01/01/2013

New Speed Limits For The UK

The newspapers reported that some councils could drop speed limits to 20mph. It's one of those topics where you can't argue against it, because if you do, all someone has to say is, "But if it saves just one life..." and they have won. If someone brings up the concept of one person dying, emotionally everyone thinks they're right. But why don't we follow their argument through? If dropping the speed limit to 20mph will save lives, why don't we drop it to 10mph? Or 1mph? That will say even more lives.

"Well, now you're just being ridiculous," they'll say. "But if it saves just one life," you can retort.

In the same report we heard that the Government is "backing away" from their plans to increase the speed limits on motorways to 80mph.

All those sci-fi films where they showed the near future, with cars zooming along at 200mph, lied to us. Computers get faster, planes get faster, even humans at the Olympics get faster. But for some reason, as society and technology develops, the cars are getting slower.

Motorway driving is actually some of the safest driving you can do. All the cars are going in the same direction. Thanks to the two carriageways you can't have a head on collision, and the number of accidents on the M-roads are much lower per mile than the A-roads. So, why don't they increase the speed limit to 80mph? Well, if it saves just one life... Right?

However, motoring organisations have tried to come up with arguments against it. They have said the 20mph speed zones could make exasperated motorists drive badly, which could lead to more accidents. Here's a top tip that will solve that problem. If you're driving behind someone who is doing 20mph, don't drive into the back of them. It seems simple when I've told you the answer.

Some people are saying that the councils want to lower the speed limits because it will bring in more in speeding fines. While they may be true in some cases, there are certainly some roads that deserve a safer speed limit. Dropping speed limits in certain areas "at certain times" makes sense. Any road near a school should be a 20mph road, as you can never be sure if a child is going to run out into the road. But if you're driving along that road at 1am, you should be allowed to be 30mph. If there's a child leaving the school at that time, they clearly had such a long detention they're wrong 'uns.

The answer to this, as with so much in life, is to be reasonable. Don't use an emotional response, think about it rationally.

Oh, and if it saves just one life... it's not a very efficient improvement is it?

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