While Dr Richard Lawson is right to call for a voluntary movement to cut speeds on our roads, the 50/60 Campaign, might I ask why there isn’t a campaign to get government to cut UK speed limits as this is without a doubt one of the simplest actions that could be taken both to reduce carbon emissions and save lives.
There is also little doubt that reducing the speed limit – and enforcing it – will reduce traffic because there is a clear link between cutting journey times and increasing travel demand.
May I also point out that one ‘Brexit benefit’ we are enjoying is death on our roads. The General and Pedestrian Safety Regulations, introduced in the EU in 2022 mandate a package of measures including speed limiting, automated emergency braking and improved ‘crashworthiness’ have not been introduced in the UK. As a result people will die, and the longer we delay implementing these rules the more will die.
In 2019 237 car drivers and passengers, or 32 per cent of all car driver and passenger deaths were in crashes that did not involve another vehicle. In the vast majority of cases they would simply have driven off the road, what the Air Accident Investigators would call ‘controlled flight into terrain’ Think of the amount of Police and NHS time and effort that these wasted, plus of course the 4000 or so serious injuries. All preventable through a combination of legislation, technology and enforcement but we lack the will to do so.
Finally, and in view of a number of recent horrific accidents in which drivers have simply left the road with devastating consequences for pedestrians, children in a school or drivers on the hard shoulder, might I suggest that there are some very serious questions that we need to ask about the sort of vehicles we allow on our roads and the expectations we have about how drivers should behave.
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