PUSHING THE LIMIT
|An ex-traffic officer has written a book of tips to evade the law|
Since the government introduced speed cameras back in 1991, motorists have been up in arms about the implications for their daily journeys. But now drivers are fighting back - and not always within the law.
This is the Driver's Survival Handbook - a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to evade transport law.
The author, Martin Thwaite, is an ex-traffic officer with 20 years experience, so when it comes to loopholes, he's got the scoop.
But he's keeping a low profile, because his book tells drivers how to evade traffic police, avoid points on your licence and even how to wriggle out of a fine if you get caught.
Challenging the system
Since the Road Traffic Act was passed in 1991, more than 5,000 cameras have been implemented along the side of our roads, some more visible than others.
But visibility is just the beginning of the excuses used by drivers to evade speeding fines.
Dave Lister was caught speeding in Hull, but using information he found in the Driver's Survival Handbook and on the internet, he challenged the system and narrowly avoided a fine and three crucial points on his licence.
He said, "There is a legal requirement that, when there is a temporary speed restriction in force, the road has to be laid out to give the motorist a clear indication of what is expected of them.
"I found that the signs they'd put out were inaccurate."
Dave managed to escape a £60 fine and three points on his licence by using a legal loophole to his advantage, and now more and more drivers are taking similar steps to ensure they don't get caught out.
Bending the law
|Mobile cameras are sometimes used to catch speeders|
One of the most popular pieces of equipment is something called a laser jammer - a small device which "jams" police cameras and stops them from taking a measurement.
Such devices are in high demand now that the number of speed cameras on Britain's roads has risen to over 5,000.
They are not illegal to buy, or install in your car. However, you turn them on at your own risk - because you may well fall foul of the law.
A policeman told Inside Out, "Anybody who uses a jammer we pick up and get a special error reading.
"We have the number plate of the vehicle so obviously we'll go round and visit him."
And they may soon be outlawed completely, if the government's new Road Safety Bill is passed.
In fact, a test case involving a driver caught using a laser jammer is due up in court.
Having been charged with perverting the course of justice, the driver could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
|Mick Harris thinks that times need to change|
Mick Harris, from the Humberside Safety Camera Partnership, told Inside Out, "I think it is selfish, going on about this 'right to speed,' and not wanting to be prosecuted for it.
"In any democratic society, particularly if you do it deliberately, you're going to be fined.
"There are some devices that will affect the speed detection device itself, but if you have got any of these you are perverting the course of justice and if found out you will go to prison."
While the Road Safety Bill is being debated in parliament, the government are taking drastic steps to crack down on speeding.
And Yorkshire Police are the first in the country to fit speed cameras to the back of police motorbikes.
The move is just part of the government's plan to reduce speeding for good.
Mick Harris said, "The idea of safety cameras is to reduce speed and therefore casualties and we can show that this has been the case.
"In the first year we probably saved about 39 people from being killed or seriously injured."
Taking the risk
|Speeding -The Facts|
- 84 per cent of people disapprove of speeding yet 69 per cent still do it
- Excessive speed is a contributory factor in over 1,000 deaths and over 38,000 injuries every year
- Just over half (58 per cent) of drivers break the 30mph speed limit
- One survey revealed that people found it more acceptable to speed than to drop litter
- Traffic-related deaths and serious injuries have dropped by 35 per cent in areas where speed cameras operate
- Source: the UK Department for Transport
It takes three incidences of speeding - that's twelve points and £180 in fines - before a ban is issued - but for some motorists, there are ways around the system.
Inside Out spoke to one man who admitted to "selling on" points - in other words, paying someone else to take on the responsibility of his speeding punishments.
He now uses a satellite tracking system to help him slow down and alert him to high-risk speed camera zones.
He explains, "I've received 18 points, let's say, but I need to drive to keep my job.
"I think the number of cameras in this area unfairly targets the business motorist.
"I now have nine points on my licence and cannot afford another speeding ticket, it's as simple as that. I am much more careful"
But the problem isn't always the speeding itself - Mick thinks it's the attitude towards speed cameras that needs to change.
"Seatbelts and the breathalyser test were introduced in the 1960s - they weren't favourable then but over time drinking and driving has been seen as anti-social.
"We hope that eventually speeding will be seen as anti-social because there are benefits to be gained for everybody that uses the road, not just the driver."