of how to anticipate/plan them and attempt to start the manoeuvre from too far back (follow position) then just after they commit to the OT a hazard such as a junction comes into view or the circumstances change as in stop-over gap reduces etc leaving them stranded on the O/S with oncoming traffic.
Xac wrote:In Germany they have tail gating boxes on some of their roads (over here we have unenforced chevrons that you're supposed to keep 2 between you and the car in front).
The speed of the vehicles is assessed to ensure it's not a traffic jam or slow moving. If the 2nd car enters at speed before the 1st car has left the box, the 2nd car is travelling at an unsafe distance and is fined accordingly.
Andy the amount of attention you place upon on the distance vehicles are following each other causes me great concern because you appear to suggest that this is the greatest evils of driving and with you displaying such focus it makes me think that your vision rarely extends beyond the vehicle in front leaving you no option but to react to the vehicle directly ahead of you rather than be in a position where your vision and thought processes allow you to anticipate and plan for the other drivers up and coming manoeuvres before they have even started it, this the basic key skill of an advanced driver.
Xac wrote:As for assessing dangerous driving, the simple move is to either define a new offence of "driving above the set safe speed limit" with a penalty similar to dangerous driving, ie much harsher than just a SP50, and likewise legislate that if you are driving too close to someone on a motorway then you are defacto driving dangerously.
Already exists as in the amount of excess speed you are above the limit is reflected in the punishment, i.e. over 20 over and you go to court to explain your actions, 30 above and you get banned. To prove dangerous driving you need far greater evidence which a camera is very unlikely to be able to capture unless it is mounted in such a position where it can record the standard of driving over protracted period of time, i.e. a Police car, a static camera can provide supporting evidence but its very unlikely to be sufficient for a prosecution on its own. Anyway there isn't any need for new legislation when the offence is already covered in law.

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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One of the major reasons for accidents on motorways is due to drivers travelling too close to the traffic ahead (you said it yourself that people do not look far enough ahead), normally because they are not expecting to actually have to stop.
As I'm sure you are aware, you can travel a lot closer to the car in front if you're only going to have to drop from 70mph to 50mph rather than 70mpg to 10mph.
Now, you've asserted that drivers don't look far enough ahead (something I agree with), so their first notification of needing to slow down rapidly would be when the car in front slams on the brakes and that braking goes on longer than the expected "slow down a bit" time.
I'm sure you are also aware that where the 2nd car just clips the back of the 1st at motorway speeds, quite often this sends the 1st into a spin while leaving the 2nd car pretty much unscathed.
I don't know Richard, perhaps in your years of experience you've discovered that such evidence that I have seen is actually wrong, stopping distances don't matter and you can travel safely 2 car lengths behind another car at 70mph without risk of hitting them should they have to stop suddenly, or that in reality rear end shunts are unheard of on motorways.
It seems to work over in Germany,though. Perhaps it's down to the Germans looking further ahead though, a cultural thing?
I am concerned that you feel it is acceptable to get within the safe stopping distance of a vehicle before overtaking, especially on a motorway, which doesn't sound like giving much forward planning, as well as potentially causing the over taken driver distress by what amounts to buzzing them. Having been on the receiving end of someone performing such a manoeuvre resulting in a cracked bumper, at higher speeds it would have been much more dangerous.
Now, if we had more patrol vehicles than we can afford, then they could pull over anyone driving too close to the car in front and deal with them accordingly. However, we can't afford that many patrol cars, and so cameras which perform the same specific task, and can be afforded would at least deal with such drivers.
Now, that covers just one aspect of motoring crime which costs many lives each year. There is no silver bullet after all.

One of the other issues I suggested tackling by extending the variable speed limit throughout the motorway network, combined with assessing all sections of the network for maximum speed limit under certain circumstances. 100mph is a figure that has been suggested by motoring groups, I say whatever is considered by experts to be the safe maximum limit.
I'd put you forward to be part of the road assessment team of course Richard. Your years of experience would be invaluable.
I'm glad you brought up the current requirement to convict someone.
Currently the RTA1988 states that someone is guilty if:
1. the way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and
2. it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous

So you need enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant's driving fell far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
However, amend the act to include:

3. exceeds the displayed motorway speed limit

Then all you'd have to do is prove that the driver was exceeding the speed limit on the motorway, and speed cameras do that all the time.
Oh I'm sure you're thinking "But that doesn't prove it is dangerous" and I'd remind you that you wouldn't need to prove what they did was dangerous, only that they were guilty of the offence by exceeding the displayed motorway speed limit.
The other advantage of having a network wide variable speed limit enforced by cameras is that when traffic flow needs to be slowed, for fog or heavy rain for instance, it can be done. Likewise for roadworks. Of course while the above systems can catch drivers travelling dangerously by exceeding the posted limit, or driving too close to the vehicle in front, they're not able to catch drunk drivers, or someone driving without due care and attention, so patrol cars would remain a must. I'd also enhance the role of CCTV operators so if they see a car behaving strangely, weaving perhaps or just meandering over the rumble strips suggesting the driver could be dozing off, they can contact the nearest patrol vehicle to get them on site ASAP and assess the situation in person. So while retaining the shall we say passive role of patrolling the motorways keeping an eye out for anything, the more targeted response gets ramped up. After all, how many times have we seen a car do something dangerous and thought "There's never a copper around when you need one" when instead it could be that someone in the control room has spotted the issue and already sent a patrol car. A more official/professional system than the suggested "Call and report as you're driving" that has cropped up recently.
I know the Heathrow area far too well, and while traffic is heavy and slow moving, it is still moving which is more than usually can be said for the areas either side of it!
Up here on the M1 they've got road works with average speed checks and a 50mph speed limit. That speed isn't just for the safety of vehicles and the workers (survival being hit at 50mph isn't much different to being hit at 70mph), it is also for the best flow of traffic.
Ask yourself this Richard; Would those 7 people on the M5 last year have had fatal crashes in fog if the M5 had gantry speed limit signs with cameras and the speed limit reduced to 40mph?

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

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Xac wrote:One of the major reasons for accidents on motorways is due to drivers travelling too close to the traffic ahead (you said it yourself that people do not look far enough ahead), normally because they are not expecting to actually have to stop.
It's not that simple Andy, on roads other than motorways you generally need to allow a 2 second gap/follow distance as you need to allow time to react to other road users such as pedestrians moving onto the carriageway and unmarked junctions where vehicles may emerge from, however on a motorway you don't have those so provided your vision is up and well beyond vehicle ahead of you you can quite safely follow the vehicle ahead of you at a closer distance (some argue for one foot per mile an hour). I rarely ever brake on a dual carriageway or motorway as I'm always anticipating and planning my drive way up into the distance and as soon as I see braking say a dozen vehicles up the line in traffic I come off the drive then chuckle as brakelights 'cascade down the line' towards me whereupon by the time the car ahead of me matches their speed with the slower traffic by way of braking my speed has already been matched with the slowing traffic ahead. This skill takes a lot of time, training and experience as judgement of speed and distance isn't something that can be taught, it comes with experience. The problem with driving accurately to the conditions is there are so many different circumstances its impossible to be descriptive, advanced driving is rarely black and white, more various shades of grey which are open to debate.
Xac wrote:As I'm sure you are aware, you can travel a lot closer to the car in front if you're only going to have to drop from 70mph to 50mph rather than 70mpg to 10mph.
Well yes and no, unless your vision is well up into the distance and you are anticipating and planning your drive how do you know that you won't have to stop?
Xac wrote:Now, you've asserted that drivers don't look far enough ahead (something I agree with), so their first notification of needing to slow down rapidly would be when the car in front slams on the brakes and that braking goes on longer than the expected "slow down a bit" time.
The problem with driving a car/plane/train/boat with an engine is that we now as human beings become the only creature on this planet able to travel faster than nature intended us to do, that brings about a very real problem. Think for a minute about when you go for a walk or run, where do you spend most of your time looking? The honest answer is down in the foreground as you are concerned about falling over an obstruction on the surface ahead of you, not an issue when your maximum speed as a human being is say 20 mph but very real problem when you are now in control of a vehicle capable of three figure speeds and brisk acceleration where the vehicle will quickly outrun your vision. This explains why untrained drivers are slow to accelerate away from hazards and conversely way too quick into the next one due to late/inaccurate assessment of the oncoming hazard.
Xac wrote:I'm sure you are also aware that where the 2nd car just clips the back of the 1st at motorway speeds, quite often this sends the 1st into a spin while leaving the 2nd car pretty much unscathed.
Very true.
Xac wrote:I don't know Richard, perhaps in your years of experience you've discovered that such evidence that I have seen is actually wrong, stopping distances don't matter and you can travel safely 2 car lengths behind another car at 70mph without risk of hitting them should they have to stop suddenly, or that in reality rear end shunts are unheard of on motorways.
Again yes and no, stopping distances certainly do matter but as far as the follow distance it very much depends upon the full picture, for example a car being hit from behind could well be down to the follow vehicle following too closely (it certainly will be just prior to impact!), alternatively it could be down to a lack of anticipation or the driver simply not concentrating on driving, far too many variables to point the finger in one direction. To state that following closely is the prime cause and dangerous is akin to saying that driving at high speed is dangerous which is clearly nonsense, it depends upon where speed is used etc.
Xac wrote:It seems to work over in Germany,though. Perhaps it's down to the Germans looking further ahead though, a cultural thing?
Well yes and no, have you seen photo's of the collisions over there? Ouch :shock: I don't honestly know the situation around drivers over there having only visited there several times and have not researched extensively but I suspect that its more of a political situation where governments fear bringing in speed limits and making themselves unelectable plus of course the other factor to take into consideration is even non drivers will improve their judgement of speed and distance when travelling as a passenger as they grow up in an environment of high speed.
Xac wrote:I am concerned that you feel it is acceptable to get within the safe stopping distance of a vehicle before overtaking, especially on a motorway, which doesn't sound like giving much forward planning, as well as potentially causing the over taken driver distress by what amounts to buzzing them. Having been on the receiving end of someone performing such a manoeuvre resulting in a cracked bumper, at higher speeds it would have been much more dangerous.
No need to feel concerned because as I stated earlier you only move into contact for a matter of a few seconds and even then only when the OT looks likely so contact lasts for just a few seconds and should never be closer than say 0.7 of a second follow distance. In English that means when you are in a follow position you can read the index plate of the vehicle ahead, in contact you can read the car name badge, if you can read the name and telephone number of the supplying dealer on the bottom of the number plate you are too close!! :lol:
Xac wrote:Now, if we had more patrol vehicles than we can afford, then they could pull over anyone driving too close to the car in front and deal with them accordingly. However, we can't afford that many patrol cars, and so cameras which perform the same specific task, and can be afforded would at least deal with such drivers.
You see there is the dilemma, for instance burglary is a horrible crime and the perpetrator deserves to meet the full force of the law, have no doubt about it. However what price do you put on someones life? The primary role of a Traffic Officer is to reduce collisions and therefore preserve life, what do you say to someone who's lost the nearest and dearest due to reducing the number of Traffic Officers which at the end of the day means fewer drivers driving poorly can/will be detected/prosecuted and removed from our roads? Unlike Politicians I don't view traffic offences as victimless crimes.

Personally I'm not keen on the idea of simply exceeding a speed limit whether it be on a motorway or not can in any way be classed as dangerous driving, for a law to be successful it needs the support of the public and most importantly be reasonable. Never in a million years could I go along with the idea that simply driving at high speed is dangerous because it depends upon so many wide and variable factors. At the end of the day I think you're arguing more for an offence description as in dangerous speed when in all honesty there is legislation to cover just about every circumstance you're reasonably likely to encounter with punishments to match if only the courts had the backing/bottle to deliver the appropriate punishment.

As far as the M5 fatal quite simply it comes down to driver error as in one or more drivers not driving to the conditions by way of always being able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear which brings me back to my original point that simply leaving the general public to decide what speed is appropriate for the circumstances inevitably has on occasion some very unpleasant consequences,,,

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Re: Got couaght speeding What happerns next

Post by Xaccers »

As you say, if you're a driver who scans the road ahead from their bumper to as far ahead as possible (and checks behind for fast moving trouble makers etc) then pre-empting the need to stop or brake hard is possible, seeing that Astra in the outside lane coming up to a lorry in lane 1 with a Fiesta right behind it and you just know that Fiesta is going to pull out into lane 2 just as the Astra gets that little bit too close, causing the Astra to brake for example often causes parts of me to clench as I could see it happening from miles back.
However while I'll keep a safe enough distance so that I can just ease off and slow down until the danger has passed, or be able to stop should the Fiesta and Astra collide, many other drivers are too close to prepare for such an eventuality, the idea of having to stop suddenly on a motorway doesn't enter their thought process.
As such, keeping them that safe distance apart cannot be left up to the driver (who isn't competent enough to do it themselves) and so much as I abhor the so called Nanny state, there are times where people have to be somewhat forced to stay safe in order to save lives.
Take when traffic is heavy on a motorway, I'm in lane 3 passing the other two lanes, travelling a safe distance after the car in front, and some prat in an Audi comes screaming up behind me a car or so from my rear bumper. I can't go any faster, there's a line of cars in front of me, I can't move to lane 2 as the cars are already driving too close to each other and won't drop back if I indicate. So I have to drop back and increase my distance with the car in front to take into account that if I have to stop I will have to decelerate slower than I could if the car behind was a safe distance. Driving too close to another vehicle comes under careless driving, so it is already considered serious enough to be a punishable offence even if most of the time a blind eye is turned to it by patrol cars (but then if 20 cars are doing it at the same time, how are you going to pull them all over?).
This is where the box cameras come in. Mr Audi who thinks he can intimidate his way through the traffic instead would get a NIP (hopefully by recorded or registered post in case it doesn't arrive).

In emergency/dangerous situations, group mentality kicks in with humans.
You may have heard about the experiment that was done in the US, where 20 people were approached on the street and asked if they'd like to take part in an quick test.
They were taken to a room in the basement of a building, sat at desks and given a simple test to fill out and left alone.
5 minutes later the fire alarm went off.
11 minutes later the first person in the room got up and walked out quickly followed by the rest.
Out side were the researchers who turned off the fake alarm and got everyone to sit back down.
They asked the woman who was first to get up why she had. Her response was "I'm a nurse so I know what to do when an alarm goes off" but it had taken 11 minutes of inaction for anyone to react because group mentality kicks in and if no one moves our minds tell us we should do the same.
The experiment was repeated with another group, but this time instead of an alarm, a recorded message was played saying "There is a fire in the building, please remain calm and leave via the nearest exit" (or similar) and straight away everyone got up because they had been given instructions.
I've experienced this myself as a kid in a library, no one moved until a member of staff started shouting, and it turned out to be a bomb scare.

I've driven in fog before late at night on the A3 (the Devil's Punchbowl looks awesome when covered in fog that's lower than the road), with the square signs saying 40 and the fog being so thick that even 40mph was too fast for my liking, yet people still flew past me doing 50-70mph into a white wall.
On a motorway if the signs say slow down and enough drivers don't, then the rest follow suit and keep pace. To tackle this you have to use force to keep the number of people ignoring the signs lower than that critical mass, and one way to do that is with enforcement cameras.
It worked with the reduced speed limits where road works are taking place.
Remember when people used to ignore the 50mph signs and used to carry on at 60-70mph or more? Then average speed cameras came in and now the majority of drivers stick to 50mph.
I believe, had there been an enforceable speed limit in place low enough for the vehicles to travel within sight of each other's lights the fatalities and even the injuries wouldn't have occurred.
In a 2004 report as many as 70% of drivers on some stretches of motorway were found to have tailgated, with the M4 by Maidenhead being the worst for it. On average across the network 41% of drivers were found to be driving too close.