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Newsflash – JTK booked for speeding (Almost)

By James-T-Kirk - 1 June 2010 74

You read it here first on the RiotACT!

Notorious speeder, James-T-Kirk has reported that he was flying driving down Canberra Avenue in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and he spotted a ACT Government Speed Detector van parked in plain sight approximately 400 meters away. JTK was reported as saying “Bugga!”, just prior to deploying the foot brake to reduce the vehicles speed to under the legal limit. Upon passing the van, JTK waved to the very bored occupant, where he promptly returned to cruising speed.

When interviewed, JTK said “Wow – that was an exhilarating feeling, actually traveling at the posted speed limit. I just got my new EOS convertable the other day, and man, does it fly!!! But, seriously, the whole speed thing reminds me of the time when I was traveling to work along Drakeford Drive and there was a Speed Van, a Police bike about 800m away, and another then another bike a further 800m. That would have been a really effective strategy, only thwarted by the time of day – They decided to setup during peak minute – the tiny period when the road has so many cars that it is not possible to get a decent speed up.”

Ms Burlesque Griffin, the Director of speed enforcement has declined to return our calls on the ineffectiveness of the speed enforcement program in detecting, and preventing Mr JTK’s compulsive speed habits.

…..

Sigh – there has to be a better way to stop speeding on the roads – cause the current plan surely isn’t working…….

What’s Your opinion?


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Newsflash – JTK booked for speeding (Almost)
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georgesgenitals 2:03 pm 08 Jun 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Germany, for example, requires 12 hours of theory instruction, at least 25 hours of professional practical instruction and costs around 1000 Euros.

Is that the same Germany that has 7.2 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers travelled versus Australia’s 6.5? And that’s with all their wonderful training in their very expensive safety-feature-laden automobiles on their very safe autobahns.

The very same. Given that Germany has some roads with unlimted speed limits, and other roads with higher limits than Australia, I don’t think we’re comparing apples with apples here. The point I was making is that another country has managed to implement higher licensing requirements, and life as they knew it didn’t grind to a halt. I still think we need better skills training and testing here in Australia.

p1 1:49 pm 08 Jun 10

How much faster? For what benefit?

It is not about a maximum speed for me. It is about the experience of driving along the road. Lets say for example we take the same Canberra-Sydney trip. Speed limit is, say, 150km/h. If I am driving along in my Hyundai accent, I am likely to spend upwards of 80% of the time below about 120km/h, because it is a small car, with a small engine, etc. And frankly, I usually do those speeds anyway. The difference is, if I decide to pass another vehicle, I can do it quickly and efficiently without being concerned about being booked. I can let the car do a comfortable speed up and down hills, rather then being on the brakes, then back on the accelerator, and my only concern for the absolute value of my velocity would be my ability to take the corners, rather then how it compares to a number in a circle on a sign.

I don’t really see this culture changing, and it would take a cultural change for it to work, but it is a nice fantasy in my head.

chewy14 1:36 pm 08 Jun 10

Woody,

here is the link to the GDE design for stage 2.

http://203.9.249.2/e-registers/pubnote/pdf/SUPP-200915029-GDE_STAGE_2_REPORT-01.pdf

I was wrong that the current design speed was 100km/hr, the original plan was for it to be 100km/hr but they only achieved 90km/hr with the current two lane road. The final design (2 lane) will be for 100km/hr with posted 90km/hr speed limit.

Good engineering practice would be to set the speed limit at the 85th percentile speed (which is the design speed). But most speed limits are usually set to 5-10km/hr below their design speed as an extra safety factor.

My original point, which you have tried to twist, was that travelling on roads at the design speed is not excessively dangerous. The risk increase in setting speed limits at the design speed would not be excessive.
I was trying to make a comment about the relative nature of risk on the road. Sure travelling at 10km/hr below the design speed may be safer but so would travelling at 20km/hr below.

Can you give me a good reason why setting the speed limit at the design speed would make things excessively dangerous? Most drivers are comfortable travelling at that speed, why should they be fined for doing something that is not dangerous?

Not once did I say speeding made roads safer, you’ve been trying to force that argument on me, but it isn’t what ive been saying. In fact your entire argument has been trying to force a position on me that i don’t have.

My whole argument as been about risk versus utility which you seem to agree with in your last point. Thanks.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:44 am 08 Jun 10

I can only respond to what you actually wrote, not what you meant to write or were thinking at the time. Which I did.

Nice try, chewy14, but the record clearly (and inconveniently, for you) shows you’re the one who raised the GDE as an example of a road that should be 100km/h. You suggested that there were many examples of such roads. You’ve yet to point out one – just one. If you pointed out a road that didn’t have the same level of traffic as the GDE, then that wouldn’t be a fair or accurate comparison? I didn’t stress that the road should be asphalt, either – I just figured it was a given for somebody with wasn’t pulling stuff out of their proverbial as they went along. You also haven’t indicated why your expertise in traffic engineering is so widely disregarded by your peers when they set speed limits. Why are they all wrong and you’re so right? What do you know that the good folk at, say, Austroads don’t?

The same argument can be used to reduce all speed limits to zero.

No, it can’t, because risk is balanced wtih utility. But if you were an engineer you’d know that, wouldn’t you? Do you have any actual rebuttals to the arugment presented? I even gave you a bunch of pointers. They’re really simple questions, so somebody really simple should be able to answer them. Just show me how speeding makes things safer.

What about roads which have design speeds which are significantly higher than the posted speed limit?

Such as? Look, you should really give me that GDE-like road link first. I’m not sure you could keep up with looking for two roads.

Mate, I’ve seen some rank amateurs orators come and go on this site. At the moment you’re ranked somewhere below Maelinar and above Damien Haas (but only just). It’s not a good look. Answer the questions – as I’ve answered yours – or give up.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:29 am 08 Jun 10

Germany, for example, requires 12 hours of theory instruction, at least 25 hours of professional practical instruction and costs around 1000 Euros.

Is that the same Germany that has 7.2 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers travelled versus Australia’s 6.5? And that’s with all their wonderful training in their very expensive safety-feature-laden automobiles on their very safe autobahns.

I would personally, however, be willing to accept slightly more risk on main roads (div
ided, two lane etc way, highway type roads) in exchange for the ability to go faster on them.

How much faster? For what benefit?

Let’s imagine a wonderful fantasy land where you have the entire 300km stretch from here to Sydney to yourself – no cars, no lights, and it’s 110km/h all the way, door to door, instant acceleration. It’ll take you 2 hours, 43 minutes and 12 seconds. Let’s say you can do 120 – 2 hours 30 minutes. 130 – 2 hrs 18 minutes. So letting you drive on the highway to Sydney at the same speed you’re allowed to drive on a perfectly straight, perfectly flat road in the middle of the Northern Territory saves you 25 minutes over a two and a half hour trip – in a perfect world.

But you’re not in a perfect world. You stop for a break which is as long as you feel like. Even on the highway you get caught behind traffic or roadworks. It’s not 130 all the way, because you’ll hit urban traffic conditions at the start and end of your journey. A light here, a light there, waiting at a roundabout, a few extra minutes at Maccas and any time advantage is wiped out.

On the odd days I take the car to and from work I play a game. I pick a random d.ckhead speeding past me on Adelaide Avenue, Yamba Drive, Melrose Drive or Athlon Drive, make sure he’s got a really good head start, then see how long it takes me to drive past him. Nine times out of ten it’s at the next lights; the rest of the time it’s at the next. Very, very rarely I’ll lose sight of them, which means I won’t see them until three or four lights later, or stuck behind traffic on Adelaide Avenue. But I pretty much always catch them eventually, just cruising along at the speed limit. Fairly often I even drive past them because they’ve failed to scan the traffic ahead and got caught behind a turning lane. You can play this on the way to Sydney too, when you catch up with the tool doing 140 so he can spend an extra three minutes at McDonalds.

Speed has pretty much nothing to do with how quickly you get anywhere when it comes to driving. We haven’t even got to the steady erosion of any perceived benefits over time, as 130 becomes the norm and you wish you could go 140, 150, 160…or you could just leave home a few minutes earlier.

georgesgenitals 4:30 pm 07 Jun 10

p1 said :

I would personally, however, be willing to accept slightly more risk on main roads (divided, two lane etc way, highway type roads) in exchange for the ability to go faster on them.

..especially if the additional risk was mitigated by more more stringent training and testing requirements.

p1 4:06 pm 07 Jun 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

The speed limit is simply a value designed to result in a road which is “safe enough” while being “useful”.

That was made clear by my use of the phrases ‘consumate with the risks posed by road and traffic conditions’ and ‘relative to the risks already posed by the conditions’. Nobody has claimed that speed limits are an absolute guarantor of safety. What the other side needs to do, however, is demonstrate how exceeding the speed limit reduces the risks or keeps them the same. This would require violating minor details like the laws of physics and the limits of human biology, so good luck.

As you have pointed out, that would be impossible. And I don’t advocate people exceeding the legal posted speed limit. I would personally, however, be willing to accept slightly more risk on main roads (divided, two lane etc way, highway type roads) in exchange for the ability to go faster on them.

georgesgenitals 4:05 pm 07 Jun 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Road testing shows again and again that most people are just bad drivers, full stop – they can’t break properly in an emergency, avoid obstacles etc. They’ll skid out of control and hit the cones or the cardboard cutout every time, no matter what their supposed or claimed level of skill. Everybody’s an awesome driver until they’re not, and what happens to others will never happen to them until it does. Speed makes this worse.

That’s certainly the case in Australia, but what about other places? Germany, for example, requires 12 hours of theory instruction, at least 25 hours of professional practical instruction and costs around 1000 Euros. I would expect a person going through that level of training to be better skilled than the averahe Australian drivers license holder.

I’m a big supporter of having better training, and higher standards (verified through testing). And, like Germany, the user should bear the costs.

chewy14 3:02 pm 07 Jun 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

and if you think driving at 100km/h on a single-lane road with merging entrances and exits is safe you’re nuts.

Where is the mention of urban traffic?
I can only respond to what you actually wrote, not what you meant to write or were thinking at the time. Which I did.

You’ve never driven on a single lane road that has merging entrances or exits that has a 100km/hr speed limit.

It wasn’t til after this that you mention urban traffic. Do try to remember what you wrote.

And I never said I would provide criteria for safe speeding so you can stop waiting and put away that straw man.

Driving safely entails driving in a manner than minimises the risk and severity of a crash. Speed limits contribute to safe driving by ensuring traffic moves at a speed consumate with the risks posed by road and traffic conditions. Driving above this speed reduces your control of the vehicle, increases your reaction time and braking distance and so increases the risk of a crash and the severity of that crash, relative to the risks already posed by the conditions. Increasing the likelihood and severity of a crash is counter to notions of ’safe driving’, so no, you can’t exceed the speed limit in a ’safe manner’.

The same argument can be used to reduce all speed limits to zero.

What about roads which have design speeds which are significantly higher than the posted speed limit? Are similar roads (design, volumes etc) in different areas requiring of differing risk levels?

Our positions aren’t all that different, you just have much higher confidence in how speed limits are set and applied than I do.

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:59 pm 07 Jun 10

The speed limit is simply a value designed to result in a road which is “safe enough” while being “useful”.

That was made clear by my use of the phrases ‘consumate with the risks posed by road and traffic conditions’ and ‘relative to the risks already posed by the conditions’. Nobody has claimed that speed limits are an absolute guarantor of safety. What the other side needs to do, however, is demonstrate how exceeding the speed limit reduces the risks or keeps them the same. This would require violating minor details like the laws of physics and the limits of human biology, so good luck.

Over longer distances, traveling at higher speed reduces time spent in the vehicle, thus fatigue is lower.

And that’s why it’s 110 on the highway. Of course, this is also offset to some extent by the boredom of driving on wide, mostly straight, largely empty roads.

different drivers have different skills and abilities

Road testing shows again and again that most people are just bad drivers, full stop – they can’t break properly in an emergency, avoid obstacles etc. They’ll skid out of control and hit the cones or the cardboard cutout every time, no matter what their supposed or claimed level of skill. Everybody’s an awesome driver until they’re not, and what happens to others will never happen to them until it does. Speed makes this worse.

And seriously, what’s the alternative? Special testing for everybody to work out how fast they can travel, with a list of speed limits for different areas for different people? “Well, Bill can do 89 on this road, but 94 on that road, but he can only do 55 on the road that Fred can do 65 on because he’s bad with roundabouts…”. But we can ignore the practicalities of enforcement, because we’re dealing with special snowflakes who are above the law.

I’m still not convinced that zealous enforcement of speed limits is the best way of minimising harm on our roads.

It’s ‘a’ way, not ‘the’ way, and nobody has said anything to the contrary.

georgesgenitals 2:12 pm 07 Jun 10

Hi WMC – a couple of points to throw into the discussion:

1) Over longer distances, traveling at higher speed reduces time spent in the vehicle, thus fatigue is lower. I will admit that the difference in speed would need to be quite large to make a meaningful difference, and the danger in traveling much more quickly in most cases would outweigh the benefits.

2) That section of the Monaro Hwy that is 80km/h used to be 100km/h, and nothing seemed to change when the speed limit changed.

I think the problem, really, is that different drivers have different skills and abilities, and while some can drive X km/h faster than others with a similar level of risk (or not), we ultimately have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. That said, I have to admit that I’m still not convinced that zealous enforcement of speed limits is the best way of minimising harm on our roads.

p1 2:02 pm 07 Jun 10

Driving safely entails driving in a manner than minimises the risk and severity of a crash. Speed limits contribute to safe driving by ensuring traffic moves at a speed consumate with the risks posed by road and traffic conditions. Driving above this speed reduces your control of the vehicle, increases your reaction time and braking distance and so increases the risk of a crash and the severity of that crash, relative to the risks already posed by the conditions. Increasing the likelihood and severity of a crash is counter to notions of ’safe driving’, so no, you can’t exceed the speed limit in a ’safe manner’.

While the above paragraph it correct, what it doesn’t mention the fact that there is not magical force field which makes you “safe” so long as the needle on the speedo is at or below the correct number. The only binary safety issue which is absolute is the fact that other people on the road will expect you to be doing at or below the limit and act accordingly. All other issues, those you mention, mean it is incrementally less safe for every increase in speed.

The speed limit is simply a value designed to result in a road which is “safe enough” while being “useful”.

But what would I know, I’m just a guy in the interwebz.

Spideydog 1:55 pm 07 Jun 10

chewy14 said :

Have you ever driven on a coast road? Plently of merging entrances, exits and 100km/hr speed limits.

Yep, and the pacific highway has a marvelous safety history too …….. FAIL

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