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Road Safety & The Police

Road safety matters which is why I’m on this one again. Here, in the mighty metropolis where I reside, there is a partial ring road around the huge housing estates and general suburbia. It is festooned with traffic lights and roundabouts and has a forty mile per hour speed limit. I hate it.

Recently, whilst motoring peacefully along it, in the new and rather splendid Peugeot 3008 (review soon), I was overtaken by two sporting motors going at it hell for leather. Having dealt with me they continue to change lanes in traffic and generally drive badly, but the thing is they did not appear to be associated as, a bit further one, they went in different directions.

That’s the thing: They were not racing – it was just coincidental bad driving. Now, even I think that the speed limit is daft on this stretch of road but that’s what the sign says. In the interests of enforcing road safety this particular carriageway was once consistently monitored by one of those those sneaky plain vans with on-board cameras backed up by traffic cars routinely

Lately though, there is nothing. The police have been replaced by flashing signs that chastise erring motorists, like a nagging, wagging finger. They don’t have any effect. These signs never work – they just irritate. It is a case of the local authority being seen to be doing something (and I wouldn’t trust my local authority to run a ‘bring & buy’ stall at the local fête) about road safety without really doing anything at all. I don’t blame the cops because there are so few of them left; something that has become abundantly clear of late.

The result on this road and, it seems, on pretty much all other roads, is that speeding is once again on the increase because the chance of being pinched by the peelers is slight so the general standard of driving is dropping – something I have remarked on oft times before. Speed doesn’t kill by itself, it is the bad or inappropriate driving associated with it that is the root cause and speed cameras are no defence against that.

This slipping of standards is apparent at junctions and slip roads; anywhere in fact where drivers need to engage brain. Aggressive driving is also on the increase, as remarked on above. It is as if it is enough to collect revenue from static cameras and motorway devices without enforcing rules from a road safety first point of view.

There was a time when I would complain at length to anyone who would listen about the general interference in our lives and I expect I will continue to do so but this doesn’t absolve the authorities from their basic purpose when it comes to Britain’s roads. It is my belief that most drivers are heartily sick of hearing all the bleating from councils and government about the lack of money when these are the very people who blew it all in the first place.

Road safety is not about money – it is about lives and our ability to go about our business in a trouble-free manner. It is about traffic police keeping a steely eye on driving standards and, as these days of horror demonstrate, about having enough dedicated officers to do the job across the board.

There are still plenty of courteous and careful drivers about who understand that driving can be enjoyed without acting like the two aforementioned idiots. Nevertheless some motorists have become complacent and careless at best and totally irresponsible at worst.

Sadly, society has always had its share of oafs and cretins and monsters; this is why we need more live police monitoring our roads and, regrettably, our lives. Geoff Maxted