15 February 2009
Clearly the Highways Agency need to justify the electricity used by those matrices above the motorway if the ones above the M62 I saw this afternoon are anything to go by. The policy seems to be "if there are no accidents and if the weather's fine, put any old crap up there".
Which is why the soundbite SEATBELTS SAVE LIVES was up on all the electro-signs as I drove home from Stockport.
Now, there's nothing wrong with the sentiment. Seatbelts save a damn sight more lives than speed cameras ever will. But, well, isn't a bit late to be reminding us to wear our belts? It was 25 years ago last month that the old CLUNK CLICK EVERY TRIP campaign introduced us to a new law. The time to be telling us that seatbelts save lives is when they are not compulsory, not when they are.
A whole generation of drivers have only ever known seat-belt wearing, such a long time ago was the introduction of the law. Even the Rantzen-assisted campaign to make rear seatbelts compulsory has been established long enough for every back seat passenger, irrespective of age, to reach automatically for the buckle as soon as they get comfy. Rarely, if I have a rear seat passenger, do I have to ask them to buckle up.
These matrices should be used, during a quiet afternoon's motoring, to tell people to stop doing dimwitted things while driving. I'd love to see a matrix dare to say STOP HOGGING THE MIDDLE LANE AT 45MPH YOU DINGBAT or BMW DRIVERS: TRY INDICATING AND USING YOUR MIRRORS OCCASIONALLY. Better still, how about LORRY DRIVERS WHO OVERTAKE AT ONE MILE AN HOUR FASTER THAN THE OTHER VEHICLE WHILE ON THE DUAL CARRIAGEWAY, THEREBY SLOWING DOWN EVERY FOLLOWING MOTORIST FOR FIVE SOLID MILES WILL BE GAROTTED BY A CLOTHES LINE but I suspect it won't ever happen. The matrices aren't big enough. And overtaking by lorries, much to my regret, is not illegal. Yet.