Letter: Slow down and let us belt up

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The Independent Online
Sir: The tragic M2 accident involving a group of American and Canadian tourists has spawned a good deal of talk about fitting seat belts in coaches, but neither the Minister for Roads and Traffic nor the motoring organisations seem to have mentioned what I believe to be the greater danger to life, both inside and outside the vehicle.

A few years ago, I went by coach with a delegation from Merseyside to Tuscany. As we neared our destination, several hours late, all attempts to get the driver to go faster than the regulation continental speed for coaches (about 55mph) were parried with: 'It's more than my job's worth.'

On our return journey, we cruised along pleasantly at what had now become for us a very acceptable speed. As soon as we hit the M2 after disembarking at Dover, however, our driver put his foot down and, like a horse whose head has suddenly been turned for home, we sped off at what seems to have become the average for coaches on British motorways: between 75 and 85mph.

I have never felt so scared or insecure on a road as in that sudden transition from sensible cruising speed to lunatic, competitive haste.

Yours faithfully,

ROBIN HEWITT-JONES

Kendal, Cumbria

11 November

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