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post #2 of (permalink) Old 27th January 2006
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I know the police themselves were doing this in marked cars in a few places at one point. Avon & Somerset was one I think (they were also one of the places that got seriously over-zealous about 'zero tolerance' and started handing out tickets for 71mph.)

Driving back from Glasgow a few months ago, there was a marked police car doing exactly 70 in the inside lane of the M74. As many of us do, a few of us crawled past at an indicated 75. He let a few of us do that, then overtook, pulled in front, switched his rear LED sign to say 'speed limit 70' and slowed back down to 70.

The result? Over a dozen cars, complete with irritated drivers bunched together on an otherwise clear stretch of motorway. Now exactly how did that improve the safety of the road?

A lot of accidents are caused by irritated drivers making rash decisions, and seeing someone 'hogging' the outside lane at exactly 70mph is enough to make anyone's blood boil if they're wanting to go a little bit faster. If the car isn't marked, then this will prompt people to tailgate and undertake, both of which are detrimental to overall safety.

So I bet this'll cause more accidents than it prevents, though no doubt the statistics will prove otherwise. It's a bit like those ridiculous 'keep your distance' chevrons - yes, everything flows nicely on the marked stretch of road, but I wonder just how many accidents are caused by the cascade braking that occurs at the beginning of the chevron stretch as everyone tries to increase the distance between their vehicles. Of course if the accidents happen outside of the marked area, then it probably just proves how well the chevrons work and that they need extending a little bit further to cover the new problem area.
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