The state of road safety….

In NSW, it’s pretty much accepted by the punters that spend millions of dollars per year on fuel, rego and third party insurance that safety on our roads, and, indeed, Australia wide, is relegated to an also run status due to the seemingly obsessive focus on safety disguised as revenue raising from speeding fines. The media, whether complicit or unwittingly, plays along, with the almost obligatory “speed was a factor” comment in virtually every crash that makes the news.

In Sydney and, no doubt, Melbourne, the morning and afternoon/evening news are populated with reports of crashes (I’ll interrupt myself here to say there’s no such thing as a motor vehicle accident) which, invariably, are on a chocked and congested freeway system, moving at a speed not even remotely commensurate with the dangerous speeds the police and pollies would have us believe are responsible for the deaths and associated events they would have us swallow.

For example, on Sydney’s beleaguered M4 freeway, running east west from the city to the Blue Mountains, there’s invariably numerous crashes in areas posted as 100 or 110 kmh but the sheer volume of vehicular activity slows to suburban velocity. Yet, tailenders abound….speed, true, is a factor as any body in motion, regardless of the velocity, is deemed to be at speed. The irony of the governmental push IS so many crashes happening on reasonable quality roads, at speeds reserved for residential areas. Also, with the volume of drivers on the roads, once would reasonably expect there to be more….yet there aren’t.

Long weekends see the Big Brother approach, almost browbeating drivers into submission, with dire imprecations about speeding, speeding, speeding and……speeding. Occasionally there’s a slip up, warning of not wearing a seatbelt but speeding is the worry. The police are directed to watch out for the heinous crime of creeping over a posted speed limit whilst uncounted numbers fail to adhere to even more basic regulations. Failure to indicate, use headlights under stormy skies, slowing appropriately for amber lights….yet it’s also a worry that many people simply don’t KNOW¬† what regulations are required.

This combination is why there are crashes; as people are too worried about their speed to focus properly on the problem at hand (driving properly) whilst the ignorance of the rules put more people in danger by sheer ignorance and therein lies the real cost to the community.

If safety is the true priority then the revenue that would come from the correct and proper enforcement of the more basic, yet more important to the road user, regulations whilst backing the safety message that we, the driver, have been advised to forget except for speeding, would more than make up for the revenue raised from speeding and truly go some way to decreasing the blase’ attitude infecting drivers Australia wide.

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