Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Simple question to ANYONE!!

Why do we manufacture cars that can reach 140 MPH in a country (UK) where the legal speed limit is 70 mph? - Just askin' !!!

Maybe I'm missing something obvious - please tell me if so.

Also please explain the logic to the Martian who lands on our planet with zero knowledge of our legal system.

PS - Yes I have an axe to grind - Last night (Tuesday) I got 'flashed' driving at 37 MPH in a 30 MPH zone at 10.45 pm on a totally deserted road - another fine on the way no doubt.

Such is life.


hucknjim said...

Hi Trevor,

It is, in one word, marketing. I well remember as a teenager riding a motorcycle down a long, straight, flat and empty stretch of highway and gunning it up to nearly 100 MPH. I didn't get caught and perhaps even more amazingly didn't get dead. I'm older and wiser now, but man was it fun.

So that's the market they're after. The implication is that of course you're not supposed to drive that fast, but just imagine the thrill if you could. Even older and wiser I can visualize it. Just my opinion and sorry about your speeding ticket.


J.KANNAN said...


I have to agree with hucknjim but would like to add one more word after marketing................"Gimmick".

And its for UK's Regulatory authorities to order manufacturers of Cars to manufacture Cars within the permitted speed limits rather than trying to tempt car buyers with speed/acceleration fancies.

In fact car manufacturers are taking the buyers for a BIG RIDE and the government for a SWIFT RIDE-This is really ridiculous.....................And Trevor its FINE that you have escaped from "FINE"...............Time matters in Life and such is Life.


Trevor Gay said...

Thank John - I agree with you and I too loved speed when I was a youngster. I have no problem whatsoever with speed limits. I am of course in favour of accident prevention.

What gets to me is that some of the speed limits are just plain crazy - for example 30 mph in a completely deserted road between the hours of 10.30 in the evening and 6.00 in the morning ... and yet the speed cameras still operate. Surely with today's technology we can have these limits set for times when pedestrians and other vehicles are around. I can't help feeling this is simply about income generation for local police forces and/or councils.

I estimate that 70%-80% of ALL MOTORWAY DRIVERS in the UK break the law every day by going more than 70 mph.

The thing that annoys me most intensely is the plain 'stipudness' of allowing cars to be built that can travel up to 140 mph (possibly faster) when the law of this nation says we cannot travel faster than 70 mph - as you folks on the left hand side of th pond might say - GO FIGURE???!!!!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks again JK - you are so right - this is ridiculous - that sums it up perfectly my friend.

Darin said...

The engine would explode. If a motor was run at full tilt then entire time it wouldn't last very long.

It's just good engineering to make an engine that runs at 50% of its capicity

hucknjim said...

Hi Trevor,

I agree that marketing is a "gimmick". It's almost a definition of marketing. The Dilbert comic here in the U.S. spends a fair amount of time skewering marketing and is right on most of the time. You can read it at

I also agree with darin that it's good engineering. That's something that I hadn't thought of. But it still doesn't explain why the top speed on the speedometer says 140 instead of 70. Why not put 70 as the top speed on the speedometer? Then on the first page of the owner's manual they could say in bold type, "This car is engineered to to go 140 MPH to keep your engine from blowing up, but we STRONGLY encourage you to stay within the speed limit unless the safety of you and your passengers requires it." I add the caveat because I've driven in some places where if I stayed within the speed limit I'd cause an accident.


Mark JF said...

The answer is: fun.

This is a pretty weird concept but some people actually enjoy driving. A car that can do 140 mph is generally one that can accelerate pretty quickly. Again: this is fun. Also, if it's got that kind of engine it's probably going to be a well engineered car that handles nicely, which brings us back to the idea of fun again. And pride of ownership.

It's unfashionable to like cars but hey - I like cars. I drive a nice Mercedes during the week and have a blast in the wife's TT at the weekend. I'm probably going to get blamed for all the global warming in the world but you know what: the one thing that hacks me off about that debate is the way people think travel (car & plane especially) are bad. No they're not. We need to find different fuels but let's think about progress and not killjoy, back to the stone ages, "Nanny state says you can't do this."

And it's precisely the same kind of mentality, I'm afraid, that says speed cameras will catch you at 08:30 in the drizzle with lots of people about and at 01:00h on a dry road with no-one there.

The Government knows it's an easy target and clobbers us.

Trevor Gay said...

Darin, John and Mark - Thanks so much for your brilliant feedback

I LOVE driving too Mark but right now it feels like I must just crawl along at 30 mph in town, 60 mph on the main highway and 70 mph on the Motorway … and no faster!!!

This is just to ensure I don’t get penalty points on my licence. (Not to mention fines!!!)

Ironically enough when I got home tonight (Thursday) I opened a letter from my local Warwickshire Constabulary advising me I'd apparently been caught on yet another speed camera last Sunday driving at 35 mph in a 30 mph area. (Naughty boy Trevor travelling at 35 mph on a deserted road on a quiet Sunday afternoon!!!)

This is getting just plain stupid. It means I've now accumulated 6 points in less than a week and 12 points means an automatic 6 months minimum ban.

I would have no problem whatsoever if I thought this sort of punishment would make me a better driver - it doesn't - End of story!!

I’m now totally convinced this is just a cheap 'back door' method of raising money for the local council/police authority.

I repeat I LOVE driving - always have - always will.

What's happened is that I have become paranoid about keeping within speed limits and I will just have to get used to tolerating the drivers behind me that flash their lights because I am going ‘too slow’ and they want to pass – tough luck from now on says I!!!

As regards the discussion about engines and speed potential and under performance - I very much hear what Darin says but to me this is a simple debate - Something is wrong


The law has to change about speed limits


Cars should not be allowed on the road unless they do less than 70 mph ... this is NOT complicated.

We just cannot have it both ways …. Either we change the law or we stop producing cars that can travel faster than 70 mph.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Any Martain landing on our planet should stay clear of the highways, at least around Boston.

Mark JF said...

John - where I live, the Martians have already landed and are clogging up the roads by driving at 29.9 mph in built up areas and 69.9mph on the highways. They're a dull lot.

Trevor Gay said...

John - Actually the Martians did recently visit England and gave up and went back home to the land of the logical ...

They discovered they are far too sensible and intelligent to stay in countries where the laws are made by idiots who have no comprehension of the real world.

Trevor Gay said...

Mark - I agree with you 100% about 'dull' people driving at 29.9 and 69.9. Rest assured my friend it's not because they WANT to drive that - far from it. It's just to obey the crazy law we have in England because they are at 9 penalty points on their licence (3 camera flashes)and one more flash results in 3 more points making 12 in total and an automatic driving ban for 6 months.

Maybe those folks believe its better to be a 'dull' driver rather than not being allowed to drive at all for 6 months.

Clearly Mark you have never been on 9 points - in which case congratulations - you must be very lucky.

And after all all those 'dull' lot are doing is obeying the law of the land so I return to my point as follows:

Have cars that can't travel at more than 70 mph or change the law.

Which is it to be?

Mark JF said...

That's easy: change the law.

If you're going to limit cars, where do you stop? How about a check of your weekly shop as it's scanned to make sure you've got enough nutrients and not too many calories? Or ban the local publican from selling anyone more than 2 drinks per day? Or make people download software that stops them visiting porn sites? Or not selling XXXL size shirts so you have to slim down. Or a TV that switches itself off if it's been on for more than 3 hours per day. Or a volume switch that only goes up to 95dB?

I'd feel safer on the road if nutters were more often banned from driving. I mean both the idiot, dangerously-fast-in-the-wrong-conditions drivers and also the scared-witless-because-it-looks-like-rain 25 mph brigade as well. A driving licence is a responsibility and not a right.

There are already too many goody goody, killjoy control freaks telling me how to live my life without giving them any more opportunities.

And you're right: I'm lucky. I've had 3 points on my licence in a 30 year driving career but it could have been quite a lot more if the strict letter of the law was applied.

Trevor Gay said...

I agree Mark – change the law and allow responsible drivers like me and you to use our intelligence and judgment. I think you have been VERY lucky because I know you will have broken the law regularly by speeding. It’s a fact for 99% of car drivers in my opinion. Some of us are unlucky enough to get flashed by the speed camera.

I’ve accumulated a total of 15 points in 40 years driving and all 15 have in the last 5 years!

I had a 6 month ban in 2007 for accumulating 12 points (4 speeding offences) and I’ve got 3 points since that ban – with another potentially in the offing as I was flashed on Tuesday night!

Every single time that I was caught on a camera it was because I was very marginally over the speed limit e.g. 35 mph in a 30 mph zone.

This does not mean I am a bad driver or that it was dangerous to anyone - it just means I broke a crazy law.

Just to prove my point I drove on the M40 Motorway at 70 mph for an hour on my way to London. Sad fellow that I am I counted the number of cars that overtook me in that hour. I projected it to a 24 hour day and came up with the figure of approx 1000 drivers breaking the law every day. That means 365000 drivers break the law each year and 99% don’t get caught. It is the unlucky buggers like me who get caught by cameras and get banned. In 40 years driving I have never had an accident.

Go figure!

I’m with you – let’s get the law changed so that it is not simply a money raising game for local councils and/or police forces.

The law is definitely an ASS.

J.KANNAN said...

Thanks to huckingim to be in agreement with me on "GIMMICK"- If the mfr of the car makes the speedo meter to read 70 as the top speed limit instead of 140 then there's no "GIMMICK".

A good driver will personally experience while driving, vibration of the car body,the steering the tyres momentum wobbling and a shaky drive over all as his car crosses the permitted maximum limit.

The only solution to set standard and keep things under control in the interest public/ road users is for the Government to take right initiative to put things in the right place by car mfrs and I would like to end up my comments and end the statement of Trevor..............."The law is definitely an "ASS............ WITH HOLE & LOOP HOLES?.(I don't mean any offence in my comments at the end pl)


Mark JF said...

Trevor - you make a very, very good point about accidents. Speed cameras can't make judgements about whether you were driving safely in the conditions: it's either 1 mph "too fast" or it's OK.

But when accidents happen, in the majority of cases there is no prosecution. The police come along, clear it up, send everyone on their way (be it home, hospital or morgue) and that's it. Yet a proper accident investigation would probably attribute clear fault and blame - and nothing gets done. So a driver can have any number of at-fault accidents, big or small, and retain a clean licence while someone who has some very trivial speeding offences gets banned.

I sympathise with your "the law's an ass" standpoint but the law is simply words that the Minister for Transport signs off. The problem is that successive Ministers for Transport have been asses to allow this situation to exist. Putting up cameras is easy and generates revenue. Giving the police proper resource to investigate and prosecute costs money. (The re-training of drivers could be self-funding.) So we end up treating symptoms all the time and not the causes: bad drivers.

Trevor Gay said...

JK - Absolutely hilarious - thank you for making me laugh!

Trevor Gay said...

Mark - not all that often you and I agree totally my friend but on this I am with you 100%!!!

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Mark, I hear your insulting remarks about Martians' intelligence to be just more bashing of illegal aliens. By the way, your critiques of government control sound very American. Ever thought of relocating? The Dark Side beckons...

One problem with getting driving tickets here, however, is that these violations crank up one's car insurance rates. Does that happen in the UK?

Trevor Gay said...

Yes John the insurance premiums are increased when one gets penalty point on the licence.

Marilyn Jess, DTM said...

Why does the speedometer say 140? I read something recently that gives a clue. Bear with me.

A remote control for the TV has many buttons. We use only a few. Engineers see all that unused space on the device as a place to show off their skill with technology.

They could just make the remote smaller, but then they can't market the features as well. The fluff. Same goes with cable TV. Most people watch very few channels, compared to what is offered.

They could make your display area smaller, or the numbers on the speedometer bigger, and use less numbers, or fine tune the engine to perform better at legal speeds but......that one in a thousand speed lover wouldn't buy the car. Strange, isn't it?

J.KANNAN said...


I look at your remarks by Trevor on Martians as "INSULATING" and not insulting. Just add alphabet "A" before "L" under such circumstances one will never feel as insulted.

As Mark mentioned , No prosecution in majority of the cases, indicates and looks like that minimum number of accidents is a MUST as criterion to retain the driving licence.

Better to start execution instead of prosecution then watch how safe driving and road to its users. The ? comes how to do this............. Can be done only by the Govt and regulatory authorities by sealing the hole in the ASS and LOOPS(law) and make the law stringent to one and all without any exception whatsoever, and then see the outcome.

Hi, all have a great week end.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi Marilyn - common sense like yours is not in the mindset of our politicians unfortunately!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks again JK

Driving a car is not a 'game' and drivers must be made responsible for their actions.

A car is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the idiots who are irresponsible.

My complaint is really about the stupidity of the speed limits.

Have a great weekend Sir - look forward to talking tomorrow!

Charles Rapson said...

Speaking as someone who worked in the Motor Industry for 30 years, I'll give you the official spin. "The more powerful a car is, the better it is able to accelerate out of danger". There is some evidence but its flimsy. The real reason is as hucknijm said - Marketing. BMW's cost 50% more than the equivalent Ford or Vauxhall and sell twice as many!
(I'm "between meetings")

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Charles - I'm often accused of being an idealist but I like to think of myself as an idealistic realist.

The argument about acceleration is fine but why accelerate up to 140 mph! :-)