This government department is responsible for many things connected with the UK roads network, and to cover everything is not my aim, but let’s just take the motorway camera system, from the perspective of the motoring public. The HA provides pictures from motorway cameras across the country not only to their own website but various others too. This, it claims, is to advise and inform motorists. Just check out the views from a random selection of cameras and what will you see? Discount the cameras not working and those pointing skywards, and you’ll probably see views of vehicles travelling along motorways – as expected. We all know that happens, nothing unusual or informative there then.
What motorists want to know is where the problems are, tailbacks, delays etc. If, for example, there’s been an accident or breakdown that causes problems drivers would benefit from seeing the situation first hand. So what do the HA do? Turn off those very cameras that would provide the best view of the situation!
They claim it’s to do with privacy but let’s face it, the images from the cameras are of sufficiently low resolution to hide all details which could reasonably be construed as private/personal. Besides, similar pictures appear in the press anyway. So that argument doesn’t hold up.
OK, there may be a small percentage of people who’d like to see the aftermath of a serious RTC [**] but as previously said the picture quality isn’t good enough for that. The vast majority of drivers simply want to make an informed decision about the situation. Remember,”..advise and inform”. How do drivers really benefits from these cameras then?
So come on HA, either provide the service or have the bottle to admit the real reason you turn off those cameras. I’m sure it can’t be good PR to display your patrols trying to deal (often not very well) with situations that not long ago would have been the domain of trained motorway police officers. But that’s what happens with “policing on the cheap” initiatives!
[**] – There’re many who believe that to actually see the carnage bad driving causes is the only wake-up call that works for some drivers. Most think “it only happens to others”, well not always!!