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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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52 Responses to
More measures to cut the road toll
monomania 12:31 pm 24 Jan 09

14 deaths a year is not enough for any meaningful statistical analysis of road deaths.

http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/publications/2008/Ann_Stats_2007.aspx

has data on ages and type of road user going back decades but not all are itemised by state.

Pommy bastard 12:31 pm 24 Jan 09

blaringmike said :

All P2P camera’s will do is make ppl spend less time watching the road and more time starring at the speedo. All this will do is catch your average driver for going 102 in a 100 zone.

Why would they change the % leeway allowed,just because P2P cameras are introduced?

Primal 12:24 pm 24 Jan 09

Thumper said :

more police presence on the roads. Used to work wonders when I was a young bloke and more inclined to drive faster.

The threat of more cop cars being around to see what you’re doing won’t necessarily get people to slow down all the time… but a real live officer on patrol is far more useful to the general public than a camera on a pole ever will be.

monomania 11:53 am 24 Jan 09

cranky said :

When the much vaunted Victorian model can be shown to have ANY positive effect on road fatalities/trauma, these will only be revenue raising devices.

Can anyone post a link to a consolidated listing of road fatalities in the ACT in the past year? My gut feeling is that unfortunately aged motorists/pedestrians and inner suburban motorcyclists, with a possible suicide thrown in, made up a large portion of local deaths.

Not actually a list http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/01/02/2457877.htm?site=canberra

SadMushroom 11:16 am 24 Jan 09

Mr Waffle,
Usually the only time police are near road works is after they have been rang by the workers due to traffic failing to slow down.
Chances are he was just there for show until the traffic levels dropped or the traffic began slowing by itself.

Mervyn Keane 11:15 am 24 Jan 09

How asbout going back to basics and ticketing all those dills who never use their indicators?

Ian 11:13 am 24 Jan 09

P2P cameras make more sense than spot ones.

The signs in NZ are actually pretty good – although their effectiveness is probably marginal. People who drive sensisbly and are law abiding don’t need them and the idiots who regard driving as a display of their manliness probably either can’t understand them, or think they are invincible and the messages don’t apply to them. The trick is to not let them near cars or licenses until they are grown up enough to use them properly – and for many people that is still not the case well into their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (ever?).

blaringmike 11:01 am 24 Jan 09

hmmm, budget going into deficit. I know put in more revenue raisers.

All P2P camera’s will do is make ppl spend less time watching the road and more time starring at the speedo. All this will do is catch your average driver for going 102 in a 100 zone.

The fixed cameras are bad enough, when your following someone and they jam on the brakes and try and squeeze into the left lane just before the camera.

Thumper 10:51 am 24 Jan 09

PB,

more police presence on the roads. Used to work wonders when I was a young bloke and more inclined to drive faster.

Mr Waffle 10:48 am 24 Jan 09

On the topic of speed cameras, I saw an odd thing when driving from Fyshwick up the Monaro Highway to Civic on Friday at lunchtime- there are 60kph roadworks signs posted a little bit before the roadworks on the intersection leading to the airport. There was a police car sitting next to the 60kph sign with an officer pointing what I assume was a radar gun or something down the road towards us. The traffic was backed up because of the traffic lights so everyone was well under the limit, but I can’t help but wonder what the deal was. Would he be trying to ping people doing the normal 80kph or the 60kph of the sign he’s standing right next to!?

Pommy bastard 10:36 am 24 Jan 09

As a sedate driver I have no concerns over P2P speed cameras. However, could those here criticising their use, and the other measures which may be put in place to make roads more safe, please offer an alternative, rather than just citique the proposal? Hmmmmm

Thumper 10:05 am 24 Jan 09

encourage drivers to be conscious of their speed at all times – not just when they are within range of a speed camera

Which in effect, really says that speed cameras don’t stop speeding. They simply slow traffic down for a short period.

SadMushroom 9:41 am 24 Jan 09

Most media state it was almost half people aged 75yrs or over and 28% involving drug/alcohol that died on ACT roads in 2008.
That leaves less that 1/4 that MAY have been caused due to speeding.

Speed cameras are only good for catching legal drivers.
A percent of fines sent out each year are never paid as the cars are unregistered/false plates or are stolen cars.

Seeing signs for speed cameras etc means nothing compared to driving along with a police car in view.

cranky 9:07 am 24 Jan 09

When the much vaunted Victorian model can be shown to have ANY positive effect on road fatalities/trauma, these will only be revenue raising devices.

Can anyone post a link to a consolidated listing of road fatalities in the ACT in the past year? My gut feeling is that unfortunately aged motorists/pedestrians and inner suburban motorcyclists, with a possible suicide thrown in, made up a large portion of local deaths.

Nothing a speed camera on the Parkway would have prevented.

MrPC 8:57 am 24 Jan 09

As you say, the younger generations don’t watch much commercial media anymore. We end up in places like this, particularly on weekends where everything is closed for the holiday.

If anything, sneaking out controversial press on days like today will count against them with younger people while still being only marginally effective with the oldies.

As for P2P speed cameras, bleh, old news. Have you ever driven down the Hume Freeway between Wodonga and Melbourne? Smile for the P2P cameras!

As for “Drink, Drive, Die in a Ditch”, every time some clown drinks and drives and doesn’t die in a ditch, they will feel a bit more empowered to keep doing it, since that message is clearly wrong or applies to other people but not to him/her. It works both ways.

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