|London, 27 Oct 1999.
For immediate release.
However, councils are increasingly taking it upon themselves to reduce local speed limits, enforcing them with traffic calming and cameras. These new controls focus on lowering speeds everywhere rather than where speed is potentially dangerous. The ABD believes that this narrow focus will lead to more deaths and fatalities, not fewer, and urges drivers to take these councils to task.
"There is a world of difference between sticking to a bad speed limit and driving safely" said ABD spokesman Mark McArthur Christie, himself an IAM observer and RoSPA qualified driver. "Itís bad driving and inappropriate speed that kill, not speed alone. New measures targeted at slowing drivers forget that a bad driver is as deadly at 30mph as he is at 80mph. The Government and road safety groups need to be educating drivers to see the benefits of anticipating hazards and planning ahead, not just reducing impact speeds. We should be educating drivers up, not dumbing them down."
It is this undermining of driving skills, as well as the unjust treatment of highly skilled and safe drivers, which has driven the ABDís campaigning on road safety issues since the Associationís inception in 1992. Many ABD members are also senior members of local IAM groups, where there has been growing frustration over the intransigence of both local and national government over this issue.
"Drivers cannot possibly learn the roadcraft and hazard perception skills required to keep themselves and others safe if they are constantly prevented from setting their speed at the right level for the conditions by speed limits that are too low," says ABD member John Lyon, Chief Instructor of the High Performance Course and a former senior Police instructor. "Many councils are reducing good A roads to 50mph, introducing 30mph limits in entirely inappropriate places and even putting 50mph limits on dual carriageways. Meanwhile, enforcement is concentrated on motorways, dual carriageways and open A roads - the very places where speed is safe - rather than on residential roads lined with parked cars, where it is not."
The ABD welcomes the IAMís move to advocate training and education, and encourages ALL drivers to take local councils to task where bad speed limits are proposed or already exist.
Notes on the IAM press release
The IAM have specifically condemned both the suggestion that the national speed limit on A roads should be reduced from 60 to 50mph and the proposal for zero tolerance of drivers exceeding 30mph limits. Here are the direct quotes from their press release, which the ABD would fully support:
* Zero tolerance for drivers slightly over the 30mph limit
The IAM believes that drivers should be punished severely for inappropriate, i.e. dangerous speeding, but the IAM cannot support zero tolerance. Drivers should concentrate on the road, not the speedometer. Speed limits are not targets.
* Blanket speed reductions on A-roads from 60mph to 50mph
There is no need for blanket speed limit reductions, which would be a ham-fisted attempt to minimize road casualties. In order to achieve the desired level of respect and compliance with all statutory speed limits, they must be relevant to the road and the environment to which they apply.