The roaring Forties
At a time when there is urgent need to speed up traffic on British roads the government sanctions widespread application of a 40-m.p.h. speed limit. On arterial roads, especially where traffic flows in one direction only, accidents are caused, not by those who drive with concentration at over 40 m.p.h. but by those “mimsers” who will not concentrate and who pull out without looking or signalling—such drivers will continue to cause accidents at any speed from 30 m.p.h. downwards and making all vehicles proceed at a comparative crawl on wide roads will merely accentuate the trouble. Moreover, to restrict speed along the new motor-ways and divided arterial roads to 40 m.p.h. is a shameful waste of public money and will lead to untold congestion when traffic reaches its peak this summer.
We invite the Minister of Transport to drive with us on one of the still derestricted arterial roads, when he cannot fail to be convinced that considerably over 40 m.p.h. is perfectly safe in a modern car and that the cause of accidents lies in bad driving at slow speeds. As it is, Britain will soon be the laughing stock of foreign visitors, who find the roadside not only littered with discs of varying sizes labelled “30,” “40” or bearing the derestriction sign (this last often at the commencement of twisting country roads!) but, to add to the Alice in Wonderland impression, bordered at frequent intervals by small sticks bearing the decadent figures “30” and “40.” Those taxpayers who are asked to bear the brunt of fine new motor-roads to speed the traffic (and thereby the National economy) will be given food for thought as each big new “40” disc looms into sight against the background of a safe, straight motor-way.
––and compulsory vehicle inspections
Apart from the “folly of the forties,” the present government has run into plenty of criticism over the proposed compulsory testing of pre-1948 vehicles. Such testing is not only unnecessary, the police having adequate powers for dealing with unsafe vehicles under the present law, but to place such tests in the hands of garages is folly indeed. Statistics never have endorsed the view that road safety will be promoted in more than the minutest degree by checking on the older vehicles. Why the garage industry should be made responsible for the tests, with all that that implies, only the brain of Mr. Watkinson, the Minister of Transport, can comprehend. Some two million motorists are concerned in this unnecessary new legislation, to which the Socialists are strongly opposed. The very fact that such a large number of pre-1948 cars and motorcycles survive is proof that they are not in the habit of destroying themselves in lethal accidents! And why, especially if his vehicle is sound, should a driver or rider pay a fee to the government of this to be proved? A charge of 15s. may be mooted now but it wouldn’t surprise us to see this increased before long—like the 15s. driving licence and most costly provisional licences.
The present government, with a Budget that did nothing at all to assist the motorist or the motor industry, with its fear of speed even on properly laid out motor roads and now the threat to make motoring in the older cars an increased burden for that section of the community which cannot afford new vehicles, is in danger of losing a great many votes at the next election. Having made our roads the laughing stock of more progressive countries, apparently it has decided that Britain would be better off if she gave up motor-vehicle production and concentrated on horse-breeding.
Motor racing in May
The English motor racing season opened with some excellent sport during April and this month offers prospects of equally exciting and instructive events. The Ferrari/Aston Martin/ Lister-Jaguar battle, rendered intriguing by the varying fortunes of these marques at Sebring, Goodwood, Oulton Park and Aintree, will continue and after Moss’ victory with the little Cooper in the Argentine and at Aintree it will be interesting to see how the cars from Surbiton fare against the full might of G.P. machinery at Silverstone and Monaco.
On May 3rd the Daily Express International Trophy Silverstone Meeting, run by the B.R.D.C., merits your attendance, where racing of many varieties contested by almost every conceivable racing, sports and saloon car can be enjoyed. With Whitsun racing at Goodwood, Crystal Palace and Mallory Park and the many sprint and club races listed overleaf, there is plenty to watch during May.
Our weekly stable companion, which, by the way, has a completely separate editorial staff, goes from strength to strength. They now claim 25,000 readers, of which they are justifiably proud, having become a weekly, with Cyril Posthumus as the Editor, only seven or eight months ago.