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ACT drivers

UrbanAdventure.org 23 October 2009 120

Speed camera van I was driving around Canberra earlier this day, showing a friend from Victoria around the city. After about an hour of driving, he turned to me and said “Where are all the speed cameras?”

I had to think for a while because I only knew the location of five, two on The Monaro Highway, One on Lanyon Drive, one in manuka and one in Civic. Then he asked me where the mobile ones were. His interest being that as a Victorian traffic cop, he had not spotted a single speed camera in the time we were driving around. I replied that in the ten years I’ve lived in the region, I would have seen less than ten speed cameras in the ACT, and less than five in Queanbeyan. He was astounded, and asked if we had any unmarked mobile speed cameras.

I replied that I didn’t think so, but as I didn’t speed, I wouldn’t know. (okay, I may go a few kilometres over the speed limit for very short periods due to keeping an eye on traffic between routine checks of the speedo, but I never intentionally speed). I did point out that the only mobile speed cameras I’d seen in the ACT were big white Tarago like vans with signs saying “your speed
has been checked” on top of them and “speed camera ahead” displayed in front of them in most cases.

My friend was quite appalled. He said he had heard that speed enforcement was a bit slack up here, but had not realised just how slack it was. I did point out though that the road statistics seemed to indicate that there were relatively few fatalities in the ACT. He argued back that for the population size the number of deaths per ten thousand people was probably higher in the ACT that most places except for the Northern Territory which, according to him, consistently has the highest number of deaths per capita of any state. Then he pointed out that technically NT is now a state, which I knew anyway, but figured I’d mention it anyway.

As we drove he pointed out a multitude of traffic infringements of drivers over a one hour period. These included:

  • 64 cases of drivers not indicating left when leaving a round about. (yes, we went around lots of round abouts)
  • 13 drivers who did not indicate when changing lanes
  • 4 drivers who did not indicate when turning.
  • 7 drivers not indicating when merging.
  • 4 drivers using their mobile phone when driving.
  • 1 driver turning against a do not enter sign.
  • 2 drivers who failed to give way to pedestrians at traffic lights while turning.
  • 3 drivers who did not wait for pedestrians to clear a zebra crossing before moving on.
  • 6 probable cases of drivers exceeding the speed limit in a school zone.
  • 2 probable cases of drivers probably exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h, both on Hindmarsh Road hill.
  • 1 cyclist not stopping for red lights. (but for two lights)
  • 3 cyclists including 2 chidren not dismounting at lights.
  • Countless pedestrians walking through “do not walk” signs / symbols.
  • 2 seperate traffic accidents in almost the same sppot just under an hour apart.

Of course, in legal speak those are all “alleged”.

  • Now I’m not saying any drivers from any particular geographic are of Australia
    are any better or worse than any others. But I am interested in people’s opinions
    on this.
  • Do you think ACT region drivers are better or worse than drivers from other
    parts of Australia?
  • Do you think there is anything that ACT region drivers do better or worse
    than drivers from other parts of Australia?
  • Do you think we already have enough speed cameras? Or that we need more?
  • And what do you think about unmarked mobile speed cameras? Good for us,
    or a pain?
  • Finally, do you think penalties for driving while using a non hands free
    mobile phone are harsh enough, or too harsh?

And please, unless you have definitive proof from reputable sources that you do provide a link to, please keep your answers racism and sexism free. I don’t have an opinion on much of those questions myself, but I am interested in what other people’s opinions are.


What's Your Opinion?


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120 Responses to ACT drivers
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Anna Key Anna Key 7:24 am 24 Oct 09

Bigger problem than people not indicating left when exiting a roundabout is the one where people indicate right when travelling straight through it.

watto23 said :

Its quite funny, because growing up, it seemed to be a common thing to say “Must be a victorian driver” everytime my parents saw a bad driver.

Mine said the same. It was usually correct too

colormonochrome colormonochrome 2:03 am 24 Oct 09

i see speed cameras at least twice a week, and have done for years. but then, i do drive on main roads a lot and late at night on weekends, so it makes sense.

canberra drivers are spoilt because our roads are quite well maintained in comparison to most other cities in australia. however sydney drivers are angry and aggressive, tasmanian drivers don’t know how to drive when there’s more than two cars on same bit of road….etc etc.

i think there’s idiots all over the road no matter where you drive. it’s just a different type of idiot

and i second the rant about people thinking indicating gives them right of way. i was almost in really serious accident on commonwealth avenue tonight because of one such asshat. i don’t know for sure if they were purposely ignoring my car or i was in their blind spot, but either way, driving fail. people need to calm the hell down and not risk other people’s lives just for the sake of a few seconds.

bileduct bileduct 1:20 am 24 Oct 09

Wanon said :

People. On the rare occasion you use an indicator, IT DOES NOT GIVE YOU RIGHT OF WAY!!!!! I have lost count how many times people think they can push in if they have their indicator on. Just slow down to only 5km over the speed limit and you can go in behind me, that way I don’t have to slam my brakes on because you are about to drive into my front corner.

Sounds as though you’re not observing the proper distance between yourself and the car in front, as that would have left sufficient room for someone else to move into the gap without you having to avoid a collision.

Cletus 2 Cletus 2 12:35 am 24 Oct 09

Wanon said :

Yes. Canberrans are Australia’s worst drivers.

How is this type of rant any different from any other person trying to sound important, making an unsubstantiated statement putting down others?

Yes. Wanon is Australia’s worst driver.

He is too busy ranting about things to have consideration for any other road user. Wanon, on the rare occasion you start posting on the internet about how superior you are than other drivers, IT DOES NOT GIVE YOU RIGHT OF WAY!!! etc etc.

So… no. I don’t believe Canberra has the worst drivers. I believe Canberra’s roads are probably good enough generally that people who like complaining don’t have much else to compain about so they start attacking other drivers and cyclists, pedestrians, etc.

Wanon Wanon 11:11 pm 23 Oct 09

Dome said :

UrbanAdventure.org said :

Here’s some of the video we shot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6olC6wZQEL4

At least one video is in Queanbeyan . . .

Same shit, different smell. Queanbeyan is part of Canberra whether you like it or not.

Wanon Wanon 11:10 pm 23 Oct 09

Also if our roads had lines, that would probably help too.

Wanon Wanon 11:09 pm 23 Oct 09

Yes. Canberrans are Australia’s worst drivers.

People. On the rare occasion you use an indicator, IT DOES NOT GIVE YOU RIGHT OF WAY!!!!! I have lost count how many times people think they can push in if they have their indicator on. Just slow down to only 5km over the speed limit and you can go in behind me, that way I don’t have to slam my brakes on because you are about to drive into my front corner.

I personally blame the bad driving on the high state of origin diversity. Each state has differing road rules which make things confusing when they all come together.

Also, I don’t believe speed cameras help. Look at Queensland, they have much safer drivers but a year or two ago, they only had 2 speed cameras in the entire state, and no police vehicles were equipped with speed cameras. Although they did have irregular mobile speed camera vans.

It’s not speed that causes bad driving. It’s selfish idiots that Canberra seems to have an abundance of that make a bad and dangerous driver.

Cletus 2 Cletus 2 10:51 pm 23 Oct 09

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Cletus 2 said :

And actually in the ACT I don’t think it is a requirement to indicate left when leaving a roundabout.

It’s easy enough to check these things you know.
http://www.google.com.au/search?q=ACT+road+rules
http://www.google.com.au/search?q=australian+road+rules

Yes but I don’t actually care enough about it. When I was getting my license I was told it is a requirement, then some time later I got a pamphlet saying it is no longer a requirement, and I haven’t got anything else that I can remember. Ergo I don’t THINK it is a requirement.

And it certainly isn’t enforced, so I don’t care.

Multi-lane roundabouts, when you are leaving from an inside lane, may be a different story — but it is obvious that you should indicate when crossing lane markings like that.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 9:48 pm 23 Oct 09

Thumper said :

112 alleged offences in an hour? That’s roughly one every 30 seconds.

Somehow I find this a little exaggerated.

I don’t. I drive 6 hours a day around Canberra (and Queanbeyan) and I reckon if I had the time and inclination to document every unlawful or stupid driving action I would come up with a similar amount.

jase! jase! 8:13 pm 23 Oct 09

typical victorian copper, shoot first even when in the wrong.

“3 drivers who did not wait for pedestrians to clear a zebra crossing before moving on.”

this isn’t an offence in the ACT, provided the pedestrian isn’t going to be hit then you may proceed. I was of the same opinion as the copper until I helped someone get their licence up here and we had an argument about it and checked the book.

as has been shown the victorian fatality rate per 100,000 people is higher than the ACT and I am sure my home state (Tasmania) is as well as they tend to have around 70 fatalities a year for 500,000ish people

Special G Special G 7:41 pm 23 Oct 09

If you go looking for breaches in road rules you will find them every day. You could give out tickets al day long without stopping to catch a breath quite easily.

For once I am going to have to agree with Farq though – traffic cops don’t have friends they just have quotas.

George D George D 6:47 pm 23 Oct 09

Slower drivers have less accidents. And the accidents are less severe. These are facts.

People who drive too fast put my life and yours at risk, and deserve the penalties they get. The penalties in the ACT are pretty low, actually, so I’m surprised anyone complains.

And if you don’t want to get done by a hidden camera, don’t BREAK THE LAW. It’s as simple as that. They do slow people down, because when you get a fine, you’ll think twice about speeding the next time.

Primal Primal 6:34 pm 23 Oct 09

“Then he pointed out that technically NT is now a state, which I knew anyway, but figured I’d mention it anyway.”

Nooooo. No it isn’t. In no way at all is that accurate. Can we safely presume that the rest of this article is equally wrong?

deye deye 6:29 pm 23 Oct 09

UrbanAdventure.org said :

As we drove he pointed out a multitude of traffic infringements of drivers over a one hour period. These included:

* 64 cases of drivers not indicating left when leaving a round about. (yes, we went around lots of round abouts)
* 13 drivers who did not indicate when changing lanes
* 4 drivers who did not indicate when turning.
* 7 drivers not indicating when merging.
* 4 drivers using their mobile phone when driving.
* 1 driver turning against a do not enter sign.
* 2 drivers who failed to give way to pedestrians at traffic lights while turning.
* 3 drivers who did not wait for pedestrians to clear a zebra crossing before moving on.
* 6 probable cases of drivers exceeding the speed limit in a school zone.
* 2 probable cases of drivers probably exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h, both on Hindmarsh Road hill.
* 1 cyclist not stopping for red lights. (but for two lights)
* 3 cyclists including 2 chidren not dismounting at lights.
* Countless pedestrians walking through “do not walk” signs / symbols.
* 2 seperate traffic accidents in almost the same sppot just under an hour apart.

And only 2 of those involve speeding. None of the others would be affected by speed cameras at all.

If you go to http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/road_fatality_statistics/fatal_road_crash_database.aspx you can get the speeding stats for all states, by vehicle type, speed limit (where recorded), day of the week, hour of the day etc.

Alternatively go to http://www.bitre.gov.au/Info.aspx?ResourceId=735&NodeId=167 and you can download this months “Road Deaths Australia” bulletin which will give you an overall snapshot.

Personally I would rather we get rid of the cameras (except where they are also red light cameras) have a few more police on the road who are more concerned with dangerous driving than with going a few k’s over the limit, and raise the limit on certain roads where it is set stupidly low.

watto23 watto23 5:02 pm 23 Oct 09

Its quite funny, because growing up, it seemed to be a common thing to say “Must be a victorian driver” everytime my parents saw a bad driver.

The one thing I will say that Canberrans are bad at is merging. I see too many people slowing down in merging lanes and not speeding up to the new speed limit. Although i think some merging lanes are poorly marked, the new speed limit should be posted at the beginning of the merging lane not the end just before you merge onto the main road.

Also when two lanes merge why do people insist on sitting as wide out in the lane as possible, rather than merging to the middle. Orten staying out wide puts you in the blind spot.

Actually i see too many drivers not aware they are sitting in the blind spot and then wonder why, when the car cuts in front of them. Yeah it is there responsibility to check, but you have to take some blame, because sitting in the blind spot is a stupid thing to do as well. A bit of courtesy goes a long way.

phil m phil m 4:32 pm 23 Oct 09

NT is technically a state? How and when did this change?

Victoria is that state where you routinely get camera detected offenses for doing 63 in a 60 zone. Mean, c’mon….

indigoid indigoid 3:07 pm 23 Oct 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Misunderstanding, I think… I was doing 95 in a 90 zone, so yes, technically speeding. What I found surprising is that the officer didn’t pull me over for a chat, but rather started a shouted conversation through open windows at 90km/h.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I just thought pulling over would have been a smarter and safer thing to do. That said, getting warned for 5km/h over isn’t unreasonable.

I concur. Probably born and bred in Tuggeranong.

I’ve seen Plods quickly “pulse” their lights and sirens to achieve a similar (probably superior) effect. I don’t know what their light/siren controls are like but if it’s just a simple pair of on/off switches it is probably less distracting to the Plod driver than opening the window and shouting at someone

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 2:22 pm 23 Oct 09

Postalgeek said :

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I had a cop drive next to me at 90km/h on Canberra Ave between Fyshwick and Queanbeyan, open his window, and then through the window tells me to drive at the speed limit, nit 5km/h above. This happened about a month ago, on a Sunday.

If we were serious about cleaning up road safety we’d have higher quality training and testing, and we would be more pragmatic about rules violations.

I don’t know, VY. While a relatively minor infraction, you were still technically speeding (assuming you doing 90 in an 80 zone section), and sounds like you copped a simple ‘don’t speed’ finger wagging without even being pulled over. Doesn’t sound like a huge over-reaction to me.
Or are you disappointed in the quality because you weren’t pulled over? 🙂

Misunderstanding, I think… I was doing 95 in a 90 zone, so yes, technically speeding. What I found surprising is that the officer didn’t pull me over for a chat, but rather started a shouted conversation through open windows at 90km/h.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I just thought pulling over would have been a smarter and safer thing to do. That said, getting warned for 5km/h over isn’t unreasonable.

The statement about skills and training was separate.

Granny Granny 2:09 pm 23 Oct 09

TP 3000 said :

But you missed a big one at 04:38 (into the Youtube video) the Police officer signalled for a white Ford Falcon to stop, but he kept on going. I would of thought this would be among one of the serious offences.

They were probably all hoping he’d arrest them.

mr_spoon mr_spoon 1:50 pm 23 Oct 09

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report ‘Injury deaths, Australia 2004–05’ (released Sep 2009) [1], in 2005 there were

ACT: 19 cases of transport-related death [2], giving an age-standardised rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 population

Vic: 402 cases, giving an age standardised rate of 7.9 deaths per 100,000 population

In short, in 2005, perhaps the Mexican blue heat caused more accidents than it prevented?

In case you wondered, the worst drivers were from NT, WA and Tas.

[1] http://www.nisu.flinders.edu.au/pubs/reports/2009/injcat127.php
[2] This does include causes other than vehicles on the road – they’re only 87% of the total. So conceivably Vic’s relatively higher transport fatality rate is due to train, plane and hot air balloon accidents.

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