Hit the high-speed drivers where it hurts - crush their motorbikes and cars
PUBLISHED: 17:42 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:36 28 January 2018
If I thought too deeply about driving, I’d never do it. Staying safe – and alive – on the roads is a lottery.
In the blink of an eye, someone else can change or end your life or those of your loved ones.
It can be through poor concentration, carelessness, recklessness, stupidity, drink-driving, drug-driving, using a mobile phone, failing to maintain tyres and so much more.
This week, one of the biggest causes of accidents, speeding, has been in the news.
A group of five motorcyclists were spotted, chased and booked for driving at 140mph on the A47.
The courageous and very well-trained police motorcyclist who caught them had to hit 157mph to bring them to justice.
They are ridiculous speeds. Never mind Norwich in 90, travelling at 140mph would take you from Norwich to London in 50 minutes, and from Norwich to King’s Lynn in 18 minutes.
But if someone braked suddenly ahead of you, or tried to cross the road, or pulled out of a side road, you’d have no time to react. The result would be tragic – and criminally negligent.
So why is there such a lackadaisical attitude towards speeding?
Drink-driving is rightly loathed by the vast majority of us; drug-driving is a relatively new offence and will hopefully be regarded in the same way.
There is even, in this modern world of addiction to our mobile phones, a discernible shift in attitude towards those who use them while driving.
My view is that they are selfish, arrogant idiots who should be immediately banned from the roads and have their phone confiscated if caught in the act.
So what is the attitude towards speeding? I think it ranges from nonplussed acceptance to genuine admiration.
Driving fast has a glamorous reputation, thanks to Formula One, Hollywood action films and other things.
People love their fast, powerful motors, as can be seen whenever you drive on a motorway and watch BMWs and Mercedes thundering past in the outside lane at well beyond your steady 70mph (OK, 80mph...).
Too many men seem to regard their car as an extension of their manhood, as if women will look at them and think: “He can operate an accelerator pedal, so he must be virile indeed.”
Actually, he’s probably more of a man if he can exercise a little restraint and take his foot off the pedal. But back to the point...
Speed is seen as a positive thing. And speeding is something that we all do – and make excuses for.
Maybe it’s 80 in a 70 limit, 55 in a 50 or even 33 in a 30. And we don’t half resent speed limits, speed cameras and being caught.
There’s always an argument about the limit being unnecessary or the need for police to “concentrate on catching real criminals”. The cameras are only placed so that police can “make money”, aren’t they?
It’s hard not to feel like that, because we will always feel that we are the best and safest drivers on the road.
But perhaps it’s time for the attitude to speeding to change in the same way that it has towards drink-driving and mobile phone use at the wheel.
It’s about having a mindset from the bottom up, with all of us binning the excuses and trying hard to adhere to the limits.
It’s also, I would argue, about making an example of people like the furious five, whose 140mph antics were beyond dangerous.
They should already have been banned, of course. But maybe there’s also an argument for the confiscation or even destruction of their prized motorcycles.
Hit people where it hurts, before they hurt other people.