Roddy Graham's Blog: 10 October 2008 - Specs3 speed cameras
10 October 2008
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
It had to happen. Big Brother has finally arrived on our roads with the imminent roll-out of Specs3. Specs3 you may ask, what's that? It's the new generation average speed camera soon to arrive near you.
Specs3 has just completed successful trials and will be installed shortly around the UK. Albeit at an average cost of £300,000 per network. That's some outlay but I'm sure it'll turn into a nice little earner.
The current average speed cameras are only good for a given stretch of road, with pairs of cameras spaced out at intervals. But they have proven effective in reducing speeds to the maximum prevailing temporary speed limit. Taking the recent stretch between Junctions 10 and 12 of the M4 motorway, they were catching only one in every 10,000 drivers. Besides acting as an effective deterrent, they kept the traffic flowing as well so their effectiveness appears to be proven.
What's so special about Specs3? Well these average speed cameras will form a network up to 30 miles wide and even if you turn off a main stretch, you'll still be in danger of being caught if you exceed the average prevailing speed limits. So if you think that once you've turned off a dual-carriageway, for example, you can then plant your right foot to the floor then think again. Roads leading from it will be monitored too and you'll be caught in a Specs3 spider's web.
I don't like the fact that we are the most closely monitored society in the world, bar perhaps Monaco but then that little principality hardly counts. The fact is there are more CCTV cameras per head of the population than elsewhere. These Specs3 will compound our current situation but providing they are not just an excuse for generating revenue and they maintain traffic flows and, more importantly, increase road safety by reducing speeding, then I'm all for them. My only concern is that drivers might be more focused on their speedos than what's going on ahead on the road and surrounding areas. Cruise controls could become the order of the day, encouraging drivers to drift into a soporific state.
Specs3 and its counterparts are here to stay, make no mistake.