Since Mary Ward was killed in 1869 by an experimental steam vehicle built by her cousins, the proliferation of the car has been a double edged sword for civilisation.
The motor vehicle provides many things – a status symbol, a luxurious environment, an essential mode of transporting both people and cargo, and entertainment. Its last use is probably the reason that it remains one of the most dangerous devices in the world today.
As the number of cars has increased, so has the number of car accidents, resulting in serious injuries and numerous deaths. Some of these accidents are due to carelessness, drunkenness, lack of confidence or ability, confusion, and so on. But most of them, as is no secret, are due to excess speed.
Many people, especially young men, love the sensation of speed. The associated adrenaline rush is often too much to resist, and as soon as their driving license lands on the doormat, these inexperienced new drivers are already heading for the twisty B-roads in their new steed.
Giant insurance premiums in recent years have attempted to both cover the costs of the accident these young drivers invariably cause, while at the same time trying to discourage them from driving anything but the most pathetically underpowered superminis. Even so, there isn’t a new car on sale today that won’t be able to break motorway speed limits. Eighty miles an hour is still eighty miles an hour, regardless of vehicle or power output. Smaller cars just take more time to get there.Open Claim Calculator
Over the course of the past weekend there were a quite unbelievable number of road accidents all over the UK, one of which, in Lancashire, was caused by a 19-year old driving an Audi A5. The slowest A5 is still a two-litre turbo diesel with 170 horsepower on tap, which sits in insurance group 14. This suggests that either this nineteen year old was very rich himself, had rich parents, or was driving a company car, completely circumnavigating the barriers that insurers try to put up.
Stories like these raise questions about deaths on the road and how much can reasonably be done to cut their numbers. While it has been shown that proper training does help, it doesn’t solve all the problems. Advanced motorists, having been given that badge, may feel that they are better qualified that their non-advanced fellows to drive quickly.
It is probably prohibitively expensive and complicated to show each and every new driver horrific photographs of the results of serious car accidents in order to terrify them into driving more carefully. However, it is also expensive for insurance companies to be constantly paying out claims against drivers who have caused widespread destruction because they think they are Lewis Hamilton.
Surely a more hard-line approach is required. There are numerous hypothetical solutions. One could be to fit all new cars with a black box that monitors the speeds the car is driven at. The insurance company could then monitor the driver’s behaviour over the past year when it comes to renewal time and reward them for careful road use. Likewise the police could issue automatic fines for any occasion that the car has been driven at excess speed.
Another could be to fit a device to the car that electronically limits its speed according to the limit in place in that area. The speed limit signs themselves could feature transmitters that emit a signal that transponders in the engine pick up, capping the speed, and therefore no vehicle except emergency service vehicles are able to exceed the speed limit.
These are just theories, but it seems that something dramatic and perhaps even draconian needs to be done to curb the senseless deaths and injuries from car accidents in the UK that keep increasing.
Human life, and not cost considerations, should be the overriding priority.