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Facts - Does increased enforcement/penalties for exceeding speed limits lower the number of road dea

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by rdkls, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Many of us know intuitively from experience that most dangerous situations on the road aren't created by speed, but by poor driving/riding, and are unlikely to be reduced by increased enforcement or penalties for exceeding the speed limit.

    But I hadn't seen actual evidence of this. So today I got some numbers together and surprise surprise there's no correlation supporting the conventional "wisdom".


    Probably the most relevant figure is "$Fine AUD / km/h over"
    To get this, I looked up the penalties for speeding in each country (all those used had a tiered system like Australia). For each tier, I averaged the speed & fine, then averaged these to come up with this figure, giving an indication of "the average amount you have to pay for exceeding the speed limit by one km/h"

  2. Tell you what, my first-impressions of Belgium weren't great.

    Driving through Germany's Autobahn system, beautiful sunny weather, fantastic hilly scenery and villages, fairly good road quality, courteous drivers and a "travel-as-fast-as-you-feel-is-safe-for-the-conditions" speed limit, or 130kph at other times.

    We crossed the border into Belgium, and it immediately became overcast and began to rain. The scenery became dull and boring. Road surface turned to complete shit; rutted, grooved, potholed. Speed limit decreases. Drivers become impolite, unpredictable and generally unsafe to be around.

    We crossed the border into France, and the sun came out, the hilly scenery returned, the road turned smooth, speed limit 130kph, drivers became generally courteous....

    (I'm not even exaggerating about the weather. No, really.)
  3. Your data analysis is flawed man, there are countless variables between each country, you have to control for all other variables to measure if fine levels have any significance.

    There are also problems that an $AUD may have differing values to the residents of different countries, national cost of living variance, per capita income variance etc...

    There will also be differences in how often people are caught for speeding and fines are enforced etc... Italy is almost four times as expensive per km/h as Australia, but what if you only get prosecuted for speeding 1/10 as frequently?

    This sort of analysis is disingenuous.

    The only practical way to test it would be to drastically vary fine levels in a single country over a year, with all other factors staying relatively constant, and see what the result is. That doesn't happen, so it's untested.

    My intuition is that your proposition is probably correct, but this just ain't cricket.
  4. I know why you're posting this analysis, but even if you're right, which I very much doubt, so what?? Do you think governments will suddenly pop up and say, "You know what, we got it wrong, all speed limits will go up by 30 kph, speed cameras will be removed and Highway Patrol officers will be encouraged to spend more of their time at Maccas?"

    I mean, really, if you want to speed, go ahead, it's your decision. And if you don't get caught, have a giggle when you get home; maybe post it up here and we can all enjoy it. But if your speed shortens your reaction time to an unforeseen incident, and you crash, or hit an obstacle, or a person, then you might have time in hospital, (or worse) to re-think your ideas. In this world in which we live, everything has a cost; even fun.
  5. Nice to see some intelligent comment on the whole issue. Well done Paul! People seem to forget the whole fine/points thing is a voluntary system.
  6. you might find this of interest rdkls> http://www.roadsense.com.au/facts.html

    quote (paste)"

    FACT 1 - Speed cameras are causing the road toll to rise. The road toll should be lower.

    The following two tables show the number of people killed on Australian roads over a sixteen year period - 1989 to 2004. Data source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau ATSB.

    1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
    2801 2331 2113 1974 1953 1928 2017 1970

    Over the first 8 year period above the road toll fell by 30% over the period - without speed cameras. (From 2801 to 1970 fatalities - a reduction of 831 road deaths per year.)

    1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
    1767 1755 1764 1817 1737 1715 1621 1583

    Over the second 8 year period the road toll only fell by 10% compared to 30% for the preceding period. (From 1767 to 1583 fatalities - a reduction of only 178 road deaths per year.)

    2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
    1635 1605 1611 1453

    Over the next three years, 2005, 2006 and 2007 the road toll increased which totally reversed the previous long term down trend with an alarming rise in 50km/h zone fatalities. Fortunately 2008 showed some improvement.

    So why are more people dying on our roads?

    The only major factor that changed during the second (1997 to 2004) period was the widespread introduction of speed cameras with lower speed limits accompanied by a reduction in the number of police officers on our roads. Our perception tells us that tough speed limit enforcement would have to reduce the road toll. The facts tell us an alarmingly different story - that speed cameras are in fact making things worse
  7. Speed control by VISIBLE policing would work, but people are quite prepared to play russian roulette with cameras.
  8. Article i just happened across on just this topic:

    To clarify Hornet - the argument is not that speeding is always safe or that we have such great reaction times we can always speed safely, but that sometimes it is safe to go faster, and that accidents are caused by general poor roadcraft (one part of which would be inappropriate speed).
  9. I agree 100% with all of that, there are plenty of places where it IS safe to go faster. And I've been more afraid of Grandpa Jones in his Hyundai Excel bimbling out of the supermarket than I have of briskly-driven cars. But the problem is that governments of all sorts are psychologically-wedded to the idea of blaming speed, and nothing's going to change that. Speeding in your hands may not cause an accident or endanger anyone, but it WILL endanger your license, and in many respects, that's a bigger risk.
  10. Yeah but monkeyman, the most common mistake people make with stats is confusing a correlation with a causal relationship. As may be the case in the stats you quote.

    Anyone suggesting that those stats suggest "FACT 1 - Speed cameras are causing the road toll to rise " doesn't know much about stats/research methodology (regardless of whether speed cameras have actuallyhelped or hindered safety).
  11. And you obviously have data to back this assertion???
    I read the OP as pointing out that the other countless variables may be the relevant factors, not policing…
    So wait a minute you have just said the same thing the OP has said.

    You doubt it… But once again, have you looked at data to back this assertion, or is it just a gut response. And if the OP is right, (Which further analysis may prove or disprove) then shouldn’t governments be looking at better ways to curb the road fatality rate? Shouldn’t someone stand up and argue the case. No it may not be an overnight winner, but if no one does anything then it will never be a winner at all.
  12. Another problem with MonkeyMans analysis is that he's quoting stock figures, not as a percentage of drivers or even as a per head of population type figure.

    Taking the 1989 figures and the 2008 figures, we see that in 1989 there was roughly one fatality per 6,000 head of population. In 2008 there was roughly one fatality per 14,500 head of population. I'd call that a pretty darn significant drop in the incidence of fatalities, wouldn't you? Especially when you point out that in 1970 there was approximately one fatality for every 3900 head of population.

    I'm not encouraging speeding, but many studies have shown that increasing the limit generally drops the incident of crashes. One particular study that comes to mind took place in England, where they changed the limit for a semi-urban area from 30mph to 50mph. Result? Traffic crashes dropped by half over the course of the study (3 years). Interesting.

    Cheers all - boingk

    EDIT: Shit, and I didn't even point out that the analysis of fatalities alone is not indicative of traffic crash data. What about those that lead to injury? What about those that had no (or very minor) physical effect? This bumps the statistics enormously, especially seeing as improving medical technology over the interceding 2 decades has seen many once-fatal accidents become 'merely' dibilitating. This is just irritating me now, bloody simplistic statistics never give a decent answer. I'm not having a shot at anyone, just a bit irritated and full of morning coffee.
  13. I dunno Hornet, local governments in other countries are starting to remove them, eg Texas - who has now banned speed cameras (pretty scary that Texas is more progressive than us...)


    "Finally, someone's fighting back against the fleecing of the general populace. Famous for liking things big, Texas lawmakers have laid the smackdown on red light and speed cameras in a large manner. HB.922 states "A municipality may not implement or operate an automated traffic control system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction," which means that cameras, automated radar or laser, or anything else designed to snag an image of a car, driver, or license plate and record its speed is now forbidden."
  14. Maybe Texas doesn't have a bankrupt, incompetent government, then :LOL:!!!

    I'd not be complaining if speed limits and speed enforcement were to be relaxed, but it would be, as Sir Humphrey used to say, a courageous move......
  15. I might be missing something here, but aren't traffic lights an "automated traffic control system"?

    Does this mean Texas has banned traffic lights?
  16. I think highway is the key word
  17. Maybe the armed populace helps convince the state! ;-)

    Speed enforcement really started going down when revenue was incorporated into the budget as a funding source, not as 'extras'.
  18. The other key word is municipality - I would read it as every tinpot town is not allowed to set cameras, traffic lights or anything else on a state highway.

    I imagine that's reserved for the State authorities and that the municiplaities can still set up whatever they want on the roads they control.

    Anyone who's ever driven through small towns in the States will know all about revenue raising local sheriffs and their speed traps. I suspect multiple cameras along a short distance of highway was probably the catalyst for this - I've seen three police radars within two miles on a highway in Nevada, all just after a town speed limit change. (Town being a gas station, road house, bar, gunshop and three houses spread over the aforesaid two miles) :p
  19. Here we go, it's directly related to speed enforcement, to stop the tinpot town from doin whateverrr they darn please!!

    AN ACT
    relating to the power of a municipality to enforce compliance with
    speed limits by an automated traffic control system.
    SECTION 1. Subchapter B, Chapter 542, Transportation Code,
    is amended by adding Section 542.2035 to read as follows:
    municipality may not implement or operate an automated traffic
    control system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction.
    The attorney general shall enforce this subsection.
    (b) In this section, "automated traffic control system"
    means a photographic device, radar device, laser device, or other
    electrical or mechanical device designed to:
    (1) record the speed of a motor vehicle; and
    (2) obtain one or more photographs or other recorded
    images of:
    (A) the vehicle;
    (8) the license plate attached to the vehicle; or
    (C) the operator of the vehicle.
    SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
    a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
    provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
    Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
    Act takes effect September 1, 2007.

    ahhhh, imagine seeing that going through the Senate... sigh
  20. oops, noticed we've gone off track. All you need to do is look at NT speed limited to 130 now, funnily enough road deaths have risen, as predicted by many.