Thursday 25 March 2010

Speed Cameras To Be Abolished

Well, why would GATSOs be required if it was rendered impossible to exceed the speed limit?

Hey, you can call me cynical if you like, but a written parliamentary question to Paul Clark of the DfT suggests we are a fair way down that particular avenue of public control already.

This draft is being tested through pilots, first in Lancashire as part of a Road Safety Partnership Grant-funded project looking at an advisory form of Intelligent Speed Adaptation, and more recently through a second pilot with Greater Manchester, building on work they have started as part of their review of A and B road speed limits. The technical document will be made available to authorities to use following any necessary post-pilot revisions.
'Intelligent Speed Adaptation'. Now there's a phrase which reeks of civil service euphemistic licence, no? Unsurprising, really, considering the quite sinister possibilities of such a system.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) is an in-vehicle system that uses information on the position of the vehicle in a network in relation to the speed limit in force at that particular location. ISA can support drivers in helping them to comply with the speed limit everywhere in the network.
Aww, ain't they nice? 'Helping' us to act as they demand again, how very thoughtful.

ISA is a collective term for various systems:

- The open ISA warns the driver (visibly and/or audibly) that the speed limit is being exceeded. The driver him/herself decides whether or not to slow down. This is an informative or advisory system.

- The half-open ISA increases the pressure on the accelerator pedal when the speed limit is exceeded (the 'active accelerator'). Maintaining the same speed is possible, but less comfortable because of the counter pressure.

- The closed ISA limits the speed automatically if the speed limit is exceeded. It is possible to make this system mandatory or voluntary. In the latter case, drivers may choose to switch the system on or off.
The system consists of a GPS device in your car, rather like a SatNav, which sees how fast you are travelling, compares it to the applicable speed limit, and nags you like some electronic mother-in-law.

Nanny right there in the front seat with you. Every time you switch on the ignition. Every day. Perfect, huh?

Now, if anyone can come up with a reasonable argument as to why government - taking into account their track record of imposing mandatory provisions after declaring voluntary ones unacceptable - won't swiftly move to a 'closed' system being compulsory in all new vehicles, then I'd be pleased to offer to sell them a large London monument.

And as it's GPS-based, you can no doubt be tracked in any number of ways into the bargain.

What's not to like ... if you're a hideous, scum-sucking poser of an MP with control freak tendencies (ie., most of them)?


Angry Exile said...

It's a measure to help the car servicing industry, or at least that part of it that works for cash out of workshops under railway arches. It's also designed to increase the number of zombies on British roads who simple strap their cars on and mash their right feet to the floor, letting the electronics decide what speed to go based on what numbers the local council pulled out of their arses instead of looking out the fucking windscreen and deciding for themselves what speed is appropriate for the road and conditions. This will give the NHS something to do when all the smokers have been cured of their mental illness.

It may go against the grain as a libertarian but if I ruled the world the one thing I probably would ban is speedometers. If you need a fucking dial to tell you you're going too fast you should be on the fucking bus.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Simple Smash the box

Ed P said...

As this will be embedded in all new cars (after NuLab have been re-elected and the golden age is upon us), just keep your old car to evade retro-fitting of the idiot box.

Socialism: if Racism is a label for highlighting racial differences and Sexism is ditto for the sexes, then Socialism must be...?

Mark Wadsworth said...

This whole speed limits thing misses the point.

a) Sure, in residential areas it should be 30 or even 20, because of risk of running over kids or waking people up in the middle of the night.

b) On other roads, it should just be illegal to drive with a gap of less than 2.5 seconds behind the car in front.

c) Each vehicle should be tested and the driver told what the optimum speed is in terms of miles per gallon.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Thats too much like common sense Mark and governments don't have that They are after their money not sense

Dick Puddlecote said...

AE: "... or at least that part of it that works for cash out of workshops under railway arches."

Excellent, I lol'd. :-)

Ed P: "... just keep your old car to evade retro-fitting of the idiot box."

Until they make it part of the MOT test.

MW: Spot on, as usual.

Angry Exile said...

"Each vehicle should be tested and the driver told what the optimum speed is in terms of miles per gallon."

Yeah, but the most fuel efficient speed isn't necessarily what you want, is it? If I tried that near here someone would certainly die or be maimed, probably me, while on the freeway it would seem needlessly slow (if I'm using the freeway it's probably because time is more important than mileage - it's certainly not because I enjoy having someone three meters behind me at 100kph).

There's a Goldilocks thing about speed. It can be too fast, too slow or just right, and the bugger of it is that you can't identify 'just right' from the numbers on a sign or where a needle on a dial is pointing. 'Just right' changes constantly depending on the road. 'Just right' might not even be the same in a given place if you come back in an hour. 'Just right' is different for different vehicles and different drivers. Even for the same guy in the same car driving the same route in the same weather conditions at the same time on consecutive days 'just right' might still be different if one day he had a headache and on the other he felt fine.

How is a speed limit supposed to take all that into account? And how does looking at a dial help? If you find yourself getting bored and your mind wandering while you're driving you might be going too slow (or you might be better on the bus as well). If you keep scaring yourself and needing a chisel to get your underpants off you're almost certainly going too fast. The ones in between are at or around 'just right' even if they didn't check their speedo the whole way there.

Anonymous said...

As a non driving heavy smoker I cant see much wrong with state
control over the motorist .About time they had their collar felt,
it might make them think ,the next time they speed past a boarded up pub or one ,outside which their
fellow Britons huddle in the rain.
Come on down my motoring heroes ,
come and taste the honey

The Amber Light

John Pickworth said...

Of course you're all assuming these measure will apply to all drivers?

Naturally the Police, Government Ministers and the emergency services like Bin Inspectors and Smoking Prevention Officers will be exempt. As it should be in our wonderful new soviet. All hail the Gordon.

Longrider said...

And if you need a spurt of gas to escape the fucking truck that just tried to side-swipe you; sorry, you are exceeding the speed limit, naughty, naughty.... crunch. You're dead.

Joe Public said...

"At present there is insufficient insight into the size of these possible negative side effects and their consequences.

It is generally considered that the current focus should be on developing appropriate principles for human machine interface systems..........."

A euphamism for the proportionally-increasing severity of automatic electric shock given to drivers exceeding the speed limiter

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I note that GPS simulators are available so's you can dial in a position anywhere and any speed. GPS jamming is simple - trust me.... you can utterly wipe out several square miles of WiFi with a microwave oven.

I daresay a look around the EU Gallileo navigation trough-fest will turn up some obscure academics and penpushers snuffling for a taxpayer funded revenue opportunity that leverages politician's fantasy control freakery.

Some creepy multinationals are already tracking their employees - *even when they're not at work* and disciplining them for well, accelearting too quickly, braking too sharply, going around corners too fast and not sticking to the company speed limit - stand up Schlumberger ! and Shell B.V.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Oh yeah - forgot - I understand that it's a possible instant dismissal at Schlumberger to park your vehicle nose in to the alloted space on the company car park.

Even Orwell didn't imagine that....

Mrs Rigby said...

Brilliant thinking. So it'll be sensible to drive at the "national speed limit" in freezing fog - because the computer says so, but it'll stop cars driving at more than 30 mph through an empty town at two o'clock in the morning.

Anonymous said...

What Longrider said - more nannying which will result in deaths.

And actual ones, in coffins, not the spurious ones they pull out of their arse whenever they want to impose some new diktat.

Roue le Jour said...

Can't see it myself, they'd loose all the "speeding" income.

On the other hand, making anyone under say, 25, wear shackles while out on the street so they can't run away from policemen seems like a useful logical extension.

Angry Exile said...

Longrider's made a very good point there. I was ranting the other day on being forced to make an illegal manoeuvre because of an inattentive twat with no lane discipline. In that case it was swerving into a trams only lane rather than accelerating out of the danger but it's the same principle. What if someone proposed remote control steering to keep everyone in their lane? At best the outcry would be delayed until after the first deaths caused by an inability to avoid something that fundamentally can't be controlled - pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes, wild animals etc. - from entering the road unexpectedly.

"Can't see it myself, they'd loose all the "speeding" income."

Good point, but I wouldn't bet that someone won't come up with a GPS Levy to add to the tax disc or something else that would be compulsory and cover the loss of speeding fines.

Anonymous said...

This is reminicent of the idea Labour came up with for road pricing based on a black box in every car and roadside receivers monitoring use and sending you a bill. A couple of million (?) signed a Downing Street petition against it, but I have a feeling that the legislation went through.

On that petition, I got an email from Downing Street (Tony Blair) saying, basically: 'trust me it's a good idea, environment, CO2, etc'. I clicked 'reply' and sent an email back. (It surprised me that you could reply.) I said it would never work - governments are incompetent at running big computers - and I didn't believe for one second that it wouldn't be used to spy on us or send us instant fines for small amounts over speed limits.

My final point was'who pays for the black box' and 'which companies are lobbying for it - those selling black boxes, computers and roadside receivers'. This idea sounds pretty much the same. Someone who wants to sell 33 million boxes is lobbying for it.

By the way, Tony Blair never did reply to my email!

Chris Oakham