New Risks of Automatic Speedtraps
Every security system brings about new threats. Here's an example:
The RAC Foundation yesterday called for an urgent review of the first fixed motorway speed cameras.
Far from improving drivers' behaviour, motorists are now bunching at high speeds between junctions 14-18 on the M4 in Wiltshire, said Edmund King, the foundation's executive director.
The cameras were introduced by the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership in an attempt to reduce accidents on a stretch of the motorway. But most motorists are now travelling at just under 79mph, the speed at which they face being fined.
In response to automated speedtraps, drivers are adopting the obvious tactic of driving just below the trigger speed for the cameras, presumably on cruise control. So instead of cars on the road traveling at a spectrum of speeds with reasonable gaps between them, we are seeing "pelotons" of cars traveling closely bunched together at the same high speed, presenting unfamiliar hazards to each other and to law-abiding slower road-users.
The result is that average speeds are going up, and not down.
Posted on April 25, 2005 at 3:12 PM • 44 Comments