Thursday, 16 June 2011

The blind driving the blind

I saw this story on BBC Breakfast recently, but couldn't find it on the BBC News site. Here's the Telegraph report:
Ministers are looking to cut the minimum distance from which a motorist has to be able to read a number plate, following a change in EU law aimed at standardising the rules across Europe.

Under the new requirements the reading distance would fall from 65 feet and seven inches (20 metres) to 57 feet and 5 inches (17.5 metres).

This is despite the great variation in the size of characters on number plates across Europe.

Letters on UK plates are considerably larger than those in France and Italy, but British drivers still have to undertake the same distance test.
How much difference this will actually make to road safety, I wouldn't like to say, but 20 meters doesn't seem like an unreasonably strict test.

But regardless of the merits of the change, it's hard to think of a worse reason for it than European standardisation.

The article continues:
The Government is ready to adopt the EU distance after a series of laboratory safety tests.

It has decided against taking advantage of an opt out which would enable the current distance to be maintained.
Exactly whose interests are being served here?

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