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Capital punishments

By Skyring 24 February 2010 29

There has been a rash of horrific fatal accidents recently, and the kneejerk reaction of governments around Australia has been to increase fines and punishments in legislation. Seize the cars of persistent offenders and crush them. Lock the buggers up. Fine the daylights out of them.
The idea is that, knowing there’s a savage penalty in store, drivers will fall into line, obey the road regulations in every respect, and the problem vanishes.
As ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said, announcing tougher laws, “We are sending a clear message to the community that Canberra’s culture of dangerous driving will not be tolerated.”

Government is out of touch. The accidents have been fatal. The crime of being stupid on the roads is one that is punishable by death. Drivers know this, so what possible notice are they going to take of any lesser penalty? A hefty fine for going around a corner too fast and sliding into a tree is nothing when you compare it to having a branch speared through your trunk.
Sending messages to the community and paying for advertising campaigns doesn’t work. Jon Stanhope could be sitting beside some of the morons on the road, reading out the regulations, and they are still going to slug down a six-pack and whip out on wet roads for a pack of fags.
When self-policing obviously isn’t working, you need to get real actual burly police out there on the roads doing the policing.
The point for the government is that police are expensive and fatal car crashes are free. Apart from replacing the odd light pole it’s a user pays situation.
Well, Chief Minister Stanhope, I’m about fed up with some of these public artworks you’ve been scattering round interchanges and motorways. A pile of painted rocks and twisted metal girders may be art in your book, and well worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars to the “artist”, but it’s another useless roadside obstacle for drivers to run into if they lose control on a wet road, and it’s the cost of a car full of policemen patrolling the streets to catch the lunatics driving dangerously.
And there are lunatics out there. I’m a cabbie. I see them every day and night. They don’t care about the death penalty, and they aren’t going to care if you ratchet the dangerous driving fine up to a million bucks. It’s not going to happen to them so why should they worry?
Well, make it happen. Get a couple of coppers in an unmarked car appearing out of nowhere when they least expect it. That’ll send a message.

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Capital punishments
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Tooks 10:08 am 28 Feb 10

Jim Jones said :

Increasing penalties for crimes has never demonstrably effected crime rates, and yet whenever there’s a problem, everyone wants to rush to ‘send a message’. Politicians are positively the worst offenders, because they at least (should) have the brains to know that all they’re doing is pandering to public stupidity and naked avarice for short-term populist ends.

Although you’re right in what you say about increased penalties not effecting crime rates, I believe the threat of weekend detention would have an effect on the number of people willing to risk drink driving. Unfortunately, we’ll never know, because they’ll never get that tough on drink driving offenders.

vg 1:57 am 28 Feb 10

An ideal world would not see more Police on the streets…….it would see less

Ceej1973 8:38 pm 27 Feb 10

Sgt.Bungers said :

Nationally, we have a system where motor vehicle operators are king. They are above all other road users. This is wrong. This needs to change…..etc etc

+1 to your entire thread Sgt.B and to all your threads.

I conqure. I always look fwd to the sensible comments that you contribute.

frank2112 12:22 pm 26 Feb 10

CHW said :

I have a theory…

People who use the ‘virtual reality’ games that involve driving on race circuits, or driving aggressively against other drivers; are they more likely to have ‘muscle memories’ that predispose them to driving dangerously on a real road?

As in – are they ‘practising’ and learning reflexes that are just dangerous in real life? Does this learned response kick in when they are on the road, whether they are affected by drink/recreational drugs or not?

I really think there would be a correlation, it just seems so logical to me…

Let me see. I’ve been playing driving sims since I was a kid. Nows lets see how that correlates – 1 speeding ticket in 24 years. Quick – lock me up.

dvaey 10:00 am 26 Feb 10

phil m said :

There should be a “getting people home safely” tax applied to alcohol served in pubs and clubs so that when people need to get themselves home after enjoying some drinkies they are eligible for a subsidised cab fare.

They could just bring back the $10 night-rider buses. This problem was almost solved a decade ago, but apparently the ACT govt has either forgotten, or they responded to the cabbies who were no longer able to charge $50 for a ride home (after making you wait for 2hrs at the rank, during which time, no doubt people just give up waiting and decide to risk driving).

phil m said :

People could collect taxi stamps when they buy a drink to ensure eligibility.

This sounds like a good idea, but what happens if you need 10 stamps to get a cab ride, but you get cut-off on your 8th drink? Also, half the drunks in the city cant even keep track of a couple of friends theyre out with, what chance do they have of keeping track of 10 taxi stamps?

Jim Jones 7:24 pm 25 Feb 10

Increasing penalties for crimes has never demonstrably effected crime rates, and yet whenever there’s a problem, everyone wants to rush to ‘send a message’. Politicians are positively the worst offenders, because they at least (should) have the brains to know that all they’re doing is pandering to public stupidity and naked avarice for short-term populist ends.

Growling Ferret 6:56 pm 25 Feb 10

CHW – extending your logic, does this mean kids who play grand theft auto then go out and shoot up pimps on street corners?
Because you watch porn on the internet, does it make you a sex addict unable to control your muscle memory?

Most people are able to split reality and fantasy.

Sgt.Bungers 5:37 pm 25 Feb 10

Nationally, we have a system where motor vehicle operators are king. They are above all other road users. This is wrong. This needs to change. No driver in their right mind should EVER be comfortable traveling at 60km/h within a meter of another person standing on the side of the road waiting to cross… if that person falls, they die. Yet this is common practice on Canberra Roads. Marcus Clarke Street, London Cct, Northbourne Ave, all city roads with high pedestrian activity, yet were built and continue to be maintained in a manner that encourage vehicle speeds so high, that there is no room for error. Should a person be walking next to one of these roads stumble and fall onto the road, statistically that person is likely to die.

Most motor vehicle drivers will adopt the attitude that “well they shouldn’t walk so close to the road.” The fact that the motor vehicle driver is the person conducting the risky behaviour simply by operating a 1+ tonne machine in a public place, doesn’t even cross the drivers mind. Our laws are geared this way, and always have been. Why?

40-50 years ago everyone smoked… we learnt that smoking kills. Smoking is now restricted to the Nth degree. 40-50 years ago, speed limits in pedestrian heavy areas were 55ish km/h. We’ve since learnt that a person struck by a vehicle at 60km/h has an 80% chance of dying. Yet many of Canberra’s city streets have limits of 60km/h? Why?

The ACT Government’s primary road safety focus is “obey the speed limit”, “obey the speed limit”, and “obey the speed limit.” Yet many limits are implemented via a blanket approach, resulting in limits that can be too high or too low.

It can be argued that speed limits, and particularly speed cameras, are an admission from local road authorities that they have built a road inappropriate for the surrounding area. It is entirely possible to build a road that is “self enforcing” when it comes to speed. A road that doesn’t require speed limit signs, one that doesn’t require speed cameras, and yet the majority of the population will travel at an appropriate speed for the conditions for the area, regardless.

Either the ACT Government has ZERO concept of this, or they deliberately build roads that encourage a higher speed than the speed limit they’re planning to put on it for other rea$on$.

Horse Park Drive is a perfect example of this. Why build a new road that encourages speeds of 100km/h, then post a speed limit of 80km/h? The northern end of the Monaro Highway between Newcastle Street and Parkes Way… why build a road that encourages speeds of 110km/h+, then post a speed limit of 80km/h?

These speed limits are *bound* to be ignored by the majority of the population. This adds to the general disrespect that the population exhibits towards a speed limit being an absolute 100%, unquestionable maximum under any circumstance. Ever knowingly sit at 1-2km/h over the speed limit? Then you, like the majority of road users, are one of those people.

My approach to changing driver attitudes… remove all speed limits.

Any situation where a driver is found responsible for causing an accident that results in a permanent debilitating injury to another person, automatic 5 years in prison. Kill someone, min 10 years. Kill someone whilst drunk, 20 years and life driving ban. Watch how fast people put down their phone whilst driving… stop playing with the radio, slow down around pedestrians… cut back on drunk driving… give each other more room for error… give themselves more room for error… start paying FULL attention to the potentially deadly task at hand… and generally begin behaving like human beings with respect for each other, whilst behind the wheel.

Laws like this would highlight just how risky and dangerous driving a motor vehicle really is, and just how blase the current system allows motor vehicle drivers to be with other people’s lives.

Grrrr 4:32 pm 25 Feb 10

“Seize the cars of persistent offenders and crush them.”

Why do the cars have to be crushed? Once the offenders no-longer have them, crushing it as punishment is petty and wasteful. If you think it’s a good idea to permanently remove a car from an offender, fine. If it’s a perfectly good car, sell it off whole. If it’s not, sell it to a wreckers to part out.

Why stop there, though? Don’t just fine the people you catch – make the roads safer for everyone pro-actively: Double taxes on cars and petrol so people drive less, require all new passenger vehicles sold to be 5-star safety rating minimum, and massively increase rego for older, less safe cars. Spend the money on public transport, policing, hospitals and bring in tax discounts for bikes.

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