Canberra drivers – how can we save lives?

squashee 22 June 2010 83

When will governments act on road safety rather than revenue raising? So far this year the road toll in the ACT has reached fifteen. How many of these fatal accidents have occurred on the main roads where the white vans are always sitting? Why do the authorities always choose the easy target of the drivers going a few kilometres over the limit on the straight safe roads, rather than target the crazy drivers doing stupid things in the city and around school zones. Whenever driving in Canberra, you hardly ever go a few minutes without being tailgated, cut off or almost hit by inattentive or aggressive drivers.

People out drinking in Canberra also know that it is much easier and quicker to simply drive home over the limit as they know there is almost zero risk of being caught by a Random Breath Test unit. When they take into account the wait for taxis, the cost of taxis and the lack of public transport, driving is the preferred option.

The other issue is the crazy speed limits on Canberra and surrounding districts roads. There are plenty of 80km/h roads in Canberra which should have at least 100km/h speed limits and in surrounding districts there are plenty which should be over 100km/h.

Last week the former V8 champion and team owner Mark Skaife was in the news being blasted for daring to say that Australia’s roads are good enough to handle speeds of 140km/h. He was also saying that Australia’s driver training is insufficient and with better road maintenance and safer cars, we can handle doing 140 on the highways.

Finally, motorcycle deaths appear to be abnormally high in the ACT. Of course there will always be some motorcycle deaths attributed to motorcyclists being at fault through excessive speed or dangerous riding, but other drivers often put safe motorcyclists in danger through not paying attention and being aggressive.

When will someone in power have the guts to do something useful to save lives?


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83 Responses to Canberra drivers – how can we save lives?
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blowers blowers 10:31 am 22 Mar 11

Erg0 said :

I’ve always felt like the cops don’t have enough of a visible presence on ACT roads to really create a disincentive to drive like an idiot. I guess speed cameras and RBTs provide better bang for buck than just driving around all day hoping to see someone doing an illegal u-turn or talking on a mobile phone, but I’ve definitely got the impression that there’s little to no enforcement of the road rules beyond the white vans and the odd handheld radar. This is probably an incorrect impression, but allowing this perception to exist is a major problem.

Agreed! not enough police around to “Police” our roads and suburbs

Grega Grega 7:36 pm 02 Jul 10

More speed cameras, more on road cycling, more revenue and less commonsense. Seems to be working so far this year!

cleo cleo 11:28 pm 29 Jun 10

Canberra has the best roads in Australia and the worst drivers!

Mark Mark 5:18 pm 29 Jun 10

If anyone wants to save lives try not tailgating on Commonwealth Avenue (right near the ‘do not tailgate’ sign cleverly erected by our astute local council (oops…”Government”). I always take it as flattery that other people find the back of my car so attractive they want to move forward for a closer look (lol).

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:25 pm 29 Jun 10

BarNone said :

Canberra drivers really are the worst in Australia. The above posts prove it. You’ll get in the right lane just to slow someone down? Who elected you to the Police force?
I was stuck behind someone coming up the coast road just yesterday. Doing 60km/h in a 100 zone.
I passed them – just – at 115 km/h, because they had sped up to 110 km/h when there was a passing lane
First corner, they disappeared from my rear mirror.
This is not an isolated incident; it happens regularly, and five times yesterday.
Too many shiny bums, not enough involvement, and gutless magistrates.

A very Canberran behaviour. Lane discpline is my chief gripe with driving in Canberra.

BrassRazoo BrassRazoo 2:00 pm 29 Jun 10

For young drivers perhaps link eligibility for driver licence and rego to a good behaviour report from school. Won’t stop the baddies, but may make others think about their conduct and duty to others, in school and the wider community. No good behaviour report = no chance of a licence or wheels until age 21 or whatever, and then only with a satisfactory police report.

BarNone BarNone 9:57 am 26 Jun 10

Canberra drivers really are the worst in Australia. The above posts prove it. You’ll get in the right lane just to slow someone down? Who elected you to the Police force?
I was stuck behind someone coming up the coast road just yesterday. Doing 60km/h in a 100 zone.
I passed them – just – at 115 km/h, because they had sped up to 110 km/h when there was a passing lane
First corner, they disappeared from my rear mirror.
This is not an isolated incident; it happens regularly, and five times yesterday.
Too many shiny bums, not enough involvement, and gutless magistrates.

biinkythedoormat biinkythedoormat 12:27 am 26 Jun 10

Randomise the police “cause of accident” checklist so speed isnt always at the top of the list. Speed is obviously pinged as a contributing factor in many accidents but if an accident occurs and the person was speeding it isnt necessarily the cause at all. We have cars that are not checked regularly, where major roads are built single lane, where 10 different speed zones exist in a few kilometres, where roadworks are everywhere and cheap patch filling now the norm, where road designers forgot about the roundabout and now stick sets of lights where traffic could freely flow hence patience gives out, where drivers still get in the right lane to turn 2 suburbs before they have to, where a p plater can pay a few bucks and show up for a few hours and get more points, oh, and loads of inattention. Fumbling with your iphone or blowing a tyre on a rut at 60kph can get you off the tar and dead just as easily as at 140kph. Airbags, traction control, ebd and crumple zones nothwithstanding.

Spideydog Spideydog 4:40 pm 25 Jun 10

Jim Jones said :

Spideydog said :

Jim Jones said :

Spideydog said :

Waaaaaaaaaaaah

You have just show cased your mentality to the Canberra region. Thanks, I could not have done it better myself 🙂

You’re good, you should be a waaaambulance driver!

Maybe I am, you have issue with Ambulance drivers now too …..

Genie Genie 2:47 pm 25 Jun 10

astrojax said :

now, everyone go back and read what sgt bungers said [#63]. strong truth.

Waaaaaaaah do I have to… its soooooo long !

Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:32 pm 25 Jun 10

Spideydog said :

Jim Jones said :

Spideydog said :

Waaaaaaaaaaaah

You have just show cased your mentality to the Canberra region. Thanks, I could not have done it better myself 🙂

You’re good, you should be a waaaambulance driver!

astrojax astrojax 2:02 pm 25 Jun 10

now, everyone go back and read what sgt bungers said [#63]. strong truth.

you and i, sir, seem to be a minority (maybe everyone should have advanced driver emergency vehicle training, ideally before graduating from ‘p’ plates)

Spideydog Spideydog 12:52 pm 25 Jun 10

Jim Jones said :

Spideydog said :

Waaaaaaaaaaaah

You have just show cased your mentality to the Canberra region. Thanks, I could not have done it better myself 🙂

Jim Jones Jim Jones 8:06 am 25 Jun 10

Spideydog said :

Waaaaaaaaaaaah

Punter Punter 9:40 pm 24 Jun 10

Nark, you make a lot of assumptions for someone who demands so much evidence. If you read my comment you will see that it requires all three of your ‘vital ingredients’ of road, driver and vehicle. I even mentioned the word driver, but what else did you think I was talking about if not driving a vehicle on a road? If you want to get somewhere in a reasonable amount of time, how about you manage your time better and leave a few minutes earlier?

Your conversions from kilometres per hour to metres per second are correct. You are, however also correct in saying the remainder of your figures are assumptions. A commmonly accepted driver reaction time is around 1.5 seconds, anything below 1 second is purely optimistic. At 90 km/h, that blows your reaction distance out to about 37 metres even before before pad touches a disc. From this speed, a vehicle in good repair travelling on a level sealed bitumen surface in good condition will skid to a stop in about 45 metres at full braking, a little under your 48.8 metres. This distance will change propotionately when variables like gradient, braking efficiency and surface conditions are altered. The physics of this will not be any different between a Porche and a Mazda.

Now that you’re in the right mental frame of mind I’ll address your example:

Q. “Sure you could say the hoon would be able to pull up faster if they were doing 80km/h but if the visibility is 100m, then why not drive at a speed that allows you to pull up in 80m?”

A. 80m of energy loss during full braking requires a speed of about 120 km/h under the average road and vehicle conditions. A speed of 120km/h is equal to 33mps. At 33mps, a driver will not react to a perceived hazard for about 50 metres. Add that to your 80 metres of pulling up distance and the hoon is cactus. I could work out an impact speed for you but I couldn’t be bothered. Incidently, the same circumstances for a vehicle travelling at the reduced speed of 80 km/h would have the vehicle stopping at just under 70m which includes reaction time, saving the hoons fully sic front mounted intercooler.

I stand by my comment on vehicle roadworthyness (there’s that word again) but I omitted this is with regard to serious collisions. While I agree poor vehicle maintennance has the potential to largely contribute to serious collisions, your reply was speculative and begged ‘what if’ questions. Prove me wrong in this jurisdiction.

Deckard Deckard 9:16 pm 24 Jun 10

Is there really a problem here?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

Accidents happen. People do stupid things that you can’t legislate against. Despite what you guys say Canberra’s hardly got the worst drivers in the world.

BrassRazoo BrassRazoo 8:48 pm 24 Jun 10

As someone who used to drive mainly in peak hour trafic and now mainly during the day I’m constantly amazed at flagrant breaches of the road laws and sheer bloody-minded behaviour, particularly by business vehicles. What makes me think that some of these bastards might also do with say, a tax audit?

Spideydog Spideydog 6:01 pm 24 Jun 10

Jim Jones said :

Nark said :

I don’t see much evidence being shown by you

Oh great, blind as well as stupid.

Isn’t this the same thing you were arguing about in “another” thread ?? Lets look up your favoured dictionary for the definition of hypocrite ….

Once again you show that when someone doesn’t tow your line, out comes the names and insults.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 5:28 pm 24 Jun 10

Nark said :

I don’t see much evidence being shown by you

Oh great, blind as well as stupid.

Nark Nark 1:18 pm 24 Jun 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

blah blah blah rant blah foam at mouth blah personal attack blah make stuff up blah rant blah rant

Maybe find somebody who can back up their claims with evidence and can avoid screaming CONSPIRACY within the first five posts next time?

I don’t see much evidence being shown by you. Only hints and statements without any links to the verified studies that you proclaim to exist. Maybe if you weren’t such a hyocrite, then you might make more sense.

You’ve shown you have no interest in making the road safer, you have not put forward any solutions other than lowering speed limits. Which makes you either a simpleton or a troll. Either way, you won’t hear from me again. I wish this place had an ignore function ‘coz it’d be getting used right now.

Punter said :

I’ll stand with WMC on this. Directed at NARK #52, If you look beyond the misplaced association between other countries and ours, Nark started to make sense hi-lighting the fact speed does not hold all the answers to road safety problems, and attitude and education has a large part to play. But NARK, against his own advice on good driving attitude, pushed ahead with the classic “it’s not speed that kills” routine. Humans weren’t designed to suddenly stop from high speeds. To finish off the quote, “It’s not speed that kills – it’s the sudden stop.”

My point is that speed is but one contributing factor. The Government does not seem to think that anything else contributes to accidents. There is no move to improve the condition of our roads, the condition of our vehicles nor the training that drivers get.

Speed is a risk that you must manage when you hop into a vehicle. If you remove it, sure you’ll be safe but you’re not getting anywhere. In order to get to a place in a reasonable amount of time, you take on the risk of adding speed to your vehicle. Sure you could drive 70km/h but wouldn’t 60km/h be safer? Well certainly 40km/h would be a bee’s dick safer. By then you’ve doubled your travelling time.

Punter said :

Your cicumstances may be you’re driving along and be suddenly confronted with a hazard for which you need to brake or risk collision. I’m sure all would agree the more speed you are able to lose before the collision, the beter off a driver and passengers would be. Having a good attitude toward road speed is a part of having a good attitude toward road safety. If you think higher road speeds should be acceptable, I sugest yours would be the simple mind behind the control of 1.5T of metal.

Sorry, but you seem to be missing the vital ingredients of driver, vehicle and road.

An alert driver might react in 0.5s whereas one not paying attention will take 1s. (Assumptions)
Let’s assume that the alert driver is driving at 90km/h whereas the other one is driving 80km/h.
At 90km/h, you travel 25m/s so the alert driver will travel 12.5m before hitting the anchors.
At 80km/h you travel 22.2m/s so driver B will travel 22.2m.

Factor in average braking distance 38.6m @ 80km/h and 48.8m @ 90km/h.

Driver A will stop in 61.3m whereas driver B will stop in 60.8m. A 50cm difference.

Obviously that’s a purely theoretical exercise full of (probably wrong) assumptions, but it gives you an idea that speed is but one factor.

Now, take the average high performance sports car. They will brake from 100km/h in roughly 40m (cars like the Porsches hit about 33m). So that hoon driving down the Monaro Hwy at 100km/h will pull up quicker than your average Mom or Pop despite them doing higher speeds.

*Now this is the important bit, please forget everything I just said, it was just to get you into a mental frame of mind for these next few paragraphs*
Sure you could say the hoon would be able to pull up faster if they were doing 80km/h but if the visibility is 100m, then why not drive at a speed that allows you to pull up in 80m? Why would you not want to get where you’re going a little faster if there’s virtually no extra risk?

This is why I say that speed is a risk that you manage. That stopping distance determines what is safe. The car, driver, road, speed, visibility, weather conditions all combine to determine that safe braking distance. This distance is different for every car, every driver, every road.

Lowering the speed will have an affect, but having a modern car with good brakes is just as vital. Then there’s driver attitude, how many are lulled into a sense of security in the belief that they are safe if they don’t speed, not paying attention will add say 2 car lengths to your reaction time at 80km/h.

To get a licence, why are you not forced to learn to handle the 1.5T piece of metal. How many drivers know how quickly their cars will pull up? How many have tested it and know the exact distance? How many drivers know the actual amount of extra braking that is required in wet weather (we all know that it’s more, but how much more in your actual car?).

What if something does jump out in front of your car and in order to avoid it, the car gets loose, how many know how to control the car? Why is it not compulsory as part of licencing that people learn these skills to protect their lives? Because if they don’t speed then it’ll never happen to them?

I’m sure some of you were thinking “well, at least I pay attention when I drive” but how many can pick the telltale wobble as a driver checks their mirrors and blindspot before changing lane? How many actively scan other cars around them for signs of potential failure? I can spot a car with bald tyres, can you?

Defensive driving is just not in the vocab of the Australian driver. Maybe the motorcyclists can because they are actually forced to learn defensive skills as part of their licencing but why are the drivers not forced to? Because they’re safer? But they can do so much more damage.

Don’t you think that all these factors should be addressed by the Government if they were serious about road safety? Or at least a little mention and some education? ANYTHING? Speed kills, yes. But so does terrible attitude and poor education. It’s not the be all and end all of road safety. It’s not a magical silver bullet.

Punter said :

Why would it be neccessary to change the rules regarding vehicle roadworthy checks. Has vehicle roadworthyness (if that’s a word) been an issue with road crashes anytime lately? While the mechanical condition of vehicles can be defective to the extent they have potential to contribute to collisions, it is rarely a factor. I think there is no fault with the current roadworthy system.

Now that you know that you travel 4 car lengths per second at 80km/h what do you think about cars that don’t have functioning brake lights?

What about cars with bald tyres or ones that leak oil onto the road? What about cars with deficient braking ability?

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