Today, we’ve had two (at least these are the ones I’ve spotted) news releases from the Department for Transport (DfT) that presage some changes in the future:
- Advisers urge fast action on speed limiters – FT
- Drivers ‘face health tests every decade’ – Guardian
Now all we have to work out is, “What are they really going to do?“
It’s my five decades’ experience that when a government needs something draconian doing that will really annoy vast numbers of voters for a long, continuous period (unlike ‘bring back hanging’ which only pops up with particularly gruesome murders), what they do is release lots of unpleasant tasters to get the general public all hot and bothered.
After a suitable period, they implement something that’s only ‘half as bad’ as the leaked plans, and thus, the original proposal is passed with barely a whimper.
The trouble is, that I think the proposals are only half the solution. My previous life as a Class One (now C+E) HGV driver is part of my observational evidence….
As an HGV driver with the wheels rolling perfectly legally for 45 hours a week, you see all sorts of happenings on Britain’s roads, and the key factor in most smashes (I don’t call them accidents), are:
- excessive vehicle speeds
- excessive vehicle accelerations and decelerations
- insufficient distance between vehicles
- a disconnection due to the continuous high speeds, of the driver with his environment – I call this “the speed gaze”. Mr Riverol, an army veteran, mentioned a similar phrase for soldiers on continuous alert – they call it “the thousand yard stare“.
My HGV experience lasted during the UK’s transistion from unlimited HGVs having a speed limit of 60mph (most people stuck to 100kph except at night and close to Scotland – then the Scanias would be tanking along at 90 ), then to speed-limited 60mph (most locked at 100kph), and finally to the current state of 90kph by law (usually 55-56mph).
When these limits were brought in all the excuses were rolled out; never get job done, will hurt jobs, will increase costs, will be dangerous, will cause bunching, etc.
In actual fact, I found the wagon a lot easier to drive and the MAN 17-322 2-axle unit pulling a triaxle curtainsider was a lot safer for me and others, because it had a manual speed setting as well as the default maximum. This meant I could flip the switch entering a 30, 40 or 50mph zone and keep my foot hard down without worryiing about speeding…it just rolled along. But, it meant,
I could use my full concentration on my wagon and the environment through which I was driving.
So I never hit a car or cyclist, I never squashed a child. In fact, I got certificates for safe, uneventful driving, which is how it should be.
It’s not a fucking race, is it?
As an HGV driver over 45, I have to take a medical every 5 years which costs about 90 quid now. I don’t drive for a living now, but I like to keep the licence going…
The DfT plans are only what professional drivers do anyway. With over 28million cars in the UK, it’s my opinion that it’s only right that everyone is fit to drive and is forced to drive properly. It’s a total red-herring that a few people drive crazily. As I’ve said before, the average UK motorway speed is 71mph, even though the limit is 70mph! This means most people speed. Most people break the law!
…which I’m sure others have witnessed as well over the last few months, are that when the fuel prices shot right up, suddenly everyone slowed down – to about 70mph! Now that fuel is back below 90p, people on the M5 near Bridgwater are habitually doing 90mph again…
…that is, most people break the law!
So I say;
- slow people down by all means possible to drive within speed limits
- save fossil fuels by all means possible – it helps the environment and the balance of payments deficit
- make people fit to drive both mentally and physically
- immediately confiscate and crush cars uninsured cars that are not VOR’d within 3 days
- ditto for cars without a valid road fund licence
- get all cars that weigh more than a tonne off the roads now – there’s no need for them, they are an extravagent expense (for the country) that represent all that is wrong with “the consumer society”. BTW, I don’t care how much money anyone wants to spend on a car; the costs I want reduced are environmental and resource costs. If a two tonne car is unobtainable, people will express their kudos by other means and just as soon spend their money on gold plated Fiat 500 with knobs on…
- crush cars that are modified to break the C&U (Construction and Use) Regulations for sound and emissions
- crush cars for parking on a footpath
It looks like I hate cars and people from the above…? Far from it.
I just want people to treat others as they’d expect to be treated themselves – with respect, and with respect for the motoring laws which are set for the benefit of everyone, in one way or another.
For my last point above, people who park on footpaths to (helpfully) let traffic flow, by that very action force a woman and child with a pram into the traffic because the footpath is blocked, are showing the utmost disrespect for everything that a decent society values. If that woman and her children are crushed in the traffic, my suggestion that the car should be crushed does not seem excessive, don’t you think?
I can similarly justify every remark above. Try me. Or try me here, previously. This attracted a lot of hits and probably upset the relatives although none contacted me.