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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
What should we investigate?
We asked you to debate which of four ideas BBC News Online should take up for an investigation this summer.
The four subjects are fly tipping, speed cameras, UK-US price differences and support for the mentally ill.
Soon we will decide which subject we will tackle.
Then we will ask you for your input on how you think the investigation should progress over the next few weeks.
The process will continue until we reach a conclusion.
That conclusion, of course, may not be the one you expect. That's the point of investigation.
But first we want to hear your views on which topic we will examine. Here are some more of the hundreds of e-mails we have received so far:
Well, I suppose we're going to end up with an "investigation" into speed cameras, which has already been done to death in the media. As usual, this country's obsession with driving (which I thought was a means to an end, not a recreational activity) has overpowered the other, more serious topics.
But I'm feeling optimistic at the moment, so I'll put my vote in for the investigation into help for the mentally ill, which is by far the most important of these topics. I have witnessed projects which help people get back into work after mental illness and not only experience a much better quality of life, but reduce the cost to the taxpayer. Let's have some discussion about that.
It's interesting to note that the objectors to speed cameras either trot out the conspiracy theory(secret revenue collection) or maintain that speeding isn't really dangerous. I live near a narrow-laned stretch of dual carriageway which had its speed limit reduced from 70 to 50 a few years ago, backed up with speed cameras. The result? A much less intimidating and less dangerous road than before because of the cameras which have resulted in the vast majority of its users, including myself, obeying the limit. It is pointless arguing otherwise.
In that to object to speed cameras one must want to break the law, and that price differences occur accross the world - that's what drives a global economy, and fly tipping can be dealt with by a massive fining policy - a la Thailand; the only valid topic from the list is care for the mentally disabled, and if the BBC can solve that with one investigation then perhaps we ought to set them on world peace, 3rd world debt and global famine while they're at it!
There is little to compare with the suffering casued by mental illness. Most people at one point or another suffer varying degrees of it and the facilities to help with rehabilitation are quite frankly appauling, particularly for those with long term mental illnesses. I think people matter far more than cameras, fly-tipping and price differences
Speed cameras. As a regular user of the M11 I come across many accidents in the rush hour, most of which are caused by drivers driving too close to the car in front. It doesn't matter if you're driving at 60,70 or 85 if your 20' from the car in front and he breaks suddenly, you're going to hit him. I want to see more emphasis on bad/stupid driving rather than just pure speed.Speed alone does not cause accidents.
The way people throw rubbish anywhere. Watch any traffic queue and see the people chucking stuff from their windows. There seems to be a general disregard for the "Local" environment. Even people who will campaign for saving the rainforests ignore our Green and Pleasant Land. I am ashamed of our country these days.
Perhaps you could investigate why we use speed cameras. I admit speed makes accidents more serious when they occur however it has to be driving to close to the car in front that causes the accidents in the first place. I for one would much prefer the system they use in Germany where they have distance cameras that photograph and fine cars that drive to close to the car in front. Why should someone who drives at 70mph 5 feet from my bumper be okay but someone doing 90mph on a clear motorway at 3 in the morning be fined?
I agree with Colin Gill - please discuss ALL the issues at some point.
I also agree with many that speed cameras are not sited at accident black-spots and that more should be done to educate road users of travelling a safe distance behind others.
I haven't found UK/US price differences that great - considering the amount of sales tax that gets added on in some states.
Although I have no experience of dealing with the mentally ill, I can see that it is something that can tear apart a family having to cope with this. Perhaps this should be the primary investigation?
I'd like to see a proper investigation of speed cameras.
Don't forget that speed affects more than safety - faster traffic generates more noise, which can make sitting in our gardens or walking on the pavement unbearable. Try walking along a pavement of a busy road with someone and trying to hold a conversation with them - you'll soon understand what I mean!
Please, investigate our care for the mentally ill. To me it seems that care is provided only for those suffering terrible pschycoses that might endanger them and us. But that leaves a huge unknown number of mentally ill left to the care of their relatives. I have been told we save £57 billion a year by this ruse. Is this true? Is it acceptable to the rest of us? What do we expect for ourselves if and when the old brain cells start to fail?
There is a real problem between just the rest of the EU and the UK, not alone the US. The US market is more productive than the EU as whole so their prices would be lower, but we are in the EU and so prices should be the same here as on the continent.
I travel a lot through the country and have found spped cameras mainly on long, straight roads. If they are not there to generate income, why are they there at all? They should be hear schools, hospitals, etc. Speed cameras are the biggest of all scams. Investigate it.
I wish people would
stop whining about speed cameras and obey the law. I would like to see concealed cameras on as many roads as is practical. They save lives and raise money and it's only the guilty that pay. What could be fairer than that?
I think you should look at US- UK prices because it seems all to often that we are being 'ripped off' in this country, why, why do we get charged more?
Speed cameras would certainly be an interesting topic, especially when viewed from the point of view of the police. Are funds that would previously have been used for traffic patrols being assigned to speed cameras instead? I'd love to know.
Everytime the government investigates price differences of a particular product we seem to end up being told that either there is no evidence we pay more, there is some excuse why we pay more or that we do pay more but something is going to happen to lower prices (it rarely does). I think it is about time there was a survey by an organisation independent of Government and industry (such as the BBC) as to whether we really do pay more.
It seems that hardly anyone is interested in mental health issues until something happens that hits the headlines! I would like more of a debate on this issue and how we can change attitudes in society towards mentally ill people. I'm not mentally ill, but I recognise that I have something like a 1 in 4 chance of being so at some stage in my life. I'd like to think that if that happened, I wouldn't have to hide it from everyone!
Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
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