From: "Bill Sloman"
Subject: Re: Defeating Breathalyzer Ignition Interlocks
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 00:50:19 +0100
Organization: Planet Internet
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NNTP-Posting-Date: 6 Jan 2003 23:50:54 GMT
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"John Woodgate" wrote in message
> I read in sci.electronics.design that Bill Sloman
> wrote (in <firstname.lastname@example.org>) about
> 'Defeating Breathalyzer Ignition Interlocks', on Mon, 6 Jan 2003:
> >The aim is simply to change people's behaviour - cutting average
> >speeds makes car accidents slightly less likely, and markedly less
> >damaging. Directly preventing accidents would be much more difficult,
> >and very much more expensive.
> I don't disagree with that at all.
> >The introduction of automatic camera's in Nijmegen cost me one $30
> >fine, which persuaded me to drive around town at the legal 50 kph
> >rather than the previously tolerated 60 kph. Most of my friends and
> >colleagues had much the same experience, and reacted in much the same
> >way, though some had to pay two or three such fines before the message
> >sank home.
> Do you know what the trigger speed is? It's that sort of thing that
> concern people. Early last year we had a police chief say that he
> planned to book people for 31 mph in the 30 limit. He was taken on one
> side and kicked in the head by his peers. The Association of Chief
> Police officers now say that no camera will be set below 36 mph - 10%
> tolerance on the speedometers fitted to ordinary cars plus 3 mph for
> having occasionally to look at the road and not the speedometer.
I got done for speeding at 56 kph, and my piano teacher for 53kph. My wife
claims that this has bene reduced to cover a 3kph margin of error, which
strikes me as unlikely.
> >> Near here, we have a dual carriageway as wide as a 2-lane motorway,
> >> a 40 mph speed limit, and what were once country lanes but now carry
> >> quite a lot of traffic, with the 'national speed limit' of 60 mph for
> >> single-carriageway roads.
> >So you are campaigning for "the country lanes" to get a 40mph limit?
> I would like to see far more logic applied, yes. If the dual carriageway
> were set to 50 or 60 mph, and the narrow single carriageways to 40 mph,
> it would make much more sense.
> There is a T-junction on a country main road that I use often. The
> sight-lines for traffic emerging from the side road were very bad, and
> after many accidents, a STOP sign was erected. About 3 years later, the
> main road was re-aligned and the sight-lines improved to an excellent
> standard; clear vision for over a mile one way and about 500 m the
> other. The STOP sign is still there!
> >> Then, some way from here, is a twisty, undulating road which demands
> >> that you keep your eyes on the road all the time. It has a 20 mph speed
> >> limit, with cameras, so people look at their speedometers and run off
> >> the road!
> >As John Fields has pointed out, you don't need absolute pitch to use
> >the engine note to judge your speed pretty accurately - trying to
> >drive at a constant speed via visual feedback from the speedometer is
> >just stupid, and anyone who tries it and runs off the road is just
> >exhibiting evolution in action.
> I have a quite car and I'm somewhat deaf. With the radio on, I don't
> hear the engine note too well. I imagine that in a car with several
> occupants, especially children, the same situation occurs.
So allow a larger margin to cover hunting in the control loop.
> >> In general, there is support only for complaints that most people
> >> consider reasonable. This is one instance.
> >> People are not defending 'boy racers'. We have our share here, who
> >> 'cruise' along Southend seafront at speeds in excess of anything you
> >> care to name. What is strange is that only now, after several years of
> >> trouble, is something **allegedly** going to be done to stop it.
> >I accept that they don't think that they are defending boy racers.
> >What they are defending *their* right to drive as much faster than the
> >law allows as *they* consider appropriate, while denying this liberty
> >to boy racers. This isn't entirely reasonable.
> That isn't MY position, which is that enforcement must be reasonable,
> logical and subject to risk analysis.
You seem to be looking for an impracticably fine-grained system of setting
maximum speeds -I find it irritating enough to keep track of the
ever-changing location of the 50 to 70 to 80 kph boundaries around the
outskirts of Nijmegen.
> >One of the downsides of living in a democracy is that from time to
> >time you have to subordinate your judgement to that of the population
> >as a whole.
> No, not of the population as a whole, except in Switzerland. The
> judgement, very often, of a minor official, more intent on not making a
> mistake than thinking about the reality.
Human beings can't manage very much reality. I had a depressing habit of
making very accurate predictions about situations at work, and not taking
them seriously - happily, I've lost the facility now that I'm working in the
> >Bitching about exact local speed limits is rather like
> >argueing with the weather - though you can always try and get your
> >local council to adjust the speed limit on a particular road, if you
> >have the patience of Job.
> Or if you are a Councillor, of course. There's a village in Kent that
> has a chicane at each end, signs, obstructions, bollards, you name it. A
> County Councillor with a loud and persistent voice lives in the village.
Getting to be a councillor takes even longer,and is time-consuming when
you've made it. Electing the right councillor can work. Back in Tasmania,
our electorate tended to elect councillors who lived on the edge of the
municipality, in areas served by unsealed roads (no asphalt) that turned to
mud when it rained. The municipal board of works wouldn't leave the road to
a councillor's house unsealed.
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen