So What…?

So – following on from yesterday – what do I mean by proper road safety? After all, I’ve criticised the single-issue speed fanatics – I’ve even called them “road safety nazis” – so it’s only fair that I come up with a couple of ideas.

But first – Fred commented that using the term “road safety nazis” was going a bit far, and that’s probably true. In my own defence, I’m only applying that term to the single-issue preachers who’d have us believe (despite a huge body of evidence) that if only everyone stuck to the speed limits, everything would be fine: sadly, even one of Britain’s most respected safety organisations is promoting this line. Speed is a factor, there’s no doubt – but it’s probably the least useful one to enforce, if promoting road safety is the aim.

So if I was in charge of road safety, what would I be promoting?

  1. Vehicle spacing – a large proportion of accidents, especially the huge motorway pile-ups, have their beginning in people driving so close to the car in front that if something goes wrong they can’t possibly stop in time.
  2. Distractions – A considerable body of research has shown that using a mobile phone while driving – even using a handsfree kit – has a more severe effect on concentration and reaction times than being just over the legal alcohol limit . Ban all mobile use while driving, enforce it properly, and apply stiffer penalties.
  3. Disqualified Drivers – For drink driving and a range of other offences which come under the heading of deliberate actions (excessive speed, mobile phone use, no tax or insurance etc), you lose your licence automatically. If it costs you your job, tough – you should’ve thought of that before. And anyone who drives while disqualified goes to prison.
  4. Sensible Speed Limits – One of the key reasons people speed is that they’ve no respect for speed limits: it’s well known in the accident prevention world that if you have three safety rules, and two make sense and one doesn’t, people won’t discriminate – they’ll ignore all three. The recent fad for 20MPH limits outside schools is a good example of a senseless rule: During school start and finish times, twenty is too fast, the rest of the time it’s too slow.

I’ve got loads more ideas, but these will do for now.

Comments are closed.