Wednesday, 7 May 2008


I've moaned about the radar rotters on the Academic City road before. They're a real pest: an unfair speed limit of 80kph on a two-lane stretch of unencumbered blacktop means it's littered with cops and their radar cameras. It used to be just the one of them, but now there are several and they're almost always there - it's got to the point where traffic slows down near anything stopped on the hard shoulder.

You could argue that we should all be observing the speed limit, but it's such a silly speed limit - it's actually hard to drive through a desert highway at under 100kph. And I found out why today. A five-year study by the American Federal Highways Authority "found that the 85th percentile speed-or the speed under which 85 percent of drivers travel-changed no more than 1 to 2 mph even when the speed limit changed 15 mph." In other words, the average driver calculates the safe speed of a road and drives at that speed, almost irrespective of the speed limit. So an unnaturally low limit (the Academic City road, for instance) results in making otherwise safe and responsible drivers technical violators.

This, of course, doesn't concern the radar rotters - they're making loadsamoney! These cameras can notch up some serious money, babba! And watch out for the new fines - they can get really high - particularly when you're catching people doing 120kph in an 80 limit because they're driving down an open desert road with nothing but sand dunes all around them. That's Dhs500 a time!

Which must explain why I am exposed to wide-pattern squidges of radar anything up to ten times on my way to work every day - and never less than five. That's up to twenty exposures to a 200m spread beam of radar every working day. There's no proof this is bad for you. But there's no proof it's good for you, either.

And there is a great deal of evidence that radars aren't the solution to bad driving, that accident figures don't reduce with the use of radar and that, in fact, radars can contribute to higher rates of certain types of accident.

And no, just in case you're wondering, he didn't catch me. I slowed down in time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear.

A Range Rover driver.

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