I’ve done a lot of stupid things in cars and on motorbikes in my life. I’ve driven drunk on numerous occasions; I’ve pushed a car past 200 KMs per hour; and once, I attempted to jump over a small dam on my little XR 75… I didn’t… quite… make it. However, I’ve never had an accident on a public road, and my days of reckless driving are but a distant memory in the rear vision mirror of time. In fact, many of my friends accuse me of driving like a grandpa – a critique I take with pride.
Like you, there are a lot of people out there on Canberra’s roads who really make me angry. Nothing puts the sand in my crack more than people who drive at high speed in school zones, or those people who somehow think that the more they tailgate you, the faster they will arrive at their destination. Sometimes it almost seems that the foggier or rainier the weather, the faster some Canberran drivers want to drive. Canberra’s roads are often war zones – a furious flurry of erected fingers and muted expletives – and I can understand people’s frustrations, but what I will never understand is road rage.
Recently this year there have been a growing number of serious incidents of road rage on Canberra’s roads. The most recent and public example of Canberra’s road rage problem would be Daniel Forsyth, 29, who was sentenced to 10 months gaol by ACT’s Chief Magistrate for furious driving, assault, and possession of a dangerous weapon. Unfortunately, this incident was also underscored by a disconcerting racist element. Police have also alleged that last Saturday morning a young man smashed a car’s window with a shifter before fleeing on the Barton Highway at about 11am.
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The answer to Canberra’s road rage certainly isn’t more punitive and authoritarian measures in the form of legislation. Although, in order to improve the ACT’s quality of driving, I am in favour of more thorough driving tests rather than slugging families by forcing them to pay exorbitant fees for driving lessons. Other than already living in the most regulated jurisdiction in Australia, more laws just waste the time of police, clog up the courts, and annoy the public… possibly contributing to more rage. What Canberrans and their families expect and deserve is a greater police presence on Canberra’s roads.
We don’t want more parking inspectors; we don’t want more roadside vehicle inspections; and we don’t want more drugs testing to see if someone has had a toke of a joint a few days ago. We want our fellow police officers to protect us from the small minded bast#rds who put our lives, and the lives of our children, in danger every day. A good driver is a safe driver.