The Chiefly Jon Stanhope is floating a raft of measures to make us safer still on the roads.
While this all probably make a lot of sense from behind his desk I’m by nature argumentative. So here are the latest plans and my thoughts on them:
- Point-to-point speed cameras, which can determine whether a driver has been speeding at any point along a stretch of road, will be installed in the ACT, Transport Minister Jon Stanhope said today.
The cameras, which clock a vehicle at two separate points and then calculate whether it could have travelled the distance without speeding, encourage drivers to be conscious of their speed at all times – not just when they are within range of a speed camera.
So nothing in the Human Rights Act about subjecting people to continuous monitoring then? On the other hand I can accept that roads are a regulated commons and we surrender rights in exchange for safety on them. The worry is that idiot polititians are constantly asking for policing methods used on roads to be applied everywhere. That’s a bigger, and frankly more worrying, issue than speeding. But as just one more straw upon the camel’s back, if we can get the boy racers to slow down then I’ll concede it’s got some merit.
- “On a recent visit to New Zealand I was impressed by road safety signs with genuinely confronting messages, such as ‘Drink Drive – Die in a ditch’.
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“I have asked the Department for some advice on whether such strongly worded messages might more effectively engage the community and bring home the seriousness of risky driving behaviours, and whether regularly changing the messages on road safety signs might enhance their effectiveness.”
The citizens, regressed by their government’s constant lecturing, have become like bored teenagers. Chewing gum, checking text messages, eyes glazed over, waiting for their parents to stop talking so they can go back upstairs to their room and get back to MSN.
Government now tries, like an abusive parent, to shout ever-louder in the hope that someone will pay attention. Hence this need for “confronting” messages.
A side effect of this is that our commercial media is now filled with imagery of death and distress, all associated with the Government. The long term effects of that are going to be really interesting. On the bright side the genuine teenagers (as opposed to ever more infantilised adults) don’t consume much commercial media any more. But here I digress.
- Mr Stanhope said he had also asked the Attorney General Simon Corbell to take urgent advice on adopting the Victorian system for dealing with drink-driving offences, where offences carry a set fine and licence disqualification period, depending on blood alcohol level, and are dealt with as traffic infringements, most never involving a court appearance.
Essentially this would formalise the current system whereby if you can afford a good lawyer you can drink and drive with impunity, whereas the plebs cop it in the neck. (Bear in mind the Chief Justice of the ACT Supreme Court and the ACT Minister of Corrections have both gone DUI in recent years and kept their licences).
Also while this is great from an administrative point of view the shock value of being hauled into court as a criminal is constantly cited by less well heeled DUIs as the thing that made them straighten up and fly right.
I’d feel better about all these ideas if they hadn’t been wrapped up in an omnibus release and shoved out the door on a January long weekend.
UPDATED: The Canberra Times has the story apparently irony is a desired outcome proving once again that Jon Stanhope is a comedian on a grand scale:
- “It would be ironic for people who are caught speeding to pay for the installation of the speed cameras,” Mr Stanhope said.
The opposition had little to say other than support if it saves lives.