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This year’s Easter road toll has hit 21 and going by the latest police reports, it might go even higher.

2008 Easter road toll

So far Queensland has had the worst record with seven deaths, Western Australia has hit five, Victoria is currently sitting at four, Tasmania is three and the Northern Territory and South Australia have each recorded one. Amazingly, there has been no deaths on New South Wales or ACT roads.

Despite the massive increase (and intensely advertised) number of speed cameras and police on QLD roads, the sunshine state has once again, recorded the worst toll for the nation.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has blamed speeding motorists, saying her government will review its road safety campaign with the potential for tougher penalties. QLD police have also expressed that they are at “wits end” with motorists’ behaviour.

“As a result of the continued speeding on our roads, and as a result of the continued drink driving on our roads, I’ll be talking with the Queensland Police Service and the minister for transport (John Mickel) about what else we can look at.” Premier Bligh said.

Anna BlighUnfortunately for Premier Bligh, she has missed the point. Last year QLD launched campaign 300, aimed at reducing the road toll below 300 for 2007. The operation involved substantially more speed cameras and RBTs.

The result? Not only did it fail, the road toll actually increased by almost 7 per cent (337 in 2006). The extra speed cameras have so far proven to be nothing more than a successful revenue-raising scheme.

What tends to concern us though, is that Premier Bligh has not even bothered to account for how the seven deaths occurred, opting to instead blame speeding without hesitation or merit.

Saturday saw a male pedestrian hit and killed by a vehicle at Craignish, north-west of Hervey Bay. That was followed by the deaths of a six-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy when the car they were in left the road, rolled and hit a tree at Murphys Creek, north of Toowoomba.

A teenager died when his motorcycle left the road and slammed into a tree. An elderly man died after a two car collision in the Brisbane suburb of Mansfield while a man in his 50s died when his motorbike collided with a cow about 10km outside Boulia, in the state’s west.

So, two motorcycle deaths, one caused by a cow, one pedestrian, two deaths in one car due to driver error and dark roads (Police did not blame speed as the primary cause), but it gets better, because according to QLD police the elderly man’s death could have been caused by a pre-existing medical condition!

What gets the blame? Speeding! Remember folks, if you can’t blame anyone else, blame speeding! At least that makes money.

ql_police_trdaurion02.jpg

When we said massive increase in speed cameras, we weren’t exaggerating, 14,731 QLD drivers were issued with speeding tickets during this holiday period, nearly twice as many as Easter in 2007. Almost 500 were caught drink driving.

What more can we say? Twice as many speeders caught, yet the road toll is higher? Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not speeding?

Perhaps Premier Bligh should look into advanced driver training for all, compulsory re-licensing for older drivers, separate licenses for 4WD and high performance cars and focus the speed cameras on blackspots, not on straight roads.

Moving on from QLD, NSW Police issued just under 5000 speeding tickets, about 1/3 of QLD’s count, despite the state having a higher number of registered drivers. The number of speeding tickets also didn’t affect the state’s roads remaining fatality free.

Lotus Exige NSW Police Car

It’s worth noting, however, that despite the minimal speeding tickets, 6780 NSW motorists were charged with other driving offence ranging from reckless driving, using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

The motorist which topped the state’s idiot list was a 23-year-old disqualified driver, who passed a speed camera at 160km/h coming off the Anzac Bridge.

Moving to Victoria, a mother and daughter were killed when their car slammed into the side of a passenger train today in yet another level crossing disaster for the state.

Victorian Police Force Holden VE SS Commodore

Police have confirmed that the vehicle was a four-wheel drive and the incident occurred at an unprotected country level crossing at Moriac, near Winchelsea (picture below).

4wdtraincrash.jpg

The second worst state was Western Australia with 5 deaths. An eight-year-old and a 21-year-old died when the Holden Commodore sedan they were in turned in front of a Holden Rodeo – the Rodeo had right of way.

Western Australia Police

Despite wearing seatbelts, the 21-year-old woman and the eight-year-old boy were thrown from the Commodore and died of their injuries.

On Friday a woman was killed when her car slammed into a tree on the South-West Highway, 30km north of Walpole. Another women died in the State’s north, after she was thrown from her car as it rolled on a bend. Police believe she was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Going by the WA Police’s own press releases, excessive speed was not the primary factor in these deaths.

These unfortunate souls that have perished on Australian roads this Easter period, have perished in vain. The State governments continue to deny the need for better driver training, while insisting, without merit, that excessive speed is the primary and root cause of the majority of accidents.

All we can ask is that you consider the facts and figures before blindly swallowing the Speed Kills propaganda. Sticking to 60km/h in a 60 zone does not guarantee your safety. If you want to improve your driving ability and lower your chances of being in a car accident, book yourself into an advanced driving course, it may just save your life.

Alborz Fallah






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