Speed rules make money but not safer roads TOBY HAGON DRIVE EDITOR
July 11, 2010
IT'S all too easy - and profitable - for safety authorities to tighten regulations and blame speeding as the main cause of carnage on our roads.
Yet there is no evidence as to how many of the 461 people killed on NSW roads last year lost their lives as a result of vehicles exceeding the speed limit.
The RTA cannot supply a figure, instead suggesting that 46 per cent of fatalities were a result of people travelling too fast "for the prevailing conditions", which in many cases is under the speed limit.
In other words, it is the sort of situation in which a speed camera or the threat of tighter tolerances will have zero impact.
Most law-abiding motorists realise that when they've inadvertently floated over the speed limit by 3 or 4 km/h they're unlikely to become a danger instantly.
After all, most people walk faster than that and round numbers aren't by nature inherently safer.
No doubt some bean-counter will have done the calculation as to how many additional fines could be issued if the speeding tolerances were lowered, helping the self-destructing NSW government to achieve its goal of an additional $137 million in revenue from traffic fines, presumably to offset some of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars blown on bungled projects.
Further slowing drivers down at a time when cars are becoming safer and more capable is a simplistic solution to a complex problem. It also runs the risk of producing a nation of speedo watchers with little ability to recognise and react to genuine dangers.
It's also worth remembering that cars are, after all, about getting to places relatively briskly.
If the government took the same approach to pedestrians crossing the road against the signal as it did to speeding, there would be a lot of pedestrians with lighter wallets.
Perhaps more effort should be made on improving roads, training and educating drivers and reducing hazard. Then we really would have safer roads.
$137 million weighed against the lives that could be saved by putting costly patrol cars on the roads. Ah well ! that's politics.