This blog is about two things which are inexorably ‘joined at the hip’ Cars and speed. Cars are ultimately about speed, especially when we get to the luxury end of the market. The specs which attract the buyer are; the 0-60 time, the top speed,which often now exceeds 200 mph, and the handling ( how does it handle at high speed). Whole industries and fortunes have been made around these things, and with the addition of sport (Formula 1, Indy 500, etc…) added then the lust for speed becomes an addiction. Some of the performance figures are the indications of how much you will need to ‘shell out’ to buy a vehicle in this range.
Another critical factor is the need to display ones wealth/success, and there are 2 overall visual factors which enable people to do this. The house and the car. The more expensive, the faster (cars, of course). Now, moving on to the other point of this article, which marries the 2 points together (or not, in this case). If you own a car that has a similar top speed to a rocket, why can you only drive that car at a maximum of 100kph/70mph? These are the limits in The UK, with many other countries having similar limits. Now, most car I have owned in my life have not been expensive( I think a max of around £7,000 I have paid for a 4 wheeled vehicle). All of the cars I have owned have been more than capable of topping the national speed limits. So why do we live under a system that openly encourages people to spend ridiculous sums of money on these missiles and then tell them that they must, or can only drive them at a fraction of their capacity? Governments pump, or have pumped countless millions into luxury car brands to support them(promoting the country’s industry), but does not do anything to support the millions of drivers who drive even slightly over the imposed limits, with for example, a warning for the 1st time they do it, or even adjust the limits upwards to make them more realistic.No. More money is taken from us(or them, as I am not in the luxury car bracket, but I still pay the same fines) even though car makers produce the products. Would it not be more practical to build cars which can only go within the limits? That would make perfect sense, then no one would get a ticket.
I will tell you why. 1. The luxury/high speed car market would collapse overnight. 2. Governments would lose countless millions in revenue, and insurance companies who insure drivers who have had licences taken, would also lose millions in the higher
insurance rates they rake in from said drivers.
These are the reasons the car industry is never mentioned in this equation. Can you imagine the government and car company executives in conversation?
Government minister: “We need to discuss an idea we have come up with to make the roads safer.”Car company executive: “What is your idea, we already have many measures in place.”GM: “Well, it is like this. We want you to reduce the maximum speed of your cars to 70mph for all models.”CCE: (after several seconds of silence)”Hahahahaha!!!!!!GM: “What is so funny?”CCE: “So the wealthy, are going to spend half-a-million pounds on a car that tops out at 70mph(100kph)?”GM: “Yes, as it will reduce accidents, and make the roads National speed limit 60 mph safer.”CCE: “And who will buy these new cars, as I know my customers won’t. Speed is one of the main reasons they buy them.” Also, won’t that mean you guys missing out on millions in speeding fines?”GM: “Yes, we thought about that and decided that we can reduce the limits even further, so we still get revenue.”CCE: “Good luck with that, but i think we will give this one a miss.”
Another one of the things espoused by the authorities is the safety issue. The system has never been about safety. It has been about profit (car companies) and revenue ( government and insurers).
On a final note. Germany has long had a partial solution to this problem, in the form of an autobahn. It is a highway without top sped limits. I believe it is a good idea, and anyone who drives on them is aware that cars will be travelling at incredibly high speeds ( the reason most were built).
There is more risk of accidents, but my argument is the fact that by building a vehicle which is capable of such speeds encourages the same scenario. Drivers want to drive them fast, where possible, but are not provided with anywhere to do so. Much like buying expensive clothes then told you are not allowed to wear them when you go out. Why buy them in the first place?
There is no, one solution to this, but the system in place ridicules millions of motorists around the world, and makes a mockery of the ‘speed vs safety’ argument.