Is anyone else sick to the back teeth with being used as a cash cow for councils who are incapable of balancing their books?
It would appear that they need but the slightest opportunity to tax us to death through the back door. Stealth taxes are a cancer on our society and one that we should rally against at every opportunity.
Let me give you one example. Brighton & Hove council have recently installed an average speed camera on the A259 seafront road, east of the Pier. In case you have been in a cave for the past few years, let me explain how they work. Each average speed camera is in a pair. One camera films your number plate as you enter a controlled zone and starts a timer. When you leave the zone, the exit camera films both your car and its number plate.
If there’s a match with the entry camera, your speed is calculated, and if over the speed limit the evidence is passed on to the police. They have been courteous enough to place a small sign at each end, but so small that one needs eyes like a laser beam to see it and tourists are being stung every minute. The highest parking charges outside of London and now this – why would anyone bother to come to Brighton anymore?
I have the dubious pleasure of driving this route several times a day and l know that stretch of road like the back of my hand. With one or two exceptions, l have never seen a car excessively speeding or seen an accident. The road is littered with pedestrian crossings and traffic lights, therefore speeding is next to impossible.
With a little digging, l find that the council survey of this road showed that only 5.1% of drivers exceed the speed limit above 36mph. That means that 94.9% of the driving public are suffering due to the errant 5.1%. As to the cost, it is an average of £100,000 per mile. The longest stretch covered is 99 miles in the most remote part of the UK, on the A9 through the Highlands between Dunblane and Inverness. That cost £9,900.000 of tax payers money so that the council can fine drivers and take what is left of their money.
Hugh Bladon, of the Association of British Drivers pressure group, says the new cameras still cause sudden braking by panicked drivers, but also now cause long stretches of crawling traffic. “People see a camera and immediately put their foot on the brakes,” he says. “It doesn’t lead to good driving. You get people driving along with their eyes glued to the speedometer rather than to the road. In towns people who should be looking for children between the parked cars will be looking at their speedometers. We have no objection to these cameras on motorways while maintenance men are working but we don’t see why they cannot be switched off when work stops. These cameras are spreading like cancer across the country. To have a system covering 99 miles must have something to do with collecting cash rather than road safety. These cameras do not make roads safer. If they did our accident rate would be reducing enormously and it is not. There’s far more to safe driving than speed.”
We drive large metal boxes around winding and confusing streets littered with signs and instructions. People will be run over by cars – that is a fact of life. We have some of the safest roads in the world, one of the highest levels of new driver tuition, one of the best marked and maintained road networks and one of the highest rates of new car purchases.
And now we see new laws on speeding fines. A new law in force since April will allow you to be fined 175% of your weekly wage. According to the Office of National statistics the average salary in the UK, as of April 2015, was £27,600.
Then the insurers get in on the act and can increase car policies by 75% if you have six points. And now the DVLA is selling your information to all European countries so that you can get nailed there too. But shock horror, it does not work the other way round as European countries will not give up that information to the UK.
Road deaths and injuries are a tragedy to the families’ involved but the only way to stop that it is to ban cars. And the only way to make me understand the huge sums of cash generated, is if Brighton had the finest roads in the country maintained by the millions generated by schemes such as this.
These camera systems are there to rake in cash – plain and simple.