Courage and speedingby
Recent UK news suggests that police are going to use variable speed limit cameras to enforce the maximum speed limit. Currently a number of motorways in the UK have fixed speed cameras who enforce reduced speeds when adverse driving conditions such as poor weather and congestion are in place.
I know this is dodgy ground to write any blog about as the anti-speeding lobby includes some very powerful members – the Greens who are anti-technology, the Climate Changers who highlight the increased toxins, parents whose children have died on the roads to name but a few.
But courage is about speaking up for what you believe to be right (or write!).
Interestingly enough, the same report also highlighted that 95% of drivers admitted to speeding. That’s right, 95%! While I personally think the other 5% are either lying or don’t know where their speedometer is, this is an astonishing statistic.
Don’t get me wrong, speed is linked to traffic accidents – it’s very hard to hit someone else if you’re not moving – but the UK also has one of the lowest rates of traffic deaths in the world. For those of us that have driven in other countries, we know what ‘living on the limit’ really means when you’re in a car outside of the UK.
What has this got to do with courage?
Any law that is disobeyed by 95% of those people it intends to police is not a good law. If you’re a driver in the UK, you know that getting caught for speeding is almost always down to a combination of bad luck and not being totally vigilant. If the technology was available, most drivers would break the law every time they go on the road.
While I could quote numerous studies that show that actually increasing speed limits to what is perceived to be a reasonable level actually proportionally reduces the average speed i.e. increasing the speed by 10mph leads to average speeds going up by 3mph, I won’t. I could talk about the need to powerfully communicate the reasons for the existing speed limit so as to reduce the perception that the current limit is irrelevant, but I won’t.
What I will say however is that every time a rule / law / process is introduced (or enforced in this case) that is so significantly against the current behaviour of those it is intended to impact, the contempt for the ‘system’ increases. And contempt of the system leads to contempt of those write the laws and those that enforce them.
Any organization or society is only productive when its members understand and agree with its rules.
I’m not against speeding limits and I could be convinced that the current level is the right balance of risk and efficiency (I said that I could be), but where are the custodians of our society who have the courage to listen to the 95%?
Who has the courage to say enough is enough?