Speed cameras - safety system or cash generator?
Have we reached a stage where the use of speed cameras has gone
beyond the desirable aim of locating them where speed is known to
have caused accidents and are they now being located with the intention
of simply generating revenue? The increasing use of fixed and mobile
speed cameras and other detection devices is certainly changing
the driving behaviour of many motorists - often very welcome changes
- but in some areas of the country many careful drivers are beginning
to feel the location and use of some cameras is not reasonable.
So spotting speed cameras is now essential to avoid an automated
speeding fine and points particularly when driving in areas not
visited regularly. So how can you get early warning of speed cameras
as a prudent safety measure whilst continuing to enjoy driving an
Well what are
the options? Keeping a keen eye on the verges of the road and
speed limit signs is essential for safe driving but traffic volumes
often require heavy concentration to monitor other drivers' movements
and possible intentions. A device which provides a warning as you
approach a speed camera is a particularly useful aid as it acts
as a reminder to check speed limit compliance. Used responsibly,
no reasonable person could see these devices as anything but a helpful
contribution to road safety.
The approach of the authorities to speed cameras varies around
the country from the enlightened (like Devon
& Cornwall) to the money-grabbing approach you tend to see
in counties like Northamptonshire. The scale of the anticipated
fines from speed cameras is stunning - a recent Sunday Times report
says "there are now 4,500 speed cameras in the UK
which are expected to generate three million £60 tickets
this year!". The locations of cameras in Surrey are published
on a website too:
Gatso red light cameras
Gatso speed cameras
Probably one of the simplest detection devices that can be fitted
to a classic sports car is a clip on radar detector that
can be removed from the car. The Valentine One does just
this and performs very well. The author has used one for over five
years and feels it is a particularly good detector.
note aims to provide information on a radar detection device
which the author feels does make a valuable contribution
to safer driving. This note is not intended to suggest or
encourage driving above speed limits nor should it be read
as suggesting or implying that these devices should be used
to avoid detection if driving above speed limits.
"The Valentine One has dominated every high-end
detector test we've conducted since its introduction in
1992" said the US motor magazine, Car and Driver.
The overall ratings for various radar detectors from tests
done in 1992, 1994, 1997 and February 2002 show the Valentine
regularly comes out on top.
author has used a Valentine detector for more than five years and
has found it has performed reliably and is a great help in maintaining
an alertness to speed limits and speed cameras. It picks up X and
K band and laser signals. It is a contribution to road safety in
that it alerts you to locations where accidents have occured.
Valentine One installed in the windscreen mounted clip,
but you will need to note the requirement in the UK that nothing
should be placed within the swept area of the windscreen.
So what does the Valentine One look like, how does it rate compared
with other detectors on the market,and how can you get further information?
Further information on the Valentine
- speed cameras
RADAR2 - information on the Valentine
RADAR3 - members' feedback
RADAR4 - proposed ban on radar
RADAR5 - useful links
RADAR7 - unused Valentine for
Posted: February 2004