I went out in a speed camera van and was…

i-went-out-in-a-speed-camera-van-and-was…

I went out in a speed camera van and was…

I went out in a speed camera van and was shocked at the abuse that comes with the job
2022-11-08 05:00:00
On a mission to become more clued up on the secrets behind speed vans, I joined Ian and Chris from Safer Roads Humber on a busy Beverley road. Although I could not do any enforcement for obvious reasons, they were happy to give me a go on the speed gun and tell me all about their experience with the job. It was incredibly moving listening to how passionate the men were about road safety, and Ian explained that through his work with Humberside Police, he has been the one to tell families that they had lost their loved one in a collision. The senseless loss of life through speeding, distractions and careless driving inspired these men to want to improve road safety in the Humber area- but unfortunately not all members of the public share their passion. I was no stranger to camera operators being called names online but was surprised to learn that almost every operator had been approached in person and received abuse- even if it wasn’t everyday. Read more: Speed camera van myths debunked as we head out with the Safer Roads Humber team Throughout our myth busting session, it became evident that the team had no interest in punishing drivers going 31 or 32mph in a 30mph zone and they told me that most drivers aren’t even checked, unless they appear to be speeding. Chris, who is an experienced operator, can usually tell by eye if someone is going too fast, but someone just starting the job would probably measure speeds more often while they are learning. While driving out to the location, we noticed a car going the wrong way around a busy mini roundabout, which Ian was quick to spot. He said: “If we approached that driver, we would just give them some roadside education. “It might have been a long time since they did a driving test and they won’t necessarily realise how important it is to go around the correct way. It would be pointless just giving them points or a fine, when a little advice could make sure they correct their driving behaviour in future.” Ian Robertson from Safer Roads Humber (Image: Alex Birdsall) The next task was for me to have a go with the speed gun, which Chris confirmed was 100 per cent accurate, unlike the speedometer in most cars. On a straight road, the gun can measure speed from up to 1km away and all that’s needed is to aim it at a car number plate. It is fairly tricky to get the hang of at first and the only way I can describe it is like playing an arcade shooting game. Sitting in a van shooting away may seem like the ultimate career for some, but unfortunately the job has it’s inevitable downsides. As I was learning the ropes inside the van, a cyclist approached Chris to have a chat. He mentioned a certain road in Beverley that motorists were treating “like a race track” and suggested the operators take a look. The locations of the Safer Roads Humber vans are pre-determined based on statistics such as speed complaints by residents, casualties, deaths etc. A comprehensive map on their website thoroughly explains each location and our particular site on Victoria Road was marked due to speed complaints and a recent collision. This means that locals are best to contact the council with complaints if they are keen to make a road a speed van site. Humberside Police, however, can check any road at any time with no reason needed, which is completely within the law to do. The speed vans come equipped with CCTV, which helps in the cases of abuse or vandalism (Image: Alex Birdsall) The cyclist encounter ended positively and Chris and Ian confirmed that members of the public often thank them for their work to keep the roads safe. However, a vocal few have approached the men in the past to express their resentment towards their job. Whether it be taunting the workers with obstruction, verbal abuse, and in very rare cases, physical abuse, the job can come with safety concerns. Most speed camera operators work alone so it’s not surprising that it can be intimidating when faced with an angry member of the public. Ian said: “The vans are well-equipped with CCTV so any abusers will get their faces caught on camera. Our operators can also lock themselves in the van for their safety if needs be.” While I understand that it can be frustrating if you are caught in a rush, it nowhere near matches the heartache of finding out your friend or family member was killed in a preventable crash. The overall point of speed vans is to change the behaviour of drivers on all roads and Ian said he hopes that one day his job will be obsolete. I came away from the experience having a new respect for Safer Roads Humber- not that I have ever been fined before. It is easy to rant about points on your license and fines for what you may view as a “victimless crime” but 41 families in this region were devastated last year when they were robbed of their loved ones. Read next: Speed camera van catches reckless motorist doing 146mph on East Yorkshire road Call for train operator to be ‘put on probation’ after dozens of Hull cancellations End in sight for Hull bus strike as union to suspend walkout and ballot on new pay offer Jack-knifed lorry in A63 barrier collision causes chaos for Hull commuters High Court hearing over North Ferriby hotel’s plans to house asylum seekers delayed Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay no

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