I’m after comments on this one, and I’d like to make it clear that you don’t have to agree with me: As usual, I won’t delete comments unless they’re spam, offensive, or commercial in nature.
Speed, it seems, is the new bogeyman of the road. This is prompted by this series of tweets by @SoluhullPolice, but this has been building for a long time:
and it prompted a short debate. I replied:
Now, don’t get me wrong, excessive speed is dangerous. If you’re going too fast for the conditions, you’re way more likely to hit something, and if you do, you’re more likely to cause damage, injury, or death.
What gets me all ranty is current road safety focussing on speed almost enitrely, because:
1) Some now assume that they’re safe purely because they were doing less than the posted limit, and there becomes an expectation that the posted limit is safe for that road at all times, removing the expectation of the driver to judge road conditions.
2) No other aspects are being publicised, with the exception of drink driving.
3) The focus on speed produces cameras. I’m not a fan, mainly because of other drivers reactions to them (brake, no matter what speed you are doing), but they can have a positive effect in the right place (the A90 in Scotland has several junctions protected by well-placed cameras), and this is a solution that works and has saved lives, but re-engineering the junctions is probably better.
Now, this brings forth a quandary: you can detect a few motoring offences with automatic tech: ANPR can detect lack of tax, insurance, or MOT. A Gatso or other speed camera can detect speeding, but provided you have tax, insurance, and MOT, don’t hit anything, and don’t speed past the camera, you’re unlikely to be challenged in any way. As BrownhillsBob pointed out to me, such is the volume of cars on the road that having enough traffic plod on the road to effectively police it is hard.
Now, I do speed. I’m pretty sure most drivers do, and that most people who claim otherwise are lying. It may not be by much, but they do. Some speed limits are too low (and many are too high, like 30mph in crowded residential or shopping areas). I’ve talked about this before, of course.
I’d argue that @SolihullPolice’s bottom tweet in the pic above is the worst: It’s saying that they want to do something about people that sometimes speed. Not the ones that always do, it seems.
I’d also argue that people that speed at times are probably more aware of road conditions. Clearly those that speed always, in all conditions are potentially dangerous, especially if we accept that sometimes the posted limit must be too high- for example, in poor weather. At some point, chance or physics will happen, and they’ll run out of talent and hit something, because poor, antisocial driving and excessive speed often go hand in hand.
So: am I way off mark? I sometimes still enjoy driving, even on roads others hate. I sometimes break the speed limit, but sometimes drive well below it. I try to be reasonably competent and patient at the wheel, but hate to be held up and like to “make progress” where I can. I’ll sometimes make mistakes, but hopefully not serious ones.
Is speed as big a problem as suggested (and you may like to read this post on accident rates on a few local roads to help you consider).
Are other aspects more, less, or equally as important, and how could their standards be enforced?
Is enough done in the engineering of roads to increase passive safety?