21 June 2019

Young Canberrans have a lax attitude towards speeding, survey finds

| Lachlan Roberts
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The majority of respondents to the survey also strongly agreed that increasing the number of police patrols on the road would result in improved driver behaviour. Photo: George Tsotsos.

ACT Roads Minister Shane Rattenbury and ACT Policing have shared their concern after a survey found that young Canberrans have a lax attitude towards speeding.

According to Monash University’s Accident Research Centre survey, which surveyed 2,241 Canberrans about their attitudes towards speeding and speed enforcement, 31 per cent of respondents aged between 18-24 years admitted to regularly exceeding the speed limit by over 10 kilometres per hour.

The survey, which was open to the public in February and March last year, saw males aged between 25 to 64 predominantly respond to the survey, with more than two male respondents to every female respondent across all recorded age categories.

While the majority of participants reported typically driving within the speed limit or exceeding the limit very occasionally, from the cohort who reported regular speeding behaviour, 80 per cent of novice motorcyclists and 11 per cent of respondents aged between 55-64 said they regularly exceed the speed limit by more than 10 kilometres per hour.

When respondents were asked about how often they drive at 10 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, 10 per cent of drivers said ‘often’ and five per cent said ‘nearly always’.

ACT Roads Minister Shane Rattenbury said the survey results were concerning and that they were another reason why the ACT Government is making adjustments to the graduated licencing scheme.

“People’s lax attitude towards speeding needs to change if we want to prevent the terrible trauma and costs that result from road crashes and the risk that is posed to vulnerable road users,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“In 2019, we’ve already seen a number of excessive speeding infringements issued by the camera vans and police in school zones. This is of great concern as speed is highly implicated in crashes and crash severity.

“People are quite honest that they do speed and some do it quite regularly and this is a real concern. Particularly we see this in younger drivers who are the ones who confess the most to speeding and they are the least experienced drivers who perhaps have the least skills to react if something goes wrong.”

35 per cent of respondents believed speed limits have been increasingly enforced through the use of mobile speed camera vans. Photo: George Tsotsos.

The survey also found that majority of Canberrans (85 per cent) thought it was acceptable to speed around 5 kilometres per hour over the speed limit in 60 zones and 7 kilometres per hour in 100 zones.

A staggering 87 per cent of participants thought that there should be some degree of tolerance toward speeding in a 100 zone, while 41 per cent believed that the risk of being caught speeding was low.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said police are always concerned when drivers openly admit to speeding on Canberra roads.

“Speeding remains one of the five main contributors to fatal accidents (along with alcohol or drug-impaired driving, not wearing a seatbelt, intersections and driver distraction) and we know it contributes to a large portion of our injury and non-injury collisions as well,” the spokesperson said.

“The provision of mobile speed camera vans, fixed speed detection infrastructure and mobile police patrols all contribute to enforcing our speed limits in the ACT.

“Police urge all drivers – especially our most inexperienced – to obey the road rules, stick to the speed limits and concentrate on driving safely.”

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The attitude of younger drivers to speeding is no news – I think any research would find that this is quite typical.

I do think it is significant that the response to this survey is to be immediately punitive, rather than considering reviewing the many unnecessarily low speed limits around Canberra. We are blessed with some of the best roads in Australia and some of the silliest speeding limits to go along with them.

Mr Rattenbury – Your own survey says that peoples “attitude towards speeding needs to change”. So what do you do? Fiddle with licensing and introduce yet more complexity to the rules. All completely pointless because speed vans and cameras cannot enforce road rules, nor do they effect a change of driving attitudes. Know what does? Police on the road.

house_husband6:26 am 25 Jun 19

I won’t take anything Shane Rattenbury says seriously until the ACT introduce a minimum 3-6 months mandatory ban for anyone who causes an accident. So much effort goes into telling us that certain behaviours MIGHT cause a collision but plenty of people who actually cause them aren’t subject to any penalty.

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