Hi, with my first ever blog I thought I’d start with something that effects most of us in one way or another, whether we have broken the limit ourselves, been a victim of speeding or are just generally aggravated by inconsiderate drivers speeding through your neighbourhood. Safety is something that is close to most of our hearts but rarely do we consider ourselves to be the cause of other peoples safety concerns.
There is much debate about speeding on the roads in the UK and the manor in which the government & local authorities attempt to tackle and reduce the numbers of speeding drivers. Most drivers will have an opinion on the effect and indeed to the purpose of fixed cameras, and yes they do generate large sums of money in fines. But we must remember that the fixed penalty on a drivers license and associated financial penalty were in place long before the fixed cameras became common place on our roads.
I was recently caught by a mobile camera van travelling at 39mph in a 30 zone having assumed that it was actually a 40 zone that I was travelling in. Not good news as I had only recently cleared my last 3 points from my license only months earlier. Much to my relief, I was offered to attend a speed awareness course through my local council in lieu of the standard 3 points & £60 fine.
Whilst I was relieved to avoid the points on my license, I was a little skeptic on the half day course I was now obliged to attend. I couldn’t have been further from the mark. The course was well planned, very informative and a genuine education into how I can choose to become a better driver. There was no police presence on the course and neither of the 2 experienced facilitators even came close to imparting feelings of guilt or judging us for what had brought us to the course. Interestingly a popular myth was put to bed before the course had even begun as there was only one teenage ‘boy racer’ in attendance out of a class of 12. The majority were in their 40’s & 50’s. That said, the teenager with the newly acquired license does need to look at his driving skills after having been caught for speeding within his 1st 9 months of driving, had one car written off and crashed his current car twice already.
A couple of fact’s that were shared that day…….
- A pedestrian hit by a car travelling at 30mph has a 20% chance of being killed.
- Raise that speed to just 35mph and the chance of being killed rises to 55%.
- The average cost (direct & indirect) of a road accident that results in a fatality is £1.5m.
- On a typical 5 mile journey, if you travel at 35mph instead of 30mph, you will have only saved yourself 63 seconds in time, yet you’ll have ran the risk of being caught & penalised, as well as the risk of serious injury to others.
I am by no means a campaigner for speed awareness and I have to say that there are subjects such as passive driving that were covered that I know I will struggle to come around to, no matter how well my intentions are. What has changed about me and my driving style is that instead of considering how serious a potential police officer will take any margin of excess speed I may be travelling at, I now think about how those extra few mph would affect someone if they were to step out into my path whilst I’m on a ‘routine’ journey.
As another little bonus, they gave a great summary on how to know what the speed limit should be on those roads that you assume must be at least 40mph. You know the one’s, passing an industrial estate, or wide open road with no schools or houses within eye shot. If there are street lights, even just on one side of the street and there are no speed limit signs on those lamp posts, it is a 30 zone. Or look at it another way, assume it’s 30 if there’s nothing to say that it should be higher. At worst, you loose a few seconds until you drive a little further to discover that it is actually a 40. At best, you save yourself 3 points, a potential £1000 fine and maybe even a life!
Looking back, I’m glad i was caught speeding, even though it was unintentional, as it gave me the chance to attend this great course provided by Durham & Darlington County Council. Hopefully, even if a few people read this and take the message on board, it will save you even being invited on to such a course in the first place.
Thoughts & comments are always welcome.