Doctor was not ‘speeding’ at 102mph
Sir, I see that a local doctor has been fined and disqualified for driving at 102 miles per hour in Glencoe ( The Oban
Times, October 13). In the absence of any danger – and there is no report of any member of the public being involved or affected, the most likely casualty being a stray deer and there are too many of those already – it is difficult to see what purpose this serves other than to deprive an already staff-strapped NHS of an expensively-trained and highly- skilled doctor.
The offence here was not speeding, which is travelling at a velocity inappropriate to all the prevailing conditions, but exceeding a statutory speed limit.
The problem with statutory limits is that people drive to them and this de-skills the art of controlling a vehicle. There are many occasions when 60 can be too slow, just as 30 can be too fast in adverse weather or traffic conditions.
Annual fatalities in the UK have stuck at around the 1,800 mark for the past six years and the decrease in the six years prior to that is more due to improvements in car design and the protection of occupants rather than any enforcement activity.
It is time the police and regulatory authorities realised that existing transport policies are not working and looked at alternative strategies. Indeed, there is an argument for the abolition of all speed limits and the promotion of better driving.
It is estimated that if the driving test standard were increased to Police Class 2 or Institute of Advanced Motorists level, road casualties would be reduced by 75 per cent, but this is a politically unacceptable solution as the resulting loss of revenue from road tax, fuel duties and VAT, plus increased reliance on an already overloaded public transport system is too high a price for any government to pay.
So we are left with a compromise where the police are happy to hide in the bushes with their speed guns and pursue motorists for fixed penalties while ignoring the real issues and, in the process, irreparably damaging their reputation in the eyes of the public.
The police will say, of course, that they do not get the money from fines but this is being economical with the truth. It is collected by central government but paid back to them via the so- called ‘safety’ partnerships, thus keeping police vehicles on the road which would otherwise have to be paid for out of their general subvention.
It is time that the fixed limit and penalty regime is consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs and driver behaviour is assessed using the IAM original motto of ‘Skill with Responsibility’.
Only then will we see an acceptable attitude to road safety and a reduction in casualties.