A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Speedy Gonzales to slow down?

When it comes to speeding on roads I'm in a kind of bind. I'm all in favour of getting arrogant mindless drivers to change their ways, but I'm totally against arbitrary speed fines and new ways of getting policemen to poke their noses into cars without just cause. Traditionally, the local authorities have seen cars and all forms of road transport as an easy conduit towards revenue raising. Road safety comes a poor third on the list, after spending money on disabled crossings in second place. Now don't get me wrong, I support good traffic management including proper wheelchair access. But it has to be properly funded and not as some pot-scraping exercise at the end of the financial year so that the budget isn't compromised!

So the news is that speed-limiting devices could be fitted to vehicles on a voluntary basis to reduce speed. These will use satellite positioning to check a vehicle's location and when its speed exceeds the limit, power will be reduced and the brakes applied if necessary. If on a voluntary basis, then I have no problem whatsoever. This could well encourage the arrogant to go no faster than the speed limit allows.

The BBC has a report on the topic. Jon York, fleet manager for British Gas, has a telling point. He largely agrees with the idea, but says, "It does aid road safety, it does reduce incidents, but it is part of a wide-ranging number of initiatives within British Gas and one of those is driver training because you have to change people's behaviour." That's the whole point. Changing behaviour.

However, a contrary view is rather baffling. Derek Charters, from the Motor Industry Research Association, believes limiting speed automatically could cause accidents. "The last thing you need is one car to be overtaking and then pull back in, in front of the cars in front, because that braking event will then cause everybody to start to slow down, which will then compress the traffic, which then causes an incident." Come on, Mr.Charters, think please. Why would somebody be overtaking, at speed, in a restricted zone? You don't need to be a researcher to know that that is nonsense. Unless of course, you are in favour of racing between these zones. On seeing a 30mph sign does one attempt to overtake at 40mph? We are all supposed to drive with "due care and attention". I sometimes wonder about people like Mr.Charters.

The government's transport advisers claim the technology would cut road accidents with injuries by 29%. But it would also just make the roads are far more pleasant place to be driving on. Get rid of the racers, stop the speedos and the weavers and those just out to please themselves. Life is complicated enough without feeling the roads are like shark-infested waters!


Dear Arden

I am that Mr Charters, and I'm afraid I was slightly miss quoted, or perhaps I was not clear enough with the reporter.

I agree with your comments, the point I was trying to get over was related to a non speed controlled car. If a car overtakes on a busy motorway and then pulls in, perhaps check braking as he does. This "braking event" passes back up the line of traffic getting more severe as it goes causing problems to people perhaps 2 miles upstream.

If on the other hand we all stayed in our lanes controlling our speed to those around us, maybe even controlling our distance with radar, things would be a lot smoother.

The 20 cars we made are now decommissioned, as is the truck and motorcycle. This news is 2 years old. Google, ISA, EVSC, etc.

I think most news is "chip paper" but I like your blog so I have responded.



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