Speed Camera Minister on Top Gear

We were watching a re-run of Top Gear (Series 7 Episode 3) last night and a guy called Ladyman was on the show. At the time of the show he was the minister of Road Safety (Speed Cameras). Considering Jeremy Clarkson tends to like having a laugh instead of getting into the nitty gritty the interview was not bad.

there was a bit of fluff at the start but Clarkson admitted he could hold off any longer and confronted him about speed cameras being piggybanks for the government. Ladyman came across as a typical person who loves to control other people.

Ladyman had 9 points on his license but was still advocating their use. Talk about falling in love with your captors. Anyway they went on and to be fair Clarkson had done some research. He asked him to explain why road deaths were not really falling since 1997. From 1997 to the present is when the popularity of speed cameras with the government has really taken off. Clarkson stated that this showed that speed camera were not effective at reducing deaths. He may well have a point.

Ladyman continued that the government were carrying out investigations that would show that speed cameras reduced traffic accidents. Which begs the question if the data already exists then why is the government spending money to invesitgate something they already know the answer to? Clarkson did not pick up on this point.

Ladyman has gone on the offensive during the interview, which was brave. He asked Clarkson what exactly was his problem with obeying the speed limit, if you didn’t break the law then there is no problem. Unfortunately Clarkson didn’t really have an answer for this question.

We have, people have a problem with speed limits because generally they are ridiculous. They have lost all credibility with the motoring public. And the fact the speed cameras appeared to have been placed where the speed limits are the most unreasonable just reinforces the point.

Examples have been given many times before but we will reiterate them here. The speed limit on the motorway is the same on a dry morning at 3 in the morning as it is during rush hour traffic. Country road speed limit is the same regardless of wether the limit is actually possible to achive or not. The speed limit is the same regardless of wether the road is dry or wet. The government seems to have gone for the lowest common dominator and made the speed limit appropriate for the worst conditions rather than for the optimum conditions and letting people work out the safe speed for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong is someone wants to put camera outside a school that is fine, but if the government wants to take the issue of speed seriously and to think about the sped that they drive then they have to let drivers take ownership of the problem and let them decide for themselves what is “safe”. Blanket limits are stupid, people don’t agree with them which is why people speed.

At the end of the day what are laws? Surely they are the line between socially acceptable and socially unacceptable or what society feels to be dangerous. At the end of the day you are judged by a jury which are your peers in society, if society feels some speed limits are inappropriate then surely the law is invalid.


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