4 April 2009.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Brake and Direct Line Should Rethink Speed Policy
In a recent press release Brake and Direct Line Insurance mistakenly claim that
"By driving at 35MPH rather than 30MPH they (drivers) are twice as likely to kill a child."
ABD spokesman Nigel HuMPHries explains that this is simply not true:
"Brake have misinterpreted a very different statistic which shows that in an impact of 35MPH a pedestrian is twice as likely to be killed as in an impact of 30MPH. Any accident investigator will tell you that impact speed is rarely anything like travelling speed. Impact speed is the result of a combination of factors including travelling speed but also more crucially the quality of driver observation, positioning, adjusting of speed to hazard density, reaction times, road surfaces, tyre condition and many other things. Very few accidents occur with no slowing or braking whatsoever. Such accidents are usually only those where the driver falls asleep or is totally distracted."
HuMPHries goes on to point out the serious issues dangerously masked by such misuse of statistics:
"In truth, the numeric value of travelling speed is far less of an issue than whether the driver has adjusted his speed and position to achieve the one VITAL objective in safe driving. He or she MUST ensure that speed is always set at a level where they can safely stop within the distance guaranteed to be clear. It is no good driving at 30MPH and assuming it is OK because the child will only be injured not killed. A child CAN be killed in a 30MPH impact and if not will probably be seriously maimed. It is thoroughly irresponsible of Brake and Direct Line to imply that this is good practice. Their advocated ISA speed management will actively encourage more foot to floor driving with fewer drivers setting their speed safely. The safest drivers are continually varying their speed to suit conditions; any expert driver will tell you that. This is why the ABD has consistently campaigned for government campaigns to focus upon advising drivers on how to set speed to conditions and to drop their focus on irrelevant numbers."
The serious injuries to Liam Stagnell were not caused because a driver was travelling a few MPH over a speed limit. According to news reports the driver in question was found guilty of dangerous driving after overtaking a number of vehicles on the wrong side of a traffic island at 78MPH in a 60MPH limit. As ever, the cause was not 'speed' but bad driving. This unfortunately seems typical of the examples used by Brake, which rarely seem to involve sober, otherwise safe, legally registered and insured drivers travelling a few MPH above the speed limit. One has to question why they find such examples hard to come by? Perhaps it is because such cases are extremely rare?

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