The AA Replies . . .
Just to put Mr. J. L. M. Cotter (Letters, July issue) straight following his criticism of the AA and its reaction to Government motoring policies, he is obviously ignorant of the fad that the telling work in the legislative field on behalf of the motoring community is done many months before proposed new regulations become publicly known.
It is during this time that proposals we would regard as being not in the best interests of motorists are amended or deleted. But for this "watchdog' effort nit behalf of motorists some final legislation would be very much more unacceptable in the public's eye and at this stage we are able to exert the greatest influence on official thinking.
As to his three particular examples of the AA's "outright support" for "repressive' measures":
Fuel-saving speed limits: These we accepted in the first instance as a means of assessing their value in conserving energy which would be reviewed and withdrawn if found to be ineffective. Experience has proved that these measures have done nothing to save fuel, and the AA has called on the Government to recognise this fact and abandon these limits which, judged on their shortcomings, have been widely disregarded by motorists and only sporadically enforced by the police.
Seat belts: The AA has had no hesitation in supporting a safety measure which could save at least 20,000 people a year from death or serious injury. The case for the compulsory use of seat belts has already been amply and compellingly proved in many other countries, and our own research shows that 92% of British motorists recognise the value of seat belts in avoiding serious injury and 61% would accept compulsory wear.
Police platforms on Motorways: VASCAR is the most reliable means of recording speeds so far available. Front the motorists' point of view it is surely better for the police to be parked conspicuously rather than in more obscure places. The interests of road safety are also better served by the plainly visible police car, whether it is equipped with VASCAR or not, to keep likely speedsters in check.
R. S. CAMPBELL. Public Relations Manager Basingstoke The Automobile Association