Sunday, July 03, 2005

Spy satellites to stop speeders

Forget cameras, drivers in London faced with having spy device placed in car to prevent speeding.

IT IS the ultimate back seat driver. Motorists face having their cars fitted with a “spy” device that stops speeding.

The satellite-based system will monitor the speed limit and apply the brakes or cut out the accelerator if the driver tries to exceed it. A government-funded trial has concluded that the scheme promotes safer driving.

Drivers in London could be among the first to have the “speed spy” devices fitted. They would be offered a discount on the congestion charge if they use the system.

The move follows a six-month trial in Leeds using 20 modified Skoda Fabias, which found that volunteer drivers paid more attention as well keeping to the speed limit. More than 1,000 lives a year could be saved if the system was fitted to all Britain’s cars, say academics at Leeds University, who ran the trial on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT).

Now, James denounces it as an invasion of privacy, but since, at least for now, it is voluntary, it isn't really an invasion of privacy at all. Is it beneficial? I highly doubt it. Is it a big waste of money that doesn't do anything to address the core problem (i.e. the congestion)? Without a doubt. But invasion of privacy, no, I wouldn't describe it as that.