Driving back into London and then onto home last night by the A13 I was reminded that this government has done something sensible in transport. The six lane highway from the M25 into the East end of London which they have completed is a good addition to our road network.
Properly run,it would be both safer and greener than the smaller roads it replaces or takes traffic from, allowing cars to cruise into London in top gear at optimal speeds for fuel efficiency, free from conflict with pedestrians.
Instead, the government has allowed its dislike of the car, van and lorry to colour its judgement on how to regulate the highway. A large section of the new road has a speed limit of 40 mph. Most drivers using the road think 50-60 is a safe speed. Unfortunately because there are several cameras along the route this means all too many drivers slow down abruptly for the cameras and accelerate away when they are past them. Some even indulge in high speed lane hopping, frustrated by the control and by the lower speeds of some of the other drivers resulting from the control. Doing a steady 40 mph I found myself in the slow lane watching the antics in the other lanes, using a lower gear than I would have liked to keep the speed down. That meant I also had to watch the higher fuel burn.
I am glad Paul Smith’s excellent research work showing our roads have got more dangerous as safety policy has concentrated on speed control is now receiving a wider airing. Judging by the driving standards last night on the A13 speed control is now a direct cause of worse driving and should cause even this government to think again. The A13 could be a greener and safer road, if only they would use common sense in choosing a speed limit. As Paul Smith points out, less than 1 in 20 of all accidents has speeding as a cause.