Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Speed cameras cause accidents - is anyone surprised?

I don't blog here as often as I should because everything I said was wrong about speed cameras has been proved to be true.

And today there's proof that speed cameras do not cut accidents - they cause them instead (Daily Mail story below).

It's only a small victory for us since we've been saying this since NuLieBore introduced them to raise cash (and not every speed camera partnership has supplied information for this survey which underlines just how hopeless they are).

Speed cameras have nothing to do with safety but instead just raise cash from motorists. We've been saying that most accidents occur within a mile of your home at a junction - and that's from the Dept for Transport's own figures (though they are also shy about revealing that speed is a factor in less than 5% of accidents).

Most of the police officers we know all say that education is the key to bringing down the accident figures. That and putting more police patrols on the street. Labour cut down on the number of patrolling officers and this is the price you pay. Speed cameras do not recognise drunk drivers for instance. It also explains why the accident rate was in decline before speed cameras were introduced and then rose afterwards.

Anyway, here's hoping that a lesson will be learned - but don't hold your breath!

Speed cameras 'do not cut accidents'... they create them, study finds

Many speed cameras have not cut accident rates and may even have increased them, figures reveal for the first time today.

Statistics published by the Department for Transport show many cameras have done little or nothing to improve accident rates, but have proved highly effective in clocking up speeding fines.

Only a small number of councils have agreed to publish the full data on each speed camera in their area.

But ministers will today urge all councils to follow suit – saying motorists have a right to know whether local speed cameras are justified.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said: ‘We are shining the light of transparency on the performance of speed cameras.

‘People want to know that if their tax money is being spent on speed cameras that they are actually making their roads safer, not just raising money.

‘They will now have the information to be able to hold their councils to account if they think that some cameras have actually made the situation worse, rather than better.’

Read more:

Friday, 11 March 2011

£60m paid in 'unfair' parking fines

I have very little sympathy for anyone who has paid an 'unfair' parking ticket. If you think it's unfair then don't pay it - fight it!

You must remember that a parking ticket isn't a fine in itself - it's a statement that someone believes you were parked wrongly.

If you contest the ticket there's a good chance that you will get off. Being too busy to bother doesn't really cut it for me - you need to fight for things like this otherwise you'll be getting tickets for every slight issue.

Captain Gatso

£60m paid in 'unfair' parking fines

Drivers lost almost £60 million last year by failing to appeal against unfair parking tickets, according to a survey.

In 2010, around 5% of motorists in the UK received a parking ticket where they had grounds for appeal, paying out an estimated £58.5 million, the poll by car insurer LV= found.

Of these, only 22% bothered to contest the ticket but of those who did, 88% were successful in their claim.

More than half (53%) who chose not to appeal said they assumed they would lose, while 8% did not know how to initiate a claim.

The poll of 2,003 adults, including 1,728 drivers, showed that the majority of unfair parking fines are issued in areas were parking signage is unclear.

A total of 2% of drivers said parking attendants had fabricated evidence to support the issuing of a ticket.

Nearly half (49%) of tickets issued unfairly are given out on public roads, while 10% are issued in car parks of public buildings managed by local councils, including libraries, hospitals and doctors' surgeries.

Also, 182,000 tickets issued unfairly last year came from unregulated private parking operators.

As many as 10% of motorists given an unfair ticket on privately-owned land said they had been threatened with court proceedings or debt recovery action if they did not pay up.

The average cost paid by motorists given a ticket in unfair circumstances was £42.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Home Office concedes Britain likely to become a surveillance state

We keep on warning people about what is happening; this sleepwalking into a police state and that the authorities won't let go of their powers too easily.

Here is a piece from an online news site which underlines what we here at MAD have been saying.

Captain Gatso

Faced with the quickening pace of technological development Ministers have claim that their election pledge to roll back the surveillance state will make it increasingly difficult to prevent such measures from becoming commonplace.

The warnings coincides with publication of consultation on plans for a code of practice to govern the introduction of such technologies, which includes giving the public the right to take councils to court if they believe CCTV surveillance is becoming too intrusive.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill will see a new Security Camera Commissioner established to vet a new breed of HD, 360 degree vision, zoom lens cameras equipped with facial recognition software didn’t overstep the mark.

Unmanned aerial drones were also looked at with the report stating “ there is scope for their unchecked proliferation and attendant risks if they are not considered within any overarching strategy”.

There are presently four million CCTV cameras in operation in the UK – one for every 14 citizens.

You need to read that last line again. We have more cameras than anywhere else on earth - why? And most of those cameras are sited in cities so the figure per person is sure to be horrific.

They aren't there to detect or prevent crime.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

What does firefighters' strike mean for anti-terrorist units and bonfire night?

Slightly off-topic but I think that Ross Lydall's blog raises a few interesting questions.

Let's hope that anyone thinking of carrying a very stupid act in London on a strike date will not be aware of its full implications.

Essentially there's not a lot we can do if it's a 'dirty bomb' or something similar.

Here's what Ross has to say....

The London firefighters' strike raises many questions. At one end there is the unresolved dilemma about who will take charge of the brigade's specialist CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) units designed to handle all manner of terrorist atrocities.

At the other is the real fear of a lack of cover in the run-up to Bonfire night - a situation made worse by the cancellation of some council events, such as the Ally Pally fireworks, due to cutbacks.

Lambeth council has cancelled its events on Streatham Common and Brockwell Park, with only Clapham Common going ahead. Lewisham today told me that the Blackheath fireworks would go ahead - it has raised £11,000 of a £35,000 shortfall in funding, and the remainder will come from savings elsewhere if necessary. Wandsworth is advertising its Battersea Park event as normal.

Even if the FBU backs away from a walk-out on Bonfire night (it is thought likely that any action will be co-ordinated with the Tube strike due for November 2), brigade chiefs say that the risk of accidents increases in the week before November 5.

Read Ross' blog