Should speed limit signs feature ‘cigarette packet style’ car crash images to deter drivers from exceeding limits?Wed, 29/11/2017
Speeding is dangerous, and illegal, but despite this, many drivers are still failing to abide by speed limits. This has raised the question about how to approach a new speeding awareness campaign, featuring gory scenes, much like those seen on cigarette packaging.
Rob Hull, The Mail Online, reports:
Since 2008, cigarette packets have featured gory scenes depicting the damage caused by tobacco inhalation in a bid by EU lawmakers to cut smoking.
And now road safety campaigners have called for the same tactics to be introduced to UK speed limit signs to prevent drivers from exceeding them.
A new study by insurer More Than found that 58 per cent of motorists would back the gruesome signs, saying a crash scene image would make them reduce their speed.
The radical campaign was launched as part of Road Safety Week, which has called for all 20mph, 30mph and 40mph signs to have an accompanying image of an accident scene in what it called a 'fag-packet approach'.
The theory is that drivers will be made instantly aware of the risks they're taking by breaking the speed limit when they see a picture displaying worst-case circumstances.
The insurer said it had trialled the new concept speed limit signs on 2,000 motorists with almost three in five saying it would have an impact on how they drive.
However, many will question the effectiveness of the approach, especially when consulting research that has suggested that shocking images of damaged lungs and hearts has done little to reduce the number of smokers in the country.
Studies conducted in 2013 - five years after gruesome fag-packet images were first introduced - said they had a negligible effect, especially among younger smokers, though contradictory studies have argued that they have warned people off the habit.
A poll of 2,000 people conducted by More Than found that 67 per cent said crash images on signs would make them more tangibly aware of the dangers of speeding while 56 per cent said they would slow down purely due to the fact they were so shocked by the pictures.
Some 38 per cent of respondents said the images would make them more scared about crashing their car as a result of speeding.
More Than now wants to put the signs into action and said it is 'exploring possible follow-up activity with a view to securing an actual pilot of the signs on UK roads'.
Kenny Leitch, global connected insurance director, said: 'While it may sound like a particularly radical idea to introduce visual deterrents alongside speed limit signs, our early research has shown that the adoption of a "cigarette-pack approach" could be another way tap into the human motivations that can promote good driving and prevent speeding.'
Since April 24, any motorists found guilty of the most serious speeding offences could have to cough-up one-and-a-half times their weekly pay in fines.
Based on Office for National Statistics figures for February 2017, the average driver would have to hand over £760 if caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone under the new measures introduced by the Sentencing Council last month.
Additional analysis suggested that these drivers would also have to pay £328 more for insurance after being slapped with six penalty points on their licences.
The bottom line remains that speeding is dangerous and could, and does, cost lives. Speed limits are clearly signposted and should be respected at all times, with no exceptions.