The case for reducing speed limits fails to tackle the key issue (NCE 2 July). This is that the majority of speed limits are ignored by a large proportion of drivers every day.
A small part of the problem is that the design of modern motor vehicles disassociates the driver from his external surroundings. However, a greater part of the problem is the irresponsible, aggressive behaviour exhibited by a high proportion of drivers on the road who do not know when to use the power at their command.
The solution is extremely simple but requires a change of culture away from the over-powered motor vehicle.
It would be achieved by introducing three measures. The first would be a national or, preferably, European speed limit of 80km/h (50 mph). The second would be to make it illegal to licence any new vehicles which, when operated at the maximum potential power of the engine (not limited by any sort of governor), could exceed the new speed limit. The third would be the strict limiting of exhaust emissions, expressed in terms of mass limits per unit distance for CO2 and H2O on an energy equivalence basis. This new exhaust mass limit would be set at about one third of that currently achieved by the average modern car.
The benefits would include not only fewer accidents, injuries and deaths but also cleaner air, a large reduction in traffic noise and the conservation of fuel for three times longer than the current burn
rate will give mankind.
Anthony Blewett (M), 3 Quayhaven, Lower Swanwick, Southampton, Hants SO31 7DE.