Sir, As one who has over very many years’
readership of MOTOR SPORT, noted many worthy editorials in defence of the harassed motorist, I now write expressing alarm and despondency about the new measures which make compulsory the use of headlamps at night on ail roads. Successive motoring legislation has tended,
unwisely I think, to restrict the prowess and the experience of the keen driver, and displays a general policy of rounding everyone down to the minimum statutory skilled level. The latest misguided and irrelevant outpouring from this cornucopia of legislation removes from the driver the decision, taking into account the weather conditions, the quality of the street lighting, and the volume of traffic and pedestrians, whether or not to switch on his headlamps. I am convinced that the motoring public have not yet come to realise the full potential impact of this Orwellian gesture. Dazzle, always a major contribution to road accidents, is now going to increase significantly, as is the manifestation of badly adjusted lights. Likely hazardous situations are numerous, but to take a common one: Two motorists are approaching a zebra crossing from opposite directions. To observe any pedestrian attempting to cross from right to left in front of “our” car, “our” driver’s line of vision must pass across the headlamp beam of the approaching car not once, but twice. In the raining situation, reflection almost
doubles the hazard, and the pedestrian may not be clearly discernible.
When will those who mould our legislation ever realise that in the long term driving standards will never be allowed to rise with negative measures of this kind on the Statute Book. A more advanced test and a wider range of experience is needed to promote skill in driving, and to inculcate that vital ability to discriminate and to choose a course of action appropriate to differing circumstances.
The mind boggles at what the next wellmeaning but totally ineffectual suggestion is going to be, and the burden of enforcement it will place upon the police whose job is a noble though thankless one, but one which would enjoy a better public image if they were allowed to concentrate wholly upon the stamping out of serious crime rather than the pursuit of technical offences. The licences of normally law-abiding citizens are at stake with such continuing trivialities, and I invite anyone who shares my concern to write to me with information and/or a petition which I am prepared to transmit to the Department of the Environment. Wigan DAVID CULSHAW