London, 10 Aug 2006.
For immediate release.

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Lower limits, More enforcement, Drivers will be crying out for lethal speed limiters.
Fresh stories in the media of ‘intelligent speed adaptation’' (satellite-controlled speed limiters) come just days after new government advice allowing local authorities to lower speed limits on the UK`s roads.
Road safety group the Association of British Drivers believes the combination of the two may lead to drivers crying out to have limiters fitted to their cars and motorcycles — just to have a chance of keeping their licences.
 
Mark McArthur-Christie, the ABD's Director of Policy, commented
"Crashes are an illness we've suffered for too long on our roads. But now we're prescribing 'quick fix' road safety drugs with far worse side effects. To drive safely, drivers and riders need to be alert and engaged with the driving task. The more you take away from that task, the more switched-off they become. Limiters are the ultimate way to turn safe drivers into bored, uninvolved cruise missiles."
The ABD has become increasingly concerned that road safety has become a simple, single-issue area, with speed limit compliance being the be-all and end-all. Stick to the limit and you'll be safe. But there is no one fixed, safe speed for the road — a safe speed varies constantly. Ironically, safe speeds are often well below posted limits, particularly in town centres and residential areas, yet far higher than many new rural limits allow. This focus on making drivers observe speed limits rather than cultivating the mental processes necessary to set safe speeds has led to a road safety policy which is now so simple as to be dangerous. The ultimate danger — the ABD believes — is external control of vehicle speeds.
 
"Look at the increases in HGV fatalities since speed limiters became compulsory," argues McArthur-Christie. "HGV drivers are careful, experienced professionals, yet they are now crashing at a greater rate than before limiters came in. We believe many of these crashes are fatigue-related and linked to being forced to drive on the limiter."
 
The ABD urges government to refocus road safety towards the mental processes of driving and riding that fit a speed limiter in the driver's head.

 

 
Notes for Editors