Why Stealth Speed Cameras Will Make Driving a Misery

By Gary Cutlack on at

The government is set to make driving even more of a tedious battle between us and the speed cameras, with the M25's new "smart" cameras set to spread their depressing, authoritative wings and infect more of the road network.

According to The Times, 668 drivers have been caught speeding between junctions five and six in Kent and fined by the newer, more discrete cameras installed along part of the M25 last year, and the Highways Agency quite likes having the power to adapt to traffic conditions and enforce variable speed limits -- coincidentally generating more cash for itself.

Since they've been such a success in introducing ever higher levels of fear and oppression to drivers thinking about setting the cruise control to 72mph or even a daring 73mph on the M25, the system will soon expand to take in sections of the M1, M3, M6 and M60.

None of which seems particularly fair. Police guidelines suggest we should be allowed to, unofficially at least, drive at up to 79mph on motorways without getting stopped, plus cars are getting safer, the speed limit was very nearly raised to 80mph a few years ago, traffic everywhere is a nightmare and slowing us down anyway, and we have more in-car assistance than ever to give us data on road conditions and alert us to nearby danger.

And people seem to have most accidents on A roads and in supermarket car parks these days, so why punish the poor motorway driver even more? Isn't paying £8.50 for a pot of tea in a service station punishment enough for leaving the house?

Perhaps driverless cars really are the future, then. At least the algorithm programmed to ferry us from London to Brighton won't be endlessly frustrated by the speed traps, and what we lose in enjoying the drive we'll gain from knowing our boring robot cars won't land us with a mysterious £100 fine.

Or here's an idea. No speed limit for electric cars. The we suddenly all might start caring about how fast fast chargers are and how much subsidy is still available on those bizarre electric Renaults. [Independent]