War Memorial Gary Trouton

Letter from A resident of Stoke Ferry

April 2004

A Stoke Ferry Resident enters the speeding debate!




Dear Editor,

Without replying to any specific letter, may I be allowed to contribute to the 'speeding' / '30 m.p.h. in top gear' debate.

Having being a parish councillor in a nearby parish for 14 years I, like the current Stoke Ferry P.C. had access to the Norfolk Police reports. During my time in office I seem to recall that the actual figures did not support the popular rhetoric. Averaging several years together the figures indicated that speed was a major contributing factor to something like 30% of all accidents in Norfolk. However not paying attention to ones surroundings and situation was a major contributory factor in something like 70%of Norfolk accidents. From this the conclusions are obvious. Whether driving at twenty-five or thirty five miles an hour in a thirty zone concentrating or paying attention to what you are doing is of prime importance. Not to do so was, at least at that time, a major cause of accidents.

I have a fear that many drivers may well pay attention to the 'Speed Kills' slogan, drop their speed by five miles an hour and still continue as before. They chat to their passenger, look away from the road, root around in their glove box, light a cigarette; wipe their child's nose or any one of a hundred things that take their concentration away from the task in hand. With dire results.

Ray Garrett has it dead right. Driving is a skill that is enjoyable but requires great concentration. Neglect that concentration at your peril.

Now to the '30 m.p.h. in top gear' debate. In order to avoid a potentially awkward situation whilst driving you have three resources at your disposal: braking, steering and acceleration. Surely any safe driver should prefer to have all three at his disposal at all times? Two out of three is simply not good enough. I suggest that in many modern cars with a five or six speed gearbox, the 'top' gear is more in the nature of an old fashioned 'overdrive'. Hit that at 30 m.p.h if you need a bit of acceleration to avoid a possible accident and all you get is a sinking feeling in your stomach.

Just an afterthought. To maintain my pilots licence I have to undergo a bi-annual check with a C.A.A. examiner. Any takers on a five-year re-test for drivers? If you are thinking 'No Way!!!', what have you got to hide?

Peter Bodle

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