Friday, August 20, 2010

Speed camera debate suggests public know where to draw the line

Saying you'll 'end the war on the motorist' ticks so many boxes for the new government, it's like the Cones Hotline never happened. Cynics say it's the only war they can end but I won't be going there. My concern is road safety. Fast cars kill kids. It's not a fact we're keen to accept but fact it is.

In theory stopping people driving too fast by fining them when they do it is an idea we can all sign up to. The debate has been distorted by the perception that speed camera partnerships are a licence to private companies and the individuals that run them to extort money from the motorist. The cameras are placed not in the dangerous places where accidents have occurred but nearby where they can catch the maximum number. I have no idea if this is true but suddenly the debate is not about the real issue: safety. This is what happens when you blur the line between public and private. The speed cameras debate suggests the public instinctively understands what the state should be doing and what it shouldn't.

That being so, motorists who don't like private companies profiting from their occasional zeal on the gas pedal should ask themselves how they feel about private companies profiting from their next doctor's visit or their child's education as health and education services are contracted out. If you don't like speed camera partnerships will you like 'free' schools (when the private sector steps in for the local authority) or a GP-run NHS (when the private sector steps in for the primary care trusts and strategic health authorities)? Governments who want to be reelected should think about it too.


ColinP said...

You say fast cars kill kids, did you see the Cambs Chief Constable's widely reported view

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