It’s estimated that a third of deaths on our roads happen whilst people are driving as part of their job, but does your employer provide you with any speed awareness training? I bet the answer is no. Recent research however suggests maybe your employer should be looking to implement some kind of training, or enrol its drivers on a speed awareness course, particularly as the statistics say, driving is the most dangerous thing many of us do at work.
Recent road safety figures reveal that 2,222 people were killed on the roads of the UK in 2009 and whilst that seems to be quite a high number, it’s actually 12% less than 2008, and that’s got to be good.
The across the board fall saw a 16% reduction in the deaths of car occupants with pedestrian deaths dropping by 13%. Deaths of cyclists reduced by 10% and even motorcyclists saw 4% less deaths.
As with everything that happens on our roads, speeding is put down as a major contributory factor and as such, there has been a rise in the use of “Speed Awareness Courses” and in some areas of the UK, a driver caught for speeding, can now avoid getting penalty points on their licence by agreeing to attending one of these courses, in the hope that it will improve their driving skills, their attitude and their behaviour.
Using methods like this its claimed provide greater benefits and act as a prevention tool rather than simply a punishment and its claimed to have a positive impact on drivers who then look at the whole matter of speeding very differently and as such are less likely to speed in future. These courses bring drivers face to face with the potentially horrendous implications of speeding and just how it affects so many people’s lives.
The University of Reading completed a study, looking at the attitudes of drivers who attended speed awareness workshops in the Thames Valley Region. They looked at differences between drivers that had attended the workshops, compared to those that had not, but had instead received the normal fixed penalty fine.
The results, I guess indicate “intentions” rather than actions, however they did show that drivers who had undertaken the classroom training were nearly 5 times less likely to believe that it was safe to drive at 35mph in a 30mph limit and that they displayed a clear intention not to break the 30mph limit in the future.
Most of us believe we can easily control a vehicle in almost any circumstances and that includes even when we drive above the legal speed limit and incredibly, research reveals that even the majority of those that support the call for safer roads, admit to speeding themselves, with 36% of them saying they do it at least once a week. Perhaps this demonstrates that as drivers, we believe we will be safe and OK even whilst we are speeding, but it’s all those others that need to slow down?
It never hurts to write an article like this, because maybe, it acts as a reminder to all of us that people do get hurt and some unfortunately die on our roads and in some cases, driving too fast, is going to be a contributory factor.
Despite the current discussions about speed cameras and if they stay or go, speed limits are here to stay and there is no point having them if you don’t enforce them. Many of us are “nimby’s” and recent research from ‘Brake’ and ‘Direct Line’ suggests that 60% of us want a 20mph speed limit around our homes and in built up areas, whilst 42% would like to see rural roads restricted to 50mph.
It’s just strange that in our minds, we all want to see lower speed limits, particularly around where we live, yet we are clearly happy to regularly break the speed limits regularly around the area you live!
There must be a more rational approach to the whole subject of speeding, because there are many roads where the wrong limits apply and we all see them everyday. Some areas have irrationally low speed limits, but similarly, some could do with a reduction. What ever the case, the limit written on the road sign, is the law and the speed for the road you are on, but that means you can do that speed on a dry, bright, sunny Sunday morning in a modern car with all of the safety facilities and be safe and legal, but conversely, you can also do that same speed on the coldest, snowiest day in icy conditions and during the rush time traffic in some tired, old fashioned car with an absolute minimum of safety features and still be as legal. It’s this anomaly that results in many of us not respecting the limits and being all to willing to break them