To its Logical Conclusion

I was stunned this week by some quotes from the Association of British Drivers which were featured in a post from As Easy As Riding A Bike. Whilst the criminal behaviour of motorists being rationalised by a motoring organisation is far from new, I found the sheer unashamed stupidity of what was being said really quite shocking.


“Because speed limits are set below the level at which the majority of drivers consider to be reasonable, you get a very high level of non-compliance. And you get a greater disparity of speeds – you get more frustration, […] that will result in a large queue of drivers behind, who simply want to drive at what they consider to be normal speeds, and that leads to frustration, dangerous overtaking… “


A responsible drivers’ organisation might suggest that a driver who gets so frustrated by having to drive within the law that they might attempt a manoeuvre which not only puts themselves in danger, but endangers the lives of innocent people might be better off not being allowed to drive at all, this is the ABD, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the ABD literally don’t know the meaning of the word ‘responsibility.’ It is interesting to try to apply the ABD’s logic to other areas:


Theft:


“Because the definition of theft is are set below the level at which thieves consider to be reasonable, you get a very high level of non-compliance. And you get a greater disparity of theft – you get more frustration, […] as thieves try not to steal, and that leads to frustration, and when it gets released, events such as the August riots happen… “


Domestic Abuse:


“Because the definition of domestic abuse is are set below the level at which abusive partners consider to be reasonable, you get a very high level of non-compliance. And you get a greater disparity of beating – you get more frustration, […] as abusive partners try not to beat their partners, and that leads to frustration, and when it gets released, it leads to serious injuries and even deaths… “


Road Safety:


“No, not lower speeds – lower speed limits. Because speed limits are set below the level at which the majority of drivers consider to be reasonable, you get a very high level of non-compliance. And you get a greater disparity of speeds – you get more frustration, because a small minority of drivers will obey the speed limit, even if they think it’s really silly, and that will result in a large queue of drivers behind, who simply want to drive at what they consider to be normal speeds, and that leads to frustration, dangerous overtaking… It also can lead to long queues of traffic, which prevent side road traffic from entering, or crossing, a main road. So you get these additional conflicts, even road rage, as a result. So if you have sensibly-set speed limits, which means set at the 85th percentile, which is the level that 85% of drivers wouldn’t exceed anyway, experience has shown – this goes back, certainly in the United States, to the late 1930s – that is the safest level at which to set speeds, speed limits, and you get the lowest casualty rates.”


Oh wait, that one was real. The ABD goes on to use that brilliant debating tactic of pretending that something which is bullshit is actually backed by science (brilliantly debunked later in the original post). Their website actually displays this crap proudly on their homepage, but they have made it even more entertaining to read: 


The ABD calls for the use of sensible speed limits that are based upon well established scientific road safety principles, not political correctness, emotive hysteria, or vociferous local activists.”


Ahh yes, that well established scientific principle of ‘Be safe: drive as fast as you want, wherever you want.’ I really admire the balls they show by calling their made-up science ‘well-established.’ In fact is it so well established that it goes against everything that every bit of real road safety research and every road safety organisation in the whole world is saying. If that’s not well established, I don’t know what is! To make this statement of idiocy even more delicious, they included the Daily Mail’s favourite phrase, ‘political correctness’ 
(They cleverly use the original meaning of the phrase, which is, ‘Stuff what I done don’t like’).



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5 thoughts on “To its Logical Conclusion

  1. The ABD is clearly a "libertarian" organisation – people should be permitted to do whatever they like, when they like, with minimum let or hindrance. It is the prevailing philosophy in parts of the Tory party and certainly seems to infect many Tory members of the London Assembly and, of course, Boris Johnson. They simply can't be convinced that freedom is not indivisible.Of course everyone overestimates their capabilities. I am sure I would make an excelent neurosurgeon, if only they would let me have a go at an operation on a brain tumour.I am a crap driver. I know that in my bones but I still hate to admit it, even to myself. Almost everyone thinks they are up there with Lewis Hamilton but they're not. Most of us probably think that we are quite safe to drive at speed while those around us should be restrained. Most of us are probably also sufficiently respectful of the law that we exceed speed limits either rarely or at least by modest margins.Organisation like the ABD are truly poisonous because they foster a disrespect for the law. I'll bet they support destruction of speed cameras. I have absolutely no doubt that they buy the canard about "road tax" which is especially toxic, as it encourages drivers to the view that they own the roads and can therefore use them how they please, with impunity. It is fortunate that they are, for all that, pretty marginal.

  2. They don't seem very good at taking into account that they're just human like everybody else. Motorists make mistakes like everybody else…but speed makes the outcome of those mistakes much worse. That the ABD don't consider safety of anywhere beyond the airbag equipped steering wheel, and nor the rights of anyone affected by their actions says much of the type of motorist they seek to represent.'What I Can Get Away With' springs to mind…P.S: Enjoy your weekend darn Sarf matey! (It appears to be 2' warmer down there tomorrow…grrr…spare a thought etc etc)

  3. I saw this on Easy As Riding A Bike and have followed the comments there and on your blog since. I was not actually stunned by the transcript, although I think it nonsensical drivel, as the ABD has a history of such ridiculous statements. The price of democracy is a free voice (within reason) and all the problems that brings with it. They spout their own self interested rubbish but they are entitled to their views and to campaign on behalf of the persecuted motorist. They (and others) do colour the debate but they do not legislate at the end of the day.Exposing such silly arguments to intelligent argument goes a long way to reducing their credibility and importance. Give them enough rope…Carry on the good work Dr C.

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