Young Canberrans have a lax attitude towards speeding, survey finds

Lachlan Roberts 21 June 2019 46

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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46 Responses to Young Canberrans have a lax attitude towards speeding, survey finds
Damon Parker Damon Parker 7:14 pm 28 Jun 19

I speed and sometimes I get caught

Mark Katalinic Mark Katalinic 7:42 am 28 Jun 19

Considering it seems like police are an endangered species it's no wonder everyone is bad. The chances of getting caught with any bad driving behaviours is miniscule at best. It's all well and good to have penalties but if there's no one to enforce it then what's the point?

John Brinsmead John Brinsmead 9:08 pm 27 Jun 19

the Dunning–Kruger effect is strong in these comments.

Tommy J Bolton Tommy J Bolton 8:36 pm 26 Jun 19

I have a lax attitude towards contributing to revenue , however if it was about road safety then I’d unlax it 🤔

Kiriel Kiriel 5:50 pm 26 Jun 19

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.

Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 12:50 am 26 Jun 19

Sometimes the speed limits change within a few hundred meters. Very confusing. And sometimes the speed limits are very low for the driving conditions. But mostly I see drivers obey and keep to a safe speed. However I find that Canberrans drive too close and merge into a lane without enough space. This has a tendency of turning minor incidents into 4 car pileups.

    Craig Flintoft Craig Flintoft 6:19 am 28 Jun 19

    Jorge Garcia my p plater regularly reports being intimidated by other drivers when he is sticking to the speed limit. My observation is that in general people drive over the limit in Canberra.

    Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 11:04 am 28 Jun 19

    Craig Flintoft. I think your P plater may be intimidated by people tailgating and cutting into his lane very close... rather than by people that zoom past.

g210 g210 10:29 am 25 Jun 19

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.

Pat Moran Pat Moran 9:22 am 25 Jun 19

Joke. The proper definition of ‘speeding’ SHOULD BE driving at an inappropriate or excessive speed for the prevailing conditions. These results suggest, among other things that limits are set too low.

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 1:01 pm 25 Jun 19

    After extensive roadwork on Gundaroo Drive outside Crace, among other improvements having been widened from one lane to two, the permanent speed limit has apparently DROPPED from 80 kph to 60.

    Pat Moran Pat Moran 1:06 pm 25 Jun 19

    Mark Chapman

    Part of the reason I moved back to Belco mate.....

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 3:14 pm 26 Jun 19

    Pat Moran There are new and improbably large bus shelters on both sides of that stretch, which is apparently where the Crace local bus connects to the Gungahlin-Belconnen Rapid service. Either Canberra drivers really can't interact properly with buses, or our town planners don't think that they can.

    Pat Moran Pat Moran 7:50 am 27 Jun 19

    Nick Scott

    Just an observation. Aust govts are too addicted to revenue and I believe some limits are set way too low to serve that purpose.

house_husband house_husband 6:26 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.

Shaz Ray Shaz Ray 5:01 am 25 Jun 19

And plenty of xmas party drinkers

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 8:59 pm 24 Jun 19

I go half mad when I'm stuck behind a driver going under the speed limit. I still give them space but I get so very frustrated. Until I can safely overtake them and cruise at the speed limit.

I can't imagine how frustrated you'd constantly be if you thought that you should drive at whatever speed over the limit you thought was safe or convenient or whatever and then felt like every car doing the speed limit was annoyingly blocking your path. I seriously would get a heart condition if I had that attitude.

Peter Major Peter Major 8:58 pm 24 Jun 19

Many of the ACTs roads are set with low speed limits.

40s and 60s/50s are usually pretty good however, the 80s and especially the 90s are often to slow. Some of the 100s should be 110

Bruce Parr Bruce Parr 8:31 pm 24 Jun 19

Some people are dangerous at any speed.

Michael Doherty Michael Doherty 5:36 pm 24 Jun 19

I do not think it is only young people that have a lax attitude toward speeding. The only part of this I believe is accurate is: "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."

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 5:18 pm 24 Jun 19

Given our speed limits are insanely slow on major roads and haven't changed since we were all driving Datsun 120Ys with no ABS, no airbags, no crumple zones, no traction or stability control... maybe there is a case to increase the speed limit.

Or will the nanny state and the wowsers howl down any such suggestion?

    John Bosch John Bosch 5:29 pm 24 Jun 19

    I would agree with you if our road infrastructure was also upgraded to match what modern cars can do. Many road safety experts argue for a reduction of speeds on our major roads until things like barriers and the like keep people from running in to trees, oncoming cars, etc.

    Before asked, one citation is ...

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 5:36 pm 24 Jun 19

    A German traffic expert recently said that our major roads should be 130kph.

    Regardless, why is the GDE 90kph and the Parkway 100kph? Because of the NIMBYs. It was not based on science or safety. It was based on whingers in Aranda.

    Adelaide Avenue... 80kph? What a joke.

    Cathy Dearnley Cathy Dearnley 5:37 pm 24 Jun 19

    I drove the 120y. And now the car with the safety features. I don't want to be spared death and injury because my car saved me. I want to avoid being in a high speed incident with someone with questionable skills

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 5:38 pm 24 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 5:40 pm 24 Jun 19

    @cathy dearnley That's why L and P players have a reduced speed limit in NSW. Don't punish everyone because of a subsection of the community

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 5:42 pm 24 Jun 19

    John Bosch John Bosch 6:29 pm 24 Jun 19

    Something I always like to think about when driving is how much time going faster will save me versus the increased risks if something goes wrong.

    For example, over the 16km length of the GDE the difference between 90km/h and 120km/h is 2.6 minutes, if you get to travel at a constant speed. Is saving 2.6 minutes worth the roughly 5 fold increase in fatality if the worst happens?

    I'm not saying the limit shouldn't be lifted but the time "saving" needs to be balanced against the increased risk.

    Flossie's Kitten Rescue Flossie's Kitten Rescue 6:29 pm 24 Jun 19

    This is how they're going to make public transport more attractive. They won't make it faster or better than it has been, they'll just make driving slower and more stressful.

    Jill Lee Bee Jill Lee Bee 8:39 pm 24 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile i agree, 90 on a freeway is ludicrous

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 9:00 pm 24 Jun 19

    John Bosch - I get that, but there is also a lowering of risk when people travel in sync at a natural speed. ACT speeds are unnaturally low if you have driven anywhere else in Australia

    Lone E Evans Lone E Evans 9:44 pm 24 Jun 19

    John Bosch the fault in your logic is with the premise that people speed to save time, rather than because it is more exciting to drive fast. I’d suggest people find appropriate outlets for their Adrenalin cravings - just to lessen the urge to do it on the roads.

    John Bosch John Bosch 10:33 pm 24 Jun 19

    Terry Butters, I drive to Broken Hill regularly given I grew up there. I sit dead on the speed limit of 100 or 110, depending, as indicated by a calibrated GPS, not my Speedo (which reads under).

    If you do the maths, you doing 5km/h more than me across 1200km, gets you there only 28 minutes before I would. That's assuming we can maintain that speed difference all the way and not get trapped at the same speed through towns, road works, etc.

    My point is that generally, unless you are willing to take big risks and make big changes, the time saving isn't worth it. 5 to 10 km/h over is going to make bugger all difference.

    John Bosch John Bosch 11:04 pm 24 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile, I'm not arguing against a speed limit increase, but it needs to be factored with a number of other changes. Lifting the GDE limit by 10km/h will make bugger all difference. But, to lift it by an about big enough to make a difference, a number of other factors need to be done. The GDE has the barriers, the lane separation and the on and off ramps. Does it have roo proof fencing across its entire length, no bike paths on the side, and so on?

    Most importantly, as both of your linked articles above hinted at, we need better driver training and a change in attitude (proper spacing, lane etiquette, etc.) before higher speed limits can be done safely.

    I do agree that the number of different limits in this town for similar roads is ridiculous. 80, 90 and 100 across the GDE, Monaro highway, Majura Drive and Parkway is crazy.

    Gavan Smith Gavan Smith 10:13 am 25 Jun 19

    John Bosch when you do over a thousand km a week, mostly on motorways, the time adds up. And the crash risk goes down the more km you do.

    Gavan Smith Gavan Smith 10:15 am 25 Jun 19

    Lone E Evans 130 kmh is not fast enough to get my addrenilin going. On a motorway that is too slow...

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 6:49 pm 25 Jun 19

    John Bosch I can't argue with anything you've said in your last post. The questions when thinking of increasing the speed limit is the value we place on a) human life, b) the cost of accidents and c) the impact on the environment.

    In 1987 the U.S. government allowed states to raise the speed limit from 55 to 65 mph and drivers saved time by driving about two miles per hour faster *on average*, but fatality rates rose by about one-third.

    We clearly will never have a zero death toll while humans are able to drive, so we need to think about what is an 'acceptable' death toll. The only way we can think about that is economically (morally gets pretty murky!).

    In the US example, US drivers saved about 125,000 hours of driving, per life lost. At average wages (then), the trade-off between the time savings and the increased risk of fatalities suggested that state decision-makers were putting the value of a human life at about $1.5 million. When they considered the increased speed of freight, time for truck drivers and a range of economic factors, this became an 'acceptable' trade off.

    I don't think that's as relevant today as our major roads are far better than in 1987, the improvements in medical treatments mean more lives saved and the safety features in modern cars mean fewer accidents with lesser impacts (cost of accidents). On that basis, we should be able to raise the speed limit without devaluing human life and without necessarily accepting a higher road toll than we accepted in the 1980s, then 1990, then 2000s.

    The environmental toll can be partly mitigated by technology (eg. forward collision alerts or automated emergency braking when a roo jumps out) and partly by road and environmental design. The roo fences along the Parkway are an interesting concept and I'd love to see the stats on their success or otherwise.

    Regardless, your point about training and attitude is paramount. If we can change behaviour and appropriately skill drivers, with all the modern aids and designs available, there's no reason we can't increase speed limits (until speed camera revenue gets mentioned!)

    Craig Flintoft Craig Flintoft 6:26 am 28 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile that different speed limit for L platers in NSW is one of the most dangerous things I've ever seen. I've never been able to work out what it is supposed to achieve.

Tim Songp Tim Songp 3:04 pm 24 Jun 19

Gotta love how most of the comments blame everyone else but not themselves. If you know it’s wrong, don’t do it, simple as that.

Martin Ross Martin Ross 12:41 pm 24 Jun 19

It’s not speed that kills. It’s the driver that kills. The driver makes the choice. The driver is the cause, the crash/injury/death is the effect.

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 10:57 am 24 Jun 19

Probably because they, like the rest of us, never see police cars out patrolling the roads. Maybe they consider the risk of getting caught is minimal.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 10:12 am 24 Jun 19

I imagine the responses under represent the truth. And the 55-64 group are voters hence no policy bravery, yet these are likely to be the parents of the younger risk takers - life long modelling perhaps?

Jackie White Jackie White 10:12 am 24 Jun 19

Hardly new...... a lot of younger people have always had this attitude, from generation to generation. The 'it won't happen to me' thing....until it does.....unless 'it' never happens to them and they continue to be reckless drivers throughout their lives.

The ones who are less likely to partake in risky behaviours are those who are aware of their mortality; who have some semblance of respect or fear of 'authority; and who are scared shitless what Mum will say if they are busted speeding, or crash the car.

Another recent study showed that P-platers who drove their parents cars were less likely to speed or be involved in accidents - due , again, to fear pissing off Mum. (Or love for Mum? One can hope!)

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