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Fatal distraction


Edmond King acknowledges the need to slow down traffic in urban areas but in criticising road humps, he palpably fails to offer any credible alternative for reducing the 6,000 fatal or serious casualties each year on London's roads - over half of which are pedestrians.

Perhaps he could advise us what measures the RAC is now taking to educate its members in respect of these matters and, more importantly, what resources it is devoting to this essential task.

Driver education works to a limited extent on the rationally minded and public spirited. But as borough road safety officers know only too well, a sizeable proportion of the motoring public comprises the selfpossessed, who frequently subjugate the safety of others to their personal agenda, and the lunatic fringe, whose members are completely impervious to any reasonable appeal to moderate their behaviour.

Studies show that traffic calming schemes do reduce casualties. Those using vertical speed restraints usually work better than those relying solely on horizon realignment features. The mayor's Interim Road Safety Plan requires London boroughs to deliver a massive 40% reduction in pedestrian casualties by 2010 - a target that will require more radical measures than anything yet seen.

Of course balances have to be struck. Speed cushions which ambulances can straddle may be an appropriate solution on more essential through routes. But Mr King's remarks are outdated since the emergency services must already be consulted before any traffic calming scheme can be implemented and local authorities are now engaging them more in the design process.

Motoring organisations may feel they have a right to engage in these debates but they have absolutely no mandate to interrupt the essential task of saving lives. Until they can offer more informed comment they should concentrate on rescuing stranded motorists.

Brian Hanson, Architects & Engineers for Social Responsibility, 1 Searles View, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4FG

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