ACT drivers 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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Fiona Fiona 8:24 am 23 Oct 09

I’ve never seen a “speed comera ahead” sign in front of a speed van.

Is it racist if I say that those with diplomatic plates are the worst drivers on Canberra’s roads? And that the children on the p-plates are to be avoided at all costs?

I think there’s too much of a mix of drivers in Canberra to call everyone “Canberra drivers”. Too many people who learned to drvie elsewhere.

LMR LMR 8:26 am 23 Oct 09

Interstate pigs should keep their snouts out of our business. At least our police dont
routenly shoot our citizens. oink oink oink all the way home.

Pandy Pandy 8:27 am 23 Oct 09

I think the ACT should turn into a police state like in Victoria including:

Unmarked speed camera cars as in SA, Victoria.

Take down all fixed speed camera signs as in Victoria.

Conceal fixed speed cameras behind road signs, as in Victoria

Jail people using mobile phones and GPS units whilst driving.

Shoot 1st, drivers who do not indicate when they turn-off round-a-bouts as they are a danger to society.

steveu steveu 8:29 am 23 Oct 09

I think I could come to similar observations in most cities of Australia. Victorian speed enforcement margins that are used – are I believe tighter than anywhere else in the country.
That being said, ACT Policing is under-resourced compared with other states in Australia. This may give people a sense they can stretch the boundaries somewhat.

farq farq 8:34 am 23 Oct 09

I call troll. everyone knows that traffic cops don’t have any friends?

gibbering gibbering 8:35 am 23 Oct 09

There are always a couple of speed vans around but usually on the same roads – so if you don’t travel them you wouldn’t see them.

Outside of speeding and drink driving the penalties are irrelevant. In the 12 years in Canberra I’ve never heard of anyone being booked for any of the other infringements listed above.

H1NG0 H1NG0 8:37 am 23 Oct 09

Wow, this guy sounds a like a ball of excitement and yes there are already a crapload of cameras in Civic and also to the north.

indigoid indigoid 8:38 am 23 Oct 09

Pfft. If you don’t want to get in trouble, all you have to do is obey the rules. It isn’t actually difficult.

I feel significantly safer commuting by motorcycle in Sydney (or Melbourne, on the rare occasions that I’m there) than Canberra. After living in Canberra for 25 of my 30 years, (including learning to drive there) this has been quite the revelation.

MrPC MrPC 8:42 am 23 Oct 09

When I worked at the airport and lived in Theodore, I regularly saw speed camera vans parked on the Monaro Highway, trying to nab those who only slowed down for the cameras.

The most common apot they parked at was southbound on the left side about 50-100m after the traffic lights for the Hume Hilton. That’s about 150-200m after the speed limit changed from 100 to 80, so presumably it was easy revenue.

natecv8 natecv8 8:43 am 23 Oct 09

As a born and bred Canberran living in Melbourne for the last 2.5 years I disagree with your friend. I rarely see mobile speed vans here (and while they are unmarked they are still easily identified). Due to the geography of canberra, it is much easier to target arterial roads and efficiently catch people.

There are tons of fixed cameras on the freeways but they don’t seem to have much of an effect in my opinion, save for the cameras in the domain/burnley tunnels.

I have driven 50km east/west every day on the M1 and monash for 2 years now without a ticket so I have no reason to complain about the cameras.

Thumper Thumper 8:47 am 23 Oct 09

You drove around with a note pad and recorded every single incident you saw on the roads?

Enough said.

hax hax 8:53 am 23 Oct 09

On the whole, Canberra drivers are no better or worse than anywhere else.

Speeding isn’t really a huge issue, usually everyone just goes with the flow which is fine.. there’s enough cameras to catch the standout idiots not paying enough attention.
(unmarked cameras are just for raising revenue and punishing people after the fact – not slowing people down there and then)

People on mobiles.. did you notice the car next to you? No.. didn’t think so.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:04 am 23 Oct 09

A week or so back on Horse Park Drv near Harrison, they had two bikes and one camera van spread over several clicks. So anyone thinking they’ve been past and can speed up again…

Ceej1973 Ceej1973 9:07 am 23 Oct 09

Fiona said :

I’ve never seen a “speed comera ahead” sign in front of a speed van.

Is it racist if I say that those with diplomatic plates are the worst drivers on Canberra’s roads? And that the children on the p-plates are to be avoided at all costs?

I think there’s too much of a mix of drivers in Canberra to call everyone “Canberra drivers”. Too many people who learned to drvie elsewhere.

Yep. Pretty much. Although not racist, I would say, more “blinkered”. If they didnt have big blue plates that pretty much advertise “look I am from overseas” you wouldnt know any different. I have been driven by a large number of Diplomatic drivers, and I can say that most are excellent drivers, and law abiding.

If ya take the blinkers off, you will see that many people break the law of all genre and age. Although I would have to argue with the friend of the blogger, in that most of his points raised, are not dangerous in the act of doing so (ie not indicating when there are no other cars around for several hundred meters), they are an issue because they can lead to potential dangerous situations. Having said that, they are unlawful acts.

black_rattism black_rattism 9:09 am 23 Oct 09

I quote from the ACT road rules:

“IF PRACTICABLE, a driver driving in a roundabout must give a left change of direction signal when leaving the roundabout.”

I hope your friend was only counting the giant roundabouts – on the tiny single lane affairs in the suburbs this just looks silly and creates confusion.

And I hardly think a Victorian can talk – driving around Melbourne’s southern suburbs I was shocked by the way drivers were constantly driving two abreast – where there was ONLY ONE LANE MARKED! To me this is a far more serious infringement than failure to indicate when leaving a roundabout.

Vonbare Vonbare 9:17 am 23 Oct 09

Well, I guess for all those infringements you didn’t see any accidents, so we can’t be all that bad at driving 😉

In relation to unmarked speed cameras, they do nothing except fill the coffers: clearly marked speed cameras in accident zones slow traffic down effectively – which is surely the aim.

chewy14 chewy14 9:26 am 23 Oct 09

what are you and your friends doing for new years?
I think we should get together and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Mothy Mothy 9:30 am 23 Oct 09

Anyone who thinks there are no unmarked cars in Canberra, and who BREAKS THE LAW BY SPEEDING, is in for a rude shock. In the last week I’ve twice seen unmarked cars pulled over on the side of Gungahlin Drive (between Mitchell and Palmerston), lights flashing, having frank discussions with frustrated looking folk.

Gungahlin Al – yeah, saw the same on Barry Drive/Belconnen Way about a month back – first you’d see the Big White Van as you come up over Black Mountain, then one motorcycle cop with a radar at the bend/intersection with Fairfax St, then another just before the GDE bridge. Had to chuckle as I’d driven that way into the city first so knew they were all there, and could watch the speed up/slow down behavior of the others around who’d been lulled into the false sense of security by the passing of the B.W.V.

Have to agree with Fiona, though yeah, it’s a little racist, but I’ll sing along happily with Avenue Q on that count, if I see those blue DC number plates, I give them a wiiiide berth.

BenjaminL BenjaminL 9:33 am 23 Oct 09

Does your Victoria cop friend do kids birthday parties? he sounds like the life of the party….

icantbelieveitsnotbutter icantbelieveitsnotbutter 9:38 am 23 Oct 09

Speeding fines are voluntary… if the Government chooses to put marked, unmarked, mobile, stationary etc… to raise revenue, then so be it…

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