In 1999 and 2000, eight police forces (Strathclyde, Cleveland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Thames Valley, South Wales, & Essex) are participated in a pilot scheme whereby a surcharge was added to speeding fines to fund the introduction and administration of more speed cameras. The objective was to massively raise the level of speed limit enforcement.

The Association of British Drivers believes that it is fundamentally wrong for those bodies responsible for setting and enforcing laws to benefit financially from so doing — it is inevitable that the criminal law will cease to serve the public interest, instead becoming a political tool for raising money.

Such an outcome is guaranteed from the start in this scheme, because many of the speed limits that will be enforced by it are not supported by the majority of the motoring public and do not remotely correspond to the maximum speed at which it is safe to travel.

Meanwhile, sensible speed limits are continually and systematically being reduced across Britain. Dual carriageways are suddenly afflicted with 50mph limits, main A roads are reduced to 50 or even 40mph, many suburban and village roads which have sensible and widely obeyed 40mph limits because there is plenty of avoidance space are being cut to 30mph as a matter of policy. It is in these areas of poorly set limits that existing cameras are often concentrated.

The ABD believes both limit reductions and arbitrary enforcement to be misguided, a view which has the private backing of many professional highway engineers, advanced drivers, senior driving instructors and even traffic policemen — they know that most accidents are caused by failures in attitude, attention or anticipation. Often, this results in a driver going too fast for the conditions, but to elevate this symptom of dangerous behaviour into a cause in its own right is to take road safety up a blind alley.

This focus on speed at the expense of the real causes of accidents results in a climate of fear for drivers whilst encouraging smug self righteousness amongst pedestrians and cyclists — dangerously bad attitudes all round. It also distracts attention away from the road and onto the speedometer, and, most importantly, prevents drivers from anticipating the road ahead and setting a safe speed.

Thus, the Kill Your Speed campaign actually creates dangerous drivers and careless pedestrians.

Many of those who support these schemes have never been allowed to hear the counter arguments and are genuinely doing what they think best — often you see them caught out by their own measures, showing how little thought they have given the matter. Others seem to enjoy rules and regulations for their own sake, but the real driving force behind them comes from the anti car campaigners and their political allies.

Speed limits, instead of being set and enforced for safety reasons, have become just one more tool in the armoury of those who wish to make using a car as unpleasant and expensive as possible in a doomed effort to force people to use overpriced, inconvenient and unreliable public transport. In London and Birmingham, for example, cameras are deployed on all major radial routes rather than in accident blackspots as is claimed. This is intimidation, not road safety, and should be bracketed with sky high fuel duty and on street parking charges, obstructive bus lanes, road closures and proposals for workplace parking taxes and road tolls, as a deliberate anti car measure.

The ABD have been campaigning on all these issues for several years, and the one thing we have in common with our opponents is a sense of amazement at how much punishment the British motorist is prepared to absorb before he is prepared to do anything about it. Propaganda has a great deal to do with this -wherever one looks there are a few people saying how bad the car is but nobody to disagree with them. We have unfortunately found it difficult to gain opportunities to put our case to the public. When we do, support is overwhelming.

Now read how the Home Office fixed the results of this "trial": Rigging the Evidence


"I find the policy of the police keeping speeding fines disgraceful .....
this removes the impartiality of my job"
Un-named police officer during a phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live, Thursday 2nd August 2001


"Using the revenue from speeding tickets to raise money for the police is not what the law is there for, it is contrary to the independence of the police."
Sir John Stevens, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, 2001-08-20