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Road Safety Week 2020 - No Need to Speed
Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest
road safety event, organised each year by Brake, the Road Safety Charity. The
theme this year is ‘No Need to Speed’ which was selected following the results
of their online survey , ‘How safe are
the streets where you live?’. The survey which was answered by over 1,700 members
of the UK public, showed that only a quarter of individuals believe that
vehicles travel at a safe speed on the street where they live.
There are a multitude of reasons why
people speed including driver inattention, traffic flow and passenger distraction.
However, a significant factor which can lead to speeding is driving under the
influence of drugs and alcohol. The following study ‘Drug use,
impaired driving and traffic accidents’ conducted by The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
(EMCDDA)  summarises
the correlation between drug and alcohol use and speeding. The report shows
The use of both cannabis and alcohol together are associated with
increases in speed.
Regular methamphetamine users were
significantly more likely to speed and were far more likely to weave from side
to side whilst behind the wheel.
MDMA was found to increase speed
levels and decrease the driver’s ability to follow a car.
have used cocaine can be aggressive and reckless when driving.
In addition to this, Gjerde,
Christophersem, Normann & Morland  (2012) found a strong
association between drug and alcohol use and involvement in road traffic
accidents. The article goes on to identify that these accidents occur as a
result of risk-taking behaviour, speeding being a significant factor. A
further study conducted in 2014, ‘Study of the Effects of Alcohol on Drivers
and Driving Performance on Straight Roads’  found that higher
blood-alcohol concentration levels lead to higher accident rates. The results
on driver performance also indicated that average speed and speed standard
deviation were significantly higher under the influence of alcohol.
Unfortunately, we see real-life examples of this behaviour in the
media on a regular basis. Recently a 52-year-old man in Scotland was charged
with driving at over 90mph and was found to be driving five times over the
legal limit. Similarly, a drink-driver in Staffordshire was caught travelling
at over 100mph with three children in her vehicle.
There is a vast amount of research into the correlation between
drink- and drug-driving and an increase in speed but how well is this message
communicated? Individuals are being educated on the potential consequences of
drug- and drink-driving such as driver disqualification, loss of employment and
prison sentences but are they truly aware of the mental and physical effects
deriving from impairment? Drugs and alcohol interfere with the brain’s
communication pathways, affecting the way the brain works and restricting the
individual’s ability to make imperative decisions. Suggesting why people who
take substances before getting behind the wheel are more likely to act
Road Safety Week is therefore crucial, as it enables organisations
and individuals from multiple sectors to spread the ‘No Need to Speed’ message
from their perspective. Together we can create safer roads. Together we can
work towards Vision Zero.
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