No End To, Rather An Intensification of the War on the Motorist

Drivers had been promised no re-emergence of moves to impose road user charging under the current administration. But by stealth, buried in the bowels of the Infrastructure Bill (currently making its way through Parliament) are measures which: (a) facilitate the privatisation the Highways Agency, and (b) pave the way for the sell-off of the UK road network to private interests, and the subsequent imposition of road user charging.

The threat of a mandatory imposition (by EU diktat) of the fitment of Black Boxes remains. Big Brother external control and monitoring of your driving.

The Government is active in supporting Driverless Car technology: the ultimate extension of external control – you become a passenger in your own vehicle – but still responsible for it if the technology fouls up! (Even Toyota have distanced themselves from this particular piece of crass idiocy).

The much-publicised Motorway Speed Limit increase has been quietly ditched – another example of a commitment made but retracted. A raft of major road speed limit reductions were being propose, ostensibly due to EU clean air diktats; when it was government itself that retarded the decline in emissions: by (a) discouraging catalysed petrol vehicle sales in favour of lower CO2-, but higher NOx-, SO2- and particulate-producing diesel; and (of much greater significance), by (b) persistently failing to regulate adequately the emissions of the worst polluters: public service, and older goods vehicles. Modern private diesel cars have very low emissions – particularly those with DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters).

Speed Camera Partnerships effectively remain totally unregulated. This is despite incontrovertible evidence that the casualty-reducing benefits claimed for their “electronic highwaymen” prove to be non-existent after Regression To The Mean is taken into account. Of course, turkeys would never vote for Christmas; and instead of seeking reductions in prosecution numbers by lobbying for sensibly-set speed limits, the Partnerships have now switched focus to try to divert as many drivers as possible away from accepting fixed penalties and onto “Speed Awareness” courses – from which both the Partnership and the course organisers each take a tasty rake-off. The Shakespearean words: “Rotten”, “State” and “Denmark” come to mind…….

Ill-informed local politicians are promoting the proliferation of 20mph limit zones (with a few notable exceptions like Worthing – due to overwhelming public opposition ). This is despite the road safety evidence being damningly negative; with deaths and serious injuries consistently being worse than those in comparable nearby areas where 30mph has been retained.

All these developments have to be countered at both local and national levels if we are to prevent things getting markedly worse for drivers than is already the case. You can help by joining in and making your voice, views and opinions heard.

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