Motorway Logic

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Motorway Logic

Sir,

A few days ago, quite by chance, I was able to read the morning newspaper from cover to cover. Owing to events I was able to repeat this for the following few days also.

As an interested reader I could not fail to notice one subject, to which the paper kept on returning day after day.

The subject is that of speeding on “Motorways”, and the sheer relish with which some of the police, or the mo-r, or the Government are setting about (what can I say?) trying to enforce this law.

Please find enclosed cuttings from the Daily Telegraph for the dates 26th, 27th and 28th September t 973.

Here you will find that the police are having a field day spending very large sums of public money to buy speed traps, or tax collecting equipment, without telling the public more than they have got to, to “stamp this out”. The remarks that are made are quite unqualified, the thinking behind this attitude, and the reasons and proposed effects are not even hinted at.

Despite the RRL findings that 74% of all accidents happen at 40 m.p.h., or slower, the police and Government are making great leaps and bounds to clamp down on the Motorway Speeder.

I also learnt recently from the Minister of Transport’s own lips that half the number of people killed on our roads are on foot.

I did not think that members of the public were allowed to walk on the Motorways. Clearly there must be something wrong here. The police are screening the Motorways with £5,000 BMWs, and people are being killed elsewhere.

Although many well known groups and individuals have said that the worst aspect of the 70 m.p.h. limit is the bad bunching of vehicles that results, see what Sir George Scott says. He just pours cold water on the whole idea.

Now take the cost of setting up all this expensive equipment. You will see that new high-speed radar meters are being bought, on board computers costing £600 each, unmarked cars, and of course BMW 3.0 Si at L5,000 each, Jaguars at 43,674 each, (not the I 2S yet), and BMW ‘bikes at LI, too each. How can one expect the average worker to think that this country is in serious trouble if the Government goes on spending at this rate? The Peer who spoke up from the “Think Tank” knew what he was talking about, until the Government bloodhounds silenced him. We cannot go on acting as if we own the world.

As an aside it must come as a bitter blow to you to see that the man who is in favour of lifting the 70 m.p.h. limit is cashing-in flogging C5,000 cars to the police to catch motorists exceeding that same speed. Remember the fuss over “That Red Jaguar”.

Then we come to the lack of consultation. When detailed observations have been made and sent to the MOT, all the Government machine will say is “your views have been noted”. Surely the public should be given more information than that, bearing in mind the amount of money that is changing hands? Lastly I come to bad accidents on the Motorways in fog. There was an article in The

Sunday Times some time back which would have answered everybody’s worries on this subject.

Some time ago BEA had a series of mid-air mishaps with their Viscount airliners. Some of these accidents were fatal, and others were never noticed by the public. The problem started when one of these aircraft crashed, for no apparent reason, into the sea off the East Coast of Ireland. Another aircraft of the same type got into trouble just as the crew was starting to let down into the approach to the air

field in the Channel Isles. The pilot, by great good fortune, was able to overcome the problem and land, and that is how the fault was traced. In brief. For some reason that model of Viscount_ at times suffered total and simultaneous failure of the generators on all four engines. When this happened there was, of course, total electrical failure on the aircraft, ex cept for the batteries, which gave power for, say, 40 minutes. The critical instruments on the flight-deck were powered by electricity, so, when the batteries ran down the vital instruments just ran down and left the pilot without any aids. This is thought to have happened over the Irish Sea. The pilot, now without aids, tried to keep on a level course, he was in cloud at the time, but after some minutes this proved to be too much

and after a series of dives and turns, the airframe limitations were exceeded and the aircraft broke up in mid-air. The aircraft flying to the Channel Isles had the very same thing happen to it. Just as it arrived at the let down point all, ALL, the instruments packed up, but by wonderful luck the pilot spotted a hole in the clouds. Turning the aircraft, to keep the hole in sight, he was able to let down through the hole and land by a purely visual approach. He was able to land by the seat-of-his

pants as he was able to use some reference on the ground by which to orientate himself. Thus he was able to keep level and the right way up and land safely. Tests have been carried out to sec how long trained pilots can retain their bearings when all reference points are removed. Flight in solid cloud (fog): On the average, pilots were able to

retain their position and altitude for less than three minutes. The very best that was recorded was one man who was able to carry on for eight minutes. Remember these were trained professional pilots.

Now then, take the average motorist on a Motorway, driving at 55/60 m.p.h. in clear conditions; then suddenly introduce thick smoke or fog. We know how long trained pilots can retain their sense, now how long does the Government expect the average motorist to retain his bearings? Surely the Motorways have got to be closed in thick fog conditions?

Hemel Hempstead. M. 0. C. POTIER.