Excessive speed often ends with excessive braking leading to accidents or as in many cases, driving licence endorsements. But what many drivers fail to consider is the impact that they are causing to health and the environment.
Under normal braking conditions, a vehicle releases tyre and brake wear material into the air, so small that the particulate matter (PM) can be inhaled, adding considerably to urban air toxicity. It has been stated as an estimate that up to 55% of total brake wear and up to 10% of tyre wear emitted becomes airborne with the remaining percentages being deposited on the road, roadside or deposited on the vehicle, such as the vehicle’s wheels and wheel arches.
New taxes are being imposed in order to try to help reduce air pollution but are targeting the types of fuel used rather than looking at the total pollution a vehicle outputs. Previously councils embarked upon traffic calming measures such as speed bumps and chicanes but there is an argument that these only lead to further air pollution due to repeated acceleration and braking. It is worthwhile considering the causes of PM and identifying ways that can help to reduce it.