River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter to the Editor

March 2004

More debate on driving!

Dear Ray

I have often found myself in agreement with Graham Forster on various issues. On this occasion, however, I have to disagree. He complains in his letter that the IAM recommend driving in third gear if your car will not travel happily at 30mph in fourth. Personally I have yet to drive such a car, our present car with a manual gearbox is capable of speeds in excess of 120mph but will potter along at 30mph in fourth. Nevertheless, assuming that it is necessary to drive in third then so be it, I do not believe that with modern cars the effect on pollution would be noticeable. Graham links his concern over this matter with his concern that strict enforcement of the speed limit will force people to keep to 30mph and, apparently would like to see some latitude. How much latitude would he like? I doubt if a police officer would prosecute if he was doing 31mph and perhaps not at 32, but clearly there has to be a line drawn and if his car will not do 30mph in fourth gear I doubt if 31 or 32 would make it much easier.

Every day there are on average ten people killed on our roads and many times that figure injured, a disproportionate number of these are children. I believe that a not insignificant percentage of these accidents are a result of someone driving too fast for the conditions. We have all seen the TV Ad which demonstrates that a car travelling at 30mph can avoid an accident that it could not have avoided had it been travelling at 35. Because of the irresponsibility of some people we cannot leave it to the individual driver to decide what is a reasonable speed, therefore we need speed limits and if we are to have speed limits they need to be enforced. Having said that I know how difficult it can be at times to comply. When approaching Crimplesham from this side, for example, it always seems difficult to get down to 30 in time and 30 seems to be very slow, but I've no doubt we would see it differently if we lived there and I am happy to accept that we should observe the limit.

Whilst on a motoring topic I, like you Ray, regret the way in which speed cameras have replaced so many traffic police so that there is little chance that those outrageously bad drivers will be caught before they have an accident. I am also incensed, as you are, by the number of drivers that do not have MoT's, road tax or insurance and go unapprehended. I am told that, on average, we all pay an extra £60 on our insurance premiums in order to provide cover for the victims of uninsured drivers. The maximum penalty for driving without insurance has just been increased and I think it is now £260. This is quite scandalous in my view because it is likely to be considerably less than the insurance premium that the insurance dodger would have paid. Since they can probably get away without paying for several years before they get caught one has to ask just what kind of deterrent is a £260 fine.

Finally can I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the January issue, which I meant to do before. In particular I thought there was plenty of very humorous items, something we needed during that dreary month. I very much enjoyed reading Les Lawrence, it was good to see him back on form

Ron Watts

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