Speeding Cars, sorry Drivers

The motoring press continually argues that regulating and fining speeding vehicles is simply revenue raising and nothing to do with road safety.  Paul Murray’s article in Saturdays West Australian was a classic example of this.

In response to the proposal to introduce 30kph speed zones in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic “This is a perfect example of the way Nanny State views the road toll, ignoring the major contributors which are difficult to police and blaming speed, which is easy and profitable.” Note there is no attempt to define ‘major contributors’

And again “Hold the moronic refrain: “If you don’t speed you don’t get caught” The issue here is not about getting caught, but about adopting road strategies that might just work” – Note there is no attempt to define what these might be.

The RAC has recently reported that in 2011 six out of every ten deaths occurred on regional roads despite only 25 per cent of the population living outside the metropolitan area. Generally these are single vehicle accident resulting from a vehicle been driven too fast for the road conditions or the drivers ability. The fact is the faster you travel, the greater your chance of serious injury.

A 1985 report based on British and American crash data found driver error, intoxication and other human factors contribute wholly or partly to 93% of crashes, and yet a British RAC survey found nearly all drivers who’d been in a crash did not believe themselves to be at fault, an attitude that the media reinforces by blamimg inanimate objects, for example ‘dangerous roads’, implying somehow that the driver was in no way responsible.

A bit of British driving history.  In 1930, speed limits were abolished in the UK, and in that year there were 7,500 fatalities (by comparison in 2009 with more than ten times the number of vehicles, there were 2,400).  Consequently the British Parliament promptly reintroduced speed limits and in 1934 driving competency tests.  (Tests were suspended for 7 years during the Second World War and in 1941 vehicle fatalities peaked at 9,169).  So much for self regulating driver behaviour.

About Peter Bartlett