Graham Hurdle's blog: 28 June 2011 - Is it safe to do a U-turn?
28 June 2011
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
Is it me, or are there are lot of U-turns going on at the moment?
Every time I watch the news the Government seems to be changing decisions according to 'public opinion' and it makes you wonder how many ill-thought out schemes exist that haven't been given enough thought. This isn't a political viewpoint because I'm talking about initiatives implemented by this and former governments.
Take one in my area for example. The road leading up to our local school is approx 300 metres long with railings along both sides separating pedestrians from the traffic, except at the end of the lane where there is a zebra crossing. Parents use the lane to park, when taking/collecting children (despite there being double yellow lines), as many consider it safer to park there than on the main road.
As a result, it's been announced that wardens will be enforcing the parking restrictions in this lane - i.e. stop parents parking in the only nearest safe place to the school.
Normally I would be the first to congratulate the authorities for their efforts in protecting our children, but in this case they have actually made the problem worse. Parents are now being forced to park on the main road to avoid penalties.
As I said the lane has railings along both sides, so the pedestrians aren't affected by the traffic with the exception of those going to/from their vehicles. By the very nature that every vehicle must have an adult (the driver) the children are escorted whilst walking on the road. However, the main road at the bottom of the lane has no railings, parking restrictions or even a pedestrian crossing and since the lolly pop man retired last year, no school crossing patrol either.
The road does have a speed limit of 30 mph, but what now happens is that parents park along the road. This results in other drivers now having to wait for a gap in oncoming traffic to drive past a queue of parked cars, sometimes as long as 200 metres.
The end result is drivers accelerate hard as the gaps in oncoming traffic don't come along often. As every right thinking person knows, parked cars, drivers speeding and unescorted children is a recipe for disaster - everyone except for the law enforcers it would seem.
This is just one example of where those in power don't think things through before making a decision and then have to do a 'U turn' based on public opinion, or worse still, after someone has been killed.
But as we all reflect on the ridiculous ill-considered and sometimes dangerous decisions taken by our law-makers, maybe we shouldn't be too judgemental.
In the corporate world many company directors are also making decisions about how their fleets are run which are equally poor. Letting drivers in vehicles without checking if they have a licence. Giving young drivers far too powerful cars to drive. Not ensuring drivers or vehicles are legal and safe.
At E-Training World we've seen instances when the only reason a company has wanted to use our risk management systems is after a serious accident involving one of their drivers. Prior to that event their decision was not to take their duty of care seriously but post-accident they do their own massive U-turn.
So if you are a company director or fleet manager passing judgement on the Government's latest changes of heart, perhaps have a think about how your policies would change if something serious happened?
If you imagine what your risk management procedures would look like after a major accident, that's what they should look like now.
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