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Australian Standard 1742.4, why does the ACT ignore it?

By 19 August 2011 51

After looking forward to a call the deputy chief minister this morning to have a brief and healthy debate about speed limit signage in the ACT, I was surprised to be cut off almost immediately.  I asked the question, and then was told by Andrew Barr that he had been advised that the ACT does comply with Australian standards, boom!  Case closed.  Call over.  Aww, no fun :-(

Australian Standard 1742.4 is a 30 page document outlining how speed limit signs should be put up.  How speed limit zones must be implemented.  Minimum lengths of zones.  That kind of thing.  Unfortunately the document is copyrighted, so I cannot post it up in its entirety.  The standard was developed by committee MS-012, which the ACT’s TAMS was a member of

Being interested in the topic, I invested in a copy of the standard and read it through.  I am nothing short of appalled at the lack of compliance with the Australian Standard that can be found on our roads here in Canberra.

In an attempt to raise awareness of this and force a change, I have started a website, www.actroads.org, which outlines dozens of examples of speed limit signage and speed limit zones in the territory that flat out do not comply with Australian standards.

Roads like Commonwealth Ave… 50,000 vehicles per day, a mobile camera approved road, yet the southbound carriageway has absolutely zero speed limit signs that comply with the standard.  A brand new 70km/h sign was installed last week on the median strip for traffic on the southbound carriageway.   The sign is a size A sign.  AS1742.4 states that size A signs shall only be used on minor urban roads where speed limits are 60km/h or below.  The sign blatantly does not comply with the standard.

The ACT has the most fixed speed cameras per person in the country already.  We have more speed cameras to come later this year, thanks to the installation of average speed cameras on Hindmarsh drive.  Am I the only one who believes that the current situation of huge levels of enforcement of speed limit zones that do not comply with national standards is simply not appropriate?  Not fair?  Dangerous?

I can understand that normal people will not find road infrastructure terribly interesting.  However this is something that affects everybody.  All motorists have their speed checked several times a day in the ACT.  All motorists drive through dozens of speed limit grey areas every day in the ACT.

Speed limits are an important part of overall road safety, yet gross complacency on the government’s part when it comes to implementing them, will lead to gross complacency when it comes to motorists obeying them.

What can I do to make this issue news?  What can I do to embarrass the ACT GovCo to pick up their act?  Suggestions?

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51 Responses to Australian Standard 1742.4, why does the ACT ignore it?
#1
Sgt.Bungers11:44 am, 19 Aug 11

I need to clarify a bit of wording in my post. The standard is a set of best practice guidelines that outlines how speed limit zones “should” be implemented. I’ve used the word must which is wrong.

The standard has been developed by a national panel of road safety experts and government bodies, which state and territory governments may then legislate if they choose to. The ACT Government chooses to ignore the standard completely, whilst telling the public that they follow it.

Also anyone who visits the site, I am sorry about the png images. I’m switching them to jpg at present.

#2
colourful sydney rac11:49 am, 19 Aug 11

Sgt.Bungers said :

I need to clarify a bit of wording in my post. The standard is a set of best practice guidelines that outlines how speed limit zones “should” be implemented. I’ve used the word must which is wrong.

The standard has been developed by a national panel of road safety experts and government bodies, which state and territory governments may then legislate if they choose to. The ACT Government chooses to ignore the standard completely, whilst telling the public that they follow it.

Also anyone who visits the site, I am sorry about the png images. I’m switching them to jpg at present.

Using ‘must’ instead of ‘should’ is a pretty big mistake and completely changes the validity of your argument.

#3
harvyk111:51 am, 19 Aug 11

Realistically there is no incentive for the gov’t to follow the standard. By having gray areas it’s a significant revenue raiser. Thus by fixing the gray area’s it would both cost money to fix, plus reduce the amount of revenue which the gov’t generates.

Before anyone jumps up and down stating “it’s simple – don’t speed” well that’s all well and good (and no, I haven’t received a speeding ticket to date), except I’m Canberra born and breed, and yet I ever so often find myself driving in an area which I don’t normally go to and completely unaware of the actual speed limit (for some reason making sure I don’t crash into other cars at form one lanes is a bit more important, and it’s usually here where signs are placed), and thus I’ll be driving along simply using the other cars as a guide for the limit.

Can’t use common sense to determine what the speed limit is as that is not followed when assigning limits.

#4
shirty_bear11:51 am, 19 Aug 11

Ross Solly?

#5
housebound12:02 pm, 19 Aug 11

Can’t quite see how one wrong word undermines an entire argument.

Even if standards are on ‘shoulds’ and not ‘musts’, neither Barr nor any other politician can claim the ACT complies when it doesn’t. As far as I understand it, that was part of the thrust of the argument.

#6
Boring_Name12:04 pm, 19 Aug 11

I would prepare a brief summary of the instances where the standard is breached (similar to your website) and send an email to each of Canberra’s news outlets (Canberra times, ABC Canberra, etc.). Maybe cc the email to Andrew Barr’s office and TAMS while you’re at it. Mention that you contacted the relevant authorities first and are that you are unhappy with the response. Cold calling media outlets is probably not the easiest method, but it may be the only option unless another member works in a media outlet/has a contact.

Good job on the research you have done and the website you have set up, really good work. If it is true that the standards are being breached, it stands to reason that speeding fines are being issued unlawfully. It would be a really great if somebody in the legal realm could contribute a piece to your site outlining methods of appealing a speeding ticket in the case where a breach of the standards can be demonstrated. I just wish I had the qualifications to help.

Once again, good job compiling this list. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other potential breaches in my day-to-day.

#7
steveu12:07 pm, 19 Aug 11

Snap Sir! :-) Canberra Times I would think would bea starting point, as much as it pains me to suggest it.

#8
Sgt.Bungers12:15 pm, 19 Aug 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Using ‘must’ instead of ‘should’ is a pretty big mistake and completely changes the validity of your argument.

I used the word “should” once, and the word “must” once, when i should’ve used should twice. Say that 5 times fast :-)

The point remains however, that the standard is a guideline put together by road authorities and road safety experts from all over country. What valid reason can there be for a road authority not to follow these guidelines?

The ACT Governments TAMS was one of the government bodies who contributed to, and voted on the standard.

The standard is ignored completely in the ACT, and yet Andrew Barr stated on 666 AM this morning that he had been “advised” that the australian standard is followed in the ACT. If this is the case, he has been falsely advised.

Given the ACT Government contributed to the standard, why do they not follow it? Why are our non Australian Standards compliant speed limit in the ACT enforced with more fixed speed cameras per capita than anywhere else in the country?

Is this fair?

#9
Sgt.Bungers12:24 pm, 19 Aug 11

Boring_Name said :

…Once again, good job compiling this list. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other potential breaches in my day-to-day.

Thanks for the support! I haven’t even started Tuggeranong yet.

Off to Woden and Gungahlin today to review the new 40 Areas.

#10
p112:28 pm, 19 Aug 11

So a committee of peak bodies put together a standard. The idea of Australian standards is that if you meet one (a relevant standard) you can say you are of a certain quality. In this instance that would be roads, with speed limits and signage which is of a certain quality. Presumably in this case the “certain quality” would be speed limits and signs which are safe, and clearly understandable (since they are no good if people don’t follow them, and people can’t follow them if they can’t see the sign, or the limit changes so often they can not be followed).

Now I am not trying to suggest anyone could use the dodgy signage as an excuse for speeding, but if the standard is what a body including TAMS recommends as the minimum safe, understandable system, why are they non-compliant?

Why are they spending money on speed cameras to enforce speed limits, and not on money to make the signs advertising those limits clear to the population?

TL:DR – I’m with Bungers on this one.

#11
madamcholet12:45 pm, 19 Aug 11

This is great. How many times have you had to ask a passenger…”did you notice the speed limit here?” or gauge what other cars are doing. Then there’s all the changes of limit – surely there’s a rule on that?

My burning question would be around roadworks where individual and varying limits can be implemented and importantly, when they should be removed, (Tuggers parkway southbound just after Parkes way where THERE ARE NO ROADWORKS ANYMORE…) – although believe that’s a separate standard?

#12
dpm12:46 pm, 19 Aug 11

Are you Mr G in disguise??

But seriously, I agree. Surely they’d have a lot more credability (against accusations of revenue rasising) if they were shown to be allowing people every possible opportunity to follow the correct speed limits, as they have designated. Pointing towards compliance to an Aus std would certainly help do this for them…..

I think you’re going to find a lot of cases of non-standard compliance out there to document though! Hope you don’t have another day job! :-)

#13
Mysteryman1:11 pm, 19 Aug 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Sgt.Bungers said :

I need to clarify a bit of wording in my post. The standard is a set of best practice guidelines that outlines how speed limit zones “should” be implemented. I’ve used the word must which is wrong.

The standard has been developed by a national panel of road safety experts and government bodies, which state and territory governments may then legislate if they choose to. The ACT Government chooses to ignore the standard completely, whilst telling the public that they follow it.

Also anyone who visits the site, I am sorry about the png images. I’m switching them to jpg at present.

Using ‘must’ instead of ‘should’ is a pretty big mistake and completely changes the validity of your argument.

Rubbish it does.

Sgt.Bungers makes a very good point. The ACT government attempts to regulate speeding with a heavy hand and at the same time makes no attempt to comply with the suggested guidelines which are in the interest of road users. I think it’s a serious issue. Surely appropriate signage is important for road safety? If the government was actually serious about getting people to drive at appropriate speeds on our roads then they should make the effort to appropriately signpost those roads.

#14
troll-sniffer1:11 pm, 19 Aug 11

An interesting topic given that a few years ago a fwend of mine was ticketed on the parkway for exceed 60km/hr by more than 15km/hr, and double points to boot, it being the Friday of some long weekend or other.

The signage for the roadworks was abysmal to say the least. A single pair of signs in the 100km/hr zone said “Roadwork 60km/hr Ahead”, just before the Hindmarsh Drive overpass, and as the vehicles continued around the right hand sweep a cop was stationed with radar gun, getting all the motorists who assumed that first set of signs was advisory and to slow down and look for the start of the actual zone.

To cut a long story short, as I had SFA better to do at the time, I investigated the case with many trips to the library and the Roads section of the gubmnt, and discovered that the signs were so far removed from the Australian standard that there was a good case for contesting the ticket. (no 80km/hr buffer, no 60km/hr advisory before the zone proper etc, just a 100km/hr whammo into a 60km/hr zone with misleading sign placement)

My fwend had already paid the fine but after sending in a letter with my research to back it up the ticket was rescinded, the fine refunded and the points given back.

There’s no excuse for speeding through a properly signposted speed zone, however there’s also no excuse for misleading or substandard signage, and if you are ticketed in a non-complying zone then you certainly have grounds to contest a ticket.

#15
Gungahlin Al1:16 pm, 19 Aug 11

And then there are all the places where speed signs AREN’T. Like a few hundred metres after a merge when, having got the more important business of merging safely out of the way, you are now in a position to look around and wonder what the speed limit of said road is?

#16
KB19711:27 pm, 19 Aug 11

Unless its mandated in the ACT Roads legislation then the ACT Gov is not bound to use it. As you know an AS is only a guidence document, not a law or mandatory standard, that is until someone calls it up.

An example of this is Motor Homes & Caravans, there are two standards for gas & electricity that are called up in the ADR’s (the mandatory product standard) so the manufacturers of these products have to comply with the relevant AS as referenced.

Its not the only document that has this issue, there is a document called Vehicle Standards Bulletin 14, it has been compiled by all of the states to help them with dealing with modified light vehicles. At this point in time while they have agreed with it in principle but not all the states have adopted it in legislation and some dont look to be for a while.

Politcs.

#17
KB19711:30 pm, 19 Aug 11

I forgot to ask, Sgt, have you found it mandated in the ACT legislation anywhere?

If its not there & Andrew Barr said that they comply then I would say he was guessing or deflecting.

#18
Felix the Cat1:53 pm, 19 Aug 11

So if the signs don’t comply with AS does that mean people could get off speeding fines using this technicality errr… information??

#19
colourful sydney rac2:18 pm, 19 Aug 11

housebound said :

Can’t quite see how one wrong word undermines an entire argument.

Even if standards are on ‘shoulds’ and not ‘musts’, neither Barr nor any other politician can claim the ACT complies when it doesn’t. As far as I understand it, that was part of the thrust of the argument.

Because if it said must, and don’t you are not compliant, if it says should and you don’t you can still be complying with the requirements under the code *sheesh*

#20
mooo_cow2:22 pm, 19 Aug 11

Well until drivers start challenging their fines in court and judges start to accept that they may not have seen a speed sign that that does not meet he AS. Then the ACT government won’t do a thing about it unless it, until it starts affecting their hip pocket.

If they were serious about road safety, they would endeavour to ensure, road line markings ‘like the one in this link that has needed to be repainted for years near CIT Reid”
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?ll=-35.286679,149.133514&spn=0.000829,0.001203&t=k&z=20&vpsrc=6&lci=com.panoramio.all

I have also noticed (or dangerous not noticed) some give way signs around the Gungahlin suburbs are to high at 5m. Surely these “new” signs can’t be compliant with the AS.

#21
chewy142:37 pm, 19 Aug 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

housebound said :

Can’t quite see how one wrong word undermines an entire argument.

Even if standards are on ‘shoulds’ and not ‘musts’, neither Barr nor any other politician can claim the ACT complies when it doesn’t. As far as I understand it, that was part of the thrust of the argument.

Because if it said must, and don’t you are not compliant, if it says should and you don’t you can still be complying with the requirements under the code *sheesh*

I like this idea and it should be expanded into other standards.
Words like must and requirement should by replaced by ones like should and guideline.

Then no matter what the issue, we can claim adherence to the relevant Australian standard and no one will know any better.

#22
nanzan2:50 pm, 19 Aug 11

Sgt.Bungers, I heard your question on CM Talkback this morning, and thought the response to your question was a little light-on as well.

Congratulations on your web site as well…it looks fantastic.

May I add to the mix the amazing prevalence of speed limit signage that surely does not comply with the standard because it is not printed properly. So much of the signage around Canberra has the speed limit number printed so that it is crooked or not centered on the sign. In no other jurisdiction have I seen speed limit signs that look so cheap and unprofessional. (Not all the signs are like this – but a big proportion of them are.)

Do you have photos of any of these type of signs on your web site?

#23
colourful sydney rac3:13 pm, 19 Aug 11

So you’ve set up a website because you don’t like speed cameras?
‘However, one thing I cannot stand even more than complacent drivers, is government entrapment… Building roads to a standard that encourages the average motor vehicle driver to drive at a speed that is going to be higher than the planned posted speed limit… Erecting crooked little speed limit signs in a slap dash cost cutting manner (or indeed no signs at all on many ACT Roads), then enforcing that speed limit with the most speed cameras per capita in the country, is disgusting’
Government entrapment? Give me a break.

#24
dpm3:33 pm, 19 Aug 11

mooo_cow said :


If they were serious about road safety…..

If they were serious about road safety you’d think they might do some sort of review and see what’s wrong with the road setup outside Calvary Hosiptal (on Hayden). Seriously, there’s a decent accident there at least once a month, if not more often! Hello, ‘black spot’!?!

#25
Classified4:41 pm, 19 Aug 11

This is a good point, and something that needs to be raised with our fearless leaders. If there’s an Australian Standard that contributes to both safety and usability, why aren’t we adopting it?

Good site, BTW.

#26
wildturkeycanoe5:18 pm, 19 Aug 11

Australian Standards just a guide?? Not if you’re in the “trades”. The wording is usually to the point that if you don’t comply…you pretty much get dismissed from doing it ever again. For something like road safety I’d presume the penalties for non-compliance should be at least equivalent to those of other life-risking pursuits like safety equipment, electrical standards, gas appliances, etc. If road safety isn’t scrutinized to the letter of the law…well, I’ll just drive my un-roadworthy, non-ADR compliant car all I like, because if standards aren’t good enough for the A.C.T Government, they aren’t good enough for me.

#27
housebound5:55 pm, 19 Aug 11

nanzan said :

May I add to the mix the amazing prevalence of speed limit signage that surely does not comply with the standard because it is not printed properly. So much of the signage around Canberra has the speed limit number printed so that it is crooked or not centered on the sign. In no other jurisdiction have I seen speed limit signs that look so cheap and unprofessional.

Probably made by residents of select, secure establishments around town.

#28
Sgt.Bungers7:12 pm, 19 Aug 11

KB1971 said :

Unless its mandated in the ACT Roads legislation then the ACT Gov is not bound to use it. As you know an AS is only a guidence document, not a law or mandatory standard, that is until someone calls it up.

But morally? :-) I realise that the ACT GovCo are not legally obliged to follow the standard, but given that an ACT Gov rep had input into the standard, and agreed to it, why does the ACT Gov not follow it?

KB1971 said :

I forgot to ask, Sgt, have you found it mandated in the ACT legislation anywhere?

If its not there & Andrew Barr said that they comply then I would say he was guessing or deflecting.

Nope I have not. I would be interested to know if the ACT has in fact legislated the standard into law, and Roads ACT or its contractors are simply obvious to it.

I found the NSW speed zone guidelines, they follow the standard very closely over the border.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/downloads/nsw_sza.pdf

#29
dpm7:42 pm, 19 Aug 11

The irony of the website is, as a bit of a crusade against speed cameras, if it is successful and they actually fix all the sinage to std i reckon two things will happen:
1) it won’t make a lick of difference to the speeding fine revenue in ACT
2) all the people who complain that ‘the sign was 5% crooked’, or ‘the sign was 40cm wide instead of 50cm’ won’t have anything to complain about after they are pinged.

#30
KB19718:17 pm, 19 Aug 11

Sgt.Bungers said :

KB1971 said :

Unless its mandated in the ACT Roads legislation then the ACT Gov is not bound to use it. As you know an AS is only a guidence document, not a law or mandatory standard, that is until someone calls it up.

But morally? :-) I realise that the ACT GovCo are not legally obliged to follow the standard, but given that an ACT Gov rep had input into the standard, and agreed to it, why does the ACT Gov not follow it?

KB1971 said :

I forgot to ask, Sgt, have you found it mandated in the ACT legislation anywhere?

If its not there & Andrew Barr said that they comply then I would say he was guessing or deflecting.

Nope I have not. I would be interested to know if the ACT has in fact legislated the standard into law, and Roads ACT or its contractors are simply obvious to it.

I found the NSW speed zone guidelines, they follow the standard very closely over the border.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/downloads/nsw_sza.pdf

Very good question. I would say that they helped as a matter of policy but the process has then stalled at the legislative stage somehow. It may still be on the table but it has not risen to the top of the list. Happens all the time in my department due to the process involved to introduce a piece of legislation.

The roads legislation is available on the web just google ACT road act & you should be able to find it easily enough (I am posting on my iPod otherwise I would post it for you).

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