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Australian Standard 1742.4, why does the ACT ignore it?

By Sgt.Bungers - 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?

What’s Your opinion?


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51 Responses to
Australian Standard 1742.4, why does the ACT ignore it?
1
Sgt.Bungers 11:44 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.

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2
colourful sydney rac 11:49 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.

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3
harvyk1 11:51 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.

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4
shirty_bear 11:51 am
19 Aug 11
#

Ross Solly?

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5
housebound 12:02 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.

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6
Boring_Name 12:04 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.

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7
steveu 12:07 pm
19 Aug 11
#

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

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8
Sgt.Bungers 12:15 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?

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9
Sgt.Bungers 12:24 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.

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10
p1 12:28 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.

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11
madamcholet 12:45 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?

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12
dpm 12:46 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! :-)

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13
Mysteryman 1:11 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.

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14
troll-sniffer 1:11 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.

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15
Gungahlin Al 1:16 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?

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