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Sunday, 12 September 2010

May I respond to the comments made about me on the very important matter of road death and prosecutions of safe drivers by Peter Mann ( Letters 10/9). There should be no such misunderstandings left outstanding.
He asks where I get my statistics from: The statistics I use are those from the DfT 1976 to 2008 and from the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership. The former show a very steep drop in accidents to the advent of camera partnerships when the drop actually levels out. The Latter clearly show that some of the worst Lincolnshire years were after cameras. My interpretations come from two aspects. I only allow the fatal figures because they are absolute but mingling the subjective 'seriously injured' numbers, as the authorities always do, is to muddy the water. I also expose the 'at our sites' figures (inserted by the officials) as bogus because they are affected, mathematically, by what is called 'the regression to the mean'; an effect where a balloon on a stick would produce the same figures.
However since the 1990s we have also had better vehicles, ABS, air bags, crumple zones, booster seats, better roads, A&E, paramedics and rescue too. One would have expected that, from 95 on, the figures would have been far better than they have. We can be forgiven then for suspecting that perhaps the Partnerships and their aggressive policies that prosecute safe drivers, while unnecessarily and expensively, slowing a major infrastructure to cause more prosecutions, have actually not been doing at all well.
Mr Mann then uses the term 'excessive speed' twice. The authorities often talk of it too. But it doesn't exist in law! There is only 'speeding', that is to go above a number on a pole and cannot cause anything, or reckless driving, under which, the state of 'too fast' or 'excessive speed' is reckless driving.This occurs above and below the limits and is why most accidents are below the limits. These non legal terms should never be used by officials but they do so, criminally in my view, to confuse us and thus mingle 'speeding' with reckless driving to justify camera policy.
Peter then misquotes me. I have only ever asked 'If speeding causes accidents, why are there no piles of wreckage at the end of every street?' never in the context of the slogan 'Speed Kills!' as he says. But 'Speed kills' is an untrue soundbite. It is untrue because, as any GP will confirm, without speed and motion, everything stops, including our hearts, so it is more true to say 'No speed kills!'.
This issue is far too important to stand on silly, and simplistic sound-bites because it is on such sound-bites vast fortunes are made. It is therefore no coincidence that I can also ask why in the pious Road Safety Industry nothing comes cheap? Do the TV campaign producers and performers do it for love? The seatbelt and car booster seat makers, the air bag makers, your friendly road safety man? Why not? If it is all in the cause of saving lives why not just work for cost? And that is what this is all about Mr Mann. There is more death from accidents in the home so why all this focus on prosecuting safe drivers by setting limits that then create the 'speeders'? Oh the cameras don't come cheap either.
My object is to achieve maximum road safety with less hampering and prosecution. Is that so bad Mr Mann?

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