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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 140

Date:- 21 February 2004

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RAC Legal Services is calling for a complete review of the systems used to detect and punish speeding, voicing concerns that existing methods are not changing driver behaviour and are viewed with cynicism by motorists.

The move follows the publication of the RAC Report on Motoring 2004, which reveals that some 13.5 million drivers exceed the speed limit each day, and further highlights that 72 per cent of drivers believe speed cameras are for revenue generation only, not road safety.

At a time when the Government is currently reviewing how its 4,500 speed cameras are deployed and Met Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, has dismissed the use of speed cameras as a source of revenue, RAC Legal Services has highlighted five key areas of concern.

Nina Arnott spokesperson for RAC Legal Services said;- "Speeding regulations need to be modernised. We welcome a review of speed cameras, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. To improve road safety we must change driver behaviour, but we must do so without alienating motorists. There are five key areas that must be looked at if we are to make Britain's roads safer."

Driver Behaviour

Despite 4,500 speed cameras and numerous fines in 2003, 13.5 million drivers (46% of motorists) admit to speeding on a regular basis. Motorists no longer view speeding as a serious offence, 92 per cent of drivers think they are law-abiding road users.

RAC MANDATE:- "Tackling driver behaviour is vital to reducing speeding and accidents. The faster people travel, the higher the risk of severe injury when accidents occur. RAC supports driver awareness and rehabilitation courses as well as new technology that broadcasts how fast motorists are travelling on main roads"

Speed cameras

While there is evidence to suggest speed cameras have been effective at lowering accidents in so-called dangerous 'black spots', increasing the number of speed cameras does not stop people speeding. On average, speed cameras cost £32,000 to install and so increasing their use is an expensive venture.

RAC MANDATE:- "The practice of slowing down when drivers see a speed camera is commonplace. Speed cameras do not change driver behaviour in the long-term."

Technological advances

Cars are more efficient, quieter and quicker on the roads, yet existing speed limits have been in place for many years. Modern-day vehicles will reach speed limits in less time and faster cars cause more severe accidents.

RAC MANDATE:- "While cars travel faster than ever before, speed limits should not be raised. Alternatively, drivers of powerful vehicles should take advanced driver courses (as currently happens with motorcycles) and rehabilitation courses should be compulsory for drivers guilty of minor speeding offences. In urban areas, variable speed restrictions should be set in place,  around danger zones (schools and hospitals) 20mph limits are in place as a matter of course."

Penalties and fines

According to the RAC Report on Motoring 2004, almost two in three drivers (72%) believe speed cameras are for revenue generation only, not for road safety.

Drivers are concerned by a system of fines that, in many cases, charges a person the same amount irrespective of the speed they are travelling. The system must focus on punishing dangerous drivers.

RAC MANDATE:- "There is strong evidence to support a review of existing fines and penalties. A sliding scale for fines that punishes drivers grossly over the speed limit far higher than those marginally over the speed limit should be considered."

Insurance Cover

With people speeding on a regular basis, the risk of accidents is increased. Consumers must have the right insurance policies to protect them in the event of an accident or a legal case.

RAC Mandate:- "Any review of traffic laws and regulations, must be fair, but also ensure that people have the right insurance and have access to justice. There is an ongoing need for decent legal advice as the roads become more congested and vehicles advance."

Nina Arnott continued:- "The key issue is how we change driver behaviour. It is driver behaviour and misperceptions of the rules and regulations that cause most accidents. A system that fails to address driver behaviour in the long-term or, that is viewed with cynicism by motorists, is failing to deal with road safety."

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WITH every local authority in the UK having to meet stringent EU recycling rates, Merseyside has been set a target to more than double its current rate from 10 per cent up to 22 per cent by 2006.

On Saturday 14 February, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority ran a competition on Radio City’s breakfast show to help keep recycling on the agenda, and to let one lucky couple have a second bite of the cherry.

After hearing several stories from couples wanting to salvage Valentine’s Day, listeners then sent text messages to the show’s DJ Louis Hurst to say which one should win.

Recycling was soon firmly on the lips of the Valentine couple at the weekend, thanks in part to an accident suffered while exercising.

The couple, Julie and Paddy Sheridan, who live in Liverpool, have been married for almost 17 years and have four daughters; Natasha, Michaela, Rebekah and Lydia.

Mum-of-four Julie had been hoping for a romantic Friday night at their Litherland home, but had not realised her husband had injured himself, falling, while out running. After being ill for the past couple of months, Julie, 36, had been out with friends, but left early to surprise Paddy. She said:- “I went in through the kitchen door and crept upstairs. I got myself all romantic for Paddy, who was downstairs, to surprise him. But I didn’t know he’d hurt his leg while out running and was in a lot of pain.” But after winning the competition, she got the chance to salvage the day with the help of Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, the local government body responsible for dealing with the area’s rubbish.

"I screamed when I found out I’d won, but then had to phone Paddy to get him home from work,”
said the mum-of-four.

The couple won a surprise Champagne reception at Gillmoss Waste Transfer Station near Walton, before being taken by limo to Ego restaurant for lunch. Afterwards they were given £200 spending money which they put towards an eternity ring for Julie.

Paddy, 42, who works for a skip hire company, said:- “We’re keen on recycling, and we put everything we possibly can in our green boxes. Everyone should be doing it, and now that local authorities are putting it on your doorstep, there are no excuses.”

Carl Beer, MWDA’s Director of Waste Disposal, said:- “MWDA has recently been awarded two substantial grants from DEFRA and some of these funds will be used to promote recycling to get people to love it so that we create a culture of recycling.

A grant of £350,000 will help us develop a waste recycling centre, community recycling initiatives and a new communications and marketing programme, while a second grant of £5 million has been given the green light for a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). Here all the cans, bottles, plastics and paper thrown out for recycling can be sorted and sold on, to be turned into something new.

Negotiations are also currently underway for the development of composting provision at the existing Gillmoss Waste Transfer Station. This will enable the collection and recycling of green waste which can be resold for landscaping activities and other markets.”

  “Stand to Attention, Drill Sergeant Boon is in the House”

ON AT the Carling Academy Liverpool, 11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool, L3 5UF. Box Office:- 0870 771 2000 (24hr) / Customer Info:- 0905 020 3999

Thur 26 Feb, Boon Army with Drill Sergeant Clint Boon, £4/£5 on the door.   Legendary DJ Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets - Moo! Club - Disco Rescue) starts the weekend early playing the best records ever made! From Manchester to Merseybeat mayhem including lost classics from Baggy, Rave, Reggae, Punk, Funk, Hiphop, Northern Soul & Rock & Roll - the weekend starts here! 

Over 18s stay for free after any Thursday night gig.
Out on maneuvers:- 22:30hrs to 02.00hrs

Entry:- £4 NUS/Members £5 Others
Drink:- £2 pint Carling, £2 Vodka & mixer, £2 Java

Upcoming dates:- Mar 25, Apr 29 & May 28.