Dear Philip Hammond

When you said

"We will end the war on motorists. Motoring has got to get greener but the car is not going to go away."

…is this what you had in mind?

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Ministers are proposing a 20mph speed limit on urban roads to reduce deaths and reclaim the streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

The reduction from 30mph would apply to all town centre and residential streets except busy through roads, which will remain at the existing limit.

Is it any wonder we already treat posted speed-limits as advisory?

Edmund King, president of the AA, warned that motorists could ignore the new limits.

He said: “In our view it is more effective to target 20mph zones where they are really needed and are almost self-enforcing.

“If it becomes the default, you will get a lot of 20mph limits that aren’t warranted and are just ignored. The deterrent effect will wear off, like the 70mph speed limit on motorways.”

Quite so. Over the years, the reductions of various speed limits coupled with draconian and arbitrary enforcement has persuaded me to slow down and drive more sedately.

I could never have predicted the consequences. Instead of focussing my full attention on the road, I am now so unencumbered by the task of driving itself that I have spare capacity to drink coffee, roll a cigarette, program my sat-nav and check twitter on my phone.

If you give me the opportunity to drive at the pace I want to drive at, all of those dangerous and superfluous activities go straight out of the window, in favour of focussing on the engaging task at hand.

If the government wants to improve safety in the world of motoring, instead of salami slicing speed limits and blood alcohol limits, they should focus on raising standards. If that means every license holder being re-tested (at their own expense) every five years, then so be it.

If that means 10% of the motoring population are removed from the roads every five years, so be it.

If it means finding a way to persuade insurers, and judges, that an advanced motoring qualification is worthy of significantly favourable treatment, so be it.

After all,

Of ALL accidents in the reported 12 month period (right hand column):

  • 5% were caused by impairment by alcohol.
  • 1% were caused by drugs (illicit or medicinal)
  • 2% were caused by a distraction inside the vehicle (kids, phones etc?)

So far so good. Now to the point.

  • 14% were caused by performing a poor turn or manoeuvre.
  • 37% were caused by a failure to look properly.
  • 19% were caused by a failure to judge other person’s path or speed.

Well there we are then. Right there are a load of causes we could do something about, under the heading Poor or incompetent driving.

Or shall we continue with the old socialist politics of punishing the many for the sins of the few?

AJ

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About Al Jahom
Anti-social malcontent, misanthrope and miserable git.

7 Responses to Dear Philip Hammond

  1. Catosays says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Well said!

  2. SadButMadLad says:

    A small town I know of has a 20mph limit through it’s center. It’s a main thoroughfare so everyone ignores the speed limit. The only time people go slower than 20mph is when there is too much traffic. And a police station is just off this road. All because the lefties in the town thought it was necessary to reduce the number of non-existent accidents that occur on this road.

    My own driving varies according to the situation. Sometimes I go well under the speed limit because of the weather, pedestrians, whatever. Other times I might go faster than the speed limit. At all times my eyes are on the road and I am monitoring whats happening on the road. This is why I might vary my speed from the limit. When I pass a camera even though I know my speed is ok, I still find myself concentrating on the spedometer and not the road. I know my driving is pretty good (not perfect) not because I believe it but because I have been tested by an advanced driving instructer and had my insurance premium adjusted down because of this.

    Speed cameras do work. In very particular areas. For very special reasons. But in general they do not work because they are always placed in the wrong positions and always work even when inappropriate.

  3. “Or shall we continue with the old socialist politics of punishing the many for the sins of the few?”

    Why would they change now?

  4. sam says:

    ‘I am now so unencumbered by the task of driving itself that I have spare capacity to drink coffee, roll a cigarette, program my sat-nav and check twitter on my phone.’

    and it is as boring as fuck now.

  5. Bucko says:

    “”If the government wants to improve safety in the world of motoring, instead of salami slicing speed limits and blood alcohol limits, they should focus on raising standards.””

    Or we could just do nothing. Road deaths and injuries are not seriously depleting the population. We could regulate right down to forcing a new driving test every six months and not allowing people to drive more than two hours in every 24. We could scrap all cars over two years old and reduce all speed limits by 50%.

    Road deaths would still happen with regular monotiny, just as planes will fall out of the sky and trains will smash into each other.

    Life is not safe and its not fair.

  6. Chochoooo says:

    What i really want to know is how speed cameras work in relation to cyclists?

    On a straight road ill pedal up to 28mph, i can just nudge 30mph. (Which i do most days on the way to work).

    Also, the fact that as a cyclist i see 20mph as to slow says something.

  7. Pingback: This is just getting fucking tiresome now. « Al Jahom's Final Word

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