ROAD LAW

08/08/2021

It is a function of law to prohibit or control certain actions. This is very evident in laws of the highways and byways. There are limits placed on the speed at which one can lawfully drive. If those limits were removed would we all start driving around like maniacs?

I’ve often wondered if there might be a better way of approaching the subject of speed on our roads. Speed limits are considered neccesary for road safety, both of drivers and pedestrians alike. I do not suppose I am alone in wanting to stick to the limit for this and other reasons. There are many others of coarse who are not so concerned with obeying the law and sticking to the speed limit, at least that is how it appears. Some will creep over the limit unawares and some will blatantly ignore the rules. I have on occassion put my toe down a bit harder than the law permits but in general I like the challenge of disciplining myself to keep within the limit. 

To be honest it annoys me when I encounter other drivers who blatantly ignore the speed limit. I try hard to not get annoyed by ignoring them or making excuses for them. However, as long as there are strict rules to govern our speed there will always be rule breakers and there will always be times when those who obey the rules will get annoyed at those who don’t. Sometimes I think it would be better all round if we didn’t have speed limits and we simply trusted everyone to drive safely and thoughtfully. Modern cars are built so well and to such high standards most people would consider themselves to be able to drive safely even at quite high speeds. I suggest the technology is available to modern society that we can now make the transition from law to trust.

An advanced motoring society requires (insists upon) less orders and more warnings or instructions

As long as there are laws that have to be followed there will be law breakers. The law is in part responsible for making the criminal, for without the law there is no crime. It is possible, I believe, to reduce the amonut of laws without the fear of an increase in harmful or reckless behaviour. I suggest a threefold approach toward a more caring, mature motoring society that is willing and able to take greater resonsibility upon itself. This approach would mean the elimination of speed limits upon our roads and therefore the removal of all signs that order and require the motorist to obey a limit. It would therefore also mean no more fines or other penalties for breaking the speed limit. Some might argue that it is only the threat of penalty and punishment that keeps the motorist from driving too fast and recklessly.

Replace prohibition and punishment with guidance and care

In truth, as long as there are cars built for high speed (and the safe breaking of that speed) there will people that take advantage and drive as fast as they dare or can regardless of the law. This type of action will continue with or without the removal of speed restrictions and prohibitions by law. But speed doesn’t neccesarily have to mean danger; in modern cars it can be managed quite safely. Having said that there will be occassions when the speed at which a motorist is driving is an obvious indication of reckless behaviour. While speed prohibitions should be removed, reckless behaviour should not go unpunished. 

A greater emphasis should be placed on community care and responsibilty for the society of the future. Trust is a principle that lies at the root of a spiritually mature society. Laws are created on the basis of mistrust. A 30 mile an hour speed limit suggests the state does not trust the motorist to drive at a safe and slowish speed through this zone and is therefore ordered to restrict his/her speed to this limit. What I am suggesting is that we remove all speed limit signs and replace them with other signs such as; Please drive safe and slow, or, Slow down children crossing. All sorts of signs could be used instead of the current speed limit signs to guide the speed at which a motorist is driving. 

As well as replacing signs that order with ones that guide and instruct there could be greater emphasis placed on self policing of the roads. No speed limits will also mean no need for roadside speed cameras. But onboard cameras in modern vehicles could prove invaluable in the need to address reckless motoring behaviour. All recorded incidents of what is considered reckless behaviour would be reported directly to the police. The motoring public will in this way be taking greater responsibility upon themselves for the road safety of themselves and others. A third additional point that goes hand in hand with this second point might be the need for public information films to clarify what would be considered as reckless behaviour. If this was the case I would again suggest let the public decide. Rather than using films that could be seen as state propaganda there could be an independant website showing real life video footage from public vehicles. The public could view and judge for themselves what is and is not reckless behaviour, at the end of the day common sense should prevail - not law!

Speed doesn’t neccesarily kill but it does reduce the amount of time we have to react to the unexpected. Better to slow down, expect the unexpected and put the safety of others before seeking your own thrills.