Roddy Graham's Blog: 21 August 2008 - Black box ban
21 August 2008
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
I'll bang on about it until I'm blue in the face (see my blog of 13 March 2007) but leveraging black box technology to initiate road pricing is not the way to relieve road congestion.
I say this again after reading that the Department for Transport is about to sign contacts with four companies to trial available technology. However good the latter, it is bound to go wrong and I just dread to consider the backlash from the general public when it does. Government hardly has an enviable reputation when it comes to IT systems.
While latest reports indicate that traffic levels in London are back up to pre-congestion charge levels, EurotaxGlass's confirms the car trade's recent experience that drivers are down-sizing in the face of higher fuel bills and the prospect of higher VED duties on high CO2 emitting vehicles.
Hitting the driver where it hurts, directly in the pocket, is always going to be the most effective way to get them to move to smaller, more fuel-efficient modes of transport. With prices at the pumps having escalated, drivers for the first time are asking themselves whether a journey is really necessary and, faced with higher food and home energy bills, are doing the only thing they can in these harder economic times, cutting back.
So what the hell is government doing trying to over-complicate matters, as only they can do best, when the natural pricing mechanism in force at the pump will do equally well?
Meanwhile, I see our office neighbours, TRL, have conducted a survey into tailgating. Apparently, 93% of drivers have been tailgated by other drivers when observing correct speed limits.
If that is true, then the 7% responsible should watch out because there is absolutely no excuse for such aggressive behaviour.
I hope courts will take a dim view of such drivers caught by the police. Similarly, I hope the police ensure that drivers do drive at reasonable speeds.
Recent personal experience shows that more drivers seem to be driving well below the speed limit in force, possibly in an effort to save on fuel.
As the police appear to operate a policy of a 10% plus one mph acceptable upper speed limit for national speed limits so they should ensure drivers sustain a reasonable speed for the prevailing conditions.