RoSPA Jumps on the Bandwagon

In the aftermath of the M5 crash last Friday evening we had the usual suspects line up to tell us that speed is a horrible thing. Well, to be fair, in this case speed does appear to have been a significant factor. One eyewitness told of vehicles travelling at 60mph. Given the conditions –  he described thick fog –  this was rank stupidity and the crash was a logical outcome. That’s what happens when you drive too fast in poor visibility –  you have a tendency to bump into things.

However, we had RoSPA spouting on the box on Saturday evening about the proposed raising of motorway speed limits to 80mph and how terrible this would be. RoSPA cannot condone such a move, we are told. The outcome will be more such accidents and the increased speeds will increase the consequence.

Well, there might be a point to be made on the latter; greater speed will result in greater impact, but what RoSPA seems to be forgetting is that traffic already travels on the motorways in excess of 80mph –  and if you don’t believe me, then travel at that speed on the inside lane and watch everything else belt past you –  trucks excepted, of course. And the M1 around Nottingham, naturally, where 50mph is going some if you are lucky.

RoSPA also seems to be ignoring Europe, which already has a maximum 130kmh speed limit and narrower roads to boot –  and they are not in a state of carnage. This is panic from the usual panic merchants. Last Friday’s crash had nothing to do with speed limits and everything to do with driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions (even if this wasn’t the root cause, it certainly exacerbated it going by eyewitness testimony). A good driver recognises a safe speed and regulates speed according to the prevailing conditions, irrespective of the posted limit.

Raising the speed limits to 80mph will have no effect on such incidents whatsoever as the speed limit was not a factor. It doesn’t matter whether the maximum is 70mph, 80mph or 180mph; in dense fog, the appropriate speed is that in which you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear. RoSPA know this damned well and are being highly disingenuous –  not to mention crass in using multiple deaths to push their own political agenda.


  1. My brother told me of one of his friends who had been travelling on the M5 that night. This guy said the conditions were clear one moment, and the next it was as though a wall of fog and rain had suddenly appeared, conditions went from fine to treacherous in an instant. The guy thinks the accident happened just behind him, so it’s possible that the sudden deterioration in driving conditions may have caused some drivers to panic and slam on their brakes.

  2. You forgot to mention that France has two speed limits on the Autoroute; 130kmh for dry/clear conditions and 110kmh for adverse conditions.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the accident was caused either by one truck overtaking another and one of them jack-knifing or by a knobhead in a German saloon car. The RoSPA would be better off investigating what it is that BMW & Audi impregnate the driver’s seat upholstery with. It seems to turn drivers into morons.

  3. Yep, I saw this v.shrill woman on a BBC/RoSPA video clip and thought pretty much the same – anything to throw on the bonfire is fair game with the msm when something like this happens – anything… Just toss it on to the froth of hyperbole that the gormless, excitable halfwits employed to report “nooze” whip up to generate as much content as possible.

    Thousands killed, driving too fast = not obeying RoSPA etc. diktat. Statistics rolled out with the inference that the dropping casualty rate is due to the activities of RoSPA and speed cameras …

    ThE coverage has been shallow, hysterical and I don’t know what word to use but slavering for more casualties seems to figure in most “reports”.


  4. Patchy fog in that part of the world – the Somerset Levels – isn’t exactly unusual, so that scenario is pretty likely. The correct approach is to take one’s foot off the gas and allow the vehicle to reduce speed sensibly rather than hit the brakes and cause a Mexican wave. And, yes, doubtless there were truckers playing leapfrog effectively closing off two thirds of the carriageway.

    I didn’t mention the dual limits in France because on this occasion, it didn’t apply – the lower speed is 110kmh, which is just over 70mph. The issue here was appropriate speed for the conditions – somewhat lower than 70mph, which is the point that RoSPA chose to ignore and I agree with Tom, appalling and facile reporting.

  5. I generally drive on motorways when conditions are good at between 90 and 100. In such conditions even the Middle Lane Owners Club seem to be doing about 85.

    Extreme weather conditions have seen me slow to around 40 – that’s as fast as I can go while being able to stop in the distance I can see to be clear. Yet I see all these cars belting past at 60. I know that my eyesight is double the required standard, but do not know how these drivers can possibly see well enough to be doing 60 in such dreadful conditions.

  6. And another thing.

    Doesn’t rospa come with its very own health warning?

    “May contain nuts”.

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