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Speed or 'safety' cameras (NCE last week) are an easy, visible target in a much wider debate.

They save lives, particularly at traffic lights, but many feel they enforce a disjointed, inflexible, even authoritarian policy.

Is 40mph excessive in a rural 30mph school zone at 2am on a Sunday morning? Is 70mph OK for an inexperienced motorway driver in a rain storm? Civil engineers should promote investigation into variable speed limits based on time of day, weather conditions, even driver ability, as implemented successfully overseas.

The more people understand and accept a law, the more they observe it. Current policy, however, is widely flouted, and even police admit it alienates them from motorists.

My personal favourite to improve road safety is to limit all driving licences to five years.

Regularly retaking the driving test would improve ability, keep Highway Code knowledge up to date, and weed out the downright dangerous. The licence is a privilege, not a right.

I drive a Volvo.

Giles Darling (M), darlingg@patrol.

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