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Anorak | Still Life

Still Life

by | 2nd, September 2004

‘THERE are a couple of different ways in which the death toll on Britain’s roads can be eradicated – one is to reduce the speed limit to zero, the other is to ban everyone from driving.

‘Ruddy tandems!’

The Government has already gone some way along the first path, with its 20mph zones and variable speed limits on motorways.

And judging by the forest of speed cameras that now litter the highways and byways of this country, it is only a matter of time before the latter is achieved.

But even that might not be enough for road safety campaigners, who are this morning up in arms over indications that Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is considering a review of penalties for speeding.

The Guardian says the Government is reacting to “the chorus of public complaints” that the present system (whereby anyone caught driving over the speed limit receives a fine and at least three penalty points) is arbitrary, inflexible and designed to raise money rather than make the roads safer.

The paper says that in future motorists who are caught marginally over the limit could be given lower penalties or sent on a speed awareness course.

In 2003, a staggering two million fines from speed cameras were recorded, while the death toll on Britain’s roads rose from 3,400 in 2002 to 3,508 last year.

But road safety campaigners will not rest until that figure is down to zero.

Brigitte Chaudry, of RoadPeace, complains: “These proposals could lead to more deaths.

“Our research shows that almost half of Britain’s motorists admit to speeding a little over the speed limit every day.”

All of which should, you think, be grist to Alistair Darling’s mill – but not a bit of it.

Mary Williams, chief executive of Brake, says she is “appalled at this proposal, which flies in the face of speed”.

“At just 35mph,” she says, “the risk of death on impact with someone on foot or on bicycle is far, far higher than at 20mph, which is a far safer limit in heavily built-up areas.”

And at 20 mph the risk of death on impact with someone on foot or on bicycle is far, far higher than at 10mph.

And at 10mph the risk of death on impact with someone on foot or on bicycle is far, far higher than when the car is stationary…’



Posted: 2nd, September 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink