Why is it... - Caveman
In the days of the Moggy minor and the A35 the national speed limit was 60mph, their overall stopping distances were measured in minutes not feet. The tyres they used were of the crossply flavour and had the cornering ability of a penguin on wizz. We now have things like ABS / AWD / AWS / ESP / crumple zones / air bags / vented disc brakes / servo assisted brakes / asymmetric super grippy radial tyres / 3 point seat belts and an mot test that is about 100 times more exacting than it was 30 years ago, even the cyclists now wear helmets in case we hit them.

So why are they lowering the speed limits on a some roads and planting speed cameras everywhere?

Why is it... - Bromptonaut
Because there are still far too many killed/seriously injured accidents where speed is a factor in causation or worsened outcome. Pressure for cameras and lower limits frequently comes from local residents (who ironically are then over represented amongst those flashed!!).

I'm sure the cyclist comment was t.i.c. but those who wear helmets (I won't) do so in case they fall off, not so you can chance going faster without the risk of hurting them.
Why is it... - J Bonington Jagworth
Because:

a) speed is easily quantifiable and recordable
b) the law has been changed to allow police forces to benefit from the fine revenue
c) it makes it look as though Something Is Being Done

IIRC, excessive speed is a significant factor in about 5% of accidents, which means that something else is the main cause of 95% of them. Carelessness, tiredness, impatience, that sort of thing...
Why is it... - Obsolete
JBJ: IIRC ~10% of accidents are caused by excessive speed, and excessive speed is a contributory factor in no more than 10% of accidents. Thus excessive speed is significant in roughly 1 in 5 accidents. Note that this is excessive speed which can include travelling within the speed limit e.g. going round a blind bend too fast, driving too fast in icy conditions, going too fast near children playing and so on.
Why is it... - J Bonington Jagworth
"excessive speed which can include travelling within the speed limit"

I think that, officially, that is 'inappropriate speed'. I was talking about speed in excess of the posted limit, which is what cameras measure and what all the fuss is about.

More than half of accidents occur below 30mph, and inappropriate speed may well be a factor in some of those, but speed cameras won't measure it.
Why is it... - none
JBJ
In my experience, those who are involved in accidents due to their excessive speed accuse the others involved of travelling at an inappropriate speed.
Why is it... - Cliff Pope
JBJ
In my experience, those who are involved in accidents due to
their excessive speed accuse the others involved of travelling at an
inappropriate speed.

>>

Nice one Carrick.
'My speed is appropriate, your speed is excessive'.
Why is it... - Colin M
Jeremy Clarkson once suggested to do away with all speed limits but charge drivers for driving without due care and attention if their speed was inappropriate for the road/time/weather etc.

Most "limits" posted now seem to be the minimum speed for drivers to proceed at. If I drive below 30 past schools at chucking out time etc, I get all and sundry trying to overtake, flashing their lights or otherwise trying to get me to speed up.

Trouble with his suggestion it would require policing and I don't remember the last time I saw a traffic policeman taking any interest in the quality of someone's driving.

Why is it... - Sooty Tailpipes
When people say x% of accidents are caused by eccessive speed, or speed is a factor in x% of accidents (well isn't Tarmac a factor too?)

Do they realise that after 11pm when they are fast asleep, there are cars driven by complete @£$%£%s flying around deliberately demolishing street furniture? Someone I know who had their car Hijacked got 11 speeding tickets in two weeks,, and when the car was found in the ghetto, it had obviously been in a few crashes, go figure. This is in Nottinghm BTW, where the traffic department of the Police was disbanded two years ago in favour of more speed cameras.
Why is it... - bazza
<<<<<<< If I drive below 30 past schools at chucking out time etc, I get all and sundry trying to overtake, flashing their lights or otherwise trying to get me to speed up.

.....which is surely preferable to the blood of a dead child all over the windscreen. My usual tactic to those idiots is to slow down even more.

Baz
Why is it... - Obsolete
Regarding dangerous driving, I believe that a speeding offence is unique in that a) a camera can issue it and b) you can be done for speeding on the word of one police officer. One important aspect is that the paperwork required is relatively small. I think if you are done for dangerous driving, there is a lot more paperwork. These days the police are overworked, hence I suspect this explains the preference for cameras. (Hopefully a serving/retired copper will correct me if I am mistaken.)

<<<<<<< If I drive below 30 past schools at chucking out time etc, I get all and sundry trying to overtake, flashing their lights or otherwise trying to get me to speed up.


I don't like the prospect of some moron shunting me if I have to stop suddenly, so I indicate left, and come to a stop. I then give a hand signal for then to overtake. Nine times out of ten they come to a stop 6 inches behind me and thus it is hard for them to overtake. I can't deny getting some pleasure from their predicament.

Why is it... - matt35 {P}
Leif,

'Nine times out of ten they come to a stop 6 inches behind me and thus it is hard for them to overtake. I can't deny getting some pleasure from their predicament.'

Nice but naughty - what about the kid maybe crossing behind them when they reverse?. Would these nutters look in the mirror?

T&T - tyres and tarmac - are what you need to see when you stop behind anything - lets you out if they can't move, saves your front end if they roll back, gives you a better view of what is going on around you...I've had heard Class 1 Police drivers give a commentary when stopped at lights - added to my inferiority complex.
Matt35.
Why is it... - Obsolete
Matt35: Nice but naughty

On the contrary. I feel ill at ease driving with someone so close - it means I have to concentrate more, go slower near hazards and I find it stressful, esp. if they are making angry faces and swearing. By pulling in and indicating clearly I give them a chance to overtake. The fact that they end up stationary and so close is just another symptom of poor driving skills.
Why is it... - matt35 {P}
Leif,

'The fact that they end up stationary and so close is just another symptom of poor driving skills.'

Exactly!

Matt35.
Why is it... - THe Growler
Certainly true here. The only gain is they end up just in front of me at the next set of traffic lights. You have a good day now, you hear?
Why is it... - No Do$h
I'm not saying my version is right, but it works for me.....

30 limit: Absolute MAXIMUM. It's there for a reason and that reason is normally alarmingly similar in appearance to you, me, our children, parents and similar.

40 limit: As above, only less pink squishy ones, more likely to be as a result of odd road furniture, strange corners, hidden entrances and other things that will make my car less lovely and my airbag less packed into the steering wheel. Exceed at your peril

50 limit: Likely to be urban dual carriageway. Likely to have lots of on-off traffic. Likley to hurt if you don't have your wits about you. Ignore at your peril.

NSL single carriageway: Lovely! If you have the visibility and the conditions, enjoy it. Likely to be illegal but doesn't have to be foolish. On many occassions I have registered speeds well in excess of 60, then slowed to way below that because the conditions require it. Good examples would be a gateway in a field, blind bend I could physically take at 70 but can't see around, narrow sections of road, surface imperfections that will impact on control, etc ad nauseaum. If I don't feel confident in my actions, I slow. If the sun is low, I slow. In a nutshell, appropriate speed!

NSL Dual Carriageway and motorway: Will it really make a difference if you hit 90? The traffic ahead will mean the chap you overtook 8 miles back will be right behind you again in a minute.
Why is it... - Hugo {P}
Slowing to a halt and putting hazards on realy works for me when those idiots are trying to overtake, serving in and out.

Hugo
Why is it... - jeds
If you search for analysis of road traffic accidents you will find that virtually all reports state that speed is statistically insignificant in serious road traffic accidents except when excessive. The only reports which will show different are those produced to support speed ('safety') camera campaigns.

It is baffling that there are people who are totally convinced that reducing speed will make roads safer when there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Poor driving standards, distracted drivers (often by speed cameras) and poor road attitude are by miles bigger factors but presumably don't raise the same funds.

A report last week said that thousands of people have died in the back of ambulances due to speed humps yet the reduction in pedestrian deaths in speed hump areas is so small it can't be measured. Yet, the speed hump campaigners are 'up in arms' at the proposal to remove speed humps. Where on earth is the logic in that?

Why is it... - Obsolete
jeds: It is baffling that there are people who are totally convinced that reducing speed will make roads safer when there is absolutely no evidence to support it.

The following is the West London speed camera demonstration project:

www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/docume...e

It demonstrates a significant reduction in fatalities and a slight increase in minor accidents due to tail-gating after the introduction of speed cameras.

Regarding speed bumps, I agree completely. The report indicated that a 1 minute delay in getting a heart attack victim to hospital leads to a significant reduction in survival probability. It also indicated that medics often refrain from inserting a saline drip into a casualty due to the hazard of going over a road hump while inserting the needle.

Speed cushions are crazy. They can be taken at normal speed, but force the driver to look at the hump to align their wheels rather than look out for other road users and hazards. If a car is parked at the side of one, it encourages you to go too close to the car, leading to increased danger to car occupants who open a door into passing traffic. And if a cyclist is present, she will have to endure some inconsiderate driver passing her too close because he is aligning his cars wheels with the speed cushion.
Why is it... - jeds
Leif, I can't open the link but I think I have read this report before. The fact is that this issue is too complicated to discuss in anything but broad terms here. I often see people make sweeping, and incorrect, statements about speed being responsible for huge numbers of fatalities when in fact it is a relatively minor factor compared to other causes.

Make no mistake, I don't just say this lightly. The government knows full well that speed camera campaigns are flawed but it is not in its interest to do anything about it.

The government knows that road safety is an extremely difficult problem to resolve. It has calculated that for a massive injection of cash and resource over a very long period of time it would not see any real return for at least 10 or 15 years. There simply is no incentive for it to tackle real road safety.

Of course the government also knows it has to be seen to be taking positive action and would prefer if it has some positive figures to show for it. Road safety campaigns are perfect. A group of virtual volunteers who are easily blinded by loaded figures, and reports and which can be run for a fraction of the cost of actually tackling road safety.

What would you do?

Did you know that police action against all other serious offences has fallen dramatically since the introduction of speed cameras. For example, arrests for dangerous and drink driving offences have nearly halved. Traffic signal and direction arrests have fallen by nearly 40%. The only reason police forces get away with it is by showing glowing results for catching largely innocent drivers who are slightly exceeding posted limits.

The UK official road fatality rate had dropped steadily for many years until about 8 or 10 years ago when it levelled and started to rise - the first rise in nearly 40 years. This change started soon after the introduction of speed cameras and will continue to rise until the government is forced to tackle the real issues..
Why is it... - Flat in Fifth
If you search for analysis of road traffic accidents you will
find that virtually all reports state that speed is statistically insignificant
in serious road traffic accidents except when excessive. The only reports
which will show different are those produced to support speed ('safety')
camera campaigns.


So how do you class the various TRL reports in relation to the above statement?
Why is it... - GrumpyOldGit
No Dosh - I completely agree with you and use the same speed restriction rules myself. It seems logical to me.
Why is it... - matt35 {P}
No Dosh,
Probably the best and most considered comment I have read on speed control in the months I have been on the website.
Matt35.
Why is it... - SR
Can I add my agreement with NoDosh's summary?

My only concern is that many drivers would not be capable of interpreting the sort of indications mentioned as reasons to back off on a single carriageway.

It also reminds me of what I feel is a glaring anomaly in our current speed limit structure, i.e. "NSL dual carriageway and motorway". Why does a road that could have pedestrians, cyclists, stopping buses, farm vehicles, vehicles turning across oncoming traffic, short slip roads, etc. have the same limit as a motorway with proper separation at junctions, exclusions for certain types of user, etc.?
Why is it (reprise)?... - RickyBoy
that certain parts of the M1 (largely Ooop North) remain unlit, eh?
Why is it (reprise)?... - SpamCan61 {P}
Plus most of the M3 / M27
Why is it (reprise)?... - Flat in Fifth
Ricky,

IIRC the lighting on the Nottinghamshire section was put in place because of the frequency of foggy conditions in the area, eg part included Trent valley.

As for other areas being lit or not cannot comment.
Why is it (reprise)?... - RickyBoy
I always enjoy my journey South once I get to that point.

Must be something to do with Northern-monkey tightwad-fistedness that prevails in the Sheffield/Wakfield area then? I hail from Halifax so would know about these things...
Why is it (reprise)?... - James_Jameson
No Dosh: you say that you sometimes go above the NSL speed limit because you are able to judge for yourself that conditions allow you to do that.

Fine, I agree that the motorist should be able to think for themself and judge the speed at which they drive, because a road's conditions change every few yards and a blanket speed limit is nearly always inappropriate.

But why do you say that you are unable to make this judgement in areas where there are lower speed limits and thus stick to these speed limits?
 

Value my car