2001-Dec-5
Denmark
raises
the limit
The new Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, had announced plans to increase motorway speed limits from 110 km/h (68mph) to 130 km/h (80mph).

The ABDs submission to the UK government to raise the UK motorway limit

2001-Nov-17
Top Gear
set to
become
5th Gear
The Top Gear motoring programme is to move to Channel 5 after 23 years on the BBC. Earlier this year the BBC announced that Top Gear would be ending, and would be replaced by a motoring programme in a new format.
The new show is provisionally entitled "Fifth Gear" and will be made by Chrysalis Entertainment. Regular presenters Tiff Needell, Vicky Butler-Henderson and Adrian Simpson will be joined by former presenter Quentin Wilson. The same production crew will also be retained.

News release from Chrysalis

2001-Nov-8
German
Court
throws out
speed
camera
fine
A German court has thrown out a fine imposed on a driver caught by a speed camera on a perfectly safe road.
The Frankfurt-Oder court ruled that councils can't fine motorists for exceeding the speed limit on safe stretches of road. German law only allows speed cameras on dangerous stretches of road with a history of accidents.
Driver Petra Marx argued the fine was illegal because the road is not an accident black-spot. The court agreed and scrapped the standard £15 fine. (15? compare that with Britain!)
Petra said:
"The place I was blitzed does not appear on the accident lists and so the authorities cannot put up a speed camera just to fill their own coffers."
2001-Oct-10
DTLR
adviser
tries to
abuse
US
tragedy
An adviser to Transport Secretary Steven Byers has been widely condemned for suggesting that the tragic events of 11th September were an opportunity to put through unpopular legislation in the hope it would not be noticed. Jo Moore sent an email on 11th September describing the day as "a very good day to get out anything we want to bury".
She has now apologized, and tried to find an excuse by saying the email was sent out after the planes hit the WTC but before it collapsed (apparently the people killed on the planes, and as a direct result of the impact, did not concern her).
Despite her pityful apology, her actions are indicative of the attitude the government has towards transport, and road users in particular. Namely that they want to push ahead with policies that are against public wishes and will descend to any depths to do so. Six days later, on the 17th September, the government followed her advice and announced plans to introduce stricter controls on pollution from cars (BBC News Article on this).
The government has refused to sack her.

BBC news article
We invite you to email Stephen Byers with your opinion on this: stephen.byers@dtlr.gov.uk

2001 Oct 3
Police
Speed
Trap
Causes
Crash
Sadly, we saw this coming a long time ago:
A driver on the A30 overtaking another vehicle suddenly spotted a police car with a speed trap, the driver over-reacted, lost control of his car, and ended up ploughing into the police car. He is critically ill in hospital.
Had the police been looking for criminals nothing would have happened.

BBC — Car crashes into speed trap

2001 Sep 08
Oxford
tightens
the screws
Oxford City Council has increased car park penalties to £80. The extortionate fine will be imposed on anyone overstaying their ticket, or parking outside marked bays in council car parks. The message to drivers is obvious, Oxford City Council doesn't want you to visit the city. The response drivers should make is equally obvious.

BBC news article

2001-Sep-06
Red Ken
declares
war on
London's
drivers
London Mayor Ken Livingstone intends to force drivers into accepting his vision of a collective paradise where everyone travels by public transport. His plans include "no car" lanes on major routes into London, maliciously creating congestion by forcing traffic to wait extra time than is necessary at traffic lights, and 'removing road space' — doubtless by yet more over zealous application of white paint all over our roads.
The revelation comes from a report produced by Transport Consultants MVA, and obtained by the Evening Standard after the mayor's office refused to let them see it.

This Is London news article
MVA

2001-Aug-21
Met
chief
slams
speed
camera
swarm
The head of the Metropolitan Police, Commissioner Sir John Stevens, has slammed government plans for a massive increase in speed cameras. He stated "I am against a blanket use of speed cameras. They should be used in the right place, targeted to reduce accidents and deaths. Using the revenue from speeding tickets to raise money for the police is not what the law is there for, it is contrary to the independence of the police.". He also condemned plans to reduce the threshold speed at which cameras trigger.
The Met has long warned of the dangers of alienating the public by the over zealous targetting of motorists, in April 1999, they warned of "anarchy in the UK" as a result of anti-car measures.
Assistant Commissioner Mike Todd re-iterated this recently by saying that installing more cameras "for the sake of it" would risk alienating the public — including crime witnesses and even potential police recruits. If you've been done for some trivial motoring 'offence' by the police recently, you'll know exactly what he means.

This Is London news article
Metropolitan Police
ABD PR 189 — Scotland Yard Memo Vindicates ABD Campaign

2001-Aug-10
BBC shift
Top Gear
Following announcements by the BBC that Top Gear is to be taken off the air when the current series ends, the ABD has learned that the programme will return in time, but in a completely new format. Current presenters Tiff Needell and Vicky Butler-Henderson will no longer be involved. Meanwhile, two new programmes are set to cater to drivers, one using the title 'Top Gear : Car Jack'.

BBC News article
Top Gear website news article
Vicki Butler-Henderson fan site

2001-Jul-22
Northants
goes
Digital
Not content with ordinary daylight robbery, Northamptonshire has decided to go digital. The A43 Lumbertubs Way in Northampton will get SPECS digital cameras in September, north and south of the St Gregory's Road roundabout. (Arrowed on this map)
Using the best propaganda techniques, Superintendent John Feavyour of Northamptonshire Police claimed "41 people killed or injured in the past three years" on this road. Sounds terrible doesn't it? Until you find out that the 41 consists of only ONE fatality, SEVEN serious injuries, and 33 slight injuries. Despite admitting that many accidents are caused by poor junctions and misjudgement rather than speed, the council still plan to abuse technology to extort more cash from Northamptonshire drivers, or more particularly, those passing through who can't vote the local councillors out of office.

2001-Jul-13
Greens
stop
progress
in
Hastings
The new transport secretary, Stephen Byers, has demonstrated his green credentials by cancelling a much needed bypass for Hastings.
The government has chosen to pander to the rantings and threats of the green lobby, whilst ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of the residents of Hastings, who ironically elected a Labour MP. Michael Foster, MP for the town, said "It was the wrong decision. My electors are now devastated by the decision not to proceed with the bypass despite the local council being unanimous, the county council being unanimous, the South-East region being unanimous. And the Government have made a different decision." Mr Foster demanded a parliamentary debate on the issue so the "department can explain how they could possibly have overlooked the poverty of my constituents — the 28th poorest town in Britain, the democracy at the local level, and the overwhelming support of the public".
Gregory Barker, Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle, described the decision as a "kick in the teeth for the whole town".
The cancellation has also been condemned by business leaders who point out that the bypass is essential to bring investment and jobs into the town.
Hastings suffers from very poor road links, with only one single carriageway urban road running east-west, and a narrow twisting road towards London.

BBC News Article

2001-Jun-29
British
Columbia
scraps
GATSOs
The province of British Columbia in Canada is to scrap all it's speed cameras. Known in Canada as "photo radar", cameras have been extremely unpopular with the public since their introduction six years ago. British Columbia joins Ontario which removed its GATSOs some years ago.
Attorney General Geoff Plant said "From the day it started it undermined public confidence in the rule of law and law enforcement."

ABD Press Release
Press Release from Canadian driver's group SENSE

2001-Jun-19
Spies in
the Road
Kent based technology company Astucia is threatening drivers with the development of miniature speed cameras that can be housed within catseyes embedded in the road surface. Astucia is the latest in a long line of UK companies seeking to profit from the driver-bashing mentality prevalent in the UK. Their spy-eyes represent the worst manifestation of big brother yet.

Astucia

2001-Jun-16
London air
cleanest for
400 years
Bjorn Lomberg, professor of statistics at Aarhus University, Denmark, believes that London's air quality has not been so good since 1585. He says this has happened due to reduced industrial & domestic pollution, and more recently, due to cleaner vehicles, especially cars.
The claim appears in his book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist', due to be published in September by Cambridge University Press. The book looks at various environmental issues and questions current dogma.

2001-Jun-11
Brunstrom
admits
breaking
speed limits
North Wales Chief Constable, ACPO traffic technology committee boss, and speed camera fanatic Richard Brunstrom admitted on BBC Radio 5 today that he breaks the speed limit sometimes. Despite his admission, he hypocritically continues his irrational and near fanatical obsession with spreading the speed camera plague. Sounding more like a part time anti-car campaigner than a Chief Constable, Brunstrum claimed that speed cameras were only situated in accident blackspots, something we all know to be a lie, and went on to claim the police did not want to catch motorists (why then do they hide speed cameras behind signs and bushes on perfectly safe roads?).
If you'd like to share your thoughts with Richard, you can write to him thus:
Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable, North Wales Police Headquarters, Glan-y-Don, Colwyn Bay LL28 8AW

ABD Press Release — Drivers Demand Speed Camera Tyrant Surrender His Driving Licence

2001-Jun-11
Police plan
£600million
extortion
racket
Police plan to massively increase the number of speed cameras on our roads so as to catch 10 million drivers per year. Despite 4,300 cameras having been installed since 1991, the downward trend in fatal accident rates has tailed off since 1994, a clear indication that the sole purpose behind more cameras is financial.
Police chiefs would rather spend money on roadside mugging machines than maintain police traffic departments which target genuinely dangerous driving. Despite increases in violent crime, it seems real criminals are just too much trouble for the police to bother with, especially when it's so easy to extort money from motorists. Now that discrimination against ethnic minorities by the police is no longer politically acceptable, there are elements within their ranks that just have to abuse the power they have, and in the present political climate, discriminating against drivers is not only politically acceptable, it is enthusiatically encouraged by the powers that be.

ABD Press Release
ITN News Article

2001-Apr-07
EU forces UK
to accept
dangerous
buses
The European Union is to force the UK to accept 15m long buses, compared to the maximum 12m length currently permitted. RoSPA and the Pedestrians Association have stated that the buses represent a danger to pedestrians.
Now the ABD would be the first to admit that we do not always see eye-to-eye with the Pedestrians Association, but we would certainly agree with them on this. There is no need for longer buses, which can only create an increased hazard to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, due to the extra amount to which the centre of the bus intrudes onto pavements and traffic lanes when turning. The UK uses double decker buses to a far greater extent than on the continent, and the imposition of excessively long buses is unnecessary, and yet another example of the EU abusing its power.
2001-Mar-10
Anti-car
job comes
with car
Wiltshire County Council is looking for a new manager to promote their "TravelWise" scheme, which aims to encourage the use of so-called "sustainable" travel and reduce the imaginary "problems of car dependancy".
The job comes with a car.
A clear admission of the ineffectiveness of public transport for anything but regular and popular journeys. The council say they hope whoever takes up the post will decline the offer of the car. No doubt they do. Makes them look pretty stupid doesn't it?
A better idea would be to save public money by scrapping the propaganda job entirely.

Wiltshire County Council

2001-Mar-07
Carrots,
Carrots,
and more
Carrots
Chancellor Gordon Brown is generously dishing out carrots in the hope they will enable drivers to see better in the voting booth.
  • Unleaded petrol duty down 2p until June (allegedly because ULSP is not available)
  • Ultra Low Sulpur Diesel duty cut by 3p
  • LRP duty down 2p (which should have happened from the moment it replaced 4 star)
  • Road fuel gases duty cut by 6p and frozen until 2004
  • New cars under 1500cc get reduced VED of £55
  • HGV taxes cut
  • VED on tractors abolished

ABD Press Release

2001-Feb-19
Ozzie
voters
rebel
over
petrol
Voters in Western Australia and Queensland have rebelled over petrol tax increases which have raised the cost of petrol to the equivalent of 30p per litre! The ruling coalition of the Liberal and National parties have lost out heavily to the Labour Party who opposed the increases.

Despite this Prime Minister John Howard refused to cut fuel tax. Sound familar?

See 'STOP PRESS' (about 2 screens down) on John Daly's site
News Article from News.com.au

2001-Feb-02
Avon &
Somerset
Police set to
persecute
motorway
drivers
Avon & Somerset Police plan to vigourously enforce the 70mph motorway limit in their area. They justify this 'zero tolerance' by stating 100 people die on roads in their area each year, but fail to say how many of these fatalities occur on motorways, and how many involve excess speed. They plan to drive police cars at 70mph in lane 3 in order to "prevent cars overtaking and speeding off" claiming this prevents accidents. Initially they will use marked cars, switching to unmarked ones later. Imagine the scene: car travelling at 90 in lane 3 comes across car doing 70, vehicles in lane 2 doing more than 70. Car flashes slowcoach to advise of presence, slowcoach doesn't budge, car flashes again, slowcoach moves over, car overtakes and continues journey, slowcoach puts on blue lights and stops car. Car driver's respect for police changes to utter contempt.

Email address for the Chief Constable chief.constable@avsom.police.uk
Postal address: Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Police Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 8QJ

BBC news story
Avon & Somerset Police website

UPDATE: Avon & Somerset Police now say that media coverage was an editorial mis-interpretation of a statement that said, "we have no tolerance for the concept of driving too fast". They also deny unmarked cars will travel at 70mph in lane 3, but will use 'the most appropriate lane'.
2001-Jan-31
New Police
Radios
interfere
with
radar guns
Lancashire Police trialling the new 'TETRA' radio system have found that it can interfere with electronic equipment, including radar guns and breath test devices. The digital TETRA system was intended to replace all existing emergency service radios, partly because of concerns that they can be easily picked up on scanners.
TETRA operates at much higher frequencies than existing police vehicle radios (143..156MHz), in a frequency band previously used by military aircraft (380..400MHz). Ambulance services are now considering not using the system because of fears it could affect vital live saving equipment. The fire brigade are also concerned about sparks from the radios in explosive atmospheres.

News article from VNUnet
Lancashire Police

2001-Jan-22
Good News
for
Glasgow
Approval for the completion of the M74 south of Glasgow has finally been given. The motorway will now be extended to connect with the M8 south of the Kingston Bridge. The road will complete a motorway ring road around the city, putting Glasgow on a par with London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Construction is set to be completed by 2008 and will create 12,000 jobs. The motorway will boost economic regeneration in the south of the city.
2001-Jan-13
Perspective 0
Persecution 1
In the latest example of over-zealous policing directed at drivers, a Gloucestershire man has been fined £30 for leaving his engine running outside his own house for 3 minutes whilst he went to kiss his wife goodbye. Matthew Puttock had left the engine running to defrost the windscreen in order that he could drive safely. A passing police patrol decided to stop and give him a £30 fine for leaving the vehicle on the public highway unattended with the engine running.

Gloucestershire Constabulary

2001-Jan-12
Government
to deny
technology
to drivers
Having been declared legal in a court ruling, the government now plans to introduce specific legislation to ban "speed enforcement detectors". The offence would carry a £60 fine and 3 points, or a Court could impose a fine up to £1000 with 3 to 6 points. Not content with that, they plan to use the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to make it an offence to install or use any such receiving device without a licence (which of course you won't be able to get). The maximum penalty for this offence would be £5,000 in a Magistrates' Court.
The government invite comments; to be received by 30th March.

More on radar detectors...


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