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Should we digitally name and shame Canberra’s bad drivers?

By Marcus Paul 4 August 2015 55

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I love social media sites, especially those community notice boards. Occasionally they throw up little gems like these:

“And the employee of the week goes to…. the wing nut from xxx Company driving a white Territory xxx number plate  through Murrumbateman this morning. Your skill in driving that motorcyclist off the road at the end of the overtaking lane before McIntosh was carried out in a true ‘I don’t give a sh*t’ style. You upped the ante by speeding through the road works and then you forced another vehicle on to the shoulder at the end of the Capricorn overtaking merge. Outstanding examples of truly crap driving – you represent your employer well!

And this :

Must be the morning for morons! I reported the toyota with the numberplate “XXX'” to the police this morning as they got cranky that no-one would let them speed through the roadworks and then came from 2 cars behind to run me off the road at the Capricorn over taking lane , I hope mine and yours meet each other one morning in a head on and then that will be 2 less w*nkers to deal with !

Wow.

I’ve deleted out number plate details, and hidden the companies name for this exercise. However the question needs to be asked: Is it ever okay to name and shame on social media? Sure, a good vent with like minded people might make you feel better, and perhaps even solicit responses such as that highlighted above.

However, is it dangerous? After all what happens if someone loses a job over this and then decides to go online and finds the person who posted the evidence? Some people even post dash cam videos or snap pictures on mobile phones and post.

Sure, from time to time I’ve named and shamed car owners who have blatantly illegally parked in disabled spots, but usually only after a bit of thought. I am usually left though with the feeling I have possibly breached someone’s privacy in some way. My one rule here though is if it’s a diplomatic vehicle I’m right onto it. Last year, I named the same US Embassy DC plated car stopping in a disabled spot day after day. Eventually, we received an apology and a promise the law would not be broken again.

There will be some people who might say they deserved it because they’re doing the wrong thing, endangering lives, or making disabled parking difficult. Some might even say it’s none of my business, it’s police who deal with this.

Really, try calling Gungahlin or Tuggeranong police with a complaint that someone nearly ran you off the road and due to lack of evidence or the fact no-one was actually hurt, it ends up it being a low priority if at all.

So, over to you RiotACT folk. Name and shame – or simply let it be?

Should bad drivers be named and shamed?

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Marcus Paul is the host of Canberra Live 3pm weekdays on 2CC.

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55 Responses to
Should we digitally name and shame Canberra’s bad drivers?
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Maya123 6:28 pm 14 Aug 15

tim_c said :

MonarchRepublic said :

Spot on
http://www.police.act.gov.au/roads-and-traffic/collisions.aspx

“People unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision in the ACT must by law report the incident to the police within 24 hours. A form available on the Canberra Connect website completely removes the need to attend an ACT Police Station …”

And you’ll find that the Police will never even see that report if you tick the “No” box next to the question: “Did anyone require treatment at the scene?” If it happens again, I’ll be at least putting on a Band-Aid at the scene.

I thought they had recently changed the rules that a minor collision didn’t require reporting because TAMS couldn’t be bothered filing all the unread reports, or was that just a suggested change?

According to what I’ve been told elsewhere, and the insurance company, when I asked do I have to inform the police, the answer was no, it’s not necessary.

tim_c 3:59 pm 14 Aug 15

MonarchRepublic said :

Spot on
http://www.police.act.gov.au/roads-and-traffic/collisions.aspx

“People unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision in the ACT must by law report the incident to the police within 24 hours. A form available on the Canberra Connect website completely removes the need to attend an ACT Police Station …”

And you’ll find that the Police will never even see that report if you tick the “No” box next to the question: “Did anyone require treatment at the scene?” If it happens again, I’ll be at least putting on a Band-Aid at the scene.

I thought they had recently changed the rules that a minor collision didn’t require reporting because TAMS couldn’t be bothered filing all the unread reports, or was that just a suggested change?

MonarchRepublic 3:38 pm 11 Aug 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

…Accidents without a person being injured (and no-one was) are not reported to the police…

lolwut

Police may not need to attend an accident scene where no injury occurred, but a report still has to be filed with the Police and an incident number generated for future reference.

At least, that’s what *should* happen.

Spot on
http://www.police.act.gov.au/roads-and-traffic/collisions.aspx

“People unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision in the ACT must by law report the incident to the police within 24 hours. A form available on the Canberra Connect website completely removes the need to attend an ACT Police Station …”

Holden Caulfield 2:32 pm 11 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

…Accidents without a person being injured (and no-one was) are not reported to the police…

lolwut

Police may not need to attend an accident scene where no injury occurred, but a report still has to be filed with the Police and an incident number generated for future reference.

At least, that’s what *should* happen.

G_A 1:05 pm 11 Aug 15

There is a group on Facebook, it’s “Canberra Drivers”. It mostly consists of concerned drivers posting photos of other drivers who have cut them off, tailgated them, parked inconsiderately, thrown a cigarette out of the window, or are sitting in the right hand land on the GDE and parkway etc. The result? They get slammed, not supported. It’s not for the faint hearted.

tim_c 12:03 pm 11 Aug 15

JimCharles said :

This is the problem in Canberra, the driving philosophy and mentality is so backwards that good ideas get ridiculed. Stupid is as stupid does.
The reason speed limits are so much slower is because they need to match the overall skill limit of the drivers, but rather than spending money on education that will teach that driving too slowly and selfishly can also be classed as aggressive and disruptive, and many drivers being unable to anticipate, understand or judge speed, traffic flow, risk and in some cases, seem to think they’re on another planet….actually makes one of the best physical driving environments on the planet into something not unlike driving in a backwater redneck town in Texas where they don’t bother with licenses. It’s dangerous stuff.

If they’re serious about safety in Canberra they should do more spot checks on vehicles with bald tyres, bad brakes, and busted head, tail and brake lights, and start educating lane hoggers who don’t check mirrors or blind spots and slow down the entire traffic flow, instead of just constantly cutting speeds and putting in cameras to raise revenue because they know the locals are not up to 1st world driving standards so everybody’s experience has to be reduced to base level.
It’s basically admitting failure having to slow everything to a crawl because there are so many drivers who have never been taught to drive to a reputable standard…and they don’t know they’re doing it.
The idea is to make journeys quicker and safer so traffic flow is made more efficient, not this rubbish they practice round here.

Perhaps rather than re-testing, they need to actually test properly in the first place – it would help if they didn’t hand out licences like raffle tickets at the spring fair. But this is exactly what people said would happen when the ACT Government proposed driving schools being able to test their own students. Anyone could tell that a strict driving school would get a reputation (probably even unfairly tainted with the complaint “they just want me to pay them for more lessons”) and lose business because of it – students are going to go to the driving schools that make it easy to pass – we are certainly seeing the results in our traffic behaviour.

cbrmale 4:13 pm 10 Aug 15

Evilomlap said :

tim_c said :

If road users could see the Police taking an active role in enforcing traffic rules, the public wouldn’t feel such a need to take matters into their own hands

I really take issue with these complaints about the ‘lack of police presence’ in the ACT. I know and have worked with ACT police at varying levels. They do the absolute best they can with the limited resources at their disposal, and the police you want out policing minor traffic offences 24/7 have no say in the allocation of those resources. If the choice is between ‘monitoring’ some hoon more closely, or attending a domestic violence 000 call, it’s obvious which one the ONE patrol car available for the entire northside that night (because the two others are tied up blocking off lanes at a traffic collision on Belconnen Way) is going to be dispatched to.

I can guarantee you police presence at any call out is never because of a lack of dedication or because they can’t be bothered, it’s because they are busy doing something else that is more important at that particular moment. Believe me they would love to be able to dedicate a whole car for a whole day to drive around targeting bad drivers but unfortunately they just can’t do it.

I don’t believe anyone is blaming the police for their lack of presence on our roads and certainly I’m not. I know the real fault for lack of police resources lies with this government, and the end result is something close to anarchy on our roads.

Given that situation I don’t see a choice but to name and shame in the hope that highlighting bad, anti-social or dangerous driving will improve driving for the majority who mostly do the right thing.

tim_c 12:14 pm 10 Aug 15

Tooks said :

tim_c said :

If road users could see the Police taking an active role in enforcing traffic rules, the public wouldn’t feel such a need to take matters into their own hands

So just if a road user doesn’t see the police enforcing the law, then they should take matters into their own hands? That is ridiculous.

I agree – it is not for the public to take matters into their own hands, but this is the inevitable tendency when people feel justice is not being implemented by those who are supposed to carry it out – history shows this repeatedly.

Re-read my original comment above – I don’t condone vigilante action, but I understand why some feel it may be needed. Public shaming is happening whether we agree with it or not – perhaps our authorities need to do a bit of head scratching and think about why it is becoming more prevalent.

cbrmale 2:07 pm 09 Aug 15

Antagonist said :

Maya123 said :

Yes, my car was written off about a fortnight ago, by a tail-ender, and the person following was not following that closely. Just shows how much distance is needed to stop suddenly. ** It was the driver in front of me who stopped suddenly that caused all this.** I only just managed to miss them, by steering sharply left. Unfortunately the car behind me didn’t miss my car.

– My emphasis added.

Are you really sure it was the driver in front of you that caused all of this? If you only just managed to miss the car in front of you “by steering sharply left”, then you were also travelling too close to the car in front of you. You did not leave yourself enough space to brake safely. I put it to you that you are equally to blame.

Let’s clarify tailgating. In dry weather and on a good surface you need three seconds gap. Watch the rear of the car in front pass a landmark like a light post or a sign, and then count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three’. That’s three seconds. If you are less than three seconds behind then you will have difficulty in missing the car in front if they pull up for any reason. In the case of this multiple vehicle crash the driver in front did pull up suddenly, but any car which runs into another car from behind is automatically at fault. Tailgating is a done deal. You don’t have to admit to anything; you’re automatically at fault.

The driver in front ‘did not cause all of this’ because that driver is fully entitled to stop for crossing pedestrians, wildlife on the road or other road hazards such as broken bitumen or whatever. For these reasons we must not tailgate, and we must all maintain a three second gap as best we can.

On Canberra’s arterial roads, three seconds at 80 km/h is a substantial distance indeed.

JimCharles 10:35 am 09 Aug 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Evilomlap said :

The question is so late it’s irrelevant. In this age of dash cams and YouTube people are being publically shamed anyway. There are sites springing up every week to post dash cam vids and ‘name and shame’ people. I haven’t seen many, but I dare say not many are bothering to shade out people’s number plates or faces.

Maybe let’s spend less time berating other road users and focus on ourselves. I read a study a few years back where people who had their licences for more than ten years sat a written driving test. Something like 9 out of 10 people failed. Simple stuff like who has right of way if the traffic lights are out, merging, how to use indicators etc.

Pilots have to sit tests periodically to prove they are still competent. The number of people killed on the roads far exceeds the number killed in plane crashes. Drivers should have to do that same thing. I find the concept of sitting one test when you’re 17 and then never being tested again a bit ridiculous. I reckon the cost to benefit ratio of this would even out, given that it would probably prevent heaps of minor accidents that are caused by simple ignorance of road rules or people making innocent mistakes.

I agree with this. I said to someone the other day that there should be periodic driving tests in order to retain a licence, and the period between the tests should get smaller once the driver reaches a certain age. The person I was talking to told me I was being ridiculous but I really don’t think my proposal is that controversial.

This is the problem in Canberra, the driving philosophy and mentality is so backwards that good ideas get ridiculed. Stupid is as stupid does.
The reason speed limits are so much slower is because they need to match the overall skill limit of the drivers, but rather than spending money on education that will teach that driving too slowly and selfishly can also be classed as aggressive and disruptive, and many drivers being unable to anticipate, understand or judge speed, traffic flow, risk and in some cases, seem to think they’re on another planet….actually makes one of the best physical driving environments on the planet into something not unlike driving in a backwater redneck town in Texas where they don’t bother with licenses. It’s dangerous stuff.

If they’re serious about safety in Canberra they should do more spot checks on vehicles with bald tyres, bad brakes, and busted head, tail and brake lights, and start educating lane hoggers who don’t check mirrors or blind spots and slow down the entire traffic flow, instead of just constantly cutting speeds and putting in cameras to raise revenue because they know the locals are not up to 1st world driving standards so everybody’s experience has to be reduced to base level.
It’s basically admitting failure having to slow everything to a crawl because there are so many drivers who have never been taught to drive to a reputable standard…and they don’t know they’re doing it.
The idea is to make journeys quicker and safer so traffic flow is made more efficient, not this rubbish they practice round here.

Antagonist 2:33 pm 08 Aug 15

vintage123 said :

Maya123 said :

Antagonist said :

Maya123 said :

Yes, my car was written off about a fortnight ago, by a tail-ender, and the person following was not following that closely. Just shows how much distance is needed to stop suddenly. ** It was the driver in front of me who stopped suddenly that caused all this.** I only just managed to miss them, by steering sharply left. Unfortunately the car behind me didn’t miss my car.

– My emphasis added.

Are you really sure it was the driver in front of you that caused all of this? If you only just managed to miss the car in front of you “by steering sharply left”, then you were also travelling too close to the car in front of you. You did not leave yourself enough space to brake safely. I put it to you that you are equally to blame.

But I didn’t hit anyone. The car in front of me was undamaged. Yes, I might have been a bit close. If I had to steer to the left I likely was. Which, as I said, just goes to show how much distance is needed between cars, because I was not travelling any closer than most other cars; in fact further back than many; probably including the car behind me, which I did not consider was tailgating me.
What happened was that the car in front on Horse Park Drive, suddenly stopped without pre-indication to turn right from NOT the right hand lane. I took evasive action and missed them completely, but the car behind didn’t miss me, even though I was now partly beside the car in front. At least the car behind was fully insured, and the driver seemed like a nice person and took full responsibility.

Golly gosh. The guy in front got off scot free without any damage after slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road, you got a new car as yours was written off, and the poor guy behind, whom you quoted as ” not tailgating or travelling even that close” was Shafted with a negligent driving causing accident charge, a fine, demerit points and liable for the insurance expense. Gee whiz, you bet he looked like a nice person by taking full responsibility – he was either incredibly stupid or about to do a runner to Malta to avoid any consequence.

I was just yanking Maya123’s chain, but it is a good argument for having a camera fitted. It also costs less than a years insurance or 6 months rego too. Looking at getting me one of those little Vicovation jobbies … if the Aussie dollar ever improves against UK currency.

Maya123 12:34 pm 08 Aug 15

vintage123 said :

Maya123 said :

Antagonist said :

Maya123 said :

Yes, my car was written off about a fortnight ago, by a tail-ender, and the person following was not following that closely. Just shows how much distance is needed to stop suddenly. ** It was the driver in front of me who stopped suddenly that caused all this.** I only just managed to miss them, by steering sharply left. Unfortunately the car behind me didn’t miss my car.

– My emphasis added.

Are you really sure it was the driver in front of you that caused all of this? If you only just managed to miss the car in front of you “by steering sharply left”, then you were also travelling too close to the car in front of you. You did not leave yourself enough space to brake safely. I put it to you that you are equally to blame.

But I didn’t hit anyone. The car in front of me was undamaged. Yes, I might have been a bit close. If I had to steer to the left I likely was. Which, as I said, just goes to show how much distance is needed between cars, because I was not travelling any closer than most other cars; in fact further back than many; probably including the car behind me, which I did not consider was tailgating me.
What happened was that the car in front on Horse Park Drive, suddenly stopped without pre-indication to turn right from NOT the right hand lane. I took evasive action and missed them completely, but the car behind didn’t miss me, even though I was now partly beside the car in front. At least the car behind was fully insured, and the driver seemed like a nice person and took full responsibility.

Golly gosh. The guy in front got off scot free without any damage after slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road, you got a new car as yours was written off, and the poor guy behind, whom you quoted as ” not tailgating or travelling even that close” was Shafted with a negligent driving causing accident charge, a fine, demerit points and liable for the insurance expense. Gee whiz, you bet he looked like a nice person by taking full responsibility – he was either incredibly stupid or about to do a runner to Malta to avoid any consequence.

“with a negligent driving causing accident charge, a fine, demerit points and liable for the insurance expense.”

Accidents without a person being injured (and no-one was) are not reported to the police, so the driver behind me didn’t get a fine or demerit points, but they likely lost some of their no claim bonus and had to pay excess. I didn’t lose my no claim bonus or have excess to pay and got more for my car by it being written off than likely I would have been able to sell it for, because of its age (15). However, it was running very well, with low kms, and I had hoped to have been able to drive it for a few more years. (My previous car was still running very well and looked great at 21.) I have now bought a new car, which means this accident did end up costing me money.

Mysteryman 9:39 am 08 Aug 15

My problem with naming and shaming drivers is that we only see a photo – a snapshot of time – and rely on the submitter’s word that the person being photographed did the wrong thing. In my experience, there are an awful lot of drivers around the ACT that *think* they know the road rules, but in reality they don’t. The “give way to the right” misnomer is a perfect example. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking submissions from these people and placing blame publicly, based on their understanding of the road rules.

vintage123 11:19 pm 07 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

Antagonist said :

Maya123 said :

Yes, my car was written off about a fortnight ago, by a tail-ender, and the person following was not following that closely. Just shows how much distance is needed to stop suddenly. ** It was the driver in front of me who stopped suddenly that caused all this.** I only just managed to miss them, by steering sharply left. Unfortunately the car behind me didn’t miss my car.

– My emphasis added.

Are you really sure it was the driver in front of you that caused all of this? If you only just managed to miss the car in front of you “by steering sharply left”, then you were also travelling too close to the car in front of you. You did not leave yourself enough space to brake safely. I put it to you that you are equally to blame.

But I didn’t hit anyone. The car in front of me was undamaged. Yes, I might have been a bit close. If I had to steer to the left I likely was. Which, as I said, just goes to show how much distance is needed between cars, because I was not travelling any closer than most other cars; in fact further back than many; probably including the car behind me, which I did not consider was tailgating me.
What happened was that the car in front on Horse Park Drive, suddenly stopped without pre-indication to turn right from NOT the right hand lane. I took evasive action and missed them completely, but the car behind didn’t miss me, even though I was now partly beside the car in front. At least the car behind was fully insured, and the driver seemed like a nice person and took full responsibility.

Golly gosh. The guy in front got off scot free without any damage after slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road, you got a new car as yours was written off, and the poor guy behind, whom you quoted as ” not tailgating or travelling even that close” was Shafted with a negligent driving causing accident charge, a fine, demerit points and liable for the insurance expense. Gee whiz, you bet he looked like a nice person by taking full responsibility – he was either incredibly stupid or about to do a runner to Malta to avoid any consequence.

Funky1 5:08 pm 07 Aug 15

vintage123 said :

The days of police driving around and pinging people for other things is long gone. If police are driving, it means they are going from the station to call, like a theft or domestic or something. They don’t just drive around looking anymore. They just turn a blind eye, unless it’s an accident, and no other police are there.

To be honest, they really could outsource speeding functions.

Incorrect!
I was driving North on Adelaide Ave and a police van followed me off the main road and into Barton before flashing his lights and getting me to pull over. Asked why I was speeding and after checking my licence etc said I ‘may’ get a ticket in the mail (I never did). So even though they may be on their way from point A to point B, they will still intervene if need be.

I’ve also seen a number of times where someone has been pulled over by a police car just after the big roundabout at Woden, presumably for using the taxi/bus shortcut when heading North.

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