Why do we allow the sale of motorised vehicles capable of breaking local and national speed limits?
Nobody would suggest that cars driven within speed limits present no road danger, but we have yet to hear a rational argument for why cars need the ability to exceed the speed limit.
Four in 10 drivers admit they sometimes break 30 mph speed limits by at least 10 mph. A quarter (24%) admitted to doing this regularly, at least once a month. These statistics exclude those who prefer to keep their law breaking under wraps.
Road traffic law in Britain is elastic – one man in Britain continues to drive legally having accrued 62 points on his licence – and there is little consistency in its application. A 10 per cent ‘buffer’ applied by the police legitimises speeding despite the fact most car speedos deliberately over-read.
Someone all too familiar with this fact is chief constable Anthony Bangham, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on road policing, who this week suggested that the law on speed limits should be rigorously enforced. His view prompted much derision, including the AA, RAC and Association of British Drivers, who accused him of ‘prioritising money over safety’.
The view that rigorous enforcement of speed limits somehow increases road danger is driver lobby doublethink; the suggestion drivers would become preoccupied with speedometers to such an extent they’d be more of a danger than when speeding, clearly nonsense.
An emotional response to a rational question
Barack Obama made numerous attempts during his tenure as president to restrict the sale of fully-automatic assault rifles. While firing a machine gun is undoubtedly an invigorating experience for those who own them, should weapons so frequently used to massacre innocent people be widely available simply because they represent a perceived personal freedom? After all, radical change for the better is possible.
On 13 March 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into the gym at Dunblane primary school and shot dead 16 six-year-old children and their teacher. Very soon after, and to our very great credit, we in Britain severely restricted private ownership of guns. There has not been a mass gun killing here since then.
In the last month, five people waiting at bus stops have been killed by speeding drivers who mounted the footpath. Four were children. Science suggests these children, and countless others, would have survived had the drivers responsible for their deaths been unable to exceed a 20 mph urban speed limit.
The technology to restrict vehicle speed to the local limit is readily available, but at present in Britain, speeding is socially accepted – not only legitimised by the 10 per cent ‘buffer’ applied before a penalty is imposed, but openly feted by the media – a situation that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
An insurance company like no other
The ETA was formed as a breakdown company for drivers unwilling to subscribe to the hackneyed views on road safety such as those expressed below.
If you drive, but at the same time believe Britain can be a safer and cleaner by tackling road danger, join us today. www.eta.co.uk