Why speed cameras don't save lives

I’m tired. I’ve had a crazy weekend and a crazy day.

Hell, I have a crazy life. It just is.

But some days I have conversations with my kids – the Middlest One in particular – that take me a moment to get my head around. Followed immediately by conversations with the Biggest One that require much thought and explanation and break my already confused head.

Today is one of those days.

I collect the children from school and childcare and Godzilla is in charge of the radio (note to self: do something about this).

He has chosen to remain in the car, in the carpark, whilst I run in and grab Chippie at childcare. There is a song on the radio he just must listen to until the end. He may die otherwise. Or something.

Upon my return, the song is over, Chippie is strapped (into his seat, not beaten for being obnoxious) and I am very much looking forward to being home, in my pyjamas, holding a glass of wine.

An advert comes on, concluding with the message “Speed cameras save lives”.

“Speed cameras don’t always save lives,” Godzilla tells me. “Sometimes they can kill people.”

WTF? I think to myself.

Then I did something stupid. I asked “What do you mean?”

“Well, when they take a photo the flash can go in people’s eyes and make them crash and kill them.”

And it takes me a moment to work out what he’s saying, then takes me several more moments to work out how to address this, because there is some sort of logic in there. Not true, of course, but his argument makes sense.

Mostly, however, I just don’t have the head space to explain how speed cameras work, particularly in a way they are specifically designed so that they don’t actually blind drivers and cause them to drive into trams. Or something.

Every explanation I come up with, he counters; maybe the flashes have settings on them and someone accidentally turns the flash setting up; what if they put it in the wrong spot; what if they redesign them …

“Look, really. It’s ok. Trust me. They’re fine. Speed cameras are not going to kill people. Unless they malfunction and come to life and leap in front of cars. Which is unlikely,

Leave a Reply