Traffic accidents and media coverage

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 11:10
ThreadID: 53268 Views:2134 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
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Hi. THere are two articles in the news today.

The first is a good expose in The Australian on road tolls and media coverage. The Australian article

The second article is about electronically cutting power to a vehicle when speeding. This sounds dangerous (eg when overtaking).The Advertiser article

It seems new laws or sensational news coverage is a good way of avoiding a debate on road safety.

Rod, Perth

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Reply By: Off-track - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 11:23

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 11:23
Yep, because all major accidents are caused by excessive speed....*cough*

Cant see them doing this as it will reduce the amount of speeding tickets revenue. Hmm actually now that I think about this it probably wont make much difference because there arent that many speed cameras or highway patrols on the open road anyway. A way to pull police resources back into the cities.

Cannot wait to see the reaction to an increase in accidents as a result...
AnswerID: 280569

Reply By: Alan H - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:00

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:00
The majority of accidents causing death or injury occur within the posted limits, but as this fact doesn't sit well with their constant bleating that "speed kills" they ignore it.
In WA a large percentage of accidents are in the country but they won't increase police patrols or speed cameras as they say 'it isn't cost effective".
Now if that isn't admitting that their main motive is dollars I don't know what is!
A good number of deaths/injuries are where the occupants of vehicles are not wearing seat belts and no amount of cameras are going to detect that.
"Inappropriate speed" kills but stupidity kills far more and to curb that more cops are needed on the roads, but that's too expensive!
Happy motoring.
AnswerID: 280575

Follow Up By: whyallacookie - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 16:34

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 16:34
Quote "they won't increase police patrols or speed cameras as they say 'it isn't cost effective".
Now if that isn't admitting that their main motive is dollars I don't know what is!"

That's a bit harsh. Lets say they add 20 more police to the force who's primary job is to patrol country/highway areas. What are the odds of them catching many of these? Then imagine the outcry about a "waste" of taxpayers dollars when these could be spent addressing certain other "social" issues WA is becomming infamous for.

Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

FollowupID: 544879

Follow Up By: Alan H - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 11:23

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 11:23
"Damned if they do and damned if they don't".

But they don't even try Whyallacookie. Their only answer to a sudden spate of deaths in the country is yet another crackdown on what is mostly minor speeding offences in the metro area!

I'm not suggesting extra cops on the roads country or metro would make an instant change in drivers performance and attitudes, but it may hep if they knew there was more out there.

As I said, inappropriate speed may kill, but stupidity kills far more.
FollowupID: 545054

Follow Up By: whyallacookie - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 15:09

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 15:09
I don't disagree with you about the fact that the majority of the "speeding" response is about 2 things.... Being seen to be doing something and revenue.

Which also comes back a bit to what I put above. An extra 20 (which realistically is a significant investment between equipment, training and wages, realistically you would be sending more experienced officers to do this due to the fact they would have to work alone, and be able to handle whatever situation faces them from confrontations to accidents etc. Not a good idea for a green officers first posting) would hardly be noticed on WA's roads. That's not even taking account holidays, sick days, training etc.

As a former territorian I highly argue against the "speed" kills. It is proven that inatentive driving and fatigue play a much larger role, in fact I'd argue that speeding NEVER caused a single accident. Failing to slow down appropriately, certainly has. It's not the speed that kills... it's the sudden stop at the end.

Increasing the speed limits where approriate reduces driving time and therefore reduces fatigue. But of course that opens a whole nother can of worms about driver training and city drivers taking their once a year drive.

As for the teenage P platers in (mostly) commodores writting themselves off, always going to happen. And yes I lost 2 friends in 2 seperate accidents (both cars hit large gums at stupid speeds, way above the posted, let alone recommended speeds). 1 was a driver the other a rear seat passenger.

It's a hard one, they have to at least try but there is only so much they can do and be in so many places. I have twin boys (5) and I hope like hell I am able to instil in them some common sense about driving. Hopefully they take up 4x4ing and we can get a nice fast 2.4lt hilux or something for them to learn in. But I am also realistic enough to know that peer pressure and hormones (or alcohol) can sometimes make the most sensible do the most stupid. If they do I hope they are lucky enough to get away with it unscathen (and by that I include not hurting anyone else)
FollowupID: 545088

Reply By: Member - Straps (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:48

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:48
I had typed a long mixed reply but lost it. So here goes the short version.

* There will ALWAYS be road fatalities.
* Accidents should be called crashes because they are, in the greatest majority of cases, due to the fault of a driver. (Speed, fatigue, influenced by drugs or alcohol, distraction/inattention, failure to obey signs/road conditions etc etc )
*Young people will always experiment and push the limits at times with cars, they just has less experience than when the older, more experienced people that do it too.
*Holiday seasons do not have any more road fatalities than other times of the year, however media and Police will majorly ramp these presence and safety campaigns, (SEE article below for evidence)

Paix B. Correcting the holiday road toll myth: Christmas and
Easter holiday periods are actually safer than other times of the
year [Letter]. Emerg. Med. Australas. 2006; 18: 310–11.

*Changing the driver attitude and behaviour is the only way for the current road toll to be reduced.

I have dealt with the "horrors" of road crashes for the last 15 years in various capacities (like many EO members, I'm sure) and I cringe when I see the trauma, distress and impact that road crashes (injuries and fatalities) have on families, loved ones and friends.

Just my thoughts.

AnswerID: 280582

Follow Up By: Member - John G- Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 13:54

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 13:54
G'day Shane,

I think you're right. Attitude and behaviour are hard to change, and we don't seem to be able to be very clever in initiating such change when it comes to road safety.

I don't hear / see any evidence that double demerit points and double fines changes behaviour, and how could it, when the evidence is that there is no significant difference in fatality rates between holiday and non holiday periods?

It's too simple to say it's a complex issue, but it's one that needs a long term strategy from governments who tend not to think long term. In effect, we need a whole of life education and training program, and while we're at it, the same applies to health and fitness.

Fight the good fight
FollowupID: 544840

Follow Up By: Member - Straps (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 14:51

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 14:51
Sorry for the grammar errors in my post.
Just re-read it and went, "Ooops.!!"
FollowupID: 544854

Reply By: Member - Coyote (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 13:25

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 13:25
maybe we should all drive rubber coated dodgem cars and be speed limited to 10km/hr. That way no one will get killed and if there is an accident we can then feel justified to blame someone else for it: Far be it for us to take responsibiloty for doing something stupid ourselves... or heaven forbid making a "mistake" and having an "accident"
AnswerID: 280589

Reply By: Bware (Tweed Valley) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 23:14

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 23:14
Hi Rod'

Thanks for the link to the article in the Australian; it is great to read some well written commonsense on the issue.


AnswerID: 280702

Reply By: Off-track - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 23:51

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 23:51
When you break it down driving a car/truck/motorcycle is the most dangerous thing that must of us do, and we do it every single day.

When you have oncoming vehicles on a stretch of tar seperated by 1-2 metres and a closing speed of 100-160 kph where one degree of steering wheel movement can put you in grave danger there are ALWAYS going to be crashes.

On top of this the art of driving is quite complicated which involves multiple and continual sensory awareness, information processing with conscious and subconscious judgement to then coordinate all limbs to maniplulate the many controls in the 'cockpit'.

I wouldnt trust many people to park my car but I blindly put my trust in their abilities when they are on the road in theirs???

It really is a wonder that there isnt many more crashes...
AnswerID: 280705

Follow Up By: Off-track - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 12:13

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 12:13
Make that a closing speed of 200-260 kph, legally.
FollowupID: 545057

Reply By: Honky - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 14:25

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 14:25
If speed kills why has the Northern Territory had a 25% increase in road deaths since they brought in speed limits
AnswerID: 280767

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