Change The Laws?
Wednesday 27th January 2021
It is often stated that the speed limits in the UK are out of date, especially as modern cars can travel at much faster speeds due to advances in both technology and reliability. After all, 70mph these days feels slow doesn't it? But where does going faster get you? To the back of the next queue quicker? Would you really get to your destination faster?
We can debate speed limits and any other laws and regulations until the cows come home but there is always going to be a line drawn somewhere. If we could drive at say 80mph on the motorways, then there would be drivers that push it to 90mph or even speeds more than 100mph. I am fully aware that in Germany for instance the laws are quite different, but the infrastructure is also quite different to here in the UK. Our roads are the most congested in Europe and most of the time being able to drive at 70mph feels like a privilege! The fact is, here in the UK we are in the top six when it comes to road safety in the world.
Let us look at other laws that many feel are out of date and require changing. Tachograph hours for instance. The limits on truck and coach drivers covering long distances were reviewed with some changes administered back in 2006. Did they go far enough? Are there limits there that need to be looked at again? Why are we so restricted? These laws are highly regulated and failure to comply will almost certainly impact an operator's licence leading to prosecution of both them and the driver.
What about drink drive and drug limits, do they need to change? Why does every country seem to have different limits? Again, we have one of the highest toleration laws in Europe but one of the lowest accident rates. This is because we are a responsible nation when it comes to alcohol awareness and driving. More people in the UK fail drug driving tests than alcohol tests nowadays! This is because we have not had the drug driving issue pumped into us, yet!
All these questions lead to the same pattern. It is a discussion I regularly have with operators and drivers alike. Generally, the debate receives a mixed and divided opinion but usually that speed limits should be increased and that a zero tolerance on alcohol and drug levels for drivers should be introduced. You cannot have a zero tolerance for alcohol because there are many other reasons that somebody could have a reading. The England and Wales limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, but an alcohol reading under 9 micrograms is possible without somebody having consumed any alcohol. You could give a reading between 9 and 34 micrograms of breath and still be prosecuted for being impaired in your ability to drive safely. The European drink drive limits are different for commercial drivers than car drivers too. The advice for all professional drivers should is to not drink any alcohol prior to driving.
What about if we have a think about these limits for a moment...
We know that they are there. We know we must have a cut-off point somewhere. But just think about what limits are... Limits are the maximum permissible and acceptable allowances to maintain safety standards. This does not mean they are targets. If everyone acted like limits were targets, then it is highly likely it would lead to utter carnage out on our roads.
With an acceptance that by 2035 there will be 40% more traffic on our already saturated roads, what would be the point of increasing speed limits anyway?
Further training to educate is an important aspect of continued professional development for the transport and road safety guidance and its drivers. We at PSV Solutions are a company that works tirelessly to improve standards for all professional drivers.
Let us ask the question again, should limits be changed or should we look at changing our attitudes when it comes to road safety?
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