London, 21 October 1998.
For immediate release.

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Road Safety Week Shoots Itself in the Foot
Why driver training is undermined by "speed kills" nonsense
National Road Safety week shows that some elements of the road safety establishment have at last grasped that better driver training and higher driving standards are vital if death and injury on our roads is to be reduced.

But in the same breath, Lord Whitty undermines this seemingly more enlightened approach with his promise of "tougher policies to curb speeding".

ABD Chairman Brian Gregory commented: "Can these people not understand the futility of equipping drivers to identify hazards and adjust their speed appropriately and then terrorising and persecuting them when they use these skills to drive safely."

"After all," continued Gregory, "virtually everyone admits they break speed limits, including 90% of police, driving instructors and magistrates. Why? Because it is impossible not to if one is actually driving intelligently, constantly adjusting one's speed to the prevailing conditions."

It is all very well talking about getting drivers to take responsibility for road safety, but rigidly enforcing daft speed limits does the exact opposite - it takes responsibility away from the driver, encouraging a mentality that sticking to the limit is all that matters and that any accident brought about by the inattention and incompetence which inevitably follows such a policy is someone else's fault.

The plain fact is that most of the speed enforcement that happens at the moment is nothing to do with road safety. It happens in safe circumstances on the open road or where speed limits are too low rather than where exceeding the speed limit is hazardous.

"What is so very frustrating for us," says Gregory, "is that the truth of this statement is unarguable. Nobody in authority can deny it. All they do is hide behind a legalistic position when we challenge them. If they want to argue that laws should be enforced for their own sake rather than for a reason, that's fine. But pretending it is all justified in terms of safety when it clearly isn't, surely constitutes irresponsibility of the highest order."

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING IS THAT ACCIDENT STATISTICS HAVE SHOWN A GREAT RELUCTANCE TO FALL SINCE "SPEED KILLS" BECAME THE FASHION.

The last thing road safety needs is more pointless enforcement of speed limits which are being made ever lower in many locations by politically correct anti car local authorities. What is needed is a return to common sense and discretionary enforcement against reckless driving by properly trained police officers.

 

Notes for Editors