No Excuse For Vague Road Safety Policing

“No excuse for poor driving”.
Well, what if you’re a poor driver? This dot-matrix sign shows a current UK Gubbmint road-safety initiative. The thing is, that brightly illuminated road sign doesn’t really mean anything, does it? You can be a poor driver without actually causing any specific motoring offence. In fact, unless accompanied by a certified “good driver” for every highway mile, how does a driver learn that, they are, in fact, rubbish?
“Poor driving” is an undesirable characteristic, but as far as I know not actually illegal unless it encompasses an actual traffic offence, such as speeding or using your phone behind the wheel. Both of these can actually be policed against, so “no excuse for speeding” is a valid thing for a road safety campaign to shout, and indeed many of the static speed cameras on UK roads have that slogan emblazoned on their backs so boldly that, even if you think there’s an excuse for speeding there really isn’t an excuse for being caught doing it.
Just like shouting at your exam-flunking offspring to “BE BETTER AT MATH!” might not get the desired result, is there a more tangible way to see in improvement?

no excuse1
Overall there’s always room for improvement in the general standard of driving on our roads. Nobody’s perfect. So rather than spending tax money on pointless electronic display-boards nagging us to just be, you know, better, how can the government convince road users to have pride in their driving? To not only drive legally and in a manner free of offences, but to drive well?
Well, I have a fanciful idea, steeped in optimism, which I reckon could work.
How about actually rewarding people for good driving? How about, in the same way as that unwanted envelope might flop unexpectedly onto your doormat, containing bad news about a speed limit you fractured three weeks ago and how there’s a juicy fine owing, you might open said envelope to find a little folder of gift vouchers, money-off coupons and little presents, awarded to you by a Police Officer who saw merit in your driving?
Wouldn’t that be nice? Everybody likes a bit of positive feedback once in a while, so why not reward the angels rather than just chasing the sinners?
You’ve probably got far, far better ideas than I have, so let’s hear them.
(This isn’t Hooniverse Asks, Oh, goodness no, that’s far more important. This was just something which came to mind when I saw another silly sign telling me to be a better person)

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  1. mdharrell Avatar

    “Just like shouting at your exam-flunking offspring to ‘BE BETTER AT MATH!’ might not get the desired result….”
    It doesn’t work all that well in a geology classroom, either.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      I had a lot of mechanical engineers that considered thermodynamics an insolence. It usually helped to show them the connection of gas laws and combustion engines, heat capacities and intercoolers, phase transitions and melting brake disks, blackbody radiation and exhaust tubing materials etc. (which they would hear about in great detail later when specializing in automotives, but you just aren’t there yet…). It also helped to ask them: “Would you buy a car from a company where none of their engineers could even explain how a thermos flask is working? Understand simple things well, and try to reduce complicated things back to a number of those simple things.”
      I have no idea how to motivate pupils to be better at math, though.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        I’m not much help there. I never claimed that it was the pupils I’m trying to motivate with all the shouting.

        1. Vairship Avatar

          Maybe you should throw rocks and pebbles at them instead? I’ve heard that makes it more likely the geology will get through their thick skulls…

  2. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I agree and disagree in part. My locality abuses variable message boards on highways, by reminding us of such essential information, such as rooting for local sporting teams. As with driving, they can be highly useful when used well.
    I’m not a fan of needlessly detaining motorists from their appointed rounds. It could lead to misunderstandings. It might also be used to gin up an excuse for a search of the car, or whatnot. Something like a Secret Santa, where you might get a card in the mail thanking you for driving particularly well, or stopping to help a motorist in distress – that would be pretty cool.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      In my region, message spots like that were built up for one reason alone: Showing which of the roads nearby are currently closed by avalanches and landslides. This morning, only one mountain pass was closed.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      I would worry that if police officers could give ‘good driver rewards’ to people, they’d end up giving them only to their family and friends. Or someone they had the hots for.

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    You’ve just described the Canadian “positive ticket”.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    It just be nice for assorted authorities to value a different kind of “good” driving. Don’t speed! Don’t ever, ever speed and you’re a good driver! Don’t exceed our arbitrary collection limits and you’ve got moral high ground! I’d love to see the fostering of the active, involved driver, but there’s probably too many people who are incapable of that.
    I mostly find myself sheepdogging people, getting deliberately uncomfortably close to them as they start veering into my lane.

  5. Sjalabais Avatar

    Maybe the chamber of lords, accustomed to driving this:
    …is trying to do something with the eyesore that poor drivers are?:

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