Stopping the Slaughter on the Roads

Published date01 July 1966
Date01 July 1966
DOI10.1177/0032258X6603900708
Subject MatterArticle
O. V. THOMAS, B.E.M.
Senior Civilian Instructor-Founder Member Metropolitan Police
Driving School, Hendon
STOPPING
THE
SLAUGHTER
ON
THE
ROADS
Today there are more than
11
mvehicles on the road and it is
reasonable to expect an increase of a further 5mby the early
19708.
The flow of traffic can be relieved by road improvements and, if
necessary, further restrictions, particularly in cities and towns, for
without movement there can be no progress, but whilst the flow can
be controlled, can we control the driver? Are all drivers competent
to cope with present-day trafficconditions?
During the past 10 years acceleration and maximum speeds of
vehicles have increased by 25 per cent and modern mass-produced
cars are capable of speeds of 80 m.p.h. Medium powered cars have
speeds from 80 to 95 m.p.h. and the more expensive low- and high-
powered vehicles can travel at speeds well in excess of 100 m.p.h.
Is progress therefore out-stripping the capabilities of the present day
driver? Are the drivers today 25per cent more skilful than they were
10 years ago, to cope with the new increased performances?
Much has been done during the past decade to relievecongestion
and improve road conditions for the driver, the construction of dual
carriageways, motorways, one way systems, the elimination of inter-
sections on dual carriageways, improved road surfaces, road signs,
more uniform street lighting, etc., but in spite of these improvements
accidents have increased and multiple collisions occur on motorways
and dual carriageways.
All kinds of suggestions are made by representatives of road safety
and motoring organizations. They still advocate better roads and
more aids for the driver, but they will not admit that the root cause
is the driver himself.
The BrakingFacts
Many of the modern road signs are excellent but they are of no
value if ignored by a percentage of drivers who frequently drive
much too fast for prevailing road traffic and weather conditions.
Multiple collisions involving 100 vehicles on the
M.l
motorway
late in 1964, and also involving 150 vehicleson the Doncaster by-pass
early in 1965, which took place during mist and fog, were entirely
due to excessive speed in relation to visibility on the part of many of
those involved. Some road users suffered serious injury due to
carelessness on the part of other drivers. A fewdrivers reduced speed
July 1966 356

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