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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 21:35 
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Hi, a newbie with an interest in road safety - sorry if this isn't in the right section.

I was wondering why most people join here. Forgive me that I haven't read everything, and I have no doubt that most people do have an interest in improving road safety, but it's hard not to get the impression that many people are simply disgruntled motorists who have been caught speeding, and want a sounding board to moan about it and have a dig at the people who are employed to tackle road safety problems?

Would you say that's a fair assessment or am I off the mark?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 22:25 
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I think you'll find that most of the regulars here don't have any speeding convictions, and they're all genuinely interested in road safety - some have even lost family members to road accidents.
OK, we do get the occasional hot-shot newbie who comes in here with a gung-ho attitude, but they're quickly put in their place - or they disappear.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 22:40 
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martin* wrote:
it's hard not to get the impression that many people are simply disgruntled motorists who have been caught speeding,


It's a question often asked. A majority here have clean licences.

As for myself, I have had no points since 1990, before the advent of speed cameras in the UK.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 22:43 
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No points since 1981 in my case.

You will also find that most active contributors drive "ordinary" cars.

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Any views expressed in this post are personal opinions and may not represent the views of Safe Speed


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 22:45 
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It just seems a bit biased. People in road safety jobs have dedicated their careers to improving road safety - quite a commitment. They (mostly) care very much and genuinely do their best amongst the (often fickle) motorist and political whims.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 23:32 
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I joined because Paul is one of the few (and certainly the most active and dedicated) people campaigning for proper road safety in this country. Even if you believe cameras are a positive safety mechanism, you must be able to see road safety policy in this country has lost its way somewhere along the line.

If it weren't for Paul, it's likely the subject wouldn't be being broached with anything like the depth of discussion we've seen over the past 18 months/2 years, which is surely a good thing for everyone, regardless of which side of the speed camera fence they're sitting on?

Zero points on my licence here too, BTW.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 23:39 
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Hi Martin*

I would have to say you are ‘off the mark’.

Pete317 wrote:
I think you'll find that most of the regulars here don't have any speeding convictions, ……...

Me neither, not in all my 8 years of driving :D

Believe it or not, I used to be pro-speed camera (don’t laugh at me) simply because I blindly trusted the authorities, the professionals whom I thought I knew better, and I believed what they said. For the same reasons I also believed their reports that Paul Smith was a ‘crank’. However,

* It was claimed by Brake that RTAs are the biggest killer of the young and the rate is still rising despite the explosion of rigorous speed enforcement - why?
* There have been huge leaps in road, vehicle, passenger and pedestrian safety, but the fatality rate isn't going down - why?

Then I heard the ‘crank’ voice his argument (rttm) live on the radio – what I heard was unbelievable but seemed logical. My own subsequent research shook me to the core. Only then did I start believing just how disproportionate our road safety policies are, how revenue driven the partnerships are and the level of risk our government will place upon us just to save face.

For me, Paul’s work is more than just road safety - he’s bringing these b*st*rds to account. That’s why I support his work.

Martin, if you’re going to delve into this site, I would recommend you start here:

http://www.safespeed.org.uk/rttm


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 23:44 
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martin* wrote:
It just seems a bit biased. People in road safety jobs have dedicated their careers to improving road safety - quite a commitment. They (mostly) care very much and genuinely do their best amongst the (often fickle) motorist and political whims.

It should also be said that there are a number of serving traffic police officers such as InGear and IanH who contribute here.

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Any views expressed in this post are personal opinions and may not represent the views of Safe Speed


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 00:28 
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I have to say that I to was pro speed camera at some point, although I had changed my mind prior to comming here. Also have a clean licence, and always had one, in now close on 20 years of driving.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 01:29 
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martin* wrote:
Hi, a newbie with an interest in road safety - sorry if this isn't in the right section.

I was wondering why most people join here. Forgive me that I haven't read everything, and I have no doubt that most people do have an interest in improving road safety, but it's hard not to get the impression that many people are simply disgruntled motorists who have been caught speeding, and want a sounding board to moan about it and have a dig at the people who are employed to tackle road safety problems?

Would you say that's a fair assessment or am I off the mark?

Martin

Don’t know how long you have been driving, but wait until you get a Notice of Intended Prosecution for driving 5mph over the limit in you normal car and see how your feel. You may think you were not speeding and want to take it to court, but you will find it a lot harder than you think, with all the advantages in favour of the Police, and they will intimidate you into paying the fine and taking the penalty points.

If you happen to get caught 4 times in three years, which is all to easy now, then you lose your licence to drive, so how would that affect your life.

I have been driving for 44 years, with just one speeding ticket in all that time, until two years ago, and have since been zapped twice, the latter of which I don’t accept and am taking to court, but it has been a big effort and it could get quite costly, with a good chance of getting a bigger fine.

I drive an old £1000 car and I am no boy-racer, so don’t get too smug, since you may soon find a lot of stuff on these pages of significant interest and you may then feel differently about the matter.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 03:07 
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Hello "Martin*"

Way off the mark. Wife, self and IG have clean licences. Have always been keen to improve driving and cycling... so much so we did a lot of courses to help ourselves improve our skills in much the same way as we approached the courses taking us up our respective career paths.


Only time Wildy and self push the so-called envelope is on a track day or perhaps when in Germany - where it's more a case of "when in Rome.... :lol: :twisted: " IG - of course - may well drive a bit well - nippy :wink: - but then he's on :bib: business when he does (and he does not test his cars on public roads - he likes his track days like the rest of us.)

Most of us discuss means to improve road safety in the "Improve Driving and Cycing Sections" - and I sometimes give some insight as to how drink, fatigue, drugs (including prescribed medicines) can affect attitudes and driving - and IG, Ian and the other :bib: on board will give a police perspective of these issues.

Underlying all this is the simple fact that poor choice of speed is more down to an absence of one or more of the five principles behind COAST -
the words embodied in the acronoym are a skeleton of the Highway Code and Road Craft combined - and it is compliance or adopting the principles
of

C - oncentration (Courtesy/Consideration
O-bervation (drinking in everything which happens around you and thus having
A-nticipation (of all potential developing hazards) to which you plan or react by giving
S-pace (adjusting speed, position) and
T -ime (giving the time to react, time to the other road user and time for journey...)

Message is a sound safety message and the Swiss family have used most boards to spread this message wherever and whenever they can. It is also used by the Lancashire Speed Awareness Course and most DIS courses as their basis for instruction and assessment - and the proof is posted up on this board in the "Improve Driving" section. Where the SA course falls is more down to inviting blippers and not blatters to the course and it rather undermines it by inviting those who would be better served by a letter warning them to keep an eye on speed in built up areas and simply fining those without any further correction to their driving. Bear in mind that a hit at 20 mph can hurt and even be fatal - so developing COAST skills to help prevent incidents as much as possible is far more useful than "speed kills and we will replace policemen with cameras to improve driving skills!"

As for people "moaning" about getting caught... sure they appear from time to time and we direct to "pepipoo" or get them to expand on the circumstances and learn something. But we all know that cameras are not sited where they should be - there were three cameras positioned throught the railings of a bridge over a dual carriageway in North Wales - per a pal of ours - and far too many speed traps pop up yards into a speed limit change and nowhere near a hazard.

There is also a Speed Cam due to be erected where a teenage girl was run over in the Bolton area... only the girl died at 11 pm after consuming vodka and had run out into the path of the car - which was admittedly well above the speed limit at the time...road is busy in the daytime but apart from this one girl... no history of KSI at this site and the camera thus fails to meet the criteria - but appears to be result of a parental campaign and Drivesafe's "traffic investigation" (for which read "lucrative late at night..." :roll: )

Speed cameras are not the answer. They do not magically stop accidents or deter twazaks out of lens focus :roll: A basking shark ( non pee-cee politico-career :bib: ) of a :bib: who uses human and professional judgement who can inform driver/biker/cyclist at time of incident and not 14 days later....can advise immediately on driver error, potential danger and road safety.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 04:11 
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martin* wrote:
They (mostly) care very much and genuinely do their best amongst the (often fickle) motorist and political whims.

The problem is that real road safety policies are a long term thing, much longer term than any government can be bothered with. It's only by getting the real issues out there that the average motorist can start to see where things have gone wrong.

It's all too easy to be sucked into the idea that an idea (such as speed cameras) is right because it's obvious. This is where road safety policy has fallen down. The public believed it because it was such a simple idea it had to work, the politicians loved it because the people did. The poor sap in the middle who had to implement it didn't get a choice.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 08:55 
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martin* wrote:
Hi, a newbie with an interest in road safety - sorry if this isn't in the right section.

I was wondering why most people join here. Forgive me that I haven't read everything, and I have no doubt that most people do have an interest in improving road safety, but it's hard not to get the impression that many people are simply disgruntled motorists who have been caught speeding, and want a sounding board to moan about it and have a dig at the people who are employed to tackle road safety problems?

Would you say that's a fair assessment or am I off the mark?



Hello Martin

More or less give a :bib: view and defend my mob when I read the odd "them :bib: tha knows - canna drive a dodgem without crashing it!" and "go catch some real criminals!" type comments :lol: Few and far between - and yeah - I do not rub a nose into a

" :hissyfit: been pinged" Waah! What should I do .... :cry: ?" post either - but offer a little soothing word, point them i the direction of pepipoo, suggest using COAST and a GPS /setting cruise controls to help them.

As for those employed to tackle road safety problems...mypatch has just the one fixed camera (location gets moved :twisted: it's our little joke! :twisted: :D ) .. and we have one cam van and a lot of trapols on our roads at any one time.

Bit of a myth that Durham and North Yorks are "soft" - we ain't - and we do pull over real offences here. Action taken - yes - in the interests of safety - all get a "drive the COAST style lecture" and we do reserv our right to professional judgement as to whether or not justice is better served by issuing a fine /summons or whether the person has learned a valuable lesson and would require no further action. But each case is judged on its own circumstance and road condition - but we do appear to have a greater compliance overall on aggregate because we are seen to be omnipresent :wink: and a little discretion and trust from our public does help us resolve a lot of other crimes. Job is to protect and serve our public as well as to enforce a law - and most :bib: worth their salary try to do so with professional and balanced judgement


Those employed in cam partnerships ... alas...used all their resources to purchase more cameras at the expense of traffic police and all they appear to have done is shift the accident blackspots around...Initiatives to improve driving standards would appear to have been strangled at birth by a single focus policy which only appears to enforce a speed limit.

Speed afftect the outcome. But the accident scenario occurs before the impact of the collsion

ii] nothing occurs or appears suddenly and from nowhere [/i] - and it is the driver/biker/cyclist/pedestrian all observing and perceiving a potential danger which all work together to help reduce accidents - hence the focus should not be on speed - but on COAST skill development as constant - because it is these five principles which combine together to ensure safety and compliance to a safe speed - which indidentally can be below the limited speed in many instances. Very rarely does following set of principles result in a driver hurtling around at OTT speeds.

Of all the Partnerhsips - Lancs and Staffs formally teach COAST as basis for their version of the Speed Awarenes Course and it is within the body of all DIS courses offreed by police as well.

Throw into the equation the lack of standardisation in thresholds and courses and standards of Speed Awares on offer - and not difficult to see where the partnerships open themselves to criticism.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 09:33 
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CarlP wrote:
I joined because Paul is one of the few (and certainly the most active and dedicated) people campaigning for proper road safety in this country. Even if you believe cameras are a positive safety mechanism, you must be able to see road safety policy in this country has lost its way somewhere along the line.

If it weren't for Paul, it's likely the subject wouldn't be being broached with anything like the depth of discussion we've seen over the past 18 months/2 years, which is surely a good thing for everyone, regardless of which side of the speed camera fence they're sitting on?

Zero points on my licence here too, BTW.


That very much matches my feelings Carl. I think Paul is making some very good progress in pushing for a more rational approach to road safety, though he's up against some real numbskulls in positions of power and influence.

Best wishes all,
Dave - 48 years and zero points. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:48 
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In Gear wrote:
... all they appear to have done is shift the accident blackspots around...

Can I ask you, are there actually very many "permanent" blackspots on your patch? I know that you don't use fixed cameras and I'm only guessing, but it seems to me that most so-called "blackspots" are just statistical glitches caused by the inevitable clustering that comes from essentially random occurrences... Hence the dramatic RTTM effect at camera sites - and why the system-wide totals are not effected - so not so much "moving the blackspots around" as "accidents continuing as before - at random".

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 19:36 
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Thanks for all your replies, they are appreciated and I can understand where you are coming from in most cases.

I acknowledge that you promote 'safe speed' which may be above or below a limit, but I still feel there is an obsession with excess speed - why is it such a big issues? Why can't you drive within the limit (and observe COAST)? Then you don't have to worry about cameras or fines, they are no longer an issue. Yes, you will say that some limits are not appropriate - then question them with the authorities.

I understand if there is a feeling that 'innocent' people are being penalised and restricted in some way. Isn't that the case in many walks of life - paying taxes where others evade, or subsidising uninsured drivers? The difference is though, that speeding motorists are not technically innocent whereas tax payers and insured drivers are.

Most of you have clean licenses, excellent! And no doubt you are all good drivers and are capable of making the right judgement of an appropriate speed. But what about those people who can't? Don't we need limits for those? Don't we have to set 'standards' for those who can't judge and therefore enforce the standards to make them meaningful? It seems to come across that speed limits can be ignored at quiet times or on open roads?

I have been driving for over 20 years by the way, and I do have 3 points for a red light violation! Yes, I was bitter, but 'fair cop' as they say.

I agree that this site is raising the profile of road safety, but is it really all in a positive way? Again, with many 'road safety professionals' (the exact people you should perhaps be positively engaging with?), I am afraid that there is a danger of you coming across as purely extreme anti-camera lobbyists, and therefore barriers are immediately raised. The bigger picture of a common interest in road safety is lost.

Thanks to 'In Gear' for a policeman's view. You seem a down to earth and realistic kind of copper, nice to meet you. However, my experience is slightly different regarding what seems to be everyone's arch enemy - the dreaded safety camera partnership. Locally to me (I won't say where at the moment as I'm still finding my feet as a newbie on here), the traffic cop duty has diminished yes, but this is not driven by the partnership, indeed it is at the disgust of the partnership. It is a policing decision - they want little to do with speeding issues and push it all towards the partnerships or local authorities. Also, again locally, all safety cameras are located strictly in accordance with the rules and therefore we don't have many. They are not revenue raising tools. This is perhaps where this site is winning the propaganda battle, due in part to the wishy washy government's failure to commit one way or the other? We will see what the new rules bring, but I suspect locally it will mean more cameras……..

m*


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 20:38 
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The problem with speed limits is that, even when properly set, they seldom represent the maximum safe speed at a particular place at a particular time - being either too high (sometimes very much so) or too low.
As an example, doing 30mph past a primary school entrance at 3am, you're probably not making good progress, while 20mph in the same place at 9am when there are children darting from behind parked cars is probably criminally excessive.
People need to be able to judge a safe speed for conditions for themselves, because the speed limit is no guide. You don't need a speed limit to know what's a safe speed at which to turn into your driveway, do you? Anyone who drives around at the speed limit all the time is almost certainly driving at a dangerously high speed for a lot of the time.
Yes, people can drive within the speed limit at all times, but people simply don't. Nobody around here condones breaking the law, but - regardless of your views - people do break the speed limit, especially those they perceive as being set too low, and no amount of cajoling and fining is going to stop them from doing it. It'll probably be much easier to stamp out prostitution than to stamp out speeding.
And sometimes that's not a bad thing - the 70mph motorway limit is almost universally ignored, and it's not difficult to imagine the chaos if everybody stuck rigorously to 70mph. One just has to look at the antics of speed-limited lorries on the motorway, and then imagine thousands of cars doing the same thing.
On the downside, limits which are set too low breed disrespect for limits in general - even those which are really needed.
As for having nothing to fear if you stick to the law, well you really have plenty to fear. Have you ever been on an unfamiliar road and seen a camera? Do you not think, "Am I sure I'm within the limit? What if I missed a sign?" What do you do? There are plenty of speed limit signs which are hidden behind overgrown trees, rusted, or otherwise virtually invisible - even to the wary. And even if you're familiar with the road, they've often been known to reduce the limit to 30 by the simple practice of removing the previous limit signs (street lighting means a default 30 limit). This practice has caught out literally thousands of people who believed that they were within the law.
We only appear to be obsessed with speed (to some people) because of the authorities' total obsession with speed.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 22:03 
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I disagree, again a lot of it seems to be down to people who are insistent that they want to drive faster than the posted limit – why this mentality? It seems to be a kind of matcho thing – “I’m a safe driver, I am ok breaking the limit, I know better than those who set the limit”. It’s not as if it makes a big journey time difference a lot of the time. Yes, the school thing is a good example – a 30mph maximum limit, and slow down from this at school times. Actually, traffic is naturally ‘calmed’ at busy times by all the activity anyway. And as for turning into a driveway – no, you don’t need a speed limit because such a manoeuvre is naturally traffic calmed.

The speed limit is a guide, a maximum guide, that’s what it’s for. Again I am not suggesting all speed limits are appropriate and some need reviewing. Mind you, this is no easy task, you would be surprised at the number of highly emotional ‘demands’ for lower speed limits (and cameras for that matter) from concerned members of the public – who don’t understand or won’t listen to the reasons why affecting speed isn’t as simple as putting up a sign.

As for the unfamiliar road, then I don’t see that as an excuse at all. The very fact that it is unfamiliar should mean that people should drive with additional caution. Again, if they find themselves over the limit, it may mean that the limit is wrong and needs reviewing. If there’s any doubt re. the street lighting issue – stick to 30 and it won’t be long before a 40 repeater appears. Like speed limits, yes, I’m sure that signing could be reviewed, but without having to become a nanny state and take the responsibility from the driver. Tighter signing regulations will just mean certain people looking for ways to get off on a technicality.

m*


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 23:22 
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martin* wrote:
I know better than those who set the limit


To be pedantic, most drivers are a very much more aware of what constitutes a safe and appropriate speed for the conditions along a particular stretch of road at the time they're there than the councillor in his remote office who set the limit in the first place. Note that I'm not saying it's OK to exceed the limit - just pointing out a fact.

Quote:
It’s not as if it makes a big journey time difference a lot of the time.


Journey times are the least of the problem. The big problem with the current "speed is everything" mindset is that it focuses drivers' minds on the numerical value of speed they're doing, rather than really important stuff like COAST.

Quote:
The speed limit is a guide, a maximum guide, that’s what it’s for. Again I am not suggesting all speed limits are appropriate and some need reviewing. Mind you, this is no easy task, you would be surprised at the number of highly emotional ‘demands’ for lower speed limits (and cameras for that matter) from concerned members of the public – who don’t understand or won’t listen to the reasons why affecting speed isn’t as simple as putting up a sign.


I wasn't suggesting otherwise.

Quote:
The very fact that it is unfamiliar should mean that people should drive with additional caution.


Cautious and slow are not synonomous. I always drive cautiously, and with extra caution on unfamiliar roads, but that doesn't mean I have to crawl. As an example, there's a road I very occasionally use when going to visit a certain relative. It's a dual-carriageway with excellent visibility, no junctions and little traffic, well away from any built-up areas. It was always NSL, although probably good for 90, but some time last year they cut the limit to 40!. I turned onto the road, and was quite shocked when I saw a 40mph repeater about a mile further on. I had missed the limit sign because I was passing a lorry when I passed it (as I later found out)

Quote:
Again, if they find themselves over the limit, it may mean that the limit is wrong and needs reviewing.


Yes, except that, nowdays, limits always seem to be revised downwards - never the other way.

Quote:
If there’s any doubt re. the street lighting issue – stick to 30 and it won’t be long before a 40 repeater appears.


If there's any doubt, yes. But if it's a road you use every day for years, why should you have any reason to doubt? You may not even notice that they've removed the signs. A nurse in Bristol lost her licence in the space of a single morning because of that, and her job as a result.


Quote:
..and take the responsibility from the driver.


They really need to be doing the exact opposite - making people take more responsibility for their actions.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 23:40 
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Sorry, just a quick reply (and I don't know how to embed quotes)

Councillors don't set speed limits, engineers in association with the police do. Yes, there is sometimes political pressure to set a speed limit, but any engineer worth their salt will fight this vigorously (although I'm not saying it doesn't happen).

Drivers are better placed to judge a safe speed depending on conditions?

Yes, but conditions vary. By all means, judge the appropriate speed up to the limit.

Why not COAST up to the limit?

Unexpected new changes in speed limit. Isn't a child running into the road an unexpected change?

My last point was "without having to ............... take the responsibility from the driver"


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