Speed cameras – in dire need of some good PR support

Ex-transport minister Tom Harris MP has written an excellent blog post in favour of speed cameras. Personally I’ve never understood the rationale of those who oppose them and I’m not in favour of making them highly visible with signs to tell you where they are.

Tom also doesn’t think the locations should be publicised, but was persuaded by the then transport minister Stephen Ladyman MP who argued that ‘the speed camera network needed the support of the public, who would not offer such support if the perception remained that speed cameras were more about making money than about saving lives.’

I don’t buy that argument. People need to understand that if they break the law they must face the consequences. If they really think it is a money making gimmick and not about saving lives then give them an option of extra points on their licence or a one month ban instead of the fine. It won’t cost them a penny and I’m sure it would be a very effective lesson!

The speed lobby has already been allowed to gain too much credence and it’s about time that the pro-people and pro-car side fought back with a hard hitting public relations campaign to educate and inform people with the truth about safety cameras.

Despite my enthusiasm for safety cameras I do think there is a legitimate debate to be had about speed limits. The limits on many roads don’t make sense – too fast on some, too slow on others. But that doesn’t give you the right to flout the law. It does give you the right to lobby for a change in the law to make limits fairer.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://sgillingwater.wordpress.com Sarah Gillingwater

    And I thought I was the only person who thought this!

    As someone who sticks to speed limits (even at 70 on the motorway) I'm all for hiding the cameras away and letting people who drive too fast get caught.

    I agree the money-making side of things is a distraction, so as you say why not use points on the licence as a punishment instead and we can rid the roads of people who flout the law.

  • http://www.consulting-business.com Mike

    Stuart, I've just stumbled upon your blog – literally – and not through StumbleUpon.

    We've had speed cameras in Vancouver Canada for years … I should say 'had'. They just didn't seem to work.

    They may work for you – I think they are a worthwhile idea to catch the bozos that drive at idiotic speeds – but they didn't seem to work well here.

    For one, there were plenty of technical problems. Next, people started buying license plate protectors to reflect off any light – so the picture was a blur. Then there were those that contested their tickets – police rarely show up to court for such an affair, so the speeder didn't have to pay (unless you consider the reality of how much productive time they lost).

    Perhaps most important is that without a 'real' police officer being there in the minute to catch the speed demon much seemed to break down – in more way than one.

    Cheers,
    -Mike

  • http://www.consulting-business.com Mike | Business Consulting Buzz

    Stuart – To further add to what I was saying above about speed cameras in my city here is the report that the city put out back in 1996 – saying that 75% of the residents favored them…
    http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/960326/a4.htm

    The rest is history.

    -Mike