Dispelling The Myths
You’ve probably heard many things about Dorset Road Safe, traffic law and speed camera enforcement but chances are, some of the things you have heard may be incorrect. Here are the facts behind some of the fictional comments we hear on a regular basis.
Myth – Dorset Road Safe is run by the Police
The Facts – Dorset Road Safe isn’t run by the Police. Dorset Police are just one of the Partners which make up Dorset Road Safe. Dorset Road Safe has ten partners, all of which have a keen interest in road safety and casualty reduction. Each organisation brings unique experience to road safety and is fully committed to achieving the partnership aims.
Myth - Cameras are only there to make money for the Police and they make massive profits from motorists
The Facts - If you are caught speeding and pay the Fixed Penalty fine and accept the points on your licence, the money for the fine goes directly to Central Government Treasury. No funds are returned to Dorset Police.
If you are eligible and attend a Driver Education course, then the money you paid for the course is divded three ways;
- Paying to develop and run the courses, carrying out educational initatives within schools and some business driver iniatives.
- To offset the cost of running Dorset Road Safe
- To offset the cost of running the Road Policing unit and the “no excuse” project
Any income that arises as the result of an offence is used entirely to enhance Road Safety. Only those who break the law pay anything.
Myth - Dorset Road Safe changes the speed limits just to catch more motorists speeding
The Facts - National speed limits are set by the government. The local Council highway authority and the Highways Agency (on trunk roads/ motorways) are responsible for introducing local speed limits where the national limits are not appropriate. Changing a speed limit is a lengthy process which is dependant on many factors;
- expected accident savings
- improvement to the environment
- improvement in amenities
- reduction in public anxiety
- improved facilities for vulnerable road users
- delays to traffic
- costs of implementation
- costs of engineering measures and their maintenance
- costs of enforcement, especially where the speed limit is regarded as unreasonable by drivers
Dorset Road Safe enforces the speed limits set by the traffic authorities and speed limits are there for a reason.
Myth – If someone calls me when I am driving, I can pick up my phone and speak to them on loud speaker, I just can’t hold it to my ear.
The Facts – It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving a vehicle, riding a motorcycle or supervising a learner. If you have the phone in your hand but the call is on loud speaker, it is still illegal. You can also be prosecuted for using a hands free phone or similar device if you are distracted and not in proper control of the vehicle. Using any type of mobile or hand held device, be it hands free or handheld, can mean reaction times are worse than those driving under the influence of alcohol. If your phone does ring, leave it and make sure you are safely parked before picking up any messages or making a call.
Myth - Using my mobile phone to read, send texts or look at the internet whilst driving is allowed as I'm not technically using it as a phone.
The Facts - Texting, looking at something on the internet, programing a phone's SAT NAV or any using any other similar application is illegal. You are still using a hand held device. This law also applies to MP3 players/ ipods as this will be classed as a hand held mobile or similar device. You can also be prosecuted for using a hands free phone or similar device if you are distracted and not in proper control of the vehicle.
Myth - Speed Cameras are hidden to catch motorists out and are placed where they will record the most speed offences
The Facts - Fixed cameras are painted yellow and are in clear view, red light cameras are installed at signal junctions and are in plain view. The Dorset Road Safe mobile camera vans are white, clearly marked and parked by the side of the road. If you cannot see any of these, would you see a pedestrian or a cyclist?
Dorset Road Safe carries out enforcement where:
- People have been killed or injured or where excessive speeds have been recorded.
- Where there is a history of reported excessive or inappropriate speed
- Where members of the public have complained to the police through their local safer neighbourhood teams of excess or inappropriate speeding.
Speed limits are there for a reason and they are law. Dorset Road Safe is quite simply enforcing the law.
Surely it is easier to drive within the speed limit rather than worry about where the cameras are?
Myth - As I didn't see the camera, the offence doesn't count
The Fact - Whether you saw the camera or not does not have any bearing on the validity of the offence. The offence still counts. If you reveived a speeding ticket yet didn't see the camera at all, then this is the part that should concern you the most. What else are you missing as you are driving along? A pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcyclist, a red light?
Myth - The fixed Gatso speed camera uses the marks on the road to calculate the speed
The Facts - The marks on the road are secondary check road markings and they are there to enable a manual secondary check to be carried out when the offences on the film are being verified. The camera unit uses a radar to measure the vehicle speed. Once the camera unit has detected an offence has taken place, it takes two photographs of the vehicle. The first photograph is the primary evidence for the speeding offence and the second photograph is used to enable the secondary check using the markings on the road to make sure the camera has recorded the offence accurately.
Myth – Sleep, coffee and cold showers help to sober you up after drinking alcohol
The Facts - Sleep, coffee and cold showers do not help you to sober up. Time is the only way to get the alcohol out of your system and you could still be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink.
Myth - Roads with a 30mph speed limit should have repeater signs along the length of the road.
The Facts - The law does not allow Highways Authorities to place repeater speed limit signs in a 30mph area where there is a system of street lighting, lit or unlit. The Highway Code states that roads in built up areas with street lighting are 30mph unless signs indicate otherwise.
Myth - If there are no camera warning signs then I cannot be prosecuted for speeding.
The Facts - Camera warning signs have no bearing on the speeding offence and cannot be used as a line of defence. Camera warning signs are advisory signs. Speed enforcement can and does take place without the use of these signs.
Myth: Cameras are not used on the most dangerous roads.
The Facts - Dorset Road Safe operates an intelligence led approach to road safety and will place speed and red light cameras where people have been killed or injured or where excessive speeds have been recorded