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Cambridgeshire Speeding Statistics - 70% of drivers speed

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 3 Dec 2009

pocketgpsworld.comA publication by Cambridgeshire Police listing the county's worst bad-driving hotspots raises some interesting questions on driver behaviour and our attitudes to speed limits and speeding in general.

Records compiled by Speedwatch volunteers reveal that on some of the worst roads, the proportion of those speeding is as high as 82 per cent. With a very reasonable 19,000 vehicles measured that begs many questions about speeding. Other roads returned figures between 56 per cent and 73 per cent.

If 82 per cent of drivers are exceeding the limit then surely the sledgehammer approach of fining drivers is not the answer and it is time we looked at what other factors affect our driving?

There has been much research on road and vehicle design. Modern vehicles cosset the driver so much that 30mph can often feel like a crawl. There is no argument that serious injury can occur to a pedestrian at that speed but it is time we looked at how to prevent drivers exceeding the limits in such numbers?

Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable Julie Spencer has chosen to target anti-social drivers in her latest podcast (how very new media of her).

She has called on communities to report incidents of irresponsible driving and that is something few of us would disagree with but she goes on to label those who speed as being anti-social. No differentiation between the idiots who race well in excess of the limits and those who might exceed them by a small margin.

Of the 82% of drivers speeding on one stretch, how many were the former? Very few I'd wager but we don't know because the detail isn't revealed. Instead joe motorist is to blame regardless.

If 82% of people slipped on the stairs you'd re-design the stairs not make it illegal to slip. So why do we always lay the blame at the driver when such huge numbers breach an arbitrary limit? To me it is clear that the authorities need to look at other solutions but then of course, they may be expensive whereas fining drivers raises money doesn't it?
Posted by mikealder on Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:48 am Reply with quote

82% of drivers on a specific strech of road, does it mention which road either the A14 or M11 would be canditates for that which raises another topic that the current 70MPH limit on Motorways and barriered dual carriageways is too low.
The authorities also need to look closely at the current driving test system where an individual is taught to pass a test, this is different to teaching someone to drive safely and is responsible for the general lowering of driving standards across the country - Mike

Posted by GerryC on Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:59 am Reply with quote

interesting questions on driver behaviour

So are they saying that drivers are taking into account the type of road, how busy it is, whether there are pedestrians/driveways/side roads etc nearby and then driving at a speed that makes sense based on what is around them. Rolling Eyes

If 82% are over the limit and it isn't an accident blackspot etc, then it only shows that the limit is set too low.

How many of the 19,000 were tailgating, talking on mobiles, racing, reading books/maps etc? Oh wait, they are only interested in behaviour that a machine can quantify even though "speedwatch volunteers" could log a whole load of things that would paint the bigger picture. Evil or Very Mad

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Posted by jjv on Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:29 pm Reply with quote

Why would the Chief Constable be motivated to find alternative methods of reducing speed? 19,000 at 60 a pop...........mmm.

Posted by MikeB on Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:32 pm Reply with quote

One assumes that as these figures were compiled by Speed Watch campaigners the roads monitored would not be the major roads, but more minor roads. Also one has to wonder how impartial the results are given that they were compiled by an anti-speeding Campaign Group.

Having said all that I do accept that there are roads where people will speed for one reason or another, and indeed there are many roads in the country that seem to have the wrong limits. But these are not always incorrect limits.

A road near us is 30mph and difficult to keep to, it has fields on both sides of the road for about a mile. The reason it is 30 is that there is a school and a children's hospice there with regular child pedestrian traffic. So when you take that into consideration then it is a reasonable restriction.

Darren is correct in his assertion that rather than punish users the root causes of the problem should be addressed. Often roads are dangerous 'by design' (not intentionally, just bad design). It is far easier and cheaper to reduce the speed limit and throw a few cameras up than re-surface or re-route a road.

Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

Posted by jjv on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:23 pm Reply with quote

I agree, the set limit is the limit that we must abide by, or drive at a speed lower than the limit as conditions dictate. Darren is indeed correct in saying that the root causes should be addressed. Unfortunately money in the form of income from fines has been introduced into the mix, and as you say, it is cheaper to reduce a limit, put up cameras and reap the rewards, rather than do something that would cure the problem. The problem of speeding still exists, but an income is derived from it.
Motorists are being targetted as a group from which money can be gleaned without much effort, and any transgression of the rules however minor results in a payout. I cant think of any other area of the law where you dont get a fair chance to defend yourself. You have only to watch the "Cops with etc" programmes to see drivers being persued through streets at high speed, no licence etc, wrestle with a police officer - result, no action taken. Balance that with 32mph, I cant.

Posted by DennisN on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:51 pm Reply with quote

jjv Wrote:
I cant think of any other area of the law where you dont get a fair chance to defend yourself.

How about me getting a parking ticket yesterday when I got out of my van, walked 30 yards to the address, delivered the envelope, got a signature and returned to the van to find the man putting the ticket on the windscreen? I was going to be so quick I left my wallet on the passenger seat and my satnavs in the windscreen - it would have taken me longer to get them off than to drop the envelope. My current profits are running at less than 95 a week, so after income tax that ticket will cost me a week's income. My first parking ticket since 1962. Was I upset? And the Penalty notice for not paying the congestion charge arrived two days ago - their system was "down" on the day I paid it by phone so they made a mistake and sent me a 60 charge, increasing to 180 if I don't pay up quick. Should I stop doing London deliveries? They obviously don't like us hicks from the sticks!


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Posted by Darren on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:53 pm Reply with quote

Indeed. We have a main road that is a 30mph limit. It's faced on both sides by houses, churches etc but being a long wide straight road drivers naturally end up travelling faster than 30, perhaps 35-40mph.

Now the 30mph limit is correct given the nature of the road but the design and layout mean you naturally drive at a faster speed. It is rarely busy, it's wide with no cars parked either side as all the houses have driveways etc and you have an uninterrupted view of a mile or so.

Every now and again the Police set up with their laser and its easy pickings. I'd estimate perhaps 60-70% of vehicles traverse that road in excess of 30mph.

I don't condone the idiots who do 50+ but for most drivers who do perhaps 40 along similar roads or 60 in a 50, they do so not because they are flagrantly ignoring limits but because the road layout makes that speed feel appropriate and we don't drive with our eyes glued to the speedometer.

I think it's about time we started looking towards other solutions rather than punishing the motorist time and time again.

It wouldn't be so bad if we saw the money extracted from motorists in car tax, road tax and speeding tax being ploughed back into road maintenance and improvements but as we know, all but a fraction of it dissappears no doubt to re-imburse MP's for their duck ponds, groundsmen and and 500/roll wallpaper Evil or Very Mad

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by sailorman on Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:24 pm Reply with quote

82% was Pidley Road, Warboys
79% Perry Road, Buckden - a short length of 30mph from A1 going west to Perry. The derestriction signs are very visible as you leave the roundabout on the A1.
69% Waresley Road, Abbotsley

I would suggest that, as a local, these are not roads with heavy traffic but have very committed "Speedwatch" freaks. Twisted Evil

Posted by aj2052 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:23 am Reply with quote

Unfortunately exceeding the speed limit does not neccasarily mean irresponsible driving, lets face face it some speed limits are pure fiction set by faceless buerocrats irrespective of conditions, I used to travel often between Cornwall and the midlands and it was very frustrating keeping to 70 on the M5 passing 1 car every ten miles with no buildings or pedestrians in sight,

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Posted by mmm-five on Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:48 am Reply with quote

Wasn't there something about the speed limit being determined on the 80th percentile rule?

Therefore most drivers would have to speed to see in increase in any particular limit.

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Posted by jjv on Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:46 am Reply with quote

Being the age I am, I can remember the "temporary" introduction of the 70 mph speed limit, in response to a middle east fuel crisis. After the crisis was over, the limit was seized upon by the supposed road safety lobby, and the 70 limit was kept without any accident studies etc to back it up.
If we carry on, and have governments that take such groups at face value, we will all be riding bicycles naked in order to have a low carbon footprint!

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