Another week, another report, and more statistics. This time it’s the Institute of Advanced Motorists which produces an annual survey of speed cameras. In the great scheme of life, this is not a major contribution to workplace discussions and pub arguments. On the other hand, conspiracy theorists could be excused for thinking the report could be used for more sinister purposes.
Apparently eighty-two per cent of people now think it is acceptable for authorities to use speed cameras, although 45 per cent still think that raising income is a main reason for their use,
But here’s the odd thing. In Wales, 32 per cent of people think their use is not acceptable, but the survey shows that Wales has the highest rate of people caught speeding. In England, 20 per cent think their use is not acceptable, whereas in Scotland only 15 per cent think they are unacceptable.
Generally, speed cameras have become more acceptable than five years ago when 30 per cent of respondents said speed cameras were not acceptable, a figure which has reduced every year to 16 per cent this year.
The trouble is, such information in the wrong hands could be seriously mis-used. All it would take is some political party hell-bent on devolution and seeking ways of funding its grand plan to spot the fund raising potential of gullible Scottish drivers. More cameras would generate more revenue.
And another thing. Speed cameras are going digital. They are cheaper to make, erect and run, than the old film-type cameras, and offences can be reported electronically to 'Safety Partnerships' for fines to be sent out much more quickly. As if they needed any more incentives!
It wasn’t mentioned in today’s Scottish budget, but maybe cameras around Scotland will start to multiply sneakily like wind farms on the basis that we won’t notice a few more amongst so many.
But here’s another thought, if they want to plant another windfarm near a steady supply of good quality wind, they could plant them at the foot of the Royal Mile beside that over-priced jumble of concrete slabs and pointy roofs.