How they justify the system

Horror weekend on the roads:

AS MOST Victorians woke to a bright, sunny winter’s morning, 11 families received heart-stopping phone calls that would change their lives forever.

Three collisions had taken six lives overnight. The dead were aged 15, 16, 18, 19, and one of them was in their 20s.

This is beyond tragic. What a horrible waste of human life. What awful, indescribable loss.

That’s no reason that the deaths can’t be ghoulishly used to justify more revenue-raising tougher road laws, though. The deputy police commissioner is already getting started:

Speed may have been involved, he said.

As a community, we know and expect what’s coming next. The important thing is to continue to make the traffic laws ever more unreasonable. If teenagers have died, then clearly speed limits and penalties for speeding are still far too low. How about 40kph on freeways, 20kph on suburban roads, and $10,000 fines for anyone who exceeds them?

We will know we’ve got the balance right when road deaths are impossible.*

*When no-one drives because it’s easier just to walk.

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14 responses to “How they justify the system

  1. David Allen

    I remember what it was like when I was a teenager with a licence. There’s not much brain involved at parties with mates. That’s the reality that won’t change.

    If it were possible to licence drivers at a level of maturity rather than their age these problems would be reduced but how do you do that?

  2. Vic road laws are beyond stupid.

  3. The penalties are tough enough already; the problem is a lack of insight into the reality of road trauma and death amongst teenagers.

    Maybe all teenagers should have to visit the trauma ward – let the bloody awful consequences of stupidity on the roads sink in.

    M.

  4. I agree with David and Michael. There seems to be a mindset amongst young adults about risk taking with cars that no amount of penalties will change.

    Maybe there a sense of ‘it won’t happen to me?’

  5. If tougher road penalties lead to people walking J that would be a great thing :)

  6. Agree with the above. If the potential of death doesn’t do much to dissuade drivers (especially younger ones) from acting dangerously, then what can punitive measures do?

    The fact that they risk their lives indicates to me that they don’t understand the risk – and therefore better education is required.

  7. Young people think that they are bulletproof and immune to the laws of physics. Letting them see the consequences of accidents would be a good step – perhaps being part of the school curriculum. But you can’t legislate out stupidity and by trying to do so you just harm responsible road users.

    More to the point on penalties – the fine’s show what the real motivation is….revenue raising. If they were really serious then it would just be points alone…but hey, gotta balance the budget right?

  8. I’m not sure what the current laws are in Victoria, but last year the Queensland government imposed harsher restrictions on L and P plate drivers. Maybe the government will adopt some of their policies.

  9. Ban teenagers – anyone under, say, 25 – from driving high-performance/modified cars? These types of cars seem to especially encourage aggressive and dangerous driving.

  10. I’ve also got a pet peeve I’d like to suggest would have saved those lives on the weekend. I have no idea whether it was a factor in those incidents or not, but what does that matter?

  11. Lynda Hopgood

    We’ve had similar things happen over in Adelaide lately and, again, the response of the police and local council is to lower the speed limits. Never mind the fact that the idiots were going over 130k at the time of the accident/s or that local have been able to drive safely at 100k on these roads for donkey’s years; no, a couple of young yobs die whilst breaking the law and the speed limit is reduced to 80k, meaning that every Barossa resident who has to drive beyond Elizabeth to go to work has to add 5 to 10 minutes to their drive.
    And I’m sure THAT won’t lead to speeding, accidents etc…

  12. Total agreement here: decreasing speed limits and increasing fines doesn’t do anything. But the sorts of measures taken in NSW are just stupid.

    Every time there’s a P-plate death on the roads, the RTA raises the number of hours that learners have to ‘log’. The number is now up to 120. In fact it’s quite reminiscent of the perpetual raising of the requisite number of missions an airman had to fly before going home in Catch 22.

    120 hours of learner driving is seriously stupid. Most learners just falsify their logbook. I would too, without flinching.

    A much more sensible approach would be a compulsory driver training and safety course for pre-learners, just like you do when you get a motorbike license. When they brought that in for riders’ licenses, leaner and provisional rider deaths dropped dramatically.

  13. Suzy, the problem you encounter is the re-definition of what is a high performance car. You can get a turbo charged WRX which is only a 2L engine capacity yet can get to very high speeds in very short period of time. This sort of reclassification and movement of technology will only continue. Its time to make at risk drivers see what could potentially happen to them.

  14. Lynda, I agree about the really bad accidents occurring from speeds well above the posted limit. I get scared driving the Main Nth. Rd, especially past the old spot as I am stunned at the number of people who want to do 100+ in an eighty zone. I think we have an over-representation of mindless driving bogans in Adelaide and I thought I would never say it but I think that the Clipsal has a lot to answer for.
    I was lucky enough to attend “Street smart” with a group of kids, where the police, ambos and fire fighters reconstructed a road accident, chopped the car, took the corpses away etc. I was gobsmacked that most students present thought it was a joke. The group I was with were better, but only because three of their peers had died in recent months in car accidents.
    I honestly felt that the greatest impact came from people who had the guts to speak to the group, pretty much saying “I was the pissed /drunk wanker. I hurt people, I have a brain injury, I am now in a wheel chair” etc.

    It amazes me that drink driving accidents focus on “Don’t drink drive, you’ll get caught, you’ll lose your licence and pay a big fine” and “don’t speed, you’ll lose points and pay a big fine”. The old car crushing also appeals politically.

    I really think the focus should be “Don’t speed, drink drive, drug drive” because you will kill your mates, probably survive in some disabled manner, hate yourself for the rest of your life and will be hated and despised by the family of the people you kill”.

    The concept of “it won’t happen to me, I’m a good driver” can only be overcome by peers telling how they destroyed lives even though they thought they were invincible good drivers too.

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