Speed Camera Kills – drive safely despite speed cameras in Malaysia

“Speed cameras don’t reduce casualties — they are just for revenue generation.”

Chief Inspector Paul Gilroy
Northumbria Police
October 2003
A recent article in The Star states that, “Come September, more than 1,000 cameras will “keep watch” on roads across the country under the Automated Enforcement System (AES). There will be 566 speed cameras, 265 traffic light cameras and 250 mobile cameras (for places with inadequate infrastructure for installing a camera).”

To me this is very bad news, as it adds more danger to the roads than the considerable amount that already exists.

This graph shows how the introduction of speed cameras has resulted in around 5,000 extra deaths in the U.K.

In the UK they have started to remove speed cameras as studies have shown roads are safer without them. One example is Swindon
In the UK and Europe, speed cameras have almost killed me at least twice, where both times I was safely travelling below the posted speed limit, and speed limits have similarly endangered me.  Red light cameras are also dangerous.
So how can one drive safely, now that these extra hazards are being added to the already dangerous state of the roads in Malaysia?  The standard of driving here is appalling, and at least the absence of cameras has meant that you can concentrate on road conditions and other drivers. Once cameras are introduced you have to drive mostly viewing the speedometer  – like everyone does in the UK – and not pay much attention to road conditions and maniac drivers and motorcyclists.
To counteract the increased danger, I would suggest the following:
  • Ensure you know the speed limits where you drive
  • Know where fixed cameras are
  • A GPS unit should tell you about red light cameras, so keep its software up to date – cheaper than a fine, and better than whiplash from getting hit from behind – a common result of red light cameras.
  • Be aware that as the hunger for increased revenue from red light cameras increases, the timing of orange to red may decrease, so they can catch more drivers.  This is what they have done in the USA.
  • As you approach red light camera intersections drive a bit slower so the driver behind can stop – so then you will have the opportunity to either stop or accelerate. The latter may be better if the driver behind is talking on his phone.
  • You can use cruise control on the North South tollway so a camera doesn’t catch you
  • From about Slim River to KL the N-S tollway is three lanes each way – meaning the left lane is often empty as almost all drivers occupy the middle or right lanes.  Perhaps it is safer just to stay in the left lane, including overtaking the cretinous drivers who drive slowly in the middle lane.  If anyone does something stupid, you still have space to swerve onto the verge. This is against the law in Europe, but people don’t drive so stupidly in Europe.
  • As you approach where you know speed cameras are located be very wary of other drivers ‘ sudden braking or erratic driving. Keep as much distance as possible to avoid problems.
  • If these cameras cause you any problem you can consider making your member of parliament responsible .

There should be more ideas – all this is off the top of my head.  I couldn’t find much on the Internet, so I’ll keep on thinking about it.

So, how should road safety be improved in this country?  The usual answer is education of drivers, including by responsible policing where the police advise errant drivers rather than fining them, and by proper engineering of the roads to reduce or eliminate accident blackspots. But this is not actually my area of expertise, either.

For more information on speed cameras read the Association of British Drivers on the topic.

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3 comments

  1. Toll booths know the time you leave, so can compute your average speed. If your average speed is higher than the posted limit, you would be eligible for a sanction of some kind.

    Would be cheaper to implement than radar traps, without the negative influences on driver behaviour that they bring.

    1. Hi Rod. I think they do this in Italy. But I notice driving on the North South tollway here that the faster drivers (above 130kph) are far more skillful than the average drivers. Of all the problems with driving here, driving at an inappropriate speed for the conditions is one of the least prevalent. But driving above a posted limit is one of the easiest to tax, I suppose.

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