DOZY’S RAMBLES: 20mph speed limits

I MAY be wrong but according to the Highway Code, the national speed limit in the UK is 30mph.

Allow me to quote from the Highway Code: “Unless you see signs showing otherwise, a limit of 30 miles per hour or 48 kilometres per hour, usually applies.”

So what right has a local authority to mess with national guidelines? What is this madness about 20mph on all roads?

Anyone who has a modicum of sense would know how to control their speed according to conditions, plus most of the time in heavily built-up areas, it is quite unlikely at peak times to be able to drive at 10mph, yet alone 20mph.

I have witnessed people driving in excess of 40mph in 20mph areas. They are not the majority, but I wouldn’t mind betting that the majority will not drive at 20!

Why is not the AA and RAC defending the rights of drivers? When these two motoring organisations were formed they were clubs, they were there for their members, defending the rights of drivers, warning drivers of ‘speed traps’ ahead, etc.

I sit here looking at my old AA key and my old radiator badge that was handed to me when I joined in 1965. How sad that these once great ambassadors for the motorist have sold out to big financial institutions with the sole purpose of making as much money out of the motorist as possible.

I have just looked at the history of the AA and again quote: “A group of motoring enthusiasts met at the Trocadero restaurant in London’s West End on 29 June 1905 to form the Automobile Association (the AA) – a body initially intended to champion the cause of the motorist and particularly to help motorists avoid police speed traps.”

Even the RAC said: “Sometimes a patrolman would not salute when driving past. This was meant to be a warning that police had laid a speed trap up ahead, while the form of the warning - not doing something - made it difficult to prove any such thing had been done. The RAC ceased salutes by patrolmen in 1963.”

Worthing is now considering a blanket 20mph limit through the borough. I pray that Adur does not come under the same pressure and I hope that Worthing councillors are not drawn in, just as the Greens were in Brighton.

Cars driving at 20mph are far more dangerous to the environment and to themselves. Far more fumes will be emitted into the atmosphere, drivers become bad tempered and not as observant when travelling at slower speeds. If it were down to me, I would increase limits not lower them.

On motorways, the 70mph speed limit was brought in as a temporary measure during a fuel crisis and never returned to the old, no limit. Once again the cash cow motorist was conned. If it was a question of safety alone, as we are told, then why are there still major accidents on our roads? We need a strong transport minister who will lay the law down to local authorities who think they can just change limits on a popular whim, albeit, not so popular with many.

All that said, I am certainly not against restrictions altogether. I do support limits outside schools, but only during term time, I do support limits outside hospitals during daytime hours. Surely this is all a matter of common sense? Or do we need a nanny state and pressure groups to tell us how to run our lives?

If pressure was to brought upon motorists at all, maybe it is time to bring in extreme punishments for those who text while driving, apparently texting while driving slows reaction down by 46 per cent and every two weeks, someone loses their life because a driver has lost concentration while using their mobile phone.