A great new sickness: Speed camera phobia

A motorist is so freaked out by speed cameras that he turns to counseling to help him get over his affliction. The CEO of an anxiety association has the same problem.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

What do you worry about?

Some people worry that their underwear, or even significant parts of their derriere, will show when they bend down. (None of these people, strangely, is a plumber.) Other people worry that their bosses don't like them.

Colin Gant, 41, of Lowestoft in the United Kingdom, worries that speed cameras don't like him.

He has spent countless minutes and hours inventing routes that will take him on roads last traveled by horse and cart in order to avoid the beady eye of the technological highway patrolman.

"Every time I drove past one, I started worrying about what would happen if I was caught speeding: Would I lose my job? How would it affect my family?" he told the Telegraph.

You might be thinking that Mr. Gant has a history with an overactive rev counter. You might be speeding beyond the truth.

"The irony is, I've never been caught speeding, and actually hate it when people drive too fast, and I fully support the principle behind speed cameras. My wife would say that I drive very cautiously," he said.

At night, they will break into houses and steal your babies. CC Gaetan Lee

Mr. Gant lived with this irrationality for four years, longer than so many relationships. Part of his fear, he decided, was that the cameras might have been wired by a tipsy technician, triggering an unjust day in court.

His first small, slow step in rehabilitation was to talk to the camera operators. They explained that they make allowances for any possible malfunction. They allow drivers to slip 10 percent over the limit. And for the next few percent over, they offer remedial training. Which, one might hope, made Mr. Gant feel a little easier.

I once worked with a very strange person who was scared of clowns. It was odd because in the view of many, he actually was one. But this is the first time I have heard of someone fearing speed cameras.

However, it appears that Mr. Gant is not alone. Someone who shares his fear is Nicky Lidbetter. She is the chief executive of Anxiety UK, an organization that helps people deal with all sorts of fears. Like toilet phobia and compulsive skin picking.

Me? I'm afraid of people who smile too much. What about you?