The Fast and The Furious: Drivers, Speed Cameras and Control in a Risk Society presents a sociological and criminological perspective critical to understanding the driver's role at the centre of road safety interventions. Such an approach is, it is argued, as crucial to an understanding of attempts to reduce road crashes, deaths and injuries as approaching such questions from an engineering or educational perspective.
The book offers an explanation for the continued debate about one road safety intervention – the speed camera – by situating that debate within contemporary literature about the 'risk society' (Beck, 1992) and more broadly understood experiences of risk faced on a daily basis by drivers. Rather than a focus on risk as something that can be objectively assessed, measured and managed separately from the social context in which it is encountered, it suggests that 'risk' is something that permeates this particular debate from every angle.
The book achieves its aims by utilising sociological and criminological perspectives to investigate issues such as:
– the social context in which it is possible for drivers to reject official scientific expertise about crash causation and camera effectiveness
– the self-defined 'respectability' of the population being problematised and its juxtaposition with a 'proper' police focus on 'real criminals'
– the reconceptualisation of law-breaking as risk-taking rather than inherently 'wrong' behaviour and its consequences for the enforcement of laws based on risk assessment
– the experience of being controlled by technology and of receiving what is essentially 'automated justice'.
These and other issues are explored and suggested as illuminating of both the real concerns underpinning this debate and potentially instructive for future attempts to control risky behaviour both within and beyond a road safety context.