The Driver's Site for the East Midlands

Welcome to Drivers' Union East Midlands.
Our Mission: Better road safety at lower cost. No unnecessary delay or slowing of road transport. No unnecessary or unjust prosecution of safe drivers.

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Oh no. Yet another road safety charity.

Read the story here.

How on earth can the community afford yet another road safety charity? There are countless of them. Yet death from all causes on the roads after 300 billion driver miles a year is less than from accidents in the home.

If that were not bad enough, road safety cannot be based on amateur emotionalism yet the media insist on citing these amateurs about a life and death issue. In this story, 'speeding' is being given as the cause of a fatal accident. Experts know that 'speeding' cannot actually affect anything so here is one example of how dangerous these charities are for road safety. Indirectly the sponsorship money would save more lives if in the NHS, rescue services, ambulance and police.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

So what do we gather from this sharp rise in speeding fines?

See speeding-fines-surge-to-highest-level-since-2009

To justify prosecuting tens of thousands of perfectly safe drivers who are not about to have or cause any accident for speeding, we all have to believe that all speeding is deliberate. If it were not so, the only conclusion left is a fault with the speed limit or a speed enticing layout that could safely support a higher speed isn't it?

Whenever I talk to committees and groups, I ask them how many go out to deliberately speed and break the law? No-one does. Yet listen to police traffic officials and their whole premise is that this is all about catching unsocial disobedient drivers. They have to parrot that idea to persist with their very lucrative, if unimaginative speeding policy.

One of the signs that there is a problem at a site is a high number of offenders without the accidents to match the offences. This is a certain indication that the limit is too low and the layout is inviting a higher speed. If a site was generating thousands of accidents wouldn't it be a duty to find out why and correct the problem? So shouldn't the same principle be applied to prosecution too?

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: 

Speeding can have devastating consequences and it’s 

right that drivers should abide by the speed limit."

What driving CV the 'spokeswoman' has I can only guess 

but in fact she is wrong. Speeding causes nothing at all.

Well clearly one of the conclusions that may be drawn from these figures is that the speed limits and their cameras are not achieving their object are they? The system is failing; unless of course you count the profit from it all that is.

I challenge ACPO
to address the problem instead of pretending that it is all about disobedient drivers, and to educate DfT officials about speeding too.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cyclist's rule to impede & frustrate other road users? Do we need them?


In this story Cyclists are encouraged, by The Government no less, to use their bodies to impede and obstruct essential infrastructure.

Let's face it, driving and drivers are very much part of our infrastructure.

Without going into detail, this long piece written by cyclists for cyclists by something called the The National Standards for Cycle Training, tells its students to actually prevent drivers from passing or making progress by deliberately obstructing them with their own bodies. 'Dare to pass me and if I die it will be your fault'. They claim that drivers are very happy with that. Oh really? On the basis of what survey question was that statement made?

I have queried this: As an ex police class 1 advanced driver and road safety expert, I am disturbed that you are publishing advice which seems to be that people should use their unprotected bodies to deter motorists from passing them when cycling. To maintain a position in the road, contrary to other advice to all road users to keep to the left, but instead to deliberately impede and obstruct other road users.

I am also a lifetime cyclist and one of those like many millions before me, that don't moan and don't demand anything and I ride a nice upright sedate type of bike, as is common on the continent and as opposed to the lycra spandex racing style of the avid cyclist's lobby behind these stories.

I always feel that, when such articles are published, or more demands are made by cyclists, we should point out that unlike motor transport where society would literally collapse without it, the same isn't true about cycling. In fact, in reality, there are only two road user modes we must have and sustain; walkers and drivers. The rest are an unnecessary liability and hazard for crucial infrastructure.

It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that cyclists don't need to do it and nobody would miss them much if they didn't. So before encouraging people to be in roads at all, we should ask do we need it and must we have it? It's a fair question.

But amazingly this is being promoted by the DfT who seem to be quite happy about hampering and curtailing drivers. This is why Drivers' Union is urging drivers to keep nagging their MPs and getting a dedicated parliamentary driver's group too..   

  See how the Government are behind this nonsense.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Drink drive. A perspective.

On the issue of Drink Driving and the current campaign against it as promoted in your issue of the 11th December, I think it is possible to include a totally independent and expert view rather than just of those with vested interests, and non experts with hidden agendas, like BRAKE the Charity, who are very much part of a massive road safety industry.

Like taking any kind of telephone call whilst driving, alcohol consumption and driving do not mix and so I support any initiative to reduce it. 

However, we must try to maintain a perspective about it which is not apparent in the article.

 'Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads' we are told. But death from all causes on roads is lower than from accidents in the home and yet we do not breathalyse people at their kitchen sink, or doctors and nurses; even though death from NHS failure is about fifteen times higher than on the roads. Is it only road death that concerns us then? Of course not but it does rather beg the question: 'If this isn't either about vested interests or anti driver ideology, shouldn't we be spending just as much time on all avoidable death and injury then?'

We are told that 230 people were killed involving someone over the limit. I must point out that that doesn't mean that the accident was caused by drink driving but that a driver was over the limit and that's all. How anyone can then say, 'A further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers, who had been drinking not over the limit', is a complete Ministry of Guesswork mystery. 

If we focus only on the failure to pass a drink drive test after an accident, we lose focus on the real accident cause and that is dangerously counter productive. So we must not allow ourselves to be deceived about accident causes if we are concerned about road casualties.. 

Julie Townsend, an executive of BRAKE Charity, and who has no CV in accident reporting, prosecution or top road driving, is quoted predictably demanding a lowering of the drink and drive limit to zero tolerance and yet we are told that, under the present criterion, 6550 people still failed the existing test last December and Lincolnshire Police are catching 80 a month. How then will reducing the test level be effective if the current level doesn't work yet? Rather like lowering speed limits, all it will do is create more offenders who previously were and still are quite safe.

Lowering a limit simply doesn't make people more dangerous. 

What is the point of lowering the drink drive limit to a point where a common head cold or lack of sleep would be far more dangerous on the road? But one thing is for sure, whenever a bar is lowered on drivers, there is money to be made, more kit to be sold and maintained, more expensive courses to be sold by course providers and so on.

I would prefer that we focus on real road safety but I am still able to advise against drinking and driving too.

Keith Peat

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Life after Beeching. So what replaced trains as main transport infrastructure?

After Beeching cut railways to the core, we failed to provide the exclusive priority enjoyed by trains and railways to the obvious alternative; road transport. How can we then hamstring such substitute strategic infrastructure with unnecessary hazards, liability and ideologically and environmentally based speed restrictions and prosecution? 

Richard Beeching, Baron Beeching (21 April 1913 – 23 March 1985), commonly known as Dr Beeching, was chairman of British Railways and a physicist and engineer. He became a household name in Britain in the early 1960s for his report "The Reshaping of British Railways", commonly referred to as "The Beeching Report", which led to far-reaching changes in the railway network, popularly known as the Beeching Axe.
As a result of the report, just over 4,000 route miles were cut on cost and efficiency grounds, leaving Britain with 13,721 miles (22,082 km) of railway lines in 1966. A further 2,000 miles (3,200 km) were lost by the end of the 1960s.[
On 27 March 1963, Beeching published his report on the future of the railways. Entitled "The Reshaping of British Railways", he called for the closure of one-third of the country's 7,000 railway stations. Passenger services would be withdrawn from around 5,000 route miles accounting for an annual train mileage of 68 million and yielding, according to Beeching, a net saving of £18m per year. The reshaping would also involve the shedding of around 70,000 British Railways jobs over three years. Beeching forecast that his changes would result in an improvement in British Railway's accounts of between £115m and £147m.[7] The cut-backs would include the scrapping of a third of a million goods wagons, much as Stedeford had foreseen and fought against. See Gourvish (link below)
Unsurprisingly, Beeching's plans were hugely controversial not only with trade unions, but with the Labour opposition and railway-using public. Beeching was undeterred and argued that too many lines were running at a loss, and that his charge to shape a profitable railway made cuts a logical starting point.[4] As one author puts it, Beeching "was expected to produce quick solutions to problems that were deep-seated and not susceptible to purely intellectual analysis."[8] For his part, Beeching was unrepentant about his role in the closures: "I suppose I'll always be looked upon as the axe man, but it was surgery, not mad chopping."[9]
Beeching was nevertheless instrumental in modernising many aspects of the railway network, particularly a greater emphasis on block trains which did not require expensive and time-consuming shunting en route.
On 23 December 1964, Tom Fraser informed the House of Commons that Beeching was to return to ICI in June 1965.[10]

Monday, 1 December 2014

BRAKE deceiving the public yet again.

In this Wales on Line story  Brake trot out their predictable falsities.

When will the Establishment realise that these amateurs with no CV in road safety or driving are highly dangerous to all of us?  I have written to Wales on Line as follows:

 I am concerned about your article in Wales On Line by James Rothwell, on the high speeding offenders being generated in Wales. 

None of your commentators actually have a CV in the subject and BRAKE, ,an anti driver group with no CV in driving or indeed road safety at all, show it in their very faulty, untrue comments. I am afraid that even the pro driver remarks are little more than unsubstantial whinges.

BRAKE are totally incorrect to say all speeding is dangerous. 

To exceed an arbitrary number on a pole cannot cause anything to happen at all. Driving too fast causes accidents and that is most often below the limits; where indeed most accidents happen. It is wrong for your readers to be misled by anyone on this. I explain the effects of speed here  See Understand Speed

 When a site generates thousands of offenders without the attending accidents, that is evidence that they were all probably driving safely so speeding causes nothing. But it also indicates a problem at the site such as a faulty speed limit, poor signage or an enticing layout.

If the object of the camera is to maintain a limit then these high numbers mean that it is failing miserably in its objective. If these were thousands of accidents, would the police just keep taking pictures or find out why and correct it? So then let's not pretend that this is any more than a revenue raising exercise where, in Wales alone, two limited companies are doing some 6000 speed awareness courses a month, earning them £300,000 pm and the local forces some £180,000 pm.  

I survey many speed limits and most I survey are inappropriate and very often, if in a wrong combination, will actually cause accidents. 

BRAKE's position assumes that the limit is correct in the first place but most unintentional speeding is caused because the limit is wrong or the layout is deceiving and thus poorly signposted. As a result of this, most speeding is totally safe driving. So only extremes, should be prosecuted and if that excessive, the charge should be dangerous instead of speeding. If death is caused by excessive speed, the charge would not be causing death by speeding but death by dangerous driving; demonstrating that even the law doesn't see speeding as an accident cause.

Although the piece assumes these drivers are Welsh or local, that is highly unlikely because these easily identified speed enticement sites will only catch strangers in large numbers.

If you are going to cite amateurs on matters of road safety and driving, can I offer my services to you for some expert balance instead? I am sure that your readers would appreciate the truth on these matters.

I even provide a 24/7 media comment link from which, using topic labels, you will probably find an appropriate quote that you are most welcome to use if you cannot get hold of me.