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Thread: Effect of Traffic Cameras

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Effect of Traffic Cameras

    I just returned from a 2 week trip to England. It's been 20 years since I've been back so quite a lot has changed.

    We rented a car and visited relatives in various parts of the country.

    Last time I was there, the Motorway speed limit was 70mph, but most folks were running 85-90mph.

    Brits are far more courteous drivers than Americans and use the lanes, on the highways, to not impede those that would like to travel a little faster.

    But on this trip, one thing I noticed, everyone is driving the speed limit, or no more that 2-3mph over the limit.

    This is true is city, suburban and highway roads.

    When mentioned this to my relatives, they were surprised at my assessment, but I think they've been slowly conditioned by more and more speed cameras, that they know see the speed limit sign and obey it.

    Where speed cameras are in use, there have to be posted signs. These signs don't need to be right where the camera is, just somewhere on the road before the actual camera.

    They are also using average speed cameras, where a pair of cameras will be used to assess your average speed through a zone, could be a couple of hundred yards or a mile through a village, so again people slow down to the speed limit.

    These cameras are all digital and mail you your violation and add points to your license. I think I read somewhere that they cap at 2400 pounds per day in computer generated fines, which at 100 pounds per incident, doesn't take too long a stretch of road to accumulate.

    I'm not sure what legal standing you have to fight these in court. I'm guessing by how everyone is obeying the limits, no much wiggle room.

    Many Motorways (Interstates) have been converted to what they call Smart Motorways. They have multiple overhead lane signs, about a 1/2 mile apart, closer in areas that get a little more congested, that inform of lane closure due to an accident or disabled vehicle and also have dynamic adjustable lane speed limits, again designed to keep traffic flowing. So you have a 70mph Motorway, but as traffic gets heavy, certain lanes may drop down to 60mph or slower, and likewise the speed camera is also adjusting its threshold for violation, so everyone slows down.

    They also have different speed and lane limits for larger vehicles, i.e. trucks and every truck was observing their requirements.

    With these smart Motorways, they also have standby breakdown/rescue services that will despatch as soon as there is a need.

    But what is interesting, for these smart Motorways, they have removed the hard shoulders and basically used those spare lanes as driving lanes, effectively going from a 3 lane to a 5 lane highway, giving them 40% more road.

    From my tourist perspective, this all seemed to work very well, in 1200 miles of driving, we saw no actual traffic accidents and only two lane closures for a disabled vehicle, and in both cases, traffic still flowed an 40+mph past the incidents.

    This may seem all a bit 'Big Brother is Watching', and that is definitely the case for British law Enforcement, but if you are not breaking the rules, you've got nothing to be worried about.

  2. #2
    Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
    I might welcome it after a trip from Phila to Nags Head NC last month with bonehead moves all over the place. I will say I think speeding is less of a safety issue than the lane switching weavers. Cameras may not stop that. Need unmarked Police cars out there IMO. Cameras might help a lot though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Citerone View Post
    I might welcome it after a trip from Phila to Nags Head NC last month with bonehead moves all over the place. I will say I think speeding is less of a safety issue than the lane switching weavers. Cameras may not stop that. Need unmarked Police cars out there IMO. Cameras might help a lot though.
    I think in most instances the "weavers" are also speeders. You don't have to drive far to experience "stupid" in my experience. It still amazes me how many cars don't have turn signals.

  5. #5
    Effective management of traffic and people. People mostly, traffic is secondary. Autonomous vehicles will be easier to accept once you have, as a society, accepted the “rules of the road.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    We have them in our small community, three permanent and a few mobile.
    They are well placed: two are about 1000 ft inside city limits where it transitions from a 4-lane state highway at 65 mph to our city speed limit of 35 mph near our shopping centers. Another near our high school which is on a state highway. The mobiles are moved around the city as needed: near schools or work sites and such.
    The ones near traffic lights also check for running reds.

    Many people have complained about them as being used mainly as money generators, but our police department truly used them as safety actions. At the ones near traffic signals the PD extended the yellow time another couple of seconds. Several signs before the vehicle gets in the area, a few more reminders.
    The PD always announce both in the newspaper and on their web site where the mobile cameras will be.

    A multi-year study reported no change in the number of accidents at our major camera area. But that was actually a win, as the number of vehicles increased, cell phone usage was just starting to soar, and the severity of accidents decreased. Many in Iowa tried to get our state legislature to ban them as unconstitutional, but our state supreme court upheld their usage.
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    I travel for work too much and this issue is growing. Vidalia, GA has them on the side of the road as you approach town and school zones. Total Hazard County, Boss Hog activity. Locals have gotten school zone tickets when school was not in session. Chicago has them on right turn on red intersections. Even with a dedicated lane to turn and merge they will mail you a ticket. That town is an arm pit of humanity! Las Vegas emailed me a four dollar toll, i dont recall ever even seeing or being on a toll road? They billed national rental car, they shared that good news with me out of the kindness of their hearts.

    Shaking my head at what the future holds....

    Chris

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    My town installed some and had to shut them down because of lawsuits. They are talking about turning them back on after five years or so. The ticket was being generated in a different state by a computer not a person.
    People soon figured out no officer would respond if the violater appealed in court, automatic dismisal. Then they read the traffic laws and realized only a sworn, licensed police officer can issue a ticket. Same as if I gave you a ticket for speeding on my street. You can just ignore it since I am not a cop.
    They never placed them on the worst intersection in town. Highway overpass that necks down and always has cars who tried to cross before the light turns and end up stuck in the middle blocking traffic.
    Bill D
    Bill D

  9. #9
    Years ago, my ex wife and I were traveling through Florida on the florida turnpike. I had driven most of the night before on I-95, so when we got to the Florida turnpike, she took over. When we got to the tool booth to get off, the toll collector directed us over to a police officer waiting on the side. Seems she had traveled the 130+ miles in less than 100 minutes. They wrote her up for the average speed between entrance and exit.

    When they first put traffic cameras at an intersection along RT 50 in Arlington VA, to catch people running the red lights, there were warnings for the first few months and then tickets. One traffic engineer told me that there were a host of people driving rental cars going through waiving the finger at the camera. So the county started getting the records of who rented the cars and sending out tickets. One nearby state started a photo toll collecting process. If you don't have an easy pass, the camera takes a picture and mails the owner a bill for the toll. One guy was caught selling a cover or shade of some sort that dropped down to obscure the license plate. My wife and I recently drove on both Maryland and Delaware tool roads with that system, in her new car, and despite the passage of 3 months, still haven't gotten a bill.

  10. #10
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    On my last trip to California passing over the Carquinez bridge was a lot smoother without the toll booths. The system sent me a bill in the mail that was payable online.

    Not sure if one should feel sorry for all the toll takers who no longer have to breath exhaust all day. Maybe they get to lick envelopes all day now.

    We used to have school zone traffic cams. Here there is a 20 MPH limit during school hours. They nailed me a couple times. Complaints about the system and the contractor running them waiting a month or two to send out the notices got them removed. Now the school zones have a large sign with a display showing your speed.

    We do have red light cameras. Candy and I are often going, "ooooh" together when we see someone run through a red light in an intersection with a camera.

    In Portland large signs to show the speed of flow for the traffic have been installed over the lanes of I-5. People have not figured out how it is supposed to work and still try to 'get where they are going faster.'

    I think in most instances the "weavers" are also speeders.
    Yes, if a driver wants to go above the speed limit they have to get around those obeying the limit.

    Finally, many drivers would love to see people impeding the smooth flow of traffic pulled over.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Finally, many drivers would love to see people impeding the smooth flow of traffic pulled over.
    jtk
    I'd vote for that. How many times do you see someone going 5-10 mph below the speed limit, yacking on their cell phone, in the left lane? Or someone taking their foot off the accelerator 1/2 mile before a traffic light (even when green), to get the most mileage out of their hybrid car?

    Edit: My all time favorite was a woman holding up traffic in the left lane. She had a plate of pancakes balanced on the steering wheel and was eating them with a fork and knife. (I kid you not.)
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 11-22-2021 at 1:14 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    ... Finally, many drivers would love to see people impeding the smooth flow of traffic pulled over.
    I've been told by AR residents that they have a law on the books making it a ticket-able offense to impede the flow of traffic (in the left lane). Speed at which you are 'impeding' is of no consequence. (For your anecdotal enjoyment only; I have neither researched nor been victimized by this.)

    TX spends million$ on signs "Left Lane for Passing Only". Not sure what the ROI is on this.

  13. #13
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    Some discussion locally here about cameras. On reason many are opposed is that supposedly private companies supply and operate the system and profit from every ticket. It may not be like that everywhere. The local fb page is full of complaints about folk running red lights and is indeed a problem as I note frequently. That may be partially due to my towns psychotic need to let people in from side streets instantly at lights.
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

    The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology. Edward O. Wilson

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    I've been told by AR residents that they have a law on the books making it a ticket-able offense to impede the flow of traffic (in the left lane). Speed at which you are 'impeding' is of no consequence. (For your anecdotal enjoyment only; I have neither researched nor been victimized by this.)

    TX spends million$ on signs "Left Lane for Passing Only". Not sure what the ROI is on this.
    I live in western Arkansas and have long wondered about that. If I’m going the speed limit (as I should be) and need to go around someone going 1 mph slower am I impeding someone speeding up behind me? If I speed up substantially to quickly pass will I get pulled over for speeding by the officer over the hill? Currently I pass very quickly but always worried about “what if”. Kind of a catch 22 decision. Damned if you do and damned if you dont.
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

    The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology. Edward O. Wilson

  15. #15
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    May 2021
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    Spartanburg South Carolina
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    It used to be common curtesy to have slower traffic keep right. Now the mentality is if I am going the speed limit I can drive in any lane I want. This causes a lot of weaving and multiple lanes make it even more dangerous. Cameras may help but but waze tells me "speed trap ahead" so I doubt it will do much. My son while living in Switzerland had to learn to come to a full dead stop, if you roll it in the least you will see the flash of the camera.

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