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More measures to cut the road toll

By johnboy 24 January 2009 52

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’.

    “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.

What’s Your opinion?


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More measures to cut the road toll
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Xbikee 2:15 am 27 Jan 09

Stanhope has interesting perspectives on road safety … I recall him once denouncing those soothsayers who suggested our Sckool Zones be signed the same hours as NSW. Oh, my GOd! That would put the kiddies at risk! in the middle of the day! Damn you to that hot place! Now it’s P2P on straight roads … BUT .. aha! you waited patiently for the punchline … Stanhope will not allow his speed camera vans to work ACT Sckool Zones! Maybe there are some kids wagging running across The Park (literally in peak time)Way I do not know about. And, “tougher” signage …? “STUPID HURTS” is a good biker one I have seen. But most of us read them and internally acknowledge they do not apply to us. For example: “SPEED KILLS”, well I suppose it does, but not me. I have been on the road 40+ years and – listen again ’cause it’s so exciting – I speed EVERY time I drive. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. I am still here. So, to me – speed does not kill. But I fell off my bike once and stupid does hurt. But (again!?) driving along looking for the second P2P could slow me to distraction and make me a danger – but not in a sckool zone. Phew.

Sheepaddock 10:36 pm 26 Jan 09

As an ex resident of a high police presence area i can assure you that here in the A.C.T there is clearly not enough highway patrol policing. After 3 years here i am not shocked that the area has killed 1 person a month which is a discrace with your population with extremly good roadways. I spend alot of time driving around your town and i have never seen such bad driving in all my life. Ive had hoons racing around my local area for 3 years and cannot believe these guys still have licences. There is clearly unregistered and uninsured vehicles about everyday and the drink driving culture is alive and well here.Never mind speed cameras what you need is Hurstville/Engadine Highway Patrol to turn up and start cleaning up the place of these dangerous nuisences risking everyones lifes. Also some good driving schools wouldnt go astray to teach people here how to use a roundabout properly and how to use an indicator…

Lenient 6:32 pm 26 Jan 09

Road fatalities are fortunateley a fairly rare event, with many contributing factors to each (speed, age,alcohol, road surface,weather…..) so the statistics make it very hard to accurately conclude what is dangerous. Speed is certainly a risk factor even if in a given year not many deaths are attributed to it. The risks that can contribute must be reduced not justs the ones that eventuate. Cameras are just part of an overall solution.

dvaey 10:48 am 26 Jan 09

monomania said :

Well lets not let the facts get in the way of a good prejudice, SadMushroom. 14 deaths for I year is too small a number to generalise. What are you going to do about older pedestrians. Ban them from walking.

Most deaths per 100000 in Australia are males in the 17 – 25 age group.

Friday night – early Saturday morning and Saturday night early Sunday morning are by far the mostly likely time to die on the road.

Maybe it is too small to generalise, but its a starting point, based on actual numbers and actual lives lost. Where does your ‘most deaths’ figure and age-range come from? Obviously not from the actual statistics of lives lost. If you want to quote figures for road deaths in Sydney or Melbourne CBD, thats one thing, but in the ACT there were 14 deaths and almost half (6) were elderly drivers. That doesnt mean that the other 8 were silly 17-25 year olds.

If youve actually got any statistics to back up your case, feel free to provide them, otherwise your ‘most deaths are males 17-25’ and ‘friday night, saturday morning’ comments are about as BS as the ACT govts claims that installing speed-cameras on the Parkway, Monaro and Barton highways will cut the road-toll.

shauno 4:40 am 26 Jan 09

Yep the interesting thing is when the unlimited speed limit in NT on the open roads was reduced to 130kmhr in 96 the following years 97 and 98 the road toll dramatically increased. The rhetoric from the ALP govt for reducing the speed limit was bordering on the hysterical totally ignoring the fact that most of the deaths where from drink driving, fatigue and sleeping on the roads. And to top it off a lot of deaths if not most were in the Urban speed limited areas anyway. So what did they do? They reduced the limit because it was the easiest and cheapest way to appear to be doing something but ignoring the real issues and as a bonus they would be able to get some extra revenue from speeding fines.

bd84 12:59 am 26 Jan 09

cranky said :

I’d feel a lot happier if the speed limits were set to some formula which took into account the speed at which the majority of traffic used, if not artificially restricted.

We are repeatedly told that 100K’s is the maximum that ACT motorists are safely able to travel, but there are of course anomalies.

We are instantly endowed with greater ability on crossing the NSW border on the Federal Highway, when we are rewarded with the 110K limit.

In most eastern states the 110kph limit is only on the dual carrageway highways with no intersections, just merging traffic and it will drop to 100kph on the single lanes.

But if you drive to SA from Vic you will notice as you go over the border the speed limits increase to 110kph on the same single lane roads. I’d like to see the explanation as to why one government thinks differently to another, and I would make a bet that the difference to the road toll of the two limits is practically nothing.

monomania 10:25 pm 25 Jan 09

SadMushroom said :

I went and checked and of the 14 deaths only 4 may have been from speeding.
People over 75yrs was almost half, totalling 6 deaths and not ALL were accidents caused by bad driving. Some of these deaths were from aged people being hit by cars with no fault to the driver. Others were minor accidents but due to the frailty of the aged drivers/passengers proved to be fatal.

Instead of spending a fortune with more cameras etc why not use the money to check on the elderly drivers?
I’m not sure what age the ACT has for elderly to go and ‘prove’ they are still fit to drive, or how often they have to do it, but obviously it needs to be looked into.

Well lets not let the facts get in the way of a good prejudice, SadMushroom. 14 deaths for I year is too small a number to generalise. What are you going to do about older pedestrians. Ban them from walking.

Most deaths per 100000 in Australia are males in the 17 – 25 age group.

Friday night – early Saturday morning and Saturday night early Sunday morning are by far the mostly likely time to die on the road.

SadMushroom 10:10 pm 25 Jan 09

My car was stolen from NSW a few years ago, I got 2 speeding fines in ACT that I HAD to pay before going to court to fight, because I knew who stole my car.
He got nothing.
He was caught 3 times unregistered, uninsured and no lincence that day in my car that was reported stolen??? He was also facing other charges of unreg/uninsured and no licence…
He got a year and half good behaviour bond and I as a single mum had to pay fines then go to court to recoup them…He got no fines or anything,,,as he dobbed in his drug dealer….How do I know,,,he was my exhubby that was on an AVO NOT to be within 500m of us for 5 years….
Judge gave him 5 years avo after he tried to kill me,,but apparently he can steal my car and not worry about it as long as he crossed the border

JC 9:13 pm 25 Jan 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

P2P cameras are typical govt BS that doesn’t get to the root of the issue, and unfortunately there are enough sheeple who believe anything the govt or media says. Serious road safety initiatives would include detailed analysis of the cause of accidents, and target those things. Sending people a couple of hundred dollar fine for driving at 110km/h along the Monaro Hwy or Parkway achieves nothing.

Initially, I’d hope primarily for greater marked police presence, and for that police presence to target the sort of stupidity we see on our roads every day, such as lane hogging, lack of indicating, speeding up to prevent the guy in front of you changing into your lane, etc. In other parts of the world, police are more interested in getting the traffic to flow as smoothly as possible. Our nanny state does nothing more than lull people into a false sense of security that because they’re below the speed limit, they’re ‘safe’.

Spot on, you just need to look at some of the posts above.

Lenient 8:31 pm 25 Jan 09

to get to the root of the issue you have to get bad motorists into a dark room and beat them around with the road rules. there are only so many options open to enforce road rules and usually result in things like cameras. there is way too many roads for increased marked police presence to have an impact. maybe a drigible jammed with electronics is the answer, but that would take some development

SadMushroom 7:43 pm 25 Jan 09

quote from cranky
“”Our AFP officers are given a 2 week training course, not available to the ordinary motorist, which apparently endows them with the ability to travel at any speed they consider necessary, in the course of the job. This extends to the ability to use 2 way radios/mobile phones at any time, without compromising their car control. Unlike we mortal motorists.””

I live on a main intersection between ACT and NSW have seen police going so fast they jump the intersection in a 50km zone, and yet are going nowhere in a hurry. No calls, no lights, no sirens nothing. If you ring and ask you are told to mind your own business.

I would also like to ask the Govvy what they are going to do with the pollies, PS and “blue platers” caught speeding. (blue as in those embassy people etc that seem to be exempt)
Make them pay up!!!!!

P2P cameras are typical govt BS that doesn’t get to the root of the issue, and unfortunately there are enough sheeple who believe anything the govt or media says. Serious road safety initiatives would include detailed analysis of the cause of accidents, and target those things. Sending people a couple of hundred dollar fine for driving at 110km/h along the Monaro Hwy or Parkway achieves nothing.

Initially, I’d hope primarily for greater marked police presence, and for that police presence to target the sort of stupidity we see on our roads every day, such as lane hogging, lack of indicating, speeding up to prevent the guy in front of you changing into your lane, etc. In other parts of the world, police are more interested in getting the traffic to flow as smoothly as possible. Our nanny state does nothing more than lull people into a false sense of security that because they’re below the speed limit, they’re ‘safe’.

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