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Those poor drivers

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    I think this news release is endemic of the new generation of anglo-western culture. That is, it s never my fault, and everything I get I am entitled to,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2004
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      I think this news release is endemic of the new generation of anglo-western
      culture. That is, it's never my fault, and everything I get I am entitled
      to, without any responsibility for. Just as teenagers feel entitled to the
      wealth of entertainment at their disposal, without the responsibility of
      balancing it with physical activity and social responsibility, drivers feel
      entitled to an unencumbered road where they can externalize their costs and
      threats (speeding, non-compliance) at the expense of others. And when all
      else fails, play the safety card.




      Issued: 8 December 2004

      Safety on UK roads is at risk because drivers feel "targeted, vulnerable and
      alienated", said John Maxwell, chairman of the Institute of Advanced
      Motorists today.

      Speaking at the IAM's annual lunch in London, Mr Maxwell said that motorists
      are made to believe that congestion, delay, environmental pollution and, not
      least, the accident toll, is all their fault.

      "Car drivers and motorcyclists are not just part of the problem: they can be
      - and need to be - part of the solution. Treat them fairly and get them back
      on-side, and there will be a rapid pay-back - not necessarily in the way
      that the Treasury appears to understand best, but for road safety."

      Specifically, it was the IAM's regret that there has been a "dismal failure
      to 'sell' the safety benefits of speed cameras - allowing them, instead, to
      be misunderstood as instruments of entrapment and fund-raising," said Mr

      "Cameras are frequently sited where drivers believe them to be unnecessary,
      with a trigger mechanism that is lacking in discretion and penalty notices
      that arrive like overdue invoices. Too many road-users believe that speed
      cameras are nothing more than nice little earners, and that getting caught
      is less about discouraging dangerous driving than playing a game of chance."

      In fact, Mr Maxwell argued, cameras have a "legitimate and valuable role in
      enforcing compliance, as distinct from ensuring capture", and there must be
      an urgent review of camera locations. In addition, all camera sites should
      clearly show the speed limit at that point, with more repeater signs needed
      on restricted roads.

      Mr Maxwell said: "Rehabilitating speed cameras - re-defining them as
      instruments of compliance, not capture - would do much to take the pressure
      off the vast majority of sensible drivers and riders who need little
      persuading that safety is common sense and should always come first."

      Also necessary, says the IAM, is a review of speed limits, recognising the
      change in enforcement methods. Limits need be seen to be right if they are
      to earn respect and to be observed, and the message must be that, whatever
      the speed limit, it is inappropriate speed that kills.

      There should, said Mr Maxwell, be an "imaginative and positive response" to
      the Road Safety Bill, which already contains elements of driver
      re-education. And there needs to be more, not fewer, traffic police on UK
      roads. "A blue light and a sharp word will always have more effect, and earn
      more respect, than electronic surveillance and a penalty notice through the

      Guest speaker at the IAM Annual Lunch was North Wales Chief Constable and
      ACPO Head of Road Policing Richard Brunstrom.


      Notes to editors:
      1. John Maxwell was previously Director General of the AA.
      2. The full text of the IAM Annual Lunch speech is available from the IAM
      Press Office, 020 8996 9600.
      3. The IAM is the UK's leading advance driving organisation. For nearly 50
      years the IAM has been saving lives by enabling people to drive and ride
      4. For further information please contact Vince Yearley on 020 8996 9600 or
      visit www.iam.org.uk, where a downloadable IAM logo image is available for
      media use.
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