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Road toll isn't just because of speed

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by pvda, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Have a read of this.


    Road toll isn't just because of speed
    By Paul Pottinger
    March 23, 2007 01:00am

    AS heretical statements go it won't get you burned at the stake, but challenging the received wisdom on road speed limits is a bit like begging to differ with the Spanish Inquisition.

    The prevailing orthodoxy brooks no dissent.

    Speed, you are instructed to believe, kills. As little as 5km/h over the limit is as evil as 15km/h over - and must be punished with uniform severity.

    That ever more young people are being killed in cars is not to be blamed on the complete absence of education and on-road training.

    The fact a P-Plater can drive a car that's been rusting for longer than they have been alive - but not several dozen models rated as five-star safe because they have turbo or supercharging - is not a factor.

    Nor are road surfaces and conditions that would embarrass a Third World nation.

    The Earth is flat, the sun revolves around us and the NSW Road Traffic Authority is a seamless, efficient organisation that in no way deserves the derisive moniker Road Toll Authority (ie: it's responsible for raising tolls of both sorts).

    This spirit of doublespeak allows the RTA to maintain that speed is the greatest single factor in road fatalities.

    What this blighted bureaucracy does not care to dwell upon is that alcohol was a factor in more than 30 per cent of these deaths. It seems not to matter a further 20 per cent of the departed were not wearing a seatbelt. Nor even that more than 10 per cent of them were unlicensed.

    For a government to admit the fatalness of any factor other than speed would be to acknowledge its disinterest in making us safer drivers and our roads safer places on which to drive.

    Crucially, it also means admitting what everyone who owns and runs a car in this state of disrepair knows only too well - the road infringement regime is about raising revenue.

    A few years ago, even a government as venal as this one became concerned it was being seen to act as avidly as vampires on haemophiliacs.

    It reduced the financial slug of speeding, but increased demerit points. Given that two-thirds of the almost 600,000 infringements the RTA issues in a year are for low-level speeding, the stream of revenue has remained steady.

    What did change, however, was that perfectly responsible citizens whose eyes strayed from their speedometer for a moment could loose a quarter of their licence in one go. Or half of it on a holiday weekend.

    No one is going to argue with the speed limit as applied to school zones and business districts.

    Not on the open road, though, where highway patrol numbers have continued to radically decline.

    To go on pretending that the road toll can be attributed only to kilometres per hour is as deadly to the truth as it is to all who use the roads.

  2. Wholeheartedly agree.

    If only these were the words of politicians!
  3. Well slap me silly and call me Susan....I didn't know that.. :roll:
  4. F*&%in spot on!

    I want someone like that to attend an RTA or Roads Minister press conference and ask them some hard questions related to those points.
    ... so I can watch those short-sighted, quick-fixin', election term lusting bastards squirm.
  5. that's the most intelligently written article I think i've ever seen at news.com.au
  6. Heresy. Burn him at the stake of speed.

    Articles such is this are to be discouraged.
  7. But where else would the government get their money from? Anybody think about that? hmmm?
  8. wow... thats the second insightful artical I have read on the subject. The first being in the RACT magazine wirtten by a local on this site... I'll see if can get hiim to post it up or link to it....
  9. Nothing's gonna change, because;
    a) speed is the only component of the road safety equation that can be self-funding (or revenue positive), and
    b) speed is the only component that the authorities can easily have control over. You can't make people concentrate, you can't make them smart, or careful or caring or any of the other things that would help the situation. But you can make most of them slow down. A bit.

    Do I agree with this? Of course not. In fact I think it is possible to train people to be much better road users, and I also think it is possible to "trick" the stupid into being better drivers with smarter road design and rules. Might cost money, though.
  10. There's the rub.

    Stick with the current policy (a proven money-spinner), or take a different tack and actually have to spend money? And run the risk of being accused of pandering to hoons and leadfoots (leadfeet?)?

    A no-brainer, if you're a politician.
  11. I agree with the “article†whole heartedly, unfortunately it is complete editorial with very little data in it, now what we need is for a few academics to crunch the numbers from the same perspective and release the info in a more subdued manner.

    Pollies will still do there best to dodge the subject and focus on speed, but the papers have to be there if any one is going to try to shift the debate
  12. Golf clap, smitty.
  13. Here's some interesting statistics, although I dont know the source. It's from an article in 2005

    What causes car crashes?
    Five US government-funded researchers recently examined the causes of car crashes. The results stem from analysis of 687 crashes which could be adequately reconstructed. The main cause is listed, together with the corresponding percentage of crashes.

    The real reasons for carnage
    Rear-end Inattention, 56.7. (Excessive speed, 0.)

    Reversing Look but fail to see, 60.8. (Excessive speed, 26.6.)

    Lane change/merge Look but fail to see, 61.8. (Excessive speed, 2.2.)

    Single-vehicle lose control Poor road condition/engineering, 20.2. (Excessive speed: 17.8.)

    Head-on Drunk driver, 31.7. (Excessive speed, 0.)

    Traffic light-controlled cross street Inattention, 36.4. (Excessive speed, 0.)

    Uncontrolled cross street Look but fail to see, 36.7. (Excessive speed, 0.)

    Left turn across traffic* Misjudge gap or oncoming vehicle speed, 30. (Excessive speed, 0.)

    * Represents Australia's right turn across traffic