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NSW [NSW] Ex Road Safety Chief questions speed emphasis

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by robsalvv, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/39/3923.asp

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Former Australian Road Safety Official Questions Speed Emphasis
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Road safety conference presentation in Australia urged officials to end the obsession with speed enforcement.

    [/FONT]Road safety officials had their priorities challenged as they gathered at the Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management annual conference Thursday. Lex Stewart, the man responsible for road safety in the western region of New South Wales in the 1990s, presented data that suggests the industry's current obsession with speed enforcement is making roads less safe than they would otherwise be. In the past nine years, the fatality rate in NSW has stopped its long-term trend of decline and has leveled off. Over the same period, however, revenue generated from speeding tickets has increased 225 percent from $116 million to $263 million per year.

    "In the 1960s we were far too lax and many drivers regarded it as a fundamental right to drive while very drunk," Stewart said. "However, in recent years has the pendulum swung too far the other way with ever-increasing 'big stick' punishments? Criminology tells us that the certainty of getting caught is a bigger deterrent than the hugeness of the punishment. Politicians choose to ignore that before elections and promise voters ever bigger punishments for all sorts of things, not only regarding road behavior. Of course, there is a role for penalties."

    Stewart points out the data used to justify crackdowns on speeding are unreliable. Nearly 40 percent of incidents are labeled as "speed-related," even when the vehicle was traveling under the posted limit but in excess of what is reasonable for the given conditions. Stewart argued the typical accident report form encourages investigating police officers to designate the incident as "speed related."

    "The police officer after valiantly directing traffic, working with ambulance officers to extricate bodies etc, then finally gets around to filling in the P4 Form," Stewart said. "Maybe a witness said the vehicles were in excess of the speed limit, but can they reliably tell the difference between a vehicle at 115km/h and one at 95km/h (under the 100 limit)? ...He or she looks at the mangled vehicles, the broken glass on the road, the skid marks etc, and wearily ticks the box 'Yes' to speeding. Thus, fundamental data on speeding is not accurate at its source, and I mean no criticism of police in saying that."

    Stewart argued the effect of the enforcement mentality has been to force drivers to spend more time looking at their speedometer than looking at the road. Thanks to speed cameras, good drivers with long, accident-free histories often find themselves in danger of losing their drivers' licenses. Stewart argued the point system should be entirely replaced with a system where drivers start with 100 "merit points" and points are taken away based on scientific evidence of how dangerous the activity is, as measured by road trauma figures.

    "Police be encouraged to have more frequent interactions with motorists to give cautions which have no dollar penalty but cost the motorist only one point," Stewart wrote. "Police can have more of an educational/warning role, and less (not zero) of a purely punitive role."

    Stewart would also replace nearly all speed cameras with police officers.

    = = = = = =

    The bolded bit is pretty much what VMC said to the inquiry, that one of the key underpinnings of the TAC's strategy is an unscientific opinion about whether speed was a cause of the crash.


    • Like Like x 3
  2. Pity he is retired...

    More coverage
    • Like Like x 1
  3. the truth is out there...... it's just not being plugged in the main stream media every 15 minutes at tax payer expense.
  4. He'll need to watch his back now... lot of cashola at risk.
  5. Unfortunately he shot himself in the foot twice. Once in the eyes of the politically guided media with this:
    and once with the general public who are sick of the speeding bs with
    Rendering his efforts fruitless. That said, I do not doubt the number he put in the report was significantly lower than the number he told the cops under his wing just to make sure he pleased the fearmongering party.
  6. "Australian Institute of Traffic and Planning conference at Luna Park"

    I LOL'd at this part!

  7. Excellent find Rob. VMC are right on the money here:applause::applause:

    Certainly proves the point that the blatant Enforcement Approach heavily backed by the TAC is not working. You only have to look at the 84% increase in driver fatals over the last 3 months in Victoria to see that.

    We can only now sit back and wait for the inquiry to hand down their recommendations. There is very little that can be done until that happens - we must be patient, sadly.....
  8. It's about time someone lifted the lid on the lies and misinformation.

    No different to what the German guy said back in 2010:


  9. no argument beats $263 million per year, no matter how rational or logical.
  10. More:


    Rorts a fine little earner
    IT'S no longer safe to own a car. No matter where you drive, no matter where you park, no matter where you live, federal, state and local governments are watching you so they can put their long, greedy hands into your pockets.

    Former government road safety manager and now consultant Lex Stewart told The Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management conference last week: "Some road safety programs ... like school zones and obsession with cameras, with their concomitant boost to Treasury coffers ... and the flawed design of the current demerits point scheme have been constrained by the poor advice fed to poor politicians by sycophants who should be using rational scientific bases." Go Lex.

    Stewart compared factors in road fatalities from 1992 to 2010. He found that despite all the money spent and the introduction of speed cameras and points increases, the number of deaths from speeding, drink driving and fatigue had not changed. He says while statistics for alcohol and seat belt compliance are accurate, figures for fatigue and speeding are not. If the NSW traffic authority's speeding data is so unreliable, then not only could government be spending a huge amount on the wrong factor but all the money collected from speeding fines is no more than a cynical, hidden government tax.

    Why, Stewart asks, does "Germany, with no speed limit on all its autobahns, have a fatality rate of 0.7, which is substantially better than NSW and Australia?"

    He advocates getting the community more involved in road safety, putting more highway patrols on the road and designing a new demerits system that aims to encourage responsible drivers.

    All of this would be good news for drivers such as Melbourne's Harshai Sakhare who, the Herald-Sun reported, dobbed in a mobile speed camera regularly set up at the bottom of a steep hill. The Victorian government has had to scrap the fines of drivers caught by the old "camera at the bottom of the hill" trick. Victoria road authorities also love the old "make the amber light change quickly so the red light camera can catch you" trick. Of course, councils across Australia rely on parking fines to fund trips to seminars in Las Vegas on fleecing ratepayers for fun and profit.

    Earlier this month, this paper reported that Sydney City Council has been rescued from bankruptcy to become the richest council in the state on the back of parking fines and fees. And what a great business it is. Our Vikki Campion says that the council garnered a parking cash haul of $54.4 million in the past year. That's not too shabby. The council spent $5.6m on parking "enforcement" and split the profits with the real coppers. No wonder some councils pay parking rangers a commission - one current affairs program caught Melbourne rangers hiding behind trees waiting for motorists to go and feed the meter so they could book their cars while they were gone for a few minutes.

    Don't think your friends in Canberra aren't up to their ears in this rort with their brothers in the states.

    Buy a $45,000 Commodore and you end up forking out more than $7000 in GST, stamp duty and rego. If you buy a luxury car, you pay another 33 per cent for every dollar it costs over $59,113. Good to know we're all doing our part.

    Now this is all a bit close to home for me because you, regular readers, will be sad to know that I have finally bid a fond farewell to my BA Falcon ute and bought a Mazda BT50 dual cab ute. No, I didn't get any special deal as you will see. The dealer promised delivery last Friday. So I took the day off. I was surprised when the dealer rang me on the Thursday night to say the accessories I wanted weren't in stock and were coming up from Melbourne so I could have the car without accessories on Friday or accessorised sometime the following week.

    Of course I rang the Mazda PR operative Tony Mee to see if this was normal behaviour but the receptionist said he wasn't talking anymore about Alan Jones and no I couldn't have his email address.

    Forget the Bugatti Veyron. I'll be at the Bonhams auction at Mercedes World in December to buy the 500km/h Hurricane with 12 Browning 303 machine guns for about the same price.