Letter: Kinetic energy in the fast lane

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The Independent Online
Sir: It would appear from his letter of 13 November that John Slatcher of the Coach Industry Action Group considers the banning of coaches from the outside lane would introduce an added factor of danger when entering and exiting a three-lane motorway. The natural corollary of this would be to allow all other heavy goods vehicles to use the fast lane as well and thus, if Mr Slatcher's theory be correct, further reduce the level of accidents.

Let us remember that coaches are also simply heavy goods vehicles that carry extremely valuable loads, the safe delivery of which must be paramount to all other considerations, and if the banning of coaches from the outside lane reduces accident levels but results in an increase in journey time and costs, then so be it, no matter how spurious and furious the time and cost arguments of the coach lobby might be.

I do not propose to explain the obvious inherent dangers of a coach travelling at a limiter maximum of 65mph, merging with outside-lane traffic travelling at a legitimate 70mph and then returning at 65mph to the centre lane again, but as one who travels about 30,000 miles each year, much of which is on motorways, may I also ask Mr Slatcher if he is aware of the simple formulae for kinetic energy, particularly the relationship between mass and velocity? From his letter and the practices of a few coach drivers, one would assume that neither he nor they are.

Yours faithfully,




14 November