Sunday, June 15, 2008

Debate #3 - Speed limits


How do you view speed limits? A necessary evil, a welcome reminder, or an intrusion of your civil liberties?

Speed limits are often difficult to adhere to. A thirty mph restriction at one o’clock in the morning, an empty downhill stretch of road entering a town. Not easy. When at the head of a line of traffic in a restricted area, with the following car right on your tail, it’s tempting to speed up. Travelling at the legal limit in the fast lane of a motorway is pretty nigh impossible without bringing on road rage in drivers keen to get past.

UK drivers are now used to seeing Gatso speed cameras at the roadside. Thousands of them, netting the government millions of pounds in fixed penalty speeding fines. They are never concealed, and painted bright yellow, but it’s still too easy to go past one at four mph over the limit and see a double flash in your mirror followed a few days later by a £60 fine demand landing on your doormat!

We are told that speed restrictions are put in place for a purpose – to make our roads a safer place to travel. Yet there is a school of thought that says if they were to be removed completely, the roads might become safer still.

So these are my questions.

1. Assuming you obey the speed limit, do you do so in order to avoid causing an accident, or because you don’t want a fine or a driving ban?

2. Are they simply a nuisance, or a valuable reminder of the speed at which it’s safest to drive?

3. In the case of UK drivers, do we slow down for Gatso cameras, then speed up again in the certain knowledge that there won’t be another one for quite some considerable distance?

PS. A similar question could be asked about not drinking and driving. Fear of causing an accident, or frightened of losing your driver’s licence? But that’s another subject for another day!
debate #1 - God
debate #2 - Ghosts


  1. I follow the speed limit because:
    1. Can't afford the fine (more than 60 even accounting for the currency exchange rate).
    2. My kids are in the car and will be driving all too soon so I want to set a good example.
    3. Everyone around here is a complete fool when they get in a car and I want to stay well back from the idiot in front of me who's shaving/reading a newspaper/applying makeup/talking on a cell phone, or whatever.
    4. I'm just perverse enough to enjoy annoying the people behind me who want to go faster than the speed limit, especially in school zones.
    I have 2 bumper stickers on the subject:
    1. The closer you get, the slower I go.
    2. Jesus would not tailgate.

    To actually answer the question, I think speed limits are mainly a revenue source for the government. The main problems with driving involve not paying attention, trying to do something while driving (as I mentioned), and just generally having the attitude of owning the road and everyone needs to get out of my way.
    There, did that open up enough cans of worms for you?

  2. Ok firstly I dont drive at all so what is the speed limit for walking?

    Secondly what's a speed limit?
    Is that the drugs I hear about?

  3. We drove to a not so nearby city last evening.. about 157 miles actually.. and this was the exact topic of discussion... so many people speed on the highways, weave and are rash. So do we observe the rules only if someone is watching over us? Considering that I am from India, I know its surprising that I would ask this question.. but seriously is that all we value our life? Is it important to get there faster or safer? Sorry to be answering with my own questions!! :P

  4. My opinion on speed limits is that they are set to encourage safety. I also know I do not always adhere to a set speed limit I tend to be a bit of a lead foot from time to time. Do I think the roads would be safer without speed limits? I think that they could be but I also believe that there are some people who are always in a rush and just have no commone sense so I do think that having no speed limits would pose a definite problem.



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