The AA ‘irresponsibly’ publish speed camera locations

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Today, the UK organisation ‘The AA’ have released their new map series of British roads (2006-series), unlike it’s predecessors the new versions contain data that many sources claim make the reference material “irresponsible”.

The new map reveals the location of all fixed-point speed cameras, and many of the favourite sights for mobile units, effectively telling motorists where they will get caught. Many groups have already called the revealing of this information (information which is not a secret, or illegal) as “irresponsible” of The Automobile Association.

However, the counter-argument is that since the government policy on speed cameras is to place them at the sights of ‘accident black-spots’ then it makes sense to make drivers aware of such areas, so that they will reduce their speed appropriately.

The maps are not the first measure for avoiding speeding penalties, as successful devices such as ‘Road Angel’ already use a GPS tracking system to locate speed camera spots. Such evasive devices, have however, cost hundreds of pounds – compared to around £10 for one of the new roadmaps, effectively offering this information to the masses.

Critics of the new maps are claiming that the revealing of speed camera locations will allow more speeding, more of the time, as people will only slow in the regions where they have identified a camera site.

The argument seems sound, but people aren’t stupid (at least not most) – they take a driving test which with all it’s various parts (theory, hazard perception, practical) theoretically is as much a test of their sensibility as their capability. If you really want to address speeding, then perhaps the initial test is the best way of achieving that.

However, it seems to me that people will drive at the speed they do now, slowing more often since they’ll be made aware of the locations, and surely that’s the point of speed cameras – to reduce speed. If people slow down in these particularly dangerous regions then surely that’s nothing but a good thing.