Speed Scare

Sir,

On my recent visit to England for the VSCC and AMOC Silverstone meetings, I had a good chance to observe a fair amount of driving from both an econobox (a 1.6 Orion which was amazingly good) and a flatbed Mercedes carrying the Tipo B Alfa and towing a trailer with the Lotus. In both modes I was reminded how well most people drive and how well traffic gets along in the fast lane of the motorways, of which I was a part in the Orion.

Leave us in our 55 mph misery, but don't make it worse. I refer, of course, to the letter from Mr Millward in your July issue, and I fail to understand why an enthusiast would put forward such data; I assume that Motor Sport readers are enthusiasts. Be that as it may, his letter requires explanation.

When the figures he quotes about fatalities on Interstates appeared, they were taken by all save the Naderite camp as suspect. The figures were publicised in a statement by Mr Howard, former leader (now deceased) of the anti-speed faction in Congress, based, as it turns out, on "preliminary data he forced the National Highways Traffic Safety Authority to release from a study which NHTSA Administrator Diane Steed says will not be finished until September".

Commissioner Smith of the California Highway Patrol said: "The study seriously misrepresents the California experience by measuring the wrong months on the wrong highways, and in fact the statistics indicate no significant change from the year before."

And Transportation Secretary Burnley, under whom is the NHTSA, said at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers that raising the speed limit to 65 mph has had no effect on the death-rate.

Henry Wessells III

Paoli, Philadelphia, USA