27 April 2007

We have a Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan

| johnboy
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John Hargreaves is getting in on the strategising and planning action with the release of the ACT Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.

Do you feel safer already?

The catchcry sounds pretty good with talk of the Four E’s. No, no, not a big night listening to repetitive music, rather “education, encouragement, engineering and enforcement”.

It’s when we get to the key points that things get interesing:

· The development and implementation of new awareness campaigns and engineering programs to address key road safety issues, such as speeding, fatigue, distracted driving and specific crash types;
· Maintenance of levels of traffic enforcement by ACT Policing, complemented by continued expansion of the ACT traffic camera program;
· Updates and improvements to the Road Ready and Road Ready Plus courses for novice drivers;
· A review of licensing, training and testing arrangements for novice motorcycle riders;
· A recognition of the need to reduce crashes by ACT drivers interstate; and
· Improved road safety coordination and support arrangements.

Firstly why is awareness and engineering being bundled onto the one dot point?

Also, is maintenance of existing enforcement sufficient? Personally I’d like to see all those who fail to indicate or merge lanes properly at least suffer the indignity of being pulled over in public and having the error of their ways clearly explained to them.

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OpenYourMind9:24 pm 28 Apr 07

While I agree with your sentiments, I do see some kind of irony in everyone here bitching about speed limits seeming to be the same people that bitch that everyone in Canberra is a crap driver and needs more training. If everyone else is crap, do you really want them going any faster 🙂

On this topic, my favourite is that ad with the 5km/h difference up here. Most of the difference was made up by both drivers having an abnormally slow reaction time, not the actual speed. Also, recent tests I’ve seen have shown that a bad set of tyres makes more difference than a lousy 5k any day.

And, does Hargreaves even have a licence?

Just confirms the fact that Hargreaves is an alcoholic knobhead.

He isn’t fair dinkum until he tackles ability or lack thereof through retesting every 5 years and risk rated third party premiums. It shouldn’t be left to the coppers to try to figure out what went wrong. After all, every car crash is at least one person’s stuff up.

They also spend a lot of money on the neglected E for Engineering.

Gotta love proper cambers!

JD114: Citing a single weekend of road accident statistics as if it proves something about long-term strategies is as meaningless as saying that one hot weekend proves global warming. The reality is that Victoria’s long term road accident statistics are significantly better than the national average; one reason for this appears to be that the TAC (as the monopoly insurer) has both a financial incentive and a mandate to improve road safety.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt4:46 pm 27 Apr 07

Over zealous promotion and enforcement of speeding is the easy way out. For those who don’t know any better it looks good; compliance is easy and results in nice revenue; and it is easy for motorists to tell whether or not they’re ‘safe’.

The reality is that operating a motor vehicle is a complex task that requires high levels of training and judgment. I support measures that enforce the concept of a driver taking responsibility for their decisions in a real sense. Bubling along under the speed limit is often unsafe, but many who do are under the mistaken belief that they are safe, simply because they are driving at less than the speed limit.

For years the best brains in road safety have preached the mantra of speed above all else while the majority of competent drivers have known that it is all bullshit. Inappropriately high speeds are dangerous, but to a lesser extent so are inappropriately low speeds. A bored and distracted driver tootling along a wide open highway at 80-100km/hr will look around, fidget, and sometimes even nod off. I know I have.

If the road safety people targeted bad behaviour such as following too closely, poor merging and lane behaviour, driving while tired and drug affected, and so on, they would win back the respect of the large number of disillusioned skilled drivers that they have lost.

As an example, can anyone think of any reason other than blind pig-headed stupidity by some half witted anonymous public servant for the imposition of an 80km/hr limit on Sutton Road from nearly to Wamboin? There are councils in the rest of Australia who would give their index fingers to have a road of that standard, and here we whack an 80km/hr limit on it! Same with the Monaro Highway near Williamsdale. And the worst thing about such poorly thought out decisions is that they affect a driver’s perception of what constitutes the need for a speed limit, and a driver, having gone through such totally inappropriate zones, will be more likely to carry on through a sensibly marked zone at 100km/hr and thus become an unwitting danger to himself and the public.

Finally, if speed was such a factor in accident rates, consider the following:

Victoria has draconian speed controls, no-one down there is willing to risk a bit of a speed when the conditions are safe. They’ve just had the worst Easter toll in Australia.

A table compiled by some road safety mob somewhere in the world several years ago and published in The Economist listed a pretty strong correlation between the road toll and top speed on highways, BUT… it was the opposite to what you might expect. in general the higher the top speed, the lower the crash rate. Germany with its open limits was near the safest, USA and New Zealand with 55mph and 90km/hr top speeds as standard in most areas came out as quite dangerous. Asutralia was in the middle.

So, you figure. Who’s more believable, statistics gathered by raod safety authorities or one-eyed narrow minded speed limit dogma preaching pollies and supposed road safety experts?

I think we need to concentrate more on educating young drivers and fining people for more than just speeding. How about a fine for all those people who sit in the right lane up the Monaro Hwy or Tuggeranong Parkway, when there is no-one else around, just because they need to exit in the next 15km. Or the people that do this while sitting on 70 in a 90 zone. These are all traffic offences, just like speeding.

I second what caf said. Variable-limit speed signs on major arterial roads like Adelaide Ave is a great plan (assuming they aren’t too expensive to implement).

Merging is a dying art.

I got beeped at by a P plater, for trying to merge. She was in the left lane, I was a little to the front of her, but she obviously decided that merging meant continue at will, but beep to get other cars out of the way!

The faster you all drive, the more reason you give to all the nervous nellys screaming for these reforms.

I think roads like Adelaide Ave could sustain a higher speed limit *if* we brought in variable-limit signs as seen in other states, so that the limit could be left at 80 during the high traffic times and raised to 100 for the rest of the day.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt2:04 pm 27 Apr 07

I’m all for a pragmatic review of speed limits, especially around the suburbs. There are plenty of streets where I think 60km/h is too fast, but other streets where 80 is too slow.

If anything, we need a comprehensive review of speed limits.

Most areas that are currently signposted between 50 and 80 are, IMHO, pretty well right but I do take issue with the speed limits on some of the arterial roads. Adelaide Avenue is a good example of a road that should be 100 or 110 as it is clearly freeway standard with onramps and offramps and plenty of space between the two directions of traffic.

I also question why you can do 90 on Majura Road (100 not too many years ago) but on the Monaro Hwy between Isabella Dr and Johnson Dr and along the Parkway you can only do 100. Does separation of directions of traffic and freeway on and off ramps only add 10km/h to the safety margin? 110 or 120 would be more sensible (and closer to the speeds that most people actually do along those roads anyway, I suspect).

more cameras…

yeah that helps.

We need more ‘Action Plans’.

This is all just window dressing trying to disguise their incompetence.

Why do we need more speed cameras? The roads here are excellent, for the most part, and could sustain faster speeds.

I don’t have a problem with getting a ticket for speeding. I have a problem with the speed limit. Adelaide ave for example is basically a freeway, but the limit is 80.

Its intellectually dishonest to bust people for doing 90 on a duel carriage way with 500 metres clear visibility in front of you and then claim that it was done in the name of safety.

makes more sense than underpants

Ahh, now the Hargreaves Master Plan starts to take shape:

1. Move people off public transport into their cars.
2. Expand the ACT Traffic Camera Program.
3. Profit!

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