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The Truth Behind Road Accidents – Is it Speeding?

The ever-present debate between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists regarding road safety and the potential for accidents has got me thinking; who is the biggest contributor to road accidents in the UK? A few years back the Daily Mail reported that around 1 in 20 road accidents that took place were related to speeding, which contradicts with the sudden explosion we’ve seen with regards to speed cameras popping up left, right and centre throughout the country.

What’s more, there have been conflicting opinions raised in the past concerning various aspects of speed cameras, some of which go as far as condemning their existence. The same report from the Daily Mail pointed out that a much larger portion of road casualties were actually the result of a lack of concentration from road users, including pedestrians.

So where does the debate currently stand with regards to speed cameras? They certainly represent the demands of an economical, well-regimented and practiced society but do they really have a significant effect on our overall safety once we get behind the wheel?

The Daily Mail report resulted in critics taking the opportunity to vent their frustration at the lack of credibility between road accidents and the government slogan “speeding kills”. Motorists lost well over £100 million as a result of speeding tickets in the same year, which raised concerns as to whether further investment in speed cameras would actually benefit our safety.

There was further confusion after the Department for Transport claimed 15 per cent, and not 5 per cent, of accidents were related to speeding. However, this figure also included drivers that were deemed to be travelling at speeds not fit for road conditions, despite crucially not breaking the speed limit.

Do Speed Cameras Help?

The Safe Speed campaign group have come forward to stress their concerns with the growing reliance on speed cameras. They believe that far too much attention is currently being focused on speeding and not necessarily on the safety of our roads.

greed camera

In 2013, research was carried out by University College London on behalf of the RAC Foundation to see just how much of an impact speed cameras were having on the overall behaviour of drivers and the rate of road accidents across the country. In what turned out to be an intriguing display of opinions, newspapers were split as to whether the results indicated a positive or negative outcome.

The Telegraph was quick to point out in their report that speed cameras significantly reduced the number of road casualties and serious injuries by as much as 27 per cent. This was an encouraging headline that supported further investment in speed cameras, but the Daily Mail were more interested in another finding from the research.

21 of the 551 speed camera sites nationwide had fallen under scrutiny after the number of road accidents recorded in these specific areas increased. It was enough for the Daily Mail to brandish the headline “Speed Cameras Increase the Risk of Serious or Fatal Crashes” and it also resulted in the RAC Foundation claiming the results provided “enough to make the cameras worthy of investigation”.

Should Speed Cameras Be Scrapped?

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed campaign, was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying “the concentration on speeding is a deadly mistake. Speed cameras should be scrapped”. These were strong words from the founder of a group that provides considerable awareness for road safety protocols.

Despite this, the director of the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister, felt that enough evidence had been put forward to support the effects of speed cameras. “Without speed cameras, there would be around 800 more people killed or seriously injured” he said.

Whilst the findings prove inconclusive when it comes to speed cameras actually causing accidents, you’d think that with the RAC Foundations research in hand we could probably rest assured that they are contributing in some way to the safety of our roads. Unfortunately, this contradicts another report that emerged back in 2010 regarding speed cameras and their effects in Swindon.

The report stated that fewer accidents were recorded when speed cameras were switched off in Swindon, compared to when they were active. Over a period of nine months when the cameras were switched off, there were 315 road casualties in Swindon compared to the 327 recorded during a similar time frame the year before.

As you can see, the research that’s been carried out in the past has brought about varied results that have consequently structured differing opinions, so would an increase in speed cameras and a further crackdown on speeding bring about the results drivers and pedestrians care about the most?

You’d have to say it would seem illogical. Speed cameras may save 800 lives every year but speeding only contributes to 5 per cent of road casualties.  Despite the RAC Foundations research, it would seem that concentrating on other road safety protocols might have more of a significant effect on the wider scheme of things, such as eradicating mobile phone usage behind the wheel and multiplying the number of pedestrian crossings we currently have access to.

Many of us are reliant on our vehicles for business purposes and no matter how careful a driver we may be, extenuating circumstances may sometimes happen that cause us to fall foul of the law or experience a lapse in driver due care and attention. If you are ever in need of specialist legal advice regarding driving offences, or a range of other legal matters, you could speak to George Ide Solicitors, an independent full service law firm in London and Sussex.

Get On With a Guide Dog

Guide dogs have a special status within the pet world. They ensure that their owners have additional confidence when going out, but they also offer up the opportunity to travel further afield. There are many organisations that offer guidance on travelling abroad with pets and protecting them with appropriate pet insurance is key.

Prepare for departure

It’s essential that if you are planning to travel with a Guide or assistance dog, plan ahead and discuss travel plans with your chosen airport, airline, and booking agent as well as the local Guide Dog Mobility Team or relevant assistance dog organisation. Making sure that all personnel are aware of your dogs prescence, will reduce the possibility of complications on the day of travel.

pet-passport

A dogs “Mum or Dad” should ensure that they have appropriate identification for themselves and their dog, so a Pet Passport for international travel, and copies of any documentation provided by the airline. A working safety harness will be required too, which will secure the animal case, during the take off and landing. Make sure they have something familiar and comforting – such as an old woolen jumper and well used toy. Reducing their food intake for a few days prior to travelling will reduce the possibility of gastric problems on the flight.

Staff at the airport who deal specifically with Pets Passport documentation should have forwarded details of your situation onto the Animal Reception Centre. Once clearance has been obtained ? your dog is free to enjoy a fresh experience abroad.

Homeward Bound

A return trip will require a blood test which may result in treatment for tape worms ? so allow up to 120 hours before you have to board a plane. If your pet has picked up some unwanted guests, treatment can take anything from 24 ? 120 hours. There are essential pre booking arrangements required when travelling with a dog ? so ensure that you have completed all necessary tests in good time before your flight.

For a return journey to the UK an Animal Clearance Officer will meet the dog and owner on the plane or at the arrival gate. Paperwork is checked and then dog and owner are directed onto Customs and Immigration and baggage reclaim.

The PET Travel Scheme, is also now available for international and long haul flights. EC regulation 1107/2006 states that most UK airports must have facilities to enable Guide Dogs and their owners to travel safely ? and the UK is working towards that directive.

If you want to check out which airports and airlines are already accommodate guide and assistance dogs through the PET Travel Scheme, take a look at DEFRAs website www.defra.gov.uk .

Bingo Calls

The truth behind bingo calls – why did the doctor order number nine, and who exactly is Dirty Gertie?

The world of bingo calls is a weird and wonderful one. There’s a rich and colourful history to many of them – and curious stories to some of the most obscure.

Of course, with the rise of online bingo, playing bingo in old-fashioned bingo halls is dying out. Although there used to be over 600 dedicated bingo halls in UK towns and cities, that’s gone down to under 400 now. Instead over three million people every year now play bingo online (that’s almost 5% of the population)!

bingo balls

Although it might seem like a shame for some bingo traditions to die out, there are some advantages to bingo becoming a mainstream online pastime; providers like Titan Bingo have come up with innovative new versions, giving them themes like Deal or No Deal, and even Britain’s Got Talent!

So there are definitely interesting advances in the world of modern day bingo, but we shouldn’t forget the rich history bingo has. It’s actually been around since the 1500s, and is now played in various forms around the world. Many countries have their own unique take on the game, including each country having different bingo ‘calls’ – the slang terms used to represent each of the numbers being drawn.

But where did those traditional bingo calls come from? Well, some are straight-forward enough rhyming slang; cup of tea, number three and tickety-boo, sixty two are some of the obvious examples of this. Others are more onomatopoeic, (clickety-click sixty six) or make reference to stars of the stage and screen; the number six becomes Tom Mix, the star of many silent era western films, and seventy two is named for Danny La Rue, the drag entertainer.

Several of the most traditional bingo calls have a military history, including one of the most obscure; doctor’s orders, number nine. The origins of this call come from the habit medical officers adopted in World War II, of writing prescriptions by number. The poor conditions and lack of variation in diet meant that constipation was common amongst men in the trenches, and the solution was a laxative; prescription number nine.

Trombones, seventy six is named for the military parade tune commonly played by marching bands. Presumably large ones, if they had that big a brass section! Dirty Gertie also has musical military associations – the rhyming slang for thirty, it comes from a bawdy song often sung by the Allied soldiers deployed in North Africa.

Other rhymes reference popular culture – such as thirty five the jump and jive, after the dance move. Another cultural reference comes from the only bingo call which changes from time to time, number ten. Named after the most famous number ten in British culture, the prime minister’s home in London. The call changes to name the current prime minister; Dave’s den – number ten.

Although it’s rare for the exact time a bingo call came into existence to be known, number 52 (chicken vindaloo) is known to have originated from a Butlin’s holiday camp in 2003 – possibly due to some kind of confusion over a restaurant order (possibly not…). Another food related call is number 57, which is usually recognised as ‘Heinz Beans’ – not for the beans themselves, but for Heinz’s famous slogan, explaining that there are 57 varieties of Heinz produce.

heinz beans

Although bingo is popular with both genders, many of the bingo calls certainly sounds like they’ve been made up by men, legs eleven, being a prime example for this. Two fat ladies are of course 88 – again this is based on the shape of the numbers. You might be puzzled to hear a shout of ‘stop farting’ echoing through the hall – although you should in fact be crossing off number 83, with the 8 thought to resemble a bottom, while the 3 is the escaping gas…

If you understand pre-decimalised British currency, you might also understand the reference to ‘was she worth it?’ for the number seventy six (an alternative to the trombones!). In old money, 7 and 6 was the cost of a marriage license – so the typical response from the crowd in a bingo hall, was ‘every penny!’ when the question was called out.

If you’re looking for something more philosophical, you might prefer Gandhi’s breakfast, number eighty (8 – ate, 0 – nothing). Or even ‘unlucky for some’ thirteen and lucky seven – which are common across many different cultures.

So there you have it – just a few of the intriguing and downright odd reasons behind some of the classic British bingo calls. No matter how advanced and high-tech the game of bingo becomes in the future, it’s always worth remembering a few of these classically British terms, and the origins of bingo.