April 26, 2005

Keep Right Except To Pass - No, Wait, It's LEFT! LEFT!

Schneier on Security has a link to some unintended consequences of motorway speed cameras in the UK:

Far from improving drivers' behaviour, motorists are now bunching at high speeds between junctions 14-18 on the M4 in Wiltshire, said Edmund King, the foundation's executive director. [emphasis added]

The cameras were introduced by the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership in an attempt to reduce accidents on a stretch of the motorway. But most motorists are now travelling at just under 79mph, the speed at which they face being fined.

I am actually slightly familiar with the motorway section in question - it was the least harrowing part of the drive between my hotel and the job site when I went to the UK in September 2003 (also recounted, after a fashion, here). The thing I noted at the time was the lane discipline and signal usage - three lanes of traffic each way, sorting itself out without a lot of weaving and bunching. Either I was lucky enough not to have to deal with it (possible, I was only there a few days), or the 'Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership' have gone to great lengths to solve a nonexistent problem - introducing a new one in the process.

And I thought the Law of Unintended Consequences only applied to the US.

Posted by Chris at April 26, 2005 12:40 PM

Category: Official Stupidity