It has recently been announced that the outdated and discredited 70mph motorway speed limit is now to be rigidly applied on so-called “managed”, or “smart” stretches of the M1 motorway in Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
That is despite the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) having established, that speed is NOT the cause of high speed accidents, but rather the consequence of alcohol/substance-abuse, induced impairment and/or criminal behaviour. The fact is that there are virtually no sober, responsible drivers involved in road traffic accidents where their speed is the primary definite causation factor and they are the perpetrator. Inattention and poor observation are always the table-topping primary causation factors. Nevertheless, the glib, groundless and pathetically inaccurate “Speed Kills” myth is trotted out by jobs-worth so-called “road safety professionals” – whose livelihoods are increasingly speed enforcement incentivised. It is used to legitimise ever more unreasonable, unrealistic – and in road safety terms – counterproductive enforcement of very often seriously under-posted speed limits. These are frequently set in complete contravention of sound (85th Percentile) road safety principles. Even those clinging to the vacuously naïve misapprehension that speed enforcement was only carried out to improve road safety must by now have worked out that it’s all about the money – increasingly arising from ballooning Speed Awareness course attendance fees. The ABD have therefore demanded that the motorway speed limit be brought into the 21st century by setting it at 80mph – (with the retention of the [+10% + 2] mph NPCC tolerance).
Given that some 97% of road traffic accidents are NOT caused by speed limit infractions, what we also really need is more police patrol vehicles on the lookout for bad/erratic driving. What we definitely don’t need is more dumbed-down limits, patently dumb (but highly lucrative) and ineffective speed awareness courses and the unjustified electronic fleecing of road users. Such welcome developments are unlikely to happen while neither the DfT nor the Home Office can be considered fit-for-purpose with respect to the development and implementation of effective road safety policies. The creation of an independent, objective, state-funded Road Accident Investigation and Prevention Board is long overdue. Run and manned along the lines of the marine and aviation counterparts; this body would investigate the causes of road accidents, formulate and implement effective road safety policies and regulate UK speed enforcement operations via mandatory rules, not worthless “guidelines”. Contemporaneously, there must be a removal of all incentives that encourage speed enforcement for revenue generation. There must also be total financial segregation between those involved in speed enforcement operations and any revenue streams arising from the prosecution or rehabilitation of speed limit offenders. The involvement of private limited companies currently active in road safety policy formulation and implementation must be terminated forthwith. These bodies must then be replaced with transparent, wholly publicly accountable bodies; responsive to public concerns about the unregulated use of power.