There is nothing that politicians like better than a good smokescreen whereby under cover of which they can either stick their noses in and whilst there possibly impose yet more draconian restrictions upon the populace - I refer to the unfortunate accident on the M5 in which people lost their lives and many were injured. According to the report on Politics Home the police are concentrating their investigation on the fact that a bonfire close to the motorway was the cause of the bank of smoke that caused vision problems for drivers.
Needless to say my condolences and sympathies go to those who lost their lives and to their families, together with my best wishes to those injured, for a speedy recovery.
It would not surprise me in the slightest if the investigation resulted in our politicians over reacting and placing a blanket ban on any bonfire being lit within 'x' feet of a motorway. A few immediate questions do arise however:
- smoke from a fire can be seen from some distance and faced with that would not sensible drivers begin slowing down well before entering the smoke, or even stopping prior to that?
- once in the smoke, were hazard lights deployed by those drivers?
- it only affected one carriageway - was there no traffic on the unaffected carriageway?
- if, as reported by an eyewitness (Observer), a car was driving at 60-70 mph in dense visibility therein lies a more valid reason for the carnage which followed.
- reference has been made to the M4 crash near Hungerford. Having attended a speed awareness course I was shown a police simulation (based on witness statements) and what caused that crash was not fog, but driver errors. Perhaps that may well be found the reason for the M5 accident?
In nearly every eventuality where there is either loss of life, or injury, certain groups waste no time in jumping on their personal bandwagons - witness the Times (£) report that activists against the proposed raising of the speed limit to 80mph are claiming that 'it would have been worse'.