Road safety group concerned about Doncaster's "Community Pace Car" scheme
Road safety group, the Association of British Drivers, is concerned about the Community Pace Car scheme (CPCS) initiated recently by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. The scheme involves using members of the public driving at the speed limit as "mobile traffic calming". The ABD believes the scheme has the potential to increase, rather than decrease, accidents.
The Association is concerned for three reasons:
The speed limit is not a safe speed.
The CPCS equates safe driving with sticking to the speed limit. The ABD's Director of Policy Mark McArthur-Christie comments "Safe driving is not about driving by numbers. It is far more complex than that. This sends the message that all drivers have to do to be safe is stick to the limit. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Greatly increased risk of tailgating accidents
Many speed limits are now set against government advice and too low for driving conditions. McArthur-Christie comments "Where this is the case, following drivers bunch behind the lead car with greatly reduced separation distances. When the car in front brakes, the cars in the column can't stop in time. We're concerned that acting as a Pace Car is putting yourself at risk of a rear-end collision".
Greatly increased risk of frustration overtakes
Where low limits are set, frustration can build and drivers attempt "frustration overtakes" in dangerous places — opposite junctions, on blind bends, on the brows of hills. This effect has already been noted in other counties where low limits have been introduced.
The ABD would also advise anyone thinking about using their car as a Pace Car to check with their insurance company that they are covered for such a role. The group is also concerned that Pace Car drivers may risk aggression and abuse on the road. McArthur-Christie comments "This scheme seems to be a minefield. What about training to make sure the Pace Car drivers set the right speed? What happens if someone following them crashes because of their actions?"
The ABD believes Doncaster should reconsider the scheme before a Pace Car causes a crash. "Setting a safe speed for the conditions is a vital driving skill," concludes McArthur-Christie, "but this scheme won't encourage drivers to do that. Whilst we understand the Council's objective of reducing accidents we believe this will do the opposite."
Doncaster MCB — Community Pace Car Scheme