Believe it or not, I’ve never received a speeding ticket, lost a demerit point or been penalised for the conduct of my driving. At this early stage in the article, I am resisting with all my might not to flounder into a tirade about parking tickets in the ACT. I won’t… I promise. Luck has certainly played a role in my near-perfect record but the central impetuous for my general good behaviour is that I simply don’t want to die or worse, kill someone else.
As the holiday season happily happens upon many of us, like many Canberrans, I fear for the lives of us all in the knowledge that some families will be devastated by another Christmas tragedy. Whether it is the roller coaster race to the coast or the hot-headed rush to Sydney, we know that some people will sadly not return. I can understand occasionally putting the foot down to overtake, and dare I say it, I am quite sympathetic towards people who get caught for a low range drink driving offence. But what I cannot understand is people who tailgate at high speeds or wilfully drive aggressively.
My fiancé and I were driving home from Sydney last weekend, and I was astounded by the number of people who actually think that if you drive up someone’s arse you will in fact arrive at your destination sooner. We were pretty much sitting on 115km/h most of the way, and during that time we saw the aftermath of what looked like two horrific accidents. I wondered what caused them. I wondered how frightened the people must have been, if they were stuck in their cars for very long, or if anyone died. And I wondered if it will ever happen to me or someone I love. For me, that is all the impetuous I need to drive safely.
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We can put speed cameras on every corner; we could waste precious police resources by drug testing every daggy looking teenager who might have had a joint or two on the weekend; we can defect any car that looks over ten-years old; we can hit people with stupidly excessive fines for driving unlicensed or unregistered. Most of these measures simply penalise people for being poor. I understand the sad reality that we will never completely stop people from dying on our roads – unless of course we lower the speed limits to zero which is what the Greens would like us to do.
The problem is idiots. We have too many idiots on the roads. I support less punitive measures imposed on those who can least afford to pay them and more undercover police on the roads pulling over people who tailgate and drive aggressively. Please drive safely during this holiday period everyone and if you come across a maniac, don’t aggravate him, and just think about your family. Oh, and Simon Corbell, I haven’t forgotten about those parking tickets!
According to the Federal Government’s Australian Road Deaths Database, eight people have died on ACT roads this year. Out of the eight deaths, seven were male, and five were males under the age of thirty-one. The only female was a pedestrian, and the male aged in his late forties was a cyclist.