Matters of Moment, November 1983

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Matters of Moment Higher motorway speeds? There is hope!

Powerful support is being given to our Petition for an upward revision of speed limits on British motorways, and the petition forms are now flooding in. The most encouraging news is that Mrs Lynda Chalker, MP, newly promoted as Secretary of State for Transport, has commissioned a national speed survey, the results of which are expected at the end of the year. In a letter of acknowledgement to our leading article, Mrs Chalker assures us that the results of the survey will be taken into account “together with all the views which we receive, including those of your readers, in helping on to take the best decision for the future”.

Immediate support for our petition came from Earl Howe, whose letter appears on page 1376, and from Sir Hector Monro, MP, the former Minister of Sport, who has written to Mrs Chalker and received an encouraging response. We are particularly encouraged to note that both Earl Howe and Sir Hector Monro are Justices of the Peace, lending even more weight to their powers of persuasion.

Sir Hector makes several pertinent points in his letter to the Under Secretary — that speed differentials should be maintained as the lorry speeds rise to 50 mph; that technical improvements make higher (car) speeds perfectly safe; that the energy saving argument is no longer valid; and that there are “miles and miles” of trunk roads, and others, where the 60 limit could be raised to 70 mph.

Mrs Chalker replies that she already knows, from the Armitage Report, that the current 40 mph speed limit for lorries on dual carriageways “is widely ignored” and the increase to 50 mph is supported by the police, “who have never found it practicable to try to enforce a limit that is widely held to be unrealistic”.

If Mrs Chalker were to travel the length of any three-lane motorway at 70 mph precisely, she would be in no doubt whatsoever that the motorway limit is just as widely ignored, and by and large the police do not have the resources to enforce it. She might encounter a large wedge of traffic following a police car, which will discreetly slow down to 60 mph to allow all the motorists to pull away unhindered, or she might see an unmarked police car stopped on the hard shoulder in company with a cross-looking member of the community, though that is less likely.

To stop motorists on a random principle does not seem quite right. A Gallup Poll published in the Daily Telegraph last month revealed that the majority of the public (56%) believe that the police spent too much time attending to traffic offences, and only 42% believe that they are more interested in dealing with serious crimes.

The police are extremely aware of their public image, and would always wish to enhance it with the law-abiding public, so we question whether they really enjoy stopping motorists on a random principle. Would not they, too, prefer to have a more realistic speed limit which is widely obeyed?

This is now our best, perhaps our only, chance to raise enough pressure to have the 70 mph limit on motorways raised to something more in keeping with the 80s. If you have not yet sent in your petition form please do it now; we have extended the closing date by a few days, so good is the response. Failure to take action now would be to acquiesce to a limit which has done no good at all. — M.L.C.

Bravo, Richard Noble

Warmest congratulations to Richard Noble for setting a new World flying start mile record of 633.468 mph with his Rolls-Royce powered Thrust 2. It was rather nice to hear the modest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, William Golding, refer to Noble’s new record, established the day before his own award, as another fine boost for Britain…

To the public, Noble is the new holder of the “Land Speed Record”, a loose term applied to the fastest-ever officially recognised speed with a car, because he has beaten Gary Gabelich’s Blue Flame mile speed by 11.061 mph. In fact, and without intending in any way to detract from Noble’s great performance, unless you re-write the FIA rules Gabelich still holds the World’s flying start kilometre record (the former Land Speed Record) because a new record can only be established if the old one is bettered by one per cent. Gabelich’s kilometre speed of 630.388 mph, set in 1970, remains the world’s flying start kilometre record because Noble failed to beat it by the required margin.

However, it was a magnificent show and Thrust 2’s 633 mph is now the speed to beat, over the mile distance the American contenders recognise. For our on-the-spot report, see page 1341. — W.B.

You may also like

Related products