Many people in the UK are resistant to what they see as too much legislation when it comes to driving. Speed cameras were seen as an unfair intrusion on driving habits by many enthusiasts, and there’s a big movement in support of raising the motorway speed limit, despite the fact that this could well increase road deaths in the short term (just as the introduction of the speed limit did back in the ’60s). All in all, people don’t seem to like the idea of being given more rules.
The UK has actually done exceptionally well over the last few years in terms of the reduction of road collisions and deaths. In fact in 2011 we had the lowest number of deaths for over half a century. This does relate to stricter rules – not exactly on roads, as much as on local councils. They’ve had to give more to road safety due to harsher government legislation. Similarly strict targets were set for local police forces, although the emergency services are always committed to safety anyway.
Drink driving is perhaps something that the UK isn’t sending the right messages on with the current laws that are in place. The problem may be in the legal limit. Lots of EU countries enforce a strict 0.5 milligrams per millimetre limit on alcohol in the blood, meaning basically any drinking is unacceptable. But in the UK the 0.8 milligrams per millimetre limit implies that a little drinking is OK. A change in rules would perhaps be fairer in some ways: stating how things stand more clearly for drivers in terms of what they can and can’t do.
There are also questions about the way in which drivers are prepared for the road. This is a problem across Europe, rather than just a British issue, with many drivers gaining their licenses while still in questionable states of skill. Measures such as the hazard perception tests don’t really mimic the nature of being out on the road. It may be that extra testing and training should be made standard.
So however inconvenient to certain enthusiasts, there is still a lot more that could be done in terms of improving safety and lowering deaths.
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