I am not a massive fan of those crime shows on the telly but there is one thing I have noticed about them which they all have in common.

I know what you're thinking, did he take six photos or only five?. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself

As a general rule, crime shows are either set in a tough, gritty city, such as CSI Miami, or involve dogged if jaded cops on the edge of policing at its most brutal, such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

It is probably for this reason that no producer has made a show called Law and Order: Speed Cameras, which chronicles the life and times of a hard-bitten copper who spends his days pointing a laser gun at passing Commodores in that confusing 70 km/h zone just outside of Swan Hill.

It simply would not rate. And it surely is not the thing which young men and women dream about when contemplating a life in the force. Locking up scumbags would seem to be where it’s at, not harassing law-abiding people who accidentally creep a few clicks past the permitted speed limit, often on stretches of road where the maximum changes so frequently that you need the mental powers of a savant to work out how fast you should be going anyway.

It surprises me that at a time when the public wants more police on the beat that no state politician anywhere in the land has hit upon this as an election slogan. If elected, my government will immediately pull out every single police officer from behind a speed gun or speed camera and redeploy them all on frontline duties. In their place we will maintain a sensible number of mechanised and mobile speed cameras which will be placed around the city and state, at different locations and at different times, in areas where speed is a problem and accidents have occurred. You’d get about a million votes for that in a jiffy.

There is a tremendous gulf between what the police and the government say is the intent of speed cameras and what the hard-bitten motorist thinks of them. I would not seek to defend speeding but there is a completely understandable view on the part of law-abiding motorists that it is largely about revenue. Especially when you will get pinged for being just a couple of kilometres over in areas where the speeds are so low that fatal crashes would not occur. Especially when you pick up the paper and read about recidivist offenders with dozens of unpaid fines who are usually driving without a licence anyway.

There are two things which are currently underway in Victoria and NSW which have aroused the suspicion of motorists. The first is the reinstatement of the fixed cameras along the Hume Highway which in a number of cases were found to have been faulty. Those cameras confirmed the view of many motorists which is that you often think you weren’t speeding but cop it sweet anyway, rationalising that there is nothing you can do anyway to challenge a fine.

The second is the phasing out of the confusing speed limits particularly in regional areas which in the past have caught generally well-behaved motorists not because they are driving flat out, but flat out knowing how fast they should go. On the face of it the rationalisations sound like they make sense – the government is getting rid of the 50kmh and 70kmh zones to have a standardised system where the maximum fluctuates in 20kmh increments.

What strikes me as suss is the plan to increase the number of 40 kmh zones. I know so many people who have been done for doing just a few kms over the limit in these irritating 40kmh zones which, outside of a school setting or an area with high pedestrian traffic, seem to be merely the latest flank in the revenue war, letting governments and police criminalise conduct which is both accidental and highly unlikely to make any difference to the overall road toll.

You can certainly make the case for the proper and vigilant policing of motorists in 60 km/h zones. A recent story in The Herald-Sun found that speeds in 60km/h zones has dropped by 10 per cent since 1998.
The average metropolitan speed in that year was 70.6km/h. By last year, it was down to 63.3km/h. In that period, the annual road toll in 60km/h zones in metropolitan Melbourne plunged from 102 to 30.

``The statistics show the camera system is working, drivers are slowing down and that saves lives,’’ said Victoria’s top traffic officer, Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill. ``If you don’t speed, you have nothing to worry about. It’s only those in the minority who speed who have a problem with the cameras.’‘

That is obviously true, but extending the same philosophy from a 60 kmh zone to a 40 kmh zone looks less like a public safety measure than an attempt to make up any shortfall from the fact that fewer people are going over the limit in 60 kmh zones.

And whatever the police might say, the more pertinent question remains – at a time when every Australian state has been appalled by the increasingly brazen and open violence by outfits such as bikies, why should the time of a single police officer be wasted sitting behind these cameras anyway? Are they working to protect and serve, or are they working for Treasury?

Most commented

120 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      05:58am | 28/08/12

      All summary offences should be on the spot fines. All indictable offences should be a fixed mandatory jail sentence. All police should be in plain clothes and unmarked cars. If you are going to do a Police State at least do it properly.

    • Arthur says:

      09:08am | 28/08/12

      .......................“If you are going to do a Police State at least do it properly. “....................

      What a great point.

      Have GPS speed monitors on all cars that is reviewed by RTA once a year.

      Drink driving should be mandatory jail.

      I’ve always argued. There is zero difference between the guy that drives drunk and arrives home safely and the guy that drives drunk and kills a family. One got lucky, the other didn’t. The penalty should be the same for both.

    • Snoddy says:

      09:49am | 28/08/12

      “I’ve always argued. There is zero difference between the guy that drives drunk and arrives home safely and the guy that drives drunk and kills a family.”

      Don’t agree.
      The definition of being drunk in OZ is to have a BAC of .05.
      This is an arbitrary line drawn in the sand by lawmakers.  In America, the limit has been .08 and .1 at various times. Does that mean that at .07 I’m drunk here and not drunk there? 

      In the real world, people have different levels of tolerance to alcohol. We all know a one pot screamer who shouldn’t be allowed to drive after one glass of wine. We also know the tradie who can drink half a dozen cans and be fine to drive.

      I’m all for means testing your driving ability while under the influence of alcohol, but unfortunately, that’s not yet possible.

    • Tator says:

      10:08am | 28/08/12

      Snoddy,
      there are actually 2 drink driving offences, the one you describe is PCA or breaching the prescribed concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream.  The other is DUI or driving under the influence of intoxicating liquour or drug where your two pot screamers get caught as it is the level of faculty impairment which matters and not the actual BAC reading from the Breath Analysis machine.  So you can actually be pinched for DUI and still be under 0.05 BAC

    • Snoddy says:

      10:26am | 28/08/12

      Tator, ICB

      BAC is a test that shows the exact concentration of alcohol in a persons blood.
      Explain to me how what test is performed for a DUI charge?

    • Arthur says:

      10:42am | 28/08/12

      ...................“This is an arbitrary line drawn in the sand by lawmakers.”..............

      I agree. High range is however a different story, and as you say driving ability while under the influence of alcohol is not yet possible, so at the moment if you’re high range, you’re deadly. The result is just a matter of luck.

      What about when 0.05 or 0.08 gives people bravado and they drive like idiots? The result might be different but the crime is the same. What do you think?

    • Tator says:

      11:10am | 28/08/12

      Snoddy,
      as a 23 year vet with SAPOL, I gladly introduce you to Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act which reads

      47 Driving under influence
      (1) A person must not—
      (a) drive a vehicle; or
      (b) attempt to put a vehicle in motion,
      while so much under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug as to be incapable of exercising effective control of the vehicle.

      The offence is when a person has at least one of their faculties impaired by intoxicating liquour or drug and is judged by the police officers observations of the persons behaviour and state of being, ie someone falling over and losing their balance becaused they are pissed.  I admit it is a subjective test but unlike a BA reading which is basically considered infallible by the courts due to the reliability of the Breath Analysis equipment used (nearly every not guilty with regards to PCA is fought on whether the SOP’s for the right to have blood taken was properly administered) but as SOP’s for DUI also include a BA test, and in cases where an inconsistant BA reading for the level of faculty impairment is found, a Doctor is called in for drug testing to either confirm or eliminate drugs as a cause and to confirm the observations of the officers involved.
      To be honest, DUI is very contestable in court and I have personally spent 4 hours in the box giving evidence on a DUI pinch my partner did to corroborate his observations.  This was under cross examination by Adelaides gun traffic lawyer Bob Harrop who is now a magistrate, we got a guilty verdict in the Magistrates court.

    • Mel Belli says:

      11:14am | 28/08/12

      @ Snoddy

      DUI is assessed by the arresting officer. To make out the charge the person driving must be so much under the influence they are incapable of controlling a vehicle. This is based on what the poiice observe e.g. vehicle straying all over the road , mounting the kerb etc.

      This was the reason the PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol) offence was introduced as it was not necessary to show the driver was incapable of driving. It became a simple matter of - if you are over the limit you are busted - whether you can still drive properly or not as is the case in your tradie example. Conversely your one glass screamer may be under the limit on the numbers but still incapable of driving so therefore laible for DUI

    • StuieG says:

      11:22am | 28/08/12

      @Arthur I think this is a bit of a grey area IMO. It’s not always luck that gets a “drunk” driver home. I know when I was 18 and would sometimes drive after a few ( not proud ) I would stick to exactly the speed limit, drive very carefully and not be distracted by passengers. This ceratinly wouldnt help your impaired cognitive functions or your delayed reactions but I figured it was better then nothing.

      Then you have these people who have a few drinks and decide speeding 30km’s over the limit, burnouts and skiddys around corners are a great idea. I think a lot of this is actually the person being stupid and less to do with alcohol.

      So the person who has 3 beers ( and is over the limit ) and crashes into someone who failed to give way should be given the same charge as someone doing a skid around a corner and head on crash’s into someone coming the other way?

    • Snoddy says:

      12:21pm | 28/08/12

      Sorry tator
      I’m not up with what SOP and PCA’s are.

      Your DUI is purely subjective and I can’t see anyone ever getting done for what a copper “thinks” is under the influence. In the USA, (where they don’t have random breath tests), a cop needs to have a reason to pull you over, for example drifting over the centre line, speeding, going too slow. Once the cop pulls you over, he can administer a field sobriety test (much like your DUI) count backwards from one hundred, walk a straight line, etc. If you fail the subjective field sobriety test, you can then be tested on a quantitative device to determine your BAC.  This result is the only result that can used in a court of law.

      The only thing that can get you done is a quantitative test that puts you above the line in the sand.

      In my mind your DUI nonsense just discriminates against those that have neither the time nor the money to hire a lawyer or go to court. Surely in court it is a case of he said she said without a BAC.  Going to court without a BAC reading is a waste of coppers time.

    • Tator says:

      12:27pm | 28/08/12

      StuieG,
      you would find that the person who has skidded around the corner and collided head on with another vehicle would have other charges applied as well as the PCA whereas the person who was over .05 and someone else ran into him would just wear the PCA charge.  BTW did you realise that any accident where the driver is over .05, their insurance company will not cover them, even when they are not at fault and to expand that further, any accident where there is a clear offence, ie speeding, fail to comply with traffic signals or PCA/DUI as a cause will render the offending drivers insurance null and void.

    • Mel Belli says:

      01:16pm | 28/08/12

      @ Snoddy

      Any prosection for DUI would more than likely include the evidence of a breathe (and drug) test.

      DUI prosections would be persued if there is sufficient evidence of failure to control the vehicle. Not just the observations of the police officer but also evidence provided by other witnesses as to the ability (or lack of)  of the driver to control the vehicle.

      There is nothing “nonsense” about DUI charges. Although as Tator points out they are harder to prove as a PCA charge simply requires that you blow over the limit.

    • Tator says:

      01:50pm | 28/08/12

      Snoddy,
      SOP Standard Operating Procedure
      PCA Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol.

      In the past,(remember I am an old school copper with 23 years service) the observations of a faculty impairment and testifying in court as to those observations were enough, observations such as staggering when the driver gets out of the car, glazed eyes, smell of liquour on their breath, slurred speech, poor cognitive behaviour and poor hand-eye coordination.  We didn’t actually rely on field sobriety testing as our courts recognised that over the years, police officers have been rather consistent with being able to prove DUI cases using such observations which are recorded via comprehensive notes (the vast majority of good officers take comprehensive notes of their observations at the time)and by virtue of the training conducted to become a patrol officer, are considered experts by the court and give opinions on whether a person is intoxicated.  Plus as I said, all DUI pinches are put on the BA equipment as a matter of course and if they blow over, are charged with both DUI and PCA.  But now, considering most traffic cops carry their own video cameras ( I was talking to a speedy today who had a Contour HD camera mounted on his helmet) proving a faculty impairment is quite easy.  But you are correct, in that driving behaviour must be of a manner to give the police officer a reasonable cause to suspect that the driver was DUI and this is done via observing an old “Part 3” of the old RTA (now mostly replaced with the Australian Road Rules) offence which are the behavioural offences such as straddle lanes, cross barrier lines, lighting offences, fail to give way and plain speeding etc.  It is a difficult charge to sustain in todays courts when using old school techniques but it is still possible, but using modern video equipment to provide supporting evidence makes it a lot easier to prove the faculty impairment element of the charge.

    • cheap white trash says:

      06:08am | 28/08/12

      It surprises me that at a time when the public wants more police on the beat that no state politician anywhere in the land has hit upon this as an election slogan. If elected, my government will immediately pull out every single police officer from behind a speed gun or speed camera and redeploy them all on frontline duties.

      LOL Since when has there ever been a Government with real Balls,to do anything real about Law and Order?
      Its more about raising Revenue.
      Its not a force anymore,its a service which has to be PC and fight crime with there hands tied behind there backs,so its much easier to write speeding tickets
      than catch crims,plus theres no revenue in it for the Government.

      Are they working to protect and serve, or are they working for Treasury?
      Yep they are there to Protect and Serve, TREASURY.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      09:25am | 28/08/12

      I’ve been saying this for years, Far too many police are diverted to revenue raising i.e traffic. This is exactly why we have a culture of violence in our pubs and clubs its not just because of alcohol its because they know if they bash the crap out of soe poor feelowthey will get away with it. The sae person though will get a taxi hoe so he doesn’t get caught by a booze bus or speed camera.
      It becoes obvious when driving down one of Victoria’s highways and once I counted 5 speed camera’s but couldn’t find a sign that told me what speed I was allowed to travel at. Which is blatant entrapment. I know people talk about our road toll but in actual fact copared to many other countries our road toll is very low. And as long as you have cars that can do 200kls and hour you will have people that will drive too fast and get killed. No amount of speed cameras or police will stop that beyond what they have its a fact of life. I can honestly say after working in 6 countries our roads and drivers are more orderly and responsible than anywhere else in the world that I have been to. Its time we focused on crime.

    • Gary Cox says:

      06:14am | 28/08/12

      Mobile speed cameras in Victoria are run by private contractors, and the fixed ones are just that, so I don’t think speed cameras really take many police off the beat.

      Having said that I agree they are revenue milking cows for state goverments, and I also agree that a speed limit which changes about 5 times in 10km with a speed camera in the middle of it does appear to be a trap.

      I’ll also bet that with the ‘streamlining’ of speed limits every 70km zone becomes 60km and every 50km, 40km just to slow traffic down more than it already is. Then in another few years some academic will do a study and as a result the 40km zones will become 20km and before long it’ll be quicker and more convenient to walk to wherever you’re going. Now if only we’d all live in caves and only eat organic mung beans Bob Brown would have his perfect world.

    • Steve says:

      06:34am | 28/08/12

      The first rule of Australian state politics: what Police Commissioners want, Police Commissioners get. 

      Police services are essentially asked by Treasuries to be self-funding, and traffic offences are easy ways to raise that revenue.  Not like chasing real criminals.

      I don’t know what percentage of young recruits join the police to serve their community and battle crime.  But over their career span, things like their service pensions and work conditions seem to come to dominate.

    • Fiddler says:

      07:20am | 28/08/12

      exact opposite actually. in NSW our police commissioner can be fired at any time by the police minister and no reason needs to be given. Oh and his salary and conditions are confidential.

      I would say what the police minister wants he gets. Oh and I think you’ll find that no police agency still has a pension, most have 9% super, same as the rest of us. There are still (a very few) old hands who might still be on it.

    • gobsmack says:

      07:41am | 28/08/12

      I don’t know about Police Commissioners, but the only arm of the public service in Victoria that got the payrise it asked for without protracted industrial action was the Police Force.  They got their payrise a few days after clearing the City Square of the “Occupiers”.

    • Arthur says:

      09:14am | 28/08/12

      @Fiddler

      ..................“I would say what the police minister wants he gets.”..............

      Absolutely true.

      @gobsmack….......Are you suggesting our politicians aren’t of the highest integrity?

    • Tator says:

      11:38am | 28/08/12

      Fiddler,
      SAPOL’s defined benefit pension scheme was closed to new entrants in July 1990, luckily I snuck in and most officers who have served less than 22 years are not on the pension scheme but in the same super scheme as most public servants, the SSS super scheme.

    • Nathan says:

      06:48am | 28/08/12

      Why is that police have to man these speed cameras? We can have transit police why can’t people be trained for this purpose the revenue they raise would be more than enough to cover the expense. Don’t know if its logistically possible as i may be missing some key factor but just an idea

    • Fiddler says:

      07:23am | 28/08/12

      they don’t. Another factual error, it is generally done by contractors who work for the RTA

    • M says:

      07:34am | 28/08/12

      In NSW, Redflex employees man the mobile speed cameras. The Roads and Maritime authority (formerly the RTA) pay for the highway patrol vehicles, fuel, and in some cases officers overtime.

      Macquaire bank also owns a substantial amount of Redflex shares.

      And they tell us it’s not about revenue raising. Sigh.

    • PW says:

      12:23pm | 28/08/12

      M: It’s about revenue raising, no doubt about it. There seems to be no shortage whatsoever of willing contributors.

      It is every motorist’s decision whether or not to contribute, and if you decide to do so you can hardly blame anyone but yourself.

    • M says:

      12:46pm | 28/08/12

      PW, that line of reasoning is so infantile it’s not even funny. The speed limits are set low because they know we will break them, and they set up their radar traps where they know they will extract maximum revenue.

      And you’re telling me you’re ok with this?

    • seniorcynic says:

      02:04pm | 28/08/12

      A friend in Qld told me the story of an unmanned speed camera car which had its number plates removed and fixed to another vehicle. That vehicle then sped past the camera a number of times, then the plates were re-attached to the speed camera car. So when the cops studied the pictures it appeared that their own car was speeding. Another reason is vandalism which happened in France so the cameras were withdrawn.

    • PW says:

      05:16pm | 28/08/12

      M: I don’t think speed limits are, in general, too low.

      There’s one stretch of highway near me that they recently changed from 80 to 60, but its a notorious stretch for street racing so maybe it is understandable.

      I’m in the second half of life and happy to potter along in a motor car (unlike on a motorbike which is why I don’t ride any more). I think there are more speed limits too high than too low.

    • Bertrand says:

      06:58am | 28/08/12

      1500 Australians die and 30 000 end up in hospital every year as a result of car collisions, very often caused by negligent or inattentive driving. In terms of public safety, driving on our roads is without a doubt the most dangerous thing we do on a day-to-day basis. I’m not sure what Mr Penthbery is on about with his comment ‘speeds are so low that fatal crashes will not occur.” You only need to be T-boned at about 30km/hr to suffer a fatal injury.

      As far as I’m concerned there should be a more visible police presence on the road and punishments should be harsher.

      It seems as though Mr Penthbery has copped another speeding fine and is unhappy about it. It’s not hard to pay attention to your surrounding and speed. Even if the low range speeding fines are little more than revenue raising, who cares? Revenue has to be raised somehow, and this is one form of revenue you can choose not to contribute to.

      My 20 years on the road without a single fine or infringement says it can be done.

    • M says:

      07:22am | 28/08/12

      Harsher policing only serves to get the community even more off side. The fact of the matter is that speed limits in this country are far too low for the distances we travel, and actually cause more fatalities than they save. Fatigue is actually the biggest killer on our roads, not speed. Raising the speed limits would also reduce the amount of people speeding if they were set at the 85th percentile (being the speed that 85% of drivers will deem reasonable and safe).

      Props to Mr Penberthy for having a look at this issue.

    • Tim says:

      07:47am | 28/08/12

      Betrand,
      It’s about the functionality of the road vs the risk of crashing. We constantly lower speed limits to reduce crashes but never think about the overall effects on road users.
      We need to set our speed limits sensibly and engage in much better ongoing driver training.
      Speed is the easy scapegoat.

    • Hank says:

      08:10am | 28/08/12

      M is obviously anit-authority.  If your philosophy in life is “make more rules and I’ll break more rules” then good luck as I think fortunately most people don’t think like you. 
      “Speed limits cause more fatalities than they save.”
      Are you serious?
      If you knew anything about physics and braking distances you would know that even 10kph makes a difference in a cars ability to stop faster.  Yes fatigue does contribute but it is excessive speed, poor attitudes of some drivers and a serious lack of judgement and foresight that contributes to most fatalities.  Next time you attend an accident and pull the remains and teenage kids out of a car wreck because the young driver drove beyond his/her capabilities and then have to inform their families you may change your tune.  Until then put a lid on your rebellious, anarchistic ignorance and let the experts do their jobs.

    • M says:

      08:50am | 28/08/12

      Hank, when they put the 130km/h limit on formerly unrestricted roads in the Northern Territory, fatality numbers sky rocketed. When the italians raised their highway limit from 130 to 150, they saw a reduction in fatalities. Speed doesn’t kill mate, in a lot of cases it makes things safer by ensuring drivers:
      A) pay more attention to what they’re doing.
      B) Drivers are spending less time on the road.

      Counter intuitive I know. But millions of Germans prove that speed doesn’t kill each year. Stop buying the government line mate, they don’t have your best interests at heart.

      <“Speed limits cause more fatalities than they save.”
      Are you serious?>

      Yes, our speed limits are way too low atm. Ever driven long distance across this big brown land of ours? The freeways should be 130 minimum.

      <If you knew anything about physics and braking distances you would know that even 10kph makes a difference in a cars ability to stop faster.>

      I did know that, but what exactly is your point? You know the speed limits are set below the design limit of our roads, right? Eg, the F3 from Newcastle to Sydney has a design limit of about 150. Obviously it’s potholed to hell these days, but it was designed for cars to traverse safely at far higher speeds than what is legally allowed. But, as usual, we pander to the lowest common denominator in society who in most cases shouldn’t be on the road anyway.

      < Yes fatigue does contribute but it is excessive speed, poor attitudes of some drivers and a serious lack of judgement and foresight that contributes to most fatalities.  >

      Aha, now we’ve hit the jackpot. You are very right in that excessive speed for the conditions leads to fatalities, but this doesn’t automatically mean speeding. Excessive speed when there’s lots of rain and greasy roads could actually mean traveling at the speed limit. I agree with everything else you said, and that could be adressed by proper driver training.

      <Next time you attend an accident and pull the remains and teenage kids out of a car wreck because the young driver drove beyond his/her capabilities and then have to inform their families you may change your tune. >

      Yeah, I firmly believe this is a failing on our transport authorities and governments to properly train our young drivers. Do they teach them about under steer, oversteer etc? No, they teach them to pay attention to the speedo and everything will be honkey dorey jack.

      <Until then put a lid on your rebellious, anarchistic ignorance and let the experts do their jobs. >

      With respect, i’m probably far more informed on this subject than you are.

    • craig2 says:

      09:05am | 28/08/12

      Bertrand: you’ve been bloody lucky, not diligent to not have received a ticket in 20 yrs. Everybody drives over the allowable limit Bertand (and please don’t say you haven’t) and if it wasn’t for the 10% leeway, you’ve would’ve lost your license 5 times over like the rest of us.

    • iansand says:

      09:27am | 28/08/12

      In my younger days I used to drive from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains at least 6 times a year.  I used to be a boy racer and regularly travelled 20km/hr to 30km/hr over the limit.  I was a hero in my own lunchtime (and I was also a pain in the arse, flashing people if they impeded me and all the other horror things kids do).  Then I got a car with a trip computer that told me average speeds and fuel consumption.  Even driving like a lout I never averaged over 100 km/hr.  Usually around 98km/hr, +/-.  One day I had lots of time and I decided to cruise.  To my surprise sitting on or about the speed limit made bugger all difference to my average speed - a cou[ple of km/hr - and made a huge difference to my fuel consumption.  I was also a lot more relaxed at the end of the journey.

      All this information was available to me but I had not bothered to calculate it before.  I am now a convert to moderate driving.

    • K- ching says:

      09:58am | 28/08/12

      Bertrand, you are probably lucky not to have received a ticket.
      I got done for doing 73 in a 70 having just come off the Tullamarine freeway. I was in a conga line of cars and we were all doing the same speed.

      K-ching, K-ching, K- ching, K- ching, K- ching, K- ching

    • Red Duck says:

      10:16am | 28/08/12

      Bertrand, and more than 2000 die every year from the flu. Lets put things into a little perspective.

      As fas as I’m concerned there should be more tissues present and pumishents for people transmitting the flu should be harsher…

    • Al says:

      10:18am | 28/08/12

      Hank

      You are missing the point. What is the point of having laws if there is no intent to enforce them? Why have laws that state who has right of way on a road if every bloody motorist thinks they don’t have to stop at stop signs, can push their way in and wave a hand and think all is fine with the world?  Why have laws about obstructing the flow of traffic if no one is ever booked or fined for travelling slower than the posted speed limit - IN SAFE CONDITIONS - in the right hand lane?  Why have laws for merging traffic when so many individuals think it’s perfectly fine to pull out in front of vehicles on motor ways traveling 40kph slower than everybody else just because the last sign they saw was 60kph? Why have laws for use of mobile phones when talking on CB radios and changing CDs are just as distracting?

      Alcohol and drugged drivers kill far more than people speeding yet why is it in all the driving I do I have only been breathalysed once in the last 20 years?

      Why do they focus on speed, because it is purely about revenue raising and nothing else. If they were really serious about it they would be out in front of schools and in suburbia after school hours not on freeways.The states don’t give a rats about the road toll they are making to much money from the status quo.

      ““Speed limits cause more fatalities than they save.” Are you serious?””
      Have a look at this site and it shows that the road toll has increased in the NT since open road speed limits were introduced.  http://www.roadsense.com.au/facts.html

      Since you are quoting physics you would also know that the inflation of the cars tyres, the tread compound of the tyres, the rolling circumference of the wheels, the composition of the pad material in the brake linings, the swept area of the braking surfaces, the water content of the brake fluid, the weight distribution within the vehicle, the corner weighting of the vehicle, and the load the vehicle is carrying all have an effect on a vehicles breaking ability and that is before we even look at the road surface or the bump and rebound settings of the spring dampers (shock absorbers if you didn’t know). Yet the average motorist doesn’t care what tyres they put on their car or if the tyres are inflated correctly or what pad material is used in the braking system or if their “shockies” are even doing their job. They will put on the cheapest they can afford or the ones that give them the greatest tyre life, so all the care and attention the car manufacturers put into engineering a safe package to a specific performance level is right out the window at the first service or tyre change.

      Flippant comments like every k is a killer is nonsensical. Speed is relative what is safe on the open road between Katherine and Three Ways is not safe on the northern beaches of Sydney.  Bottom line, if you cannot stop in sufficient time to prevent hitting a child you shouldn’t have a drivers licence. The problem with the states’ predilection for speed cameras is that it has bread a generation of drivers that watch their speedo more that their surroundings which destroys their situational awareness and contributes to the road carnage.

      Concur with your comments on fatigue, poor attitudes of some drivers and a serious lack of judgement and foresight contributing to most fatalities, but tell me this. How many single vehicle fatalities are in fact suicides? The demographics for the people most likely to die on the roads and commit suicide are the same so why aren’t these statistics separated from the gross figures used to justify speed cameras?

      As to the dead teenagers being pulled from the wreckage, and as hard as it is to say, may be that is the 21 century implementation of Charles Darwin’s natural selection. Maybe that’s the penalty for teaching people how to get a licence instead of teaching people how to drive – a distinction too subtle for many to pick up. Maybe that’s the penalty parents have to face for giving their children all the rights but no responsibility.

    • LC says:

      10:40am | 28/08/12

      It’s only a matter of time, Bertrand.

      Absent mindedly doing 2-3km/h over the limit one day? Live in Victoria? BAM. Booked. That’s seriously all it takes.

    • Movin On says:

      11:01am | 28/08/12

      Correction: Your 20 years on the road without being caught…..if you think you are the worlds best driver then you are kidding yourself and everyone else around you. How many driving courses have you undertaken? How often have you been retested? How many “near misses” have you had? How often have you “accidentally” cut off a motorcyclist or cyclist because you don’t look over your shoulder every time you are turning, changing lanes, opening your car door….. how often has your speed crept over the limit before you noticed and had to apply brakes?

    • Fiddler says:

      07:03am | 28/08/12

      the road toll in NSW in any year averages around 500 people. In NSW the murder rate is around 80-90. Before radar and RBT the road toll was around 1500 per year (and there were less vehicles on the road). Yes a lot of it seems to be a cynical cash grabbing exercise (and if they got rid of 50 zones I can see that they would make it all 40 zones, not bump it up to 60) but these numbers really do assist them.

      As for “putting police on the beat” yeah this might work well in the CBD, but what about out at Castle Hil, do you think police walking around the McMansions in Kellyville all day is a good use of taxpayers money? Police, like any government department operate on (or often below) bare minimum staffing, they can’t afford to be wasted on catchy sounding slogans.

    • M says:

      07:42am | 28/08/12

      500 people out of how many licenced drivers? Pretty acceptable statistic if you ask me.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:14am | 28/08/12

      I don’t disagree, but the lowering from what it was is justified. I don’t think we can really lower it any more than it is by making rules tighter. Any further tightening of the laws is not I believe justified.

    • Hank says:

      08:36am | 28/08/12

      500 lives lost and 500 families lives ruined.  Pretty acceptable you say.  I wonder if you would be so callous if it was one you your loved ones.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:49am | 28/08/12

      Hank, emotive arguments like that are what has ruined politics today. 500 out of a state of 8 million, almost every single one of which will be on the road every single day.

      Some accidents cannot be prevented by enforcement, some are the result of a monetary lapse of concentration or judgement. I think you will find that almost all speeding deaths the person killed is the driver speeding. Our current laws work well, they don’t need to be any tighter.

    • M says:

      08:55am | 28/08/12

      See, the lowering of fatalities is conveniantly explained by the authorities that it’s all due to their speed reduction policies. Yet none of them have mentioned a variety of other factors from better vehicle safety, active control systems, advanced trye development and even far better emergency and trauma procedures.

      Hank, we accept that we may die on the road as an acceptable risk for increased mobility. Same way we accept that if we board a plane there’s a chance that we might not land safely. Life is full of risks, we weigh the benefits against risks and decide for ourselves.

      So yes, 500 is acceptable. It’s a fraction of a fraction of 1 per cent of licenced drivers. The so called “carnage on our roads” that gets parroted by the media is little more than a beat up to justify ever more draconian enforcement regimes.

    • M says:

      08:55am | 28/08/12

      See, the lowering of fatalities is conveniantly explained by the authorities that it’s all due to their speed reduction policies. Yet none of them have mentioned a variety of other factors from better vehicle safety, active control systems, advanced trye development and even far better emergency and trauma procedures.

      Hank, we accept that we may die on the road as an acceptable risk for increased mobility. Same way we accept that if we board a plane there’s a chance that we might not land safely. Life is full of risks, we weigh the benefits against risks and decide for ourselves.

      So yes, 500 is acceptable. It’s a fraction of a fraction of 1 per cent of licenced drivers. The so called “carnage on our roads” that gets parroted by the media is little more than a beat up to justify ever more draconian enforcement regimes.

    • Tim says:

      08:57am | 28/08/12

      Hank,
      yes it is acceptable on a risk vs reward analysis.

      If you want to make the “what if it was your family?” argument then your only logical position is to ban cars altogether.

      Is that what you are arguing for?

    • Tator says:

      10:04am | 28/08/12

      M,
      there are more costs to the community from road crashes as this study by the NRMA shows
      http://www.mynrma.com.au/images/About-PDF/Cost-of-Road-Crashes.pdf
      So there are serious economic costs that are associated with serious road crashes with fatals costing the community around $3 million each and every serious injury around $300k so basically spending to prevent fatalities is generally money well spent.

    • Tim says:

      10:35am | 28/08/12

      Tator,
      that’s only the direct costs associated with the accidents and doesn’t take into account the economic value of the road use.

      I’m not sure if there’s any detailed studies on cities or main highway routes but here’s a report on rural road speed limits and flexibility.
      http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2003/files/wp_059.pdf

    • Markus says:

      10:43am | 28/08/12

      @Tator, that study is just a pie chart of totally unrelated costs lumped together to show a big number.
      The majority of costs listed are worn by the individual or by the insurance company (and thus the individual), not the community.
      Non-pecuniary costs is an oxymoron, yet accounts for 10% of the total.

      It is even more spurious than the paper detailing the ‘social cost’ of smoking.

    • LC says:

      11:08am | 28/08/12

      Hate to break it to you Hank, but as long as there is motor vehicles, and as long as there is potential for human error and sheer human stupidity, there will always be a road toll. Some people will die in tragic accidents. Some people will die too young. Some people will lose their life because of one retard so far in the wrong it’s a wonder he/she isn’t charged with murder (see the crash in Canberra as a result of some lout running from the police a few years back). That is the way of the world, sorry. When you get behind the wheel, you accept the risk that you may not make it home that night in exchange for a quick and easy way to get around. Can’t deal with that? Go to your nearest police station, and turn in your license and your keys.

      You can only do so much with speed limits:
      - Lowering speed limits by 8, 16, 24, or 26 km/h had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. Posting lower speed limits did not create a significant corresponding decrease in vehicle speeds.
      - Raising speed limits by 8, 16, or 25 km/h had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. In other words, an increase in the posted speed limit did not create a significant corresponding increase in vehicle speeds.
      - Raising speed limits to roughly match the 85th percentile speed has an extremely beneficial effect on drivers complying with the posted speed limits.
      - Lowering speed limits in the 33rd percentile speed (the average percentile that speed were posted in this study) provides a noncompliance rate of approximately 67 percent (2/3rds of drivers).
      - Lowering speed limits more than 8 km/h below the 85th percentile speed of traffic did not reduce accidents.
      Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html

      Another study from Monash Uni Accident Research Center in 2005 says that there’s a danger people would view speed cameras as revenue raisers if
      - Enforcement thresholds was lowered.
      - The hours of speed camera operation were extended.
      - The fines were raised.
      Victoria has done all three, and now holds the dubious distinction of having the lowest speed camera tolerance in the world. When combined with many areas limited below the 85 percentile speed, and inadequate signage for changes in speed limits, is it really any wonder people aren’t happy?

      You cannot lower the speed to reduce the collision rate to zero without making the road useless as a means of transport.

    • M says:

      11:11am | 28/08/12

      Tator, who’s spending what to prevent fatalities?

      By the by, you know an increase in speed limits would save lives, right? But then goverment revenue would drop, and we can’t have that.

    • Tator says:

      12:53pm | 28/08/12

      M,
      I am not going to parrot the all speeding is evil mantra, but to be honest, speed limits in Australia are a contentious issue.  What we have are very congested arterial roads in most metropolitan areas and long tracks of interstate highways which can be very substandard in quality compared to roads in other countries.  To be totally honest, there are roads where the speed limit can be lifted substantially, mainly remote country highways such as out on Eyre Highway on the Nullabor and the Stuart Highway once you are North of Pimba where there is little traffic, good vision lines and the only real hazards are the wildlife and stock wandering around (there are precedents for having different speed zones, for both of those roads, road trains have an increased speed limit compared to south east of Pt Augusta).  You also have to remember that speed limits cater to the lowest possible denominator and if Joe Blogs is totally incapable of driving anywhere near the speed limit, they become just as much of a hazard as someone who is speeding and not capable of controlling their car at that speed.  In addition, my current duties are in the overdimensional load escorts where I sit on the wrong side of the road driving head on into oncoming traffic (whilst lit up like a christmas tree mind you)  At this point in time, most escorts are conducted at 80km/h which with a 110 km/h general speed limit on most of the roads used for oversized loads, means I have to contend with closing speeds of up to 190km/h.  My experience has shown me that far too many people can’t cope with being taken out of their comfort zone and dealing with something unusual like an oversized load whilst driving at that speed, let alone any faster.  We also have a lot of loads that are restricted to 60km/h due to being over 100 tons (mainly due to possible damage to road surfaces), I personally find these loads easier to work as the extra couple of seconds given to the oncoming traffic to comprehend what is happening means that I have less close calls and reduces the risks substantially.  I have found when doing escorts up to the NT border, that once past Marla, speeds for southbound traffic do increase substantially and have nearly caused some serious accidents due to the fact that the extra speed that they were travelling at (most were still doing around the NT limit of 130km/h) meant that they had less time to comprehend and react to what was going on and when you have an 8 metre wide load which the GCM is approaching 100 tons, you have very few options as to avoid an accident at closing speeds of well over 200km/h.

    • Tator says:

      02:05pm | 28/08/12

      Marcus,
      are you saying that increased costs for an insurance company do not affect the community, I would guess that increasing everyones insurance premiums to cover such costs doesn’t really count in your view then.
      Plus the Human Costs non-pecuniary more than likely includes the costs of the emergency services who attend accidents, speaking to some of my colleagues who work in Major Crash, a typical fatal file takes over 150 man hours of work to complete before prosecution can begin.  And when you consider that these guys are on around $100k a year, the costs add up substantially which are paid for by the tax payer or in other words, the community.

    • M says:

      02:42pm | 28/08/12

      “You also have to remember that speed limits cater to the lowest possible denominator and if Joe Blogs is totally incapable of driving anywhere near the speed limit, they become just as much of a hazard as someone who is speeding and not capable of controlling their car at that speed.”

      The lowest common denominator is in the minority anyway. if they can’t drive they shouldn’t be on the road. All I am asking for is that speed limits be set at the 85th percentile. This speed has consistently been shown to be not only the safest speed at which to travel, but also the one at which most drivers will comply with the speed limit.

      I know, it’ll never happen.

    • Tator says:

      03:26pm | 28/08/12

      M,
      looks like you have a bit of campaigning to do, lobby your MP’s and give them hell, but one thing for sure, you are fighting a lot of vested interests who want to keep those speed limits low.  Don’t bother harrassing us Plods about it, we only can enforce what we are given.

    • TChong says:

      07:27am | 28/08/12

      Gee
      Imagine BOF doing a backflip !
      But he, and NSW Libs are all about personal ,choice, responsibility, end the nanny state- all good Liberal philosophies.
      Except
      It seems that BOF , and his backflips and his love of the revenue the nanny state raises, via speed cameras is no different to his ALP predecessors.
      Who woulda thunk it ?

    • d says:

      07:48am | 28/08/12

      my brother is a cop and i can tell you they hardly ever pull people over for speeding. unless you are doing 20 km over the limit or a P plater they have better things to do.

      At the end of the day if you speed and get caught it is a voluntairy tax. please dont go on about how unfair it is and its just a cash grab. in 10 years of driving how many fines have i had to pay? 0

      I have a fool proof methoud for not getting caught…. shhh ill share it

      DONT SPEED!!!!

    • M says:

      08:21am | 28/08/12

      Ask him about how they harrass motorcyclists.

    • craig2 says:

      09:11am | 28/08/12

      I’ll share a secret back with you D, you’ll get caught one day, just a matter of time. You drive over the allowable limit and it may only be 1, 2, 3 km an hour for a couple of seconds before you choose to pull it back but you do it and you be lying if you denied it.

    • d says:

      09:33am | 28/08/12

      They dont. we both ride bikes. if you do the wrong thing driving between vehicles(yes it is against the law) driving down bus lanes, driving recklessley expect to be pulled up on it

      If you car is fully sick and dosent meet the safety guidelines for minimum hight, noise and grip on your tyers or has been modified in other illeagle ways expect to fork out a few grand to have it un-midified.

      Follow the rules people it aint hard.

    • Tator says:

      10:16am | 28/08/12

      Craig,
      with current tolerances and the factory built in speedo margin of error (which always favours the driver by reading at a higher speed than what is being travelled at) you actually need to be travelling at a indicated speed significantly higher than the posted speed limits to actually get pinged ie around eight to ten km/h higher, and it is worth while to actually get your speedo checked, most motoring associations can do it for you.  At least the RAA here in SA had a chassis speedo calibration system which SAPOL used for years to check their speedos.  BTW I have had only one speeding fine in 28 years of driving, and that was because I was driving an early 70’s car where the speedo was marked with MPH only, bugga eh.

    • Movin On says:

      11:15am | 28/08/12

      @Tator - do you not have a GPS? Every car I see now has a GPS. GPS show the correct speed limit, car speedos are about 10% out - if you think you’re driving at 100, you’re doing closer to 90 than 100 - just check it on your GPS.

    • craig2 says:

      11:59am | 28/08/12

      Tato and moving on, 4 km per 100 is the real speed diff

    • Tator says:

      12:08pm | 28/08/12

      Movin on,
      That was about 15 years ago prior to the public availability of affordable GPS units.  Plus I wouldn’t rely totally on a GPS units reading even though the manufacturers rate their error margin at around .8 km/h as many do not track height changes so will possibly under report the speed whilst going up and down moderate to steep gradients.

    • PW says:

      12:14pm | 28/08/12

      “Ask him about how they harrass motorcyclists.”

      Traffic police, in general, are not terribly bright. So they are attracted by the exception, rather than the norm. Thus, motorbikes stand out, especially when they are ridden in the manner they were designed to be ridden. There is little doubt that, presented with a bike and car both doing 15k over, the bike rider will be pinched.

      If you want to travel at 10-15km/h above the speed limit, you should do it in a Camry or similar, of a neutral colour, among other road users travelling at the same speed. If you want to go faster than that, particularly on a motorcycle or high performance car, do it on a racetrack, where your speed is only limited by your own skill.

    • S.L says:

      08:04am | 28/08/12

      I have nothing against police booking speeders. If they do it in a known prolific accident area no one could or even would argue. But they are always sitting in zones where I’ve never seen a scratch put on anything let alone a full on bingle!
      Besides how many police cars do you see travelling above the speed limit with no sirens on? I see it daily.

    • M says:

      08:22am | 28/08/12

      Don’t start me on cops talking on mobile phones.

    • Mirror says:

      10:00am | 28/08/12

      Don’t start me on drug users complaining about cops talking on mobile phones.

    • M says:

      10:08am | 28/08/12

      Everyone is a drug user. You drink coffee or alcohol? Both are forms of recreational drug use.

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:06am | 28/08/12

      Speed cameras are nothing more than revenue raisers. They have nothing to do with safety. Speed isn’t the problem. Crap roads unable to deal with the necessary volume are the problem along with poor driver training.

    • PW says:

      03:54pm | 28/08/12

      Roads will never be able to deal with the necessary volume. Making bigger roads only leads to more road users travelling at higher speeds and bigger accidents.

      Sitting people down and telling them to drive slow might help a tiny bit, but thats all. It’s not lack of training, it’s poor attitude. If it were poor training no-one would be able to pass the driving test. People can drive responsibly to pass a test. It’s what they do after passing the test that is the problem.

    • AndyM says:

      08:23am | 28/08/12

      radar detectors should be a legal way of evening up the odds. if the police can monitor our speed, it seems only fair we know when this is happening so we can double check our speeds at that time.

    • Al says:

      10:30am | 28/08/12

      I always thought if the govereint was going to book us for every k we did over the limit I thought it would also be fair if we charged them for every miniute we were stuck in a traffic jam and couldn’t do the speed limit.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:24am | 28/08/12

      Oh, and the other thing posters here don’t seem to understand. Only one branch of a police force actually enforces speeding laws - HWP, because they have speed measuring equipment. You can be done by any on a speed estimate (if you’re going say 100+ in a 60 zone) but it is only a small percentage who actually do this, the rest do all sorts of other things.

    • iansand says:

      08:45am | 28/08/12

      There is a logical flaw here: “... there is a completely understandable view on the part of law-abiding motorists that it is largely about revenue.”

      The “law abiding motorists” never have to think about the reason for speed cameras as they are obeying the law and not speeding.  It is never an issue for them.

      What Penbo is saying is that he is a superior being to whom laws should not apply.  I assume he was fined last week.

    • M says:

      09:33am | 28/08/12

      Don’t you think it’s more than a little unfair that they set speeds below the 85th percentile so they can extract more revenue from us?

    • Tim says:

      09:48am | 28/08/12

      I’m one of those law abiding citizens and think our speed limits and speed cameras could be much better managed.

      Anyone with a brain can see that the government is addicted to speed camera revenue. Now that would be fine if they came out and admitted it but they don’t. Anyone who thinks its wholly about public safety is kidding themselves.

    • LC says:

      10:20am | 28/08/12

      Most motorists would be worried about being booked for doing 2-3 km/h over. That is the WIDTH OF A SPEEDO NEEDLE. Don’t say it’s BS, that’s exactly how things operate in Victoria.

      Can you tell me, in a blind test, the difference between 60 and 62, or better yet, 110 and 112? No? Then you should be worried too. Add to that speed limits well below 85 percentile speeds on the majority of Australian roads, and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

      Start punishing the people actually causing the issues, the drunk/drugged drivers, the inconsiderate drivers who fail to give way, the red light runners, the hoons. Stop punishing the everyday motorist who exceeds the limit by only a few km/h alone, it only creates anger and resentment towards road rules in those drivers. You’ll turn the “revenue raisers” image around before long.

    • iansand says:

      10:28am | 28/08/12

      What’s fair got to do with it?

    • Markus says:

      10:52am | 28/08/12

      Regardless of whether they themselves have been fined, I still think that the “law abiding motorists” would at least question the fact that revenue raised increased by 10% in a 12 month period where speeding infringements actually dropped 15%.

    • LC says:

      11:10am | 28/08/12

      Fair has EVERYTHING to do with it when you want to make a palatable law in today’s society, Ian.

    • M says:

      11:15am | 28/08/12

      Well, most people would want the government to govern us in a fair and reasonable way, wouldn’t they?

      No, I forget that we’re in Australia and we’re all over the current jackboot form of governance in which we don’t have to think for ourselves.

      She’ll be right mate.

    • iansand says:

      11:44am | 28/08/12

      What’s palatable got to do with it?

    • M says:

      12:08pm | 28/08/12

      Failed troll has failed.

    • LC says:

      12:45pm | 28/08/12

      So are you in favour of being governed in a unfair and unreasonable manner, are you Ian?

      If so, perhaps a move to a police state comes to mind. North Korea is the favourite, with Syria a close second. That the best part about living in a country like ours: If you don’t like it, you always have the freedom to leave. A word of warning though: If you go to one of these police-state havens and find you don’t like it, you might not have the freedom to return…

    • iansand says:

      01:29pm | 28/08/12

      Something like 85% of drivers think they have above average skills.  This cannot be so.

      Leaving aside a minuscule number of drivers who use accidents as a form of suicide, every driver who had an accident thought that they were driving appropriately according to the conditions.  They are manifestly incorrect..

      Fair?  Paltable?  Probably not.  Necessary? Yes.

      Then there is the overriding purpose of road rules - to add predictability into the potential anarchy that would ensue if everyone drove to their own rules.

    • LC says:

      02:18pm | 28/08/12

      “Something like 85% of drivers think they have above average skills.  This cannot be so.”
      85 percentile means the speed that 85% of drivers drive at on any designated stretch of road. Skill (or lack thereof) mean nothing to it.
      Strawman status: Up in smoke.

      “Leaving aside a minuscule number of drivers who use accidents as a form of suicide, every driver who had an accident thought that they were driving appropriately according to the conditions.”
      Peer reviewed sources, please. Due to the road deaths making a notable chunk of total deaths in most western counties, you should be able to find this information without extreme difficulty.

      “Fair?  Paltable?  Probably not.  Necessary? Yes.
      Then there is the overriding purpose of road rules - to add predictability into the potential anarchy that would ensue if everyone drove to their own rules.”
      There’s a fair amount of difference between anarchy and authoritarianism. Neither are desirable. The road rules here lean disturbingly towards the latter. Worse yet, while they have a knack for punishing people who make a little mistake and travel 2 km/h over the limit for a moment, while letting repeat drink drivers and hoons menace the roads without needing to worry about prison until they kill someone (and even then, there’s no guarantees).
      Changing speed limits to better reflect the 85 percentile speeds (keeping in mind lowering speed limits below the 85 percentile does not reduce accident rates or lower people’s speeds), giving speed cameras a 10% tolerance (15% on freeways) and increasing penalties for drunk/drugged/reckless driving. This will increase respect for the law and for the systems that enforce it amongst normal, law abiding people, lock away the people creating the issues, and who knows, maybe save a life or 10.

    • M says:

      02:29pm | 28/08/12

      Problem is Ian, the only road rule that is actually enforced is the speeding one cause it’s the easiest to monetize. When was the last time you heard of someone being fined for failing to keep left on a dual carriage way? Sure, it happens occaisionally, but its pretty rare. Same with tailgating, failing to indicate, and a whole host of other rules.

      That, and we only train our drivers to obey speed limits and reverse park rather than how to actually drive

    • iansand says:

      02:57pm | 28/08/12

      LC - Nothing to do with 85th percentile.  85% of drivers think they are above average. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3730094
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority#Driving_ability

      My guess is that you put yourself in the above average category.

      If you think that people deliberately set out to have accidents you are nuts.  In every accident someone, somehow, has driven in a way that is inappropriate for the conditions.

      I hate to tell you this, but authoritarianism is the only way that consistency can be created.  It would be wonderful if we could all drive wherever we want on the road, but that would be madness.

      M - The old “if you can’t fix everything fix nothing” canard.

    • M says:

      03:40pm | 28/08/12

      So what you’re saying, Ian, is that the status quo in which we fail to train drivers, fail to educate the populous about responsible and safe driving, and use revenue raising methods to bolster state budgets all while lying to us that it’s about safety is an acceptable form of governance to you?

      Really?

      You don’t see anything inherantly wrong with governments manufacturing propaganda from academia under threat of reduced funding to match it’s agenda as wrong?

      You’d have loved Germany in the 30’s.

    • iansand says:

      04:30pm | 28/08/12

      No.  I’m saying that there are a whole range of things that can be done, a majpor one of which is having road rules and enforcing them.

      Why do you think it is important to speed?

    • LC says:

      06:52pm | 28/08/12

      Ian, I was under the impression that this was a free country. I know that does not mean “no boundaries” but it does mean any laws created should be fair and just. Currently, laws related to speed cameras aren’t. You can get booked for doing 2km/h over the limit, nowhere else in the world is that the case. Your speedo is rarely that accurate (it can legally be out by + or - 10%). You can tell the difference between 60km/h and 70km/h without looking at your speedo, but can you tell the difference between 60 and 62? Or how about 110 and 112?

      Therein lies the problem. People are being booked left and right for traveling at 112 in a 110 zone for a moment, the difference between which no driver could tell. Add to that the constant limiting of roads well below 85 percentile speeds and all the other crap surrounding speed enforcement in this country, and of course people are pissed off: law-abiding people will be willing to to thumb their nose at a law whIch they thought are unjust and unreasonable.

      You can have rules and regulations to prevent people from harming one another without authoritarianism. Authoritarianism isn’t a desirable situation in any area of life, Ian, and road laws are no exemption. M is right, there was a certain superpower ruled by a man named “Stalin” where you’d fit right in.

    • kilroy 3.0 says:

      08:51am | 28/08/12

      Lol oh dear sounds like someone got a speeding ticket. Ha Ha that teach you. Just keep on ranting you will feel better until you get another one.

    • chuck says:

      09:21am | 28/08/12

      Who wants to make a series on Tax collectors - even JC threw them from the steps of the synagogue. Such is the nature of these individuals who are often scorned by their own colleagues involved in real policing!

    • Empowered says:

      09:34am | 28/08/12

      We have become a society of obident servants, big brother is watching and you’d better watch your step “or else”, but on a more serious note all this technology under the guises of law enforcement, public safety and convenience has the potential to become a way of life.
      Walk through checkout-less shopping and instant payment is being perfected right now, wich is part of the evoloution of a scanable society where your every movement can be tracked and the counter argument to implementing this is, “if you’re doing nothing wrong then you have nothong to worry about”, wich is precisely the argument used now for CCTV on every street corner , but it’s a joke when a repeat offender serial moron can get in a car drunk or drug stupified and only be put in jail for just a few years maximum when he/she kills or maims somebody apart from themselves.
      The obscene thing here is that most modern cars and motor bikes will easily do 140kph and some as much as 320+ kph but with all the technology available not speed restricted even on suburban streets, instead the authorities would rather invest a few bucks to install “cash cow” styled cameras wich pay for themselveves in the first days of operation.
      The completely laughable matter here is that the average law biding person will pay the fine before the due date admitting their lapse in judgement, wheras the serial moron will just add it to their growing list of SPER without fear, remorse or concience.

    • Roy says:

      10:12am | 28/08/12

      I’ve never seen one of these revenue raisers where the accidents occur, just where they can the get maximum money for their time. It’s ALL privatised pretty much in South Australia. But then the response time for police is nothing to celebrate either and don’t bother reporting anything either, you’ll be ignored or they will arrive so late the thief or vandal are long gone. So good luck with regulating the speed cam INDUSTRY, because the government and private sector is so addicted to the revenue from that like the government are from the pokies. It’s sickening really. Oh and those stupid creeper ads? Try driving on roads where a lot of the fearful all drive 10 kilometres under the speed limit and in the right lane or in convoy and wonder why there’s so much road rage.

    • Tator says:

      11:23am | 28/08/12

      Speed Cameras are not privatised in SA, they are managed by SAPOL and staffed by public servants.

    • Mouse says:

      10:32am | 28/08/12

      Crime doesn’t make the government money, speed cameras do!  :o)

    • Daemon says:

      11:17am | 28/08/12

      On the occasions I have been pulled over for speeding, and there have been a couple, I have found it makes me feel excellent to refer to the officer, who has cheerfully introduced himself and his station, as “Matthew”. I am yet to find one who actually understood the reference.

      How did you chaps go?

    • PW says:

      04:53pm | 28/08/12

      A bit too cryptic for your average plod. You might care to expound on this intgriguing reference.

    • Tanya says:

      11:18am | 28/08/12

      The electorally disgraced Premier Bligh in Queensland began assigning an astounding number of police to roadside revenue squads under the guise of road safety in a desperate attempt to boost the state coffers before she was ousted. The speed traps are strategically located so that motorists are hit on open highways such as the M1, the Warrego and the Bruce highways the moment they emerge from appalling Brisbane gridlock that is the result of poor capacity and infrastructure planning. Vehicle registration and tolls in the meantime have risen significantly. Interestingly so has the annual death toll and the urban crime rate. It’s a scam of the highest order.

    • Matt says:

      11:34am | 28/08/12

      You’re being simplistic and popularist.

      The fact remains that cars travelling faster than the safe speed (the speed limit is a maximum, and is worked out using crash history and mathematics) has killed more people this month than bikies have in the long history of having bikies.

      Your analogy falls apart further when you pretend that people are law abiding citizens when speeding. This is false because they wouldnt be speeding if they were abiding laws.

    • M says:

      12:06pm | 28/08/12

      <The fact remains that cars travelling faster than the safe speed (the speed limit is a maximum, and is worked out using crash history and mathematics) has killed more people this month than bikies have in the long history of having bikies.>

      No, you’re wrong mate. The design limit for the road is worked out by engineers using the 85th percentile rule. The speed limit is set far, far below this speed, cause governments know that most of the time, drivers will actually self regulate their speed to what they think is prudent and reasonable. Set the speed limit below what most drivers will find reasonable and kerching, you have yourself a nice little stream of income when you start fining motorists for exceeding a stupidly low limit.

      <Your analogy falls apart further when you pretend that people are law abiding citizens when speeding. This is false because they wouldnt be speeding if they were abiding laws. >

      Yes, because every law created has our best intentions at heart, doesn’t it? There’s no such thing as an unreasonable law, no such thing as an outdated law, no such thing as knee jerk legislation.

      Honestly, Australians really do have a prisoner mentality.

    • Al says:

      12:39pm | 28/08/12

      As are you Matt, the great unwashed wouldn’t have a clue why their vehicle isn’t travelling at the speed indicated on their speedo or what affects their braking distances.

      Tell me Matt when you buy tyres for your car do you select them on price, performance or because they were OME? Now tell me how you would select your own tyres if the OME for your car were not made as this is the very real situation the vast majority of road users who are likely to be fined for 2-3 Kph breaches find themselves in. Now tell us all how often you check the inflation of your tyres?

      Your pious position and glib reference to mathematics Matt tells me that you haven’t got the faintest clue what a difference in the rolling circumference of a tyre makes to the actual speed of a vehicle or that the Australian Standard for the accuracy of vehicle speedos or the temperature and load at which they are tested.

      Choose to drive outside any of the parameters set in the test and you could be just as easily fined for being 2 - 3 Kph over the limit that you so zealously defend.

    • Ohcomeon says:

      12:56pm | 28/08/12

      M,

      do you have any published evidence for your assertion that increased speeds reduce fatalities? A couple of anecdotal examples proves nothing, correlation does not equal causation.

      Personally, after studying some anatomy, I think you are dead wrong. The average reaction time is about 200msec. Thats if you are young, fit and healthy and are paying attention. If you are none of those things then it can be much much higher. I dont want people with 500+ msec reaction times travelling at 150kph.

    • LC says:

      01:19pm | 28/08/12

      @Ohcomeon,

      Start here:
      http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html
      http://www.roadsense.com.au/facts.html

      - Areas limited at below the 85 percentile speed by between 8 and 25 km/h do not reduce fatalities, nor do they have a meaningful impact on road accidents or deaths.
      - Lowering speed limits into the 33 percentile speeds produces a non-compliance in over 60% of drivers.

      When the NT limited their major highways to 130 after a well-publicised accident, the rate of deaths on these roads jumped by 30% within a year, and continue to climb to this day. The road toll for these highways are back at the levels they were at the late 90s, spoiling the downward trend experienced until before their introduction in 2007.

    • Kev says:

      01:40pm | 28/08/12

      Ohcomeon - If you wanted to take the speed kills argument to the nth degree you could argue that reducing the speed limit to 0 would see all fatalities eliminated but is that reasonable?

      Victoria Police love to roll out their bullshit line of “we believe speed was a factor in the crash” as if it is a justification for the stupidly hardline stance they take on speed limits. Of course speed was a factor you idiots after all, if the cars involved weren’t moving they wouldn’t have crashed would they?

      They also love trotting out the line that speed is a factor in 30% of crashes. What does that mean? Were they driving over the speed limit or were they too fast for the conditions on the road at the time and before you say that I’m splitting hairs there is a massive difference between the two considering that governments use this as justification for speed cameras and speeding fines.

    • Sniper says:

      11:38am | 28/08/12

      Keep speeding morons, more you donate to the government, less I have to pay.  Whatever you do, don’t profit from your experience.

    • Counter Sniper says:

      12:10pm | 28/08/12

      Naah, the more the government has the more they get in the habit of wasting and the more we all have to pay

    • LC says:

      01:52pm | 28/08/12

      It’s going to be us having the last laugh when we see you bitching about you latest ridiculous speeding ticket.

      You only need to be doing 2 km/h over the limit for a moment in the wrong place and the wrong time. It’s THAT easy to get booked, and it’s only a matter of time before anyone finds themselves with a speeding ticket with the road laws, speed limits and speed cameras as messed up as they are.

    • iMitchy says:

      12:02pm | 28/08/12

      Has anyone seen the school zone just north of Kempsey on the Pacific Highway?
      I haven’t been there in years, but I do remember having just enough time between seeing the sign and the start of the 40 zone to check the time and get your speed down from 100, all the while hoping that the 20 or so B Doubles behind you plan on slowing down too. Never saw a speed camera there but God it was dangerous…

      Is this still there? I believe they will be bypassing the whole area shortly anyway.

    • Zopo says:

      03:40pm | 28/08/12

      What makes driving in this country so dangerous are those that stick on the limit and those who zig zag through traffic going slightly faster, and the car following going just as fast. Perhaps the speed limits on our roads need to be faster in some spots and slower in others. Some school zones although necessary in some areas but not in others.

      I remember being scared to drive in Italy but realised when I was there how easy it was compared to Australia. People stick to the fast and slow lanes, they let you change lanes, the slower cars allow you to overtake them. Surprisingly I thought it worked quite well.

    • M says:

      04:38pm | 28/08/12

      NO SPEED LIMITS. It’s THAT simpel

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      04:57pm | 28/08/12

      Higher speed is not necessarily a problem - the Germans and others have much higher speed limits that us and have more cars on less roads and manage a lower death toll than Australia. The decrease in the road toll is mainly down to improved vehicle safety and a reduction in drink driving. I have seen a couple of shocking accidents with the drivers and passengers standing by totally demolished cars chatting on their mobiles and I would bet they would have been dead in a 1970s or 80s car but were saved by air bags, better passengers frames and seat belts. Most of the speeding tickets are just revenue raising.

    • Subby says:

      05:48pm | 28/08/12

      I don’t know if you were writing about Melbourne, but I certainly read your article in a Melbourne newspaper.  I was a policeman for over 30 years, so when it comes to Victoria, I know what I’m talking about, it would seem that you don’t.  For a start there are no Victoria Police in speed camera cars.  They are all citizens employed by a private company.  I spent the final years of my career at the TMU (Highway Patrol).  We had an unwritten policy of not booking vehicles travelling at less than 15kph over the speed limit when detected with the laser.  Otherwise you’d have then queued down the road waiting for their ticket.  This is how we detected many of the unlicenced and suspended drivers of which you speak.  If police don’t pull over cars, how do you expect to find these offenders.  Much of my time however, was spent attending motor vehicle accidents, many of them caused by speeding drivers.  I think doing away with 70 & 50 zones is a great idea, one I wrote and suggested to the Victorian Government earlier this year.  You say you are suss of the increasing of the number of 40 kph zones.  I think you are seeing reds under the bed.  I believe 40kph is plenty fast enough for the average residential street, where anything can happen, and often does.  As to 40 kph zones outside schools, you go to an accident where a kid has been skittled outside a school and you may see things in a different light.  It’s very easy to be negative.  How about some positive suggestions to reduce the road toll and save lives?

    • Bill says:

      08:00pm | 28/08/12

      Well said Subby. It’s always great to hear from current and former members of Victoria Police. Too often certain sections of the community and the media are quick to criticise our Police, but I guarantee you that the silent majority are fully behind the men and women in blue.

      Let me say thank you for your service to the community over all those years.

    • Gabby Cabbie says:

      05:57pm | 28/08/12

      Sorry to so late contributing; I have been to lunch.

      No time to read all the contributions so maybe repeating.

      I have held a driving licence since 13/08/1957. Driven as a sales rep and now retired, as a taxi driver. I have driven over 4 million(4.000.000) kilometres and never had an at-fault accident = never an insurance claim against me.

      I now drive a taxi weekend nights hauling mainly drunks after midnight and travel an average of 980 Km (Y/T/D.) each weekend + private another 250 weekly.

      You can call me ugly or stupid BUT DON’T CRITICIZE MY DRIVING. I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING.

      I don’t speed; I do exceed the speed limit sometimes. Like at 2:00a.m. on an empty road where the vehicle (a current model) picks up 5 or 10 K.P.H. and when with traffic flow where the whole group are rolling along slightly over.

      Speed limits stupidity and illogic? Well my first car was a 1923 Morris with mechanical brakes. I needed a good 2 minute notice to come to a stop with most braking by dropping through the gears. BUT I COULD LEGALLY TRAVEL AT ABOUT THE SAME SPEEDS AS NOW, much over very primitive roads. My current cars can stop quiet a bit better.

      Speed is NOT the problem. Stupid cliche’s like ‘Every K over is a killer’ are moronic. If this was the truth then there would be no police; they would all be dead.

      Comment on a police officer ‘speeding’ and you are told ‘Police are trained’.

      WOT? What about my experience? My record?

      The true problem is incompetence. Speed related to just that. On a road like the Gold Coast Highway, at 1:00 a.m. some drivers are capable of 150 k/p/h others at 100, others at 50 and some shouldn’t have been allowed to leave their garage. Same drivers at 6:00 p.m. will need to cut their speed by 25 to 40% because of the different traffic conditions. Likewise with dry and wet roads.

      Attitude is the other danger. Every driver should have to undertake a psychology test. The bully attitude of many, especially driving SUVs and utes with their ‘I’m king of the road, make way’ attitude. The selfish ‘Don’t even think about passing me or changing lanes, THIS is MY spot in the line’. and the female ’ I’m coming through’ need mind training.

      POLICE: This harks back to the ‘Goodies in the white hats; baddies in the black hats.’ nonsense. Like plumbers, butchers, car salesman and the rest of us, they range from Fantastic to absolute a/holes. and the traffic branch is stacked with the latter.

      Some of them are almost low enough to be parking meter slimes.

      You get stopped, they ask what speed you were doing, then tell you what speed they want.

      Argue? You can’t beat city hall and they know it. They can pick any number they fancy.

      Go to court? Many Magistrates know who pays their wages and wouldn’t take the word of Jesus Christ against a cop. ( Although sometimes you can be lucky.)

      Driving is my income; loose my licence and I loose my lifestyle. So I am carefull. But to what avail? If a cop is having a quite night, there are plenty of taxis to hit on. Many driven by foreigners, too police intimidated back home to argue here. Easy money.

      And our poli representatives wont help while the money flows in.

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter