THE readers’ letters in any publication are a reliable barometer of how people view what is happening around them, particularly in their own parish.

I found a recent inclusion in the “Your Views” pages of this publication of special interest, as it highlighted what the writer, Colin Barlow, described as “bad, even reckless driving” by countless road users, among them those who run red lights.

Mr Barlow also indicated that speed limits were largely ignored, a view substantiated by an astonishing story a couple of nights later which revealed that 7,522 motorists had broken the 30mph restriction on Blackburn Road, one of the busiest in the borough, with a sobering record of 53 accidents over a three-year period.

I am well aware that most everyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, no matter what its size, shape or horse power, operates under the principle that everyone else is an idiot, virtually guaranteed to do something to threaten your safety. A friend, who clocks up thousands of motorway miles in his job, swears that using that mindset is the only way he can make it back home in one piece.

We all have our horror stories. Mine is of a chap who drove for miles at speed along the M61, talking into a mobile phone, and reacted with a mouthful of expletives when I pulled up alongside him at the exit and told him what a moron he was. An uncaring and dangerous one into the bargain.

My protest won’t have made a bit of difference. The law about using a mobile while driving doesn’t apply to him. He is indifferent to it, and probably several others in the Highway Code.

He is not alone. I don’t know what happens to people when they climb into a vehicle but, in many cases, they leave their brains behind when driving off.

Accidents, in particular fatal ones, are almost always the fault of someone’s stupidity or recklessness.

A brief conversation with members of the emergency services, notably the police, will confirm that opinion.

An example of how road signs are blatantly ignored can be seen any day behind the Royal Bank of Scotland on Chorley Old Road. One significant section of the back street is so clearly marked One Way that a camel, blinded by a sandstorm, would know which direction to take.

Not so members of what is laughingly called the human race. If I had a tenner for every time I have seen drivers pass the large red No Entry signs, going the wrong way, I wouldn’t need a winning Lotto ticket.

Place a bobby there for a week, or better yet install a camera, and the income from the fines would ease Bolton’s fiscal burden into the next century.