IN MY career with Kent Fire Brigade I remember an incident when a motorist on a straight stretch of 'A' road during good visibility decided to accelerate to nearly 72 mph (Police calculations) to discover that a tractor had entered the highway from a field, forcing him to break quickly, embedding the car in the plough of the tractor, which resulted in a lengthy operation to extricate the casualty from the car aided by paramedics and a surgical team from a nearby hospital. Sadly, the man died.

Police calculated that had the man been travelling within the speed limit he would probably have avoided any collision. However, the driver was not driving according to the law.

We should make allowances for adverse conditions. However, many motorists do not, as I witnessed on a foggy day in November 1984 when my appliance was one of the first on the scene of an appalling accident on the M25.

We had been informed this was a major incident, but what we encountered was beyond belief - more than 100 vehicles had collided. There were 10fatalities and more than 80 injuries (some very serious) due entirely to motorists' inability to drive at a safe speed.

How would anyone explain to parents of two young Guides who were crushed to death by a lorry, while waiting at a bus stop, that it was 'just one of those things' when the lorry driver was driving at 44 mph in a 30 mph zone on the edge of a Kent village? There is now a speed camera at this point, which is very little consolation for the bereaved parents, relations and friends.

Kent, along with many other counties, adopted a scheme to re-educate speeding motorists by inviting them to attend classes at police and fire stations rather than incur penalties, where they received instruction on the dangers of exceeding speed limits and watched video extracts of accidents. Many motorists found this an informative and highly salutary experience.

Millions of pounds have been spent on TV advertisements in attempts to educate road users to the dangers of abusing speed restrictions, with little success, hence the absolute necessity to make motorists 'kill' their speed by draconian methods.

When you see speed limits and warnings of speed cameras they are there for a very important reason - namely, the safety of all road users. They have not been erected at the whim of some official with a kill-joy attitude. They are the result of consultation between local authorities and the police to ensure more people can enjoy a longer and pain free life.

Mike Pearson, Hampton Dene Road, Hereford.