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 Post subject: Removing NSL
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 13:12 
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Hi,
Long time reader first time poster here. :)

Those that know me through another website have heard this argument before, but how about we try removing NSL altogether on motorways and other suitable roads? They are after all designed for 120mph, and many people (myself included) drive at speeds in excess of 70mph when it is quite clearly safe to do so. Obviously in tandem with this, more VSL schemes would be needed, to allow enforcement of sensible limits for poor driving conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Removing NSL
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 18:54 
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Lenzar wrote:
Hi,
Long time reader first time poster here. :)

Those that know me through another website have heard this argument before, but how about we try removing NSL altogether on motorways and other suitable roads? They are after all designed for 120mph, and many people (myself included) drive at speeds in excess of 70mph when it is quite clearly safe to do so. Obviously in tandem with this, more VSL schemes would be needed, to allow enforcement of sensible limits for poor driving conditions.


I would be delighted to see the NSL abolished for my own purposes, but when you say 'motorways and other suitable roads' this should mean all roads outside of built-up areas, i.e. towns and villages etc.

We ought not to get involved with the added complexity of variable limits in a fruitless attempt to match speeds to a hugely varying set of road surface and weather conditions. To be honest I don't think that would work to any useful extent, and I wouldn't bother with it.

What we need is a more limited set of rules/guidance, allied to general improvements in driver capability. If the authorities had the gumption to put some meaningful effort into approaching it on that basis we could soon be a lot better off - in various ways.

BTW, welcome to the forum.

Best wishes all,
Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 00:25 
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Removing the NSL would be fine for many drivers, but unfortunately not all. There are those who are not good at selecting a safe speed for the conditions, either because they're unskilled or because they're newly qualified. Often what they will do is drive to the speed limit instead. So if you removed the NSL then you'd see them doing goodness knows what speeds on NSL roads, speeds which a more skilled driver would never approach in such conditions.

So IMHO those less skilled drivers need to be "capped" at the NSL. What I would like to see is some kind of advanced driving test which, on passing, would give the driver dispensation to go over the NSL when it's safe (because, amazing though some people seem to find it, it can be safe). Maybe an "advanced licence" would also give dispensation for other things...how about exclusive use of lane 3? :twisted: (I'm not serious about that, because of elephant racing for a start, but I can't help thinking it would reduce L3 hogging and congestion in some conditions at least....)

I think the advanced licence idea is the only way of simultaneously capping the top speeds of less skilled drivers, and stopping the rather unfair situation where a decent driver can be banned for doing 100mph on an empty motorway that was designed for up to 120mph.

In the meantime, though, I don't see much wrong with increasing the motorway limit to 80mph for everyone. Maybe some high-quality dual carriageways could have this limit as well, and some of the very best single carriageways could probably go up to 70mph. (Anyone who is thinking about saying "There'd be carnage" will I hope be able to back that up with evidence of accidents caused by drivers exceeding the NSL by up to 10mph. No? Thought not.)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 22:15 
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Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 22:37 
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We already have roads with no numeric speed limit. Or, effectively. Single track country lanes.
I went down some of these on sunday to do my shopping.
If you get up to 60mph then you'll probably just end up in a hedge.
So "maximum legal closing speed" of 120mph, head-on.
But not even a hint of an accident having happened.
How can that be?!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 22:46 
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mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?

I dont recall reading that... and I re-read it to check.

It merely says SUITABLE roads.
I cant think of any myself outside of motorways apart from a few hundred yards.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 09:01 
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mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?


Interesting you mention that. On a single carriageway we have closing speeds of 120-140mph for the most part very safely yet on motorways the max closing speed, given the barrier, is about 70-80. An excellent argument for raising the limit on motorways, well done mpatton2004.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:25 
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bombus wrote:
Removing the NSL would be fine for many drivers, but unfortunately not all. There are those who are not good at selecting a safe speed for the conditions, either because they're unskilled or because they're newly qualified. Often what they will do is drive to the speed limit instead. So if you removed the NSL then you'd see them doing goodness knows what speeds on NSL roads, speeds which a more skilled driver would never approach in such conditions.


But hey - it works in Germany!

But you're right - in this country, the average driver is terrible at choosing the correct lane, and has no qualms about blocking a motorist behind, having adopted the "dog in a manger" mindset.

In Germany, there's no speed limit on a 3-lane autobahn, but generally a 120km/h limit on a 2-lane autobahn. Drivers seem to be excellent at managing speed, using their mirrors, and pulling over to allow faster traffic to pass. If you want to know how bad it is here, drive in Germany for a week, then come back here. You'll be absolutely appalled at the standard of British lane discipline before you've even got past Kent. :banghead:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:27 
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I'm ambivalent about raising the speed limit on motorways (as in I don't have a strong opinion either way) but I agree with Bombus's point about somehow rewarding advanced or continued driver training.

Positive points, set aside lanes, "advanced driver only" roads, perhaps even advanced driver parking areas. This kind of thing would not only be a reward but also an incentive for continued training.

In regard to increased limits on motorways, in order to do it safely, the limits for lorries and HGV's would need to be increased. At the moment, there is a legal 14mph difference between cars and heavies, and probably a realistic average of 25mph difference in practice. If the limit on the motorway was raised to 90, there would be a legal 34mph differential. Even if no-one was speeding, the average disparity between the speeds would be higher than it currently is. This disparity - or "closing speed" - would threaten the motorway safety record, I think.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:44 
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I forgot to say - I think the police have been in favour of an 80 limit on motorways for a long time now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:54 
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mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?


As opposed to current closing speeds of 120mph.

120 safe, 160 dangerous eh?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 15:31 
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Did I say that it was? :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 15:43 
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Ernest Marsh wrote:
mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?

I dont recall reading that... and I re-read it to check.

It merely says SUITABLE roads.
I cant think of any myself outside of motorways apart from a few hundred yards.


I was referring to the post from "bombus", sorry for not quoting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 15:57 
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toltec wrote:
mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?


Interesting you mention that. On a single carriageway we have closing speeds of 120-140mph for the most part very safely yet on motorways the max closing speed, given the barrier, is about 70-80. An excellent argument for raising the limit on motorways, well done mpatton2004.


In fact, ~1200 of the ~3200 fatal accidents in 2006 occured on roads subject to a 60 mph speed limit*, of which the majority are NSL single carriageways, so I wouldn't say they are "very safe" at all.

What is the point of raising the limit on motorways to 80 anyhow? What difference would it make? A negligible amount on most journeys, I would have thought, at the cost of higher fuel consumption.

* http://www.dft.gov.uk/162259/162469/221 ... 2006v1.pdf [p94]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 15:58 
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DieselMoment wrote:
I forgot to say - I think the police have been in favour of an 80 limit on motorways for a long time now.


Source?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 15:58 
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mpaton2004 wrote:
Ernest Marsh wrote:
mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?

I dont recall reading that... and I re-read it to check.

It merely says SUITABLE roads.
I cant think of any myself outside of motorways apart from a few hundred yards.


I was referring to the post from "bombus", sorry for not quoting.

Frankly, I don't really see much point in trying to discuss this with you. Sorry.

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"The freedom provided by the motor vehicle is not universally applauded, however: there are those who resent the loss of state control over individual choice that the car represents. Such people rarely admit their prejudices openly; instead, they make false or exaggerated claims about the adverse effects of road transport in order to justify calls for higher taxation or restrictions on mobility." (Conservative Way Forward: Stop The War Against Drivers)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 00:29 
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mpaton2004 wrote:
What is the point of raising the limit on motorways to 80 anyhow? What difference would it make? A negligible amount on most journeys, I would have thought, at the cost of higher fuel consumption.



Well, it would put tens of thousands of drivers on the right side of the law overnight, for a start! Surely that can only be a good thing!

It would also bring us into line with (most of) the rest of Europe. Given the increasing number of non-UK drivers on our roads, that might not be a bad thing too.

It would be unlikely to make much difference to National fuel consumption as that's a pretty normal speed for free-flowing car traffic on a motorway anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 06:59 
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bombus wrote:
mpaton2004 wrote:
Ernest Marsh wrote:
mpaton2004 wrote:
Single carriageways with nothing more than white paint dividing vehicles with a closing speed of possibly 140-160mph. You think that would improve safety? What have you been drinking?

I dont recall reading that... and I re-read it to check.

It merely says SUITABLE roads.
I cant think of any myself outside of motorways apart from a few hundred yards.


I was referring to the post from "bombus", sorry for not quoting.

Frankly, I don't really see much point in trying to discuss this with you. Sorry.

All right, maybe that was a bit harsh. But I wasn't too impressed with the "closing speed of 140-160mph" argument (or the stupid "drinking" remark).

As RobinXe says, what is it about a closing speed of 140mph which is unacceptably dangerous compared with a closing speed of 120mph? Or would you prefer the single carriageway NSL to be reduced to 50mph or 40mph? How about 30mph? 10mph? 1mph? Where does it stop, and why?

And where (as I previously asked) is the evidence of accidents resulting from people travelling between 60 and 70mph on single carriageways? Where is the evidence of this happening from the days before Barbara Castle, when the single carriageway NSL was 70mph? Also, many good single carriageway roads have been reduced to 50mph in recent years, but I've never seen a shred of evidence that this has reduced accidents, which there would logically be if your assertion was correct.

Simply saying "Oh no, permitted free-travelling speeds would be higher, therefore that would be more dangerous" is a typical assumption made by camera advocates for which no evidence is ever provided, because it's supposedly "obvious". "Slower is safer". That's why 15 years of cameras and lowered speed limits have only resulted in the infamous fatality gap. In other words, people are dying because of these incorrect assumptions. I've never even seen a camera advocate acknowledge the indisputable difference between impact and free-travelling speed, let alone try to explain their relationship. Simply ignoring that difference (and other things like it) because it's "too complicated" or it "threatens to make cameras look less effective" or "there isn't really a difference and speeders just pretend there is because they want to go too fast everywhere" is outrageous and won't do anything to save lives.

Also, I know it's only one road, but the A6144(M) was a single carriageway with a 70mph limit until a couple of years ago. Despite it not being as high quality as many single carriageways, I don't recall hearing about accidents resulting from the oh-so-high speed limit.

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"The freedom provided by the motor vehicle is not universally applauded, however: there are those who resent the loss of state control over individual choice that the car represents. Such people rarely admit their prejudices openly; instead, they make false or exaggerated claims about the adverse effects of road transport in order to justify calls for higher taxation or restrictions on mobility." (Conservative Way Forward: Stop The War Against Drivers)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 15:12 
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A thought:

How about making all speed limits "advisory but contributory"?

By this I mean that you have posted speed limits which are set at (as far as can be done with a fixed figure) a "reasonable" speed of the road under normal prevailing conditions, but which can be exceeded without penalty...

BUT if a driver commits another driving offence or causes an accident whilst exceeding the advisory limit, the penalty is appropriately increased. My thought is this would emphasise "appropriate speed for the conditions" whilst giving some level of guidance for the incompetent or irresponsible.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 15:30 
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How would anyone know you were breaking the advisory limit?

In the event of an accident, it seams nowadays the first thing anyone says is that people were driving to fast.

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