There’s been a deal of carping of late about the rising tide of lethal carnage round Britain’s ramshackle road network. After years of falling death rates, some trouble makers now seem hell bent on making a big fuss about the odd extra RTA expiration here and there.

Some kind of tenuous link has even been suggested between slashing road safety investment, switching off Britain’s speed cameras, ending the ‘war on motorists’ etc. and the growing trail of human roadkill which saw 1,901 lives prematurely ended last year (up 3% on 2010). Nonsense all of it!

And, in any case, no right-minded person could seriously expect that the omelette of improved credit ratings for UK plc can be achieved without breaking the odd egg along the way. So let’s hear no more about it.

The one pertinent point to emerge from more recent sets of traffic casualty stats, however, is that two thirds of the current spate of deaths from motor vehicle misadventures (MVMs) occurred on rural as opposed to urban roads. Almost seven out of ten human road deaths took place in a rural setting in 2010 – half of these on country roads with the default extra-urban limit of 60mph.

The Telegraph – from whom Bankstone shamelessly lifted the less nonsensical elements of this story – reported this week that HMG is attempting to nudge local authorities in the direction of imposing 40mph speed restriction on some rural roads. The big problem here, of course, is cost. All those metal disks with numbers on cost a bloomin’ fortune to purchase and erect, and neither central nor local government have much stomach for it.

Whilst previous NewLab governments flirted with the wildly impractical idea of cutting the default out of town limit to 50mph, this new lot have hit on the eminently more sensible idea of making it “cheaper and easier” for local authorities to lower speed limits.

Under the DfT’s new proposals, The Telegraph explains, councils will be able to “designate quiet stretches of roads as 40mph zones” which will only “require one sign at the start of the zone and another when it ends.” This will surely prove irresistible to cash-strapped councils who are probably out already looking for quietly dangerous stretches of rural tarmac with no extra-signage-requiring side roads or whatever.

Although – hang on – Road Safeness Minister Mike Pennis says “40mph limits should be considered for sections of rural roads where there are many bends, junctions or accesses [sic] and speeds are already at 40mph or below.”

As logical and coherent as this guidance on forbidding people from driving any faster than they do already clearly is, some motoring groups apparently had trouble taking it in. Poor Stephen Glamster of the RACY Foundation commented confusedly: “I don’t have a feel for how this would work in rural areas without repeated signs.”

Bankstone News expects a hefty fine will give Mr Glamster “a feel” soon enough! Although, actually, that’s probably not very likely as the new speed restrictions are expected to be “largely self-enforcing”.

Basically, it’s just good to know that someone’s finally taken decisive action to stop people killing themselves and/or others by haring round Britain’s leafy lanes in cars they can’t quite handle.


No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *