Friday, 29 November 2013

Why So Many Speed Limits and Cameras?

The authorities tell the public that speed cameras are reducing fatalities and serious accidents. Any revenue gained is a lucky by product of making the state safer.

Drivers are expected to keep keen eyes on the multitude of speed limits that often change. Within two kilometre road strips the limit are often signposted as 90km, 80km, 60km, 40km, 50km, 40km (within specific time zones) , End of 70km, and 40km coming up. Then driver are confronted with speed limits that are altered without any obvious reasons, appearing at random intervals. E.g. yesterday a short road strip was 60km, today it is 50km. It is common to see 40km road work signs but no road works happening.

Radar cameras are on the move, usually placed strategically in the middle of the confusing speed limit crush.
The authorities use colourful language in their announcements. Everyone has heard senior police officials tell us that, “The Hoons will be caught. Drivers must learn to slow down or get they will be caught.”

Are the speed signs and cameras reducing the road toll? Are there less serious accidents because of the many speed limits? Are those approaches making the working people’s lives better or worse? Is it a about safety or state revenue?

Why So Many Speed Limits and Cameras?

Let’s gather some data to find out.

  •  In the year ended June 30, 2011, more than 1.1 million speed camera infringement notices were issued in Victoria. Eighty per cent were for speeds less than 10km/h over the limit. State coffers were boosted by hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • More than 1.5 million speed camera demerit points - equivalent to 32,500 years of licence loss - were recorded in Victoria in 2011.
  • Sean Hardy, a Melbourne Lawyer, was quote in the Herald / Sun, 12 February 2012
    “Speed cameras do not eradicate minor speeding offences. On the contrary, the number of offences detected increases each year. Minor infringements seem an inevitable consequence of driving a vehicle -- especially with changing speed limits.”

    “We have covert cameras to encourage drivers to comply with speed limits at all times. But the system is not working. More than 928,000 vehicles - or 2543 a day - were caught doing less than 10km/h over the limit, each attracting one demerit point.”

    "No law requires the actual driver of a vehicle to incur camera demerit points. The purpose of the demerit points system fails for camera offences. What is the benefit - aside from revenue - of cracking down on minor speeding infringements if they don't even care who was driving?"

    "Every demerit point has the potential - indeed the intention - to suspend a driver's licence. The system invites citizens to nominate who will lose points and their licence. It is little wonder false nominations seem rife - even members of the judiciary have been known to do it. False nominations are a consequence of an absurd demerit points system."
  •  Victoria police quotes often watched in television ads and heard on radio talk back

    “Speed cameras save lives.”

    “If we are serious about reducing road trauma, it is important the whole community understands and supports their purpose and value.”

    “Speed cameras slow motorists down.”

    “ Slowing down reduces both the number and the severity of crashes.”

    “Speed limits are set to ensure the safety of the whole community.”

    “Research proves that even small reductions in average speeds result in significant road safety benefits.”

    “For every increase in speed of 5km/h above a 60km/h limit, the risk of having a crash doubles.”

    “When motorists choose to step outside the law and exceed the limit, they are compromising not only their own safety, but all of those who are sharing the road with them.”

    “By slowing road users down, speed cameras are helping us to save lives and reduce the burden on the health system created by avoidable road trauma.”

    “Speeding remains one of the biggest killers on our roads, with speed the major contributing factor in a third of all fatal crashes.”
  •  A 1989 America’s Insurance Research Council study of a national sample of automobile crash injury claims found

    Crashes that cause injuries and/or property damage occur at the highest rates in urban areas. Fatal crashes, however, are more likely to occur in rural areas. 81 percent of the crashes occurred in urban areas. A January 1995 report by the Highway Loss Data Institute examined insurance injury claim frequencies for 1991-93 model vehicles and collision claim frequencies for 1992- 94 model vehicles garaged in 12 metropolitan areas of the United States. Injury claim frequencies were 29 percent higher in these urban areas than in the rest of the country, and collision claim frequencies were 34 percent higher. Pedestrian deaths and injuries are most prevalent in urban areas; 72 percent of pedestrian deaths occur in urban settings.

    In urban areas, motorists are most likely to be injured in head-on collisions and crashes involving red light running. Occupant injuries occurred in 45 percent of both head-on crashes and red light running crashes the Institute studied. Left-turn crashes produced the second highest number of occupant injuries. Forty-one percent of urban crashes associated with a vehicle turning left into oncoming traffic involved injuries. These crashes often involve a side impact. More than a third each of crashes typed as running a traffic control, rear-ending a stopped or stopping vehicle, and running off the road involved injury. In contrast, injuries occurred in only 16 percent of crashes involving lane change manoeuvres.

    Crashes categorized as running a traffic control (a signal light or a sign) or turning left into oncoming traffic are most likely to occur at intersections. Left-turn-oncoming crashes are particularly associated with traffic signals. Rear-end collisions into stopped or stopping vehicles occur at roadway intersections and between intersections with equal frequency. Of the five major urban crash types, only run-off-the-road crashes are most likely to occur at night. Pedestrians in urban areas are more likely to be injured in crashes at intersections. An examination of fatal pedestrian crashes in four U.S. cities found 40 percent involving vehicles other than large trucks occurred at intersections, and 51 percent involving large trucks occurred at intersections.

  • Article Extracts from Car Advice By TimBeissmann, 19th June 2012
    The rate of people seriously injured in road traffic crashes in Australia has increased over recent years despite improvements to vehicle safety and continued efforts from governments to reduce the road toll.

    More than one-quarter of those seriously injured in a road traffic crash sustained life-threatening injuries.

    While injury rates increased, the death rate of people involved in road traffic crashes decreased from 9.2 per 100,000 in 2000-01 to 7.3 in 2008-09. Figures from the federal government’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport paint an even brighter picture, revealing the death rate improved to just 5.71 per 100,000 in 2011.

  •  In 2013-14 Victoria will raise more revenue - $113 per person - than any other state.
Based upon all recent reports, there is no evidence that the confusing array of ever change speed limits, support by speed cameras, are reducing the road tolls. The number of serious injuries caused by road accidents is increasing and the number of fatalities is levelled out (mainly due to safer vehicles).

The placement of multiple speed signs is in built up urban areas thoroughfares where there is the greatest opportunity to fine drivers.  Too many signs confuse drivers as their eyes cannot focus on the road

What is your view? Should anyone do anything about the, what appears to be, misuse of power and deception? What can you do to avoid speeding fines? Is the above analysis fair and balance?

Article For Susan Mackay

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