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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

PACTS, BRAKE, DfT & Iain Dale wrong.

I am an ex police patrol driver and I have to challenge certain statements in Driving for Change in Behaviour by Christian Wolmar. 14/9 http://bit.ly/b7ord2

He says that the statistics show that the Association of British Drivers has it wrong about too much focus on speed. Clearly, like Ian Dale, who he quotes and the course instructor at Dale's speed awareness course, neither he nor they are experts in driving accidents or road safety. Worse the instructor is not at all altruistic in her message and in any case, being a mother of an accident victim, is no qualification either. Therein lies the problem. Too many non experts having a big say in this life and death matter. The Parliamentary Advisory Committee of Transport Safety, he quotes, is actually nothing more than an important sounding private lobby group with vested interests and without any experts either.

Of course speed is a factor in all road accidents; without speed nothing would be moving on the road at all. So when Julie Townsend of BRAKE says 'It's a contributor to a majority of crashes', I would like her to describe any accident, whether involving planes, trains, bikes or even running, where it is not a 'contributor'. So much for the experts of BRAKE then; perhaps they should just stick to victim support.

But the figures quoted by Wolmar are totally bogus too. For a start, physics would not support the notion that to exceed an arbitrary and unscientific number on a pole, 'speeding' will cause an accident any more than not to won't. Too fast causes them, is often below speed limits and thus most accidents are below the speed limits. Unfortunately most reporting officers are not specialists and do not know this. So all the 28% shows is that 28% of reporting officers ticked a box that should not be there anyway. The correct figure is zero per cent because speeding causes nothing. The millions of speeding tickets issued should each have been after a crash if it were not so.

Christian Wolmar also uses a term favoured by the officials, BRAKE and PACTS. 'Excessive speed'. Where is this in traffic law? It does not exist. It is an element of reckless driving and is nothing to do with 'speeding'. One causes accidents and the other is just coincidental to them. Why has he readily accepted a term, not even recognised in traffic law? It is used liberally by the mighty and aggressive Road Safety Industry, criminally to my mind, to confuse reckless driving with 'speeding' in order to justify a profitable policy of unnecessarily hampering and criminalising perfectly safe drivers and to ignore real accident causes whilst doing it. I refer to this effect as 'Speed Kills! kills'.

But what is the issue anyway? After 300 billion driver miles a year there is less death on the road, from all causes, than from accidents in the home. I think the answer can be found in the countless billions of pounds being consumed yearly by an insatiable Road Safety Industry; I can think of no other explanation for all this nonsense.

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