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What to do about holiday road tolls?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Once again we are seeing 'carnage' on our roads over this Labour Day long weekend (NSW). Clearly whatever strategies are being employed by transport and law enforcement agencies to keep people safe over three days of travelling are just not working. Which makes you wonder what the problem is, or more properly, what it driving the factors that lead to so many multiple-death accidents? I don't think you need a million-dollar study to see the obvious stuff.

    1. People are on holidays, albeit for just one or two actual days more than normal. Holiday mind-set is different to workaday mindset; the range and level of things that people would do on a normal weekend is multiplied greatly when you have three days in which to do it. This includes going places that can't be reached on a normal weekend, and leaving it too late to head back, because it always seems to take less time to get to where you are going than it does to get home again.

    2. More people take to the road. I know this is a generalisation, but it's true. I travel to Goulburn via the Hume Highway once a month on a Sunday, but on Friday when I went down for a funeral the traffic was busier, and more aggressive, I might add, that it is on Sunday evening coming north.

    3. More people are on roads with which they are not familiar. I know lots of people go to the same places on these weekends, but knowing where the road GOES is not the same as knowing its current condition, in all weather conditions.

    4. Despite constant advice from motoring organisations, people are often travelling in cars which are unfit for the trip. The economic situation of the last few years almost certainly means that many people are not getting their cars regularly serviced, nor compensating by checking their brakes and tyres themselves, with the attendant risks involved, for themselves and their fellow-travellers.

    5. People are travelling in cars with different load factors than normal, and different steering/braking/handling characteristics as a consequence.

    6. People are treating the drive there and back as stress relief, when in actual fact the drive is as stressful as anything they do in normal life, it just doesn't seem so because, as everyone knows, we are all better drivers than the next guy, so we know what we are doing.

    All this does not take into account domestic disputes that carrry over into the car, a male driver (mostly) who doesn't normally have to cope with demanding children in the back seat, what happened at home or work just before they left, and which will still be there when they return, and drugs and alcohol

    ALL this before we even begin to factor in speed......
  2. censored
  3. I drove more than 18 hours this weekend, and without a doubt most car drivers do not focus on the road, or their driving.
  4. There's a kernel of truth in Spawn's post. We probably have reached the point of diminishing returns (safety-wise, if not revenue-wise) with enforcement policies. We might also accept that there is a level of risk that cannot be eliminated.
    But I don't agree that there is nothing we can do. We STILL haven't made a commitment to proper training - why can't we try that? Not speaking for NSW, but the Victorian policy has been to push the responsibility for more hours of training onto parents (who may not even be competent to drive themselves). Post-learner training that includes things like attitude and alertness management, risk assessment and decision making - as well as motor skills. This needs to be done by people with some proven capability. The only thing holding us back is a refusal by government to commit funding IMO.
  5. All points are valid....
    4 fatalities here in vic this weekend where 3 were motorcyclists.

    But what to do??

    A question that will remain forever I'd say.
    Steps can be taken to either reduce accident rates or reduce the damage of an accident but humans can and will make a mistakes.

    Think driver attitude is a big one but how do you change that nation wise?
    Getting harder/tougher on road users alone DOES NOT seem to be working alone so maybe time for some ideas thinking outside the square.

    From the motorcycle perspective, seems that a large no of accidents have been from returning riders.
    Maybe time for some linking motorcycle license with motorcycle ownership.
    Someone on radio has commented that road authorities could easily monitor if motorcycle license holders own a registered motorcycle.
    He suggested that if someone with a motorcycle license goes for a period of time (maybe 2 years or more) without owning a motorcycle, their license should be returned to some sort of a probationary limited to the lams scheme....

    Not fool proof but could be a valid idea for returning riders..

    Like I said, time to think outside of the square....
  6. Some real information about holiday casualties would be good to start with.

    Given the increase in kilometres over these weekends, are the casualties really higher than other times of the year? Using raw numbers for comparison is not valid. If there are twice as many kilometres being travelled and casualties go up 50% then holidays are actually a safer time to travel.

    Unfortunately despite constantly calling for things to be "evidence based" most government agencies have no concept of what actual 'evidence" is.
  7. So, how about posties, those in the motorcycle industry who ride constantly but don't own a bike, family members who share bikes, couriers and any other riders who may have registration in a company name, even pizza delivery riders are potentially going to be affected by this.

    There have been a couple of periods where I didn't have a bike registered - for two years I had use of my brother-in-laws BMW (he had several bikes) and an unregistered dirt bike (another category) for another period I had use of a friends bike while he was off the road. There's definite gaps in bike ownership, but no gaps in bike riding.
  8. Please don't think that I posted this as something that should be taken up..
    It's just an idea that's obviously not not black and white and would probably need exemptions for posties, etc....

    I'm no expert but happy to look at ideas that anyone brings up...
  9. I also am unconvinced that ownership alone is the important factor. From your comments in the past, Tony, I seem to recall that the casualty figures for irregular riders are worse than for frequent riders (like commuters).

    Intuition tells me that it is the maintenance of skills such as observation and decision-making that matter. A rider may keep a registered bike, unused for months over winter, and hit the twisties in Spring with a very low skill level at first. I'm sure I will fall into that category myself when I eventually get back to riding.
    Not sure how you could legislate for that.
  10. Yeah, I think the point Tony makes is a valid one: do we even know that it's a real problem? Or is it purely and simply a predictable consequence of the numbers game?

    One thing I do know: I'm pleased Queensland hasn't (yet) fallen into the 'double demerits on public holidays' nonsense.

    Basically, the things that work to reduce the road toll any time are the same things that work on the holidays... and the low-hanging fruit of alcohol and speed have largely already been plucked. So have the fruits of safer vehicle design and wearing seatbelts.

    Fatigue is always going to be an issue in this wide brown land with its long drives. Beyond that, we have to get into the tougher areas of training and attitude.
  11. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why is any fatality seen as a failure of the road namby pamby authorities and policies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fark me.

    Operating any vehicle is an inherently risky operation.

    With reference to: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/four-dead-on-victorias-roads-20101003-162ly.html

    ...the circumstances of the 3 motorcycle related deaths aren't properly known, however, comprise 2 riders and a pillion and the authorities on the radio earlier stated that speed or alcohol were not involved - so for all intents and purposes they were riding within the legal requirements which the safety namby pamby set have FAILED to realise, does not rule out fatality or injury.

    Ok, this post isn't intended to pick on you Joe - just seemed like an opportune time to chime in.

    Probably. Most of this years fatalities are mature aged.
  12. I hate to say it, but... Make stability control mandatory on all vehicles? ;)


    ESC is already being heralded as the biggest improvement to road safety since mandatory seatbelt use.

    ABS on bikes is making a massive impact on motorcycle safety, too.

    I suspect mandatory fitment of electronic driver aids is the way of the future, especially when most people don't care about driving/riding skills and only see vehicles as a way to get from A-B rather than something to be feared, respected and mastered.
  13. Rob

    Don't think you're picking at me at all....
    Thread is about road tolls so I'd like to hear ideas outside of the square away from the hard approach we get from TAC, RTA, etc..

    Also, the returning mature age rider keeps popping up so it could possibly be an issue that needs to be looked at.

    Zero fatalities would be the perfect world but something you will never have due to the human factor.
    That's just life, but everyone should still take care.

    But just wonder, should the road toll percentages be taken from the millions (probably billions) of trips made rather than no of road users......
    If every road trip is a risk and not number or users, then it makes the fatalities as opposed to the times you're out there quite low.
    Isn't that what they use in the airline industry.
    Raw numbers in an airliner crash is horrendus but they use the number of trips made as how safe flying really is.
  14. I like some of the points you made hornet. There is not a lot of education on vehicle maintenance. Perhaps a few years ago there was an advert by a tyre company (can't remember which one) telling people to check tyres before heading out on a trip? But nothing from the govt.

    Also not everyone is aware of the way a vehicle handles when it is loaded up with other people and gear will be much different! You're going to have to think differently about overtaking distances if there are 4 people in the car and a boot full of camping gear! I will be biased here and say motorcyclists will usually set up their vehicle according to the load they will be riding with. An this is not to say there would be less accidents if everyones psi was at correct levels but... At least you'd have optimal grip?

    But as others have said, it may just be a numbers game. The more people out on the roads the more the chance of things going badly.

    Sad to hear about all the people that lose their lives over holiday periods as it is meant to be time spent with friends and family

    Just my 3 cents
  15. Hornet, can I have your NSW perspective (or any other person's) on how you think the annual vehicle check system is working in relation to safety?

    I ask because Vicroads has taken the view that only a tiny proportion of accidents are attributable to vehicle failure or mechanical loss of operation. Most Victorians (including me) are pleased by their decision, but are we wrong?
  16. RACV routinely resists calls for it's implementation here since it says there's no valid evidence that it reduces crash stats.

    No. Don't think so.
  17. yearly inspection in NSW is a joke - check lights , check tyres check indicators check brakes make sure no oil leaks and thats about it

    ACT used to have the most thorough yearly inspections - conducted by Government inspectors at safety stations where you drive over a pit and they check everything - condition of steering exhaust rust the works basically
  18. It's hard to make an argument from absence of data, but raw observation between states, having lived in NSW, ACT and the Yarra Valley (in the 80's) is that where vehicles are inspected for road-worthiness, they appear, at least, to be better maintained, and therefore safer(?). If a car has a huge rusted-out gap between the trailing edge of the bonnet and the windscreen, is it fair to believe that its brakes are no better?

    Quoting TV shows is always risky here, but the ones where they examine accidents always show them checking the condition of the car as part of the investigation, to eliminate or confirm it as a contributory factor.

    In the ACT they used to have huge Government-run inspection stations, but they closed them down because, they said, roadworthiness was not a factor in road accidents. We all knew that the real reason was to save money :roll:....

    I'm not coming to any conclusions here, this is just a sorta 'discussion paper', and I understand Tony's comment about numerical exposure, but I think you'll find that more people are killed and injured over a three day weekend than proportionately over a two-day weekend, if you know what I mean, for at least some of th ereasons I've posited.
  19. While i think stability control systems are a great idea, i don't think that people should be getting used to relying on them to get them out of trouble.....

    I know of people pushing their cars to limits far outside their capabilities because they were used to their cars getting them through the corners. One example is a friend of mine who ended up taking out a gutter in his cooper S in the wet because he took a familiar corner the way he usually does and expected the ESP to get him through as it usually did - for some reason it failed and he ended up in the gutter.... Thankfully he only buggered the cars rear suspension and no one was hurt.

    I think that we should be addressing peoples attitudes and abilities rather then trying to cover up their lack of skill with technology. By all means implement the technology everywhere, but ESP's will not stop people from smashing into each other head on or running stop signs and getting t-boned, rear ending each other, etc.....

    ESP, ABS, EBD they all still have to operate within the realm of physics and aren't a magic solution to what i imagine are the majority of accidents (especially where car vs bike accidents considered).

    *Edit - I might add too that this same mini was written off in pretty spectacular fashion with all of the electronic aids functioning correctly. The car rolled onto its roof and ended up sliding down the road for quite a distance. The driver was not charged with speeding or anything other than a negligent driving charge - made the papers too i will see if i can dig the article up.
  20. A couple of weeks back I went dirtbike riding at Clarance,thats up the Bell Rd.Coming home I followed a large truck from the Mt Vic turnoff down the road for 50ks,I was towing a trailer but even so there was 2 spots to overtake and there was no way to get past safely,so I stayed behind.Thats the road that got the family of 4.Had the same coming back from the snow,lots of Learners doing 70ks in a 100 zone with 50 cars qued up and none passing and if they do pass doing so just below 100ks making there time exposed to a headon much greater,BUT NOT SPEEDING.The point is at holiday time the city's empty and suddenly most are exposed to radically different driving expectations with no ramping up to whats needed to survive.Some think simple like safely overtaking on
    single lane roads is like Russia Roulette.Anyone remember that add from the 60s with the test on what speed was required to safely overtake before the approaching corner,thats stuck with me for 40years,that plus a couple of close calls that woke me up