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Any lingering doubt that Australian governments are exclusively PR driven were put to rest last Friday in Victoria when Tim Holding, Minister for the Transport Accident Commission, announced tough new laws to sell or crush the cars driven by so-called ‘hoon’ drivers.

It’s an election year in Victoria, and public policy is being crafted around conservative sentiment. At these times, in politics, ‘Are there any votes in it?’ is a far more important question than ‘How many lives will it save?’. Law and order agendas – press releases that kick off with the words ‘get tough on…’ – are vote-winners with middle Australia. They’re easy to distill to a sound bite, and made for prime-time news. Which is why the Victorian opposition fell all over itself to echo the Government’s anti-hoon sentiment. It’s a potential vote-winner for both sides, because nobody likes ‘hoons’ (not even me).

The Victorian Government’s proposed three-step anti-hoon agenda is this: For a first offence, the so-called hoon’s car is impounded for 30 days. A second bout of ‘hoonerism’ sees the vehicle sent up the river for three months. And a third offence will see the recidivist hoon’s car sold at auction, with the proceeds purportedly used in some governmentally administered but as yet nonspecific way to benefit the victims of crime or road trauma. Occasionally, a hoon’s car would be crushed, with press conference invitations to all the major news networks – and, presumably a front-row seat reserved for the soon-to-be-carless hoon himself.

The official line is that crushing cars would be done sparingly, in cases “where we see a demonstrable opportunity to send a powerful message to the community and to set a powerful example for a young person who has repeatedly breached our road laws in Victoria,” Mr Holding said.

Crushing cars across the board would be impractical, according to Mr Holding, since many cars driven by those of a ‘hoonish’ persuasion are in fact owned by innocent parties (a fact admirably demonstrated in WA last month when a Lamborghini Gallardo, driven at an alleged 160km/h by a mechanic commissioned to service it, was impounded even though it was owned by an innocent doctor, whose pleas for its early release fell on the Police Minister’s deaf ears until the doc threatened a compensation claim, after which the minister’s hard line promptly turned to water). Many more hoons’ cars would presumably be subject to finance agreements – and there’s no way the banks would cop a public policy that legalised the large-scale destruction of loan security assets.

So, in a nutshell, car crushing would be reserved for an occasional law and order PR stunt; the 21st Century equivalent of public flogging.

Due process – having the matter adjudicated by a court, basically – wasn’t discussed by the minister. Nor was the exact definition of ‘hoon’ – because keeping this term loose makes selective interpretation by the regulators very convenient. What constitutes a hoon, precisely which driving behaviours are hoonish (the five-year-old Victorian girl whose parentally supervised mini-bike was confiscated in Victoria last year under anti-hoon laws springs to mind), and the legal process surrounding the whole issue – not discussed, which is typical of public policy on the fly. The sound bite is always more important than the substance there.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an apologist for hoons. (Even if there’s no exact legal definition of the word.) And I’m not a hoon myself. Even if I knew what one was – precisely – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t qualify. Nor is this a case of sour grapes. I’ve got a clean driving record; all my points are intact.

If a hoon is a person who, for example, drives a car at 160km/h in a 60 zone, then I reckon that person should go to jail. Same as if you were to crank up a chainsaw in a crowded shopping mall and start waving it about. If said hoon kills or maims someone in the process, well, they should probably remain there for a rather long time. In fact, I don’t even think we need the term ‘hoon’ in the legal lexicon. There are more than enough offences – starting with dangerous driving – available to the regulators, should they wish to start belting anti-social fools over the head. I also think that the sum total of a dangerous or culpable driver’s assets should be up for grabs to compensate the victims of their actions – in cases where the victims are, for example, unable to work ever again, or are substantially disabled, and they or their families are placed well behind the financial eight-ball as a result of some idiot’s decision to drive irresponsibly.

However no amount of anti-hoon rhetoric uttered by useless politicians will be capable of kicking a big goal for road safety – or any other type of goal except maybe the ‘own’ kind. And we do need rather a large goal to be kicked here, because road trauma is personally horrific and, collectively, prohibitively expensive. It’s a major health problem and a significant financial impost on the community.

To put this last point in perspective, the Australian Crime Commission recently pegged the cost to the community of organized crime in Australia at $10 billion. The official estimate for road trauma is closer to $20 billion. It makes you think – about regulatory policies and the allocation of resources.

The reason why anti-hoon rhetoric is easy to utter is because real solutions are hard. They would require regulatory resolve – and the admission that there are some glaring problems with the way offenders are dealt with under the current legal system. And the best way to describe that process is ‘broken’.

How about you take your best guess at the number of unlicensed drivers around you in the traffic, on an average day in Australia, on an average Aussie road. It’s a staggering 10 per cent. The number of unregistered vehicles is about the same. It’s mind-bending. And these are the official estimates, usually buried in some obscure link, on some obscure page of an obscure government website. Politicians don’t want to ‘get tough’ on unlicensed drivers or unregistered vehicles because that announcement would be a de facto admission of the size of the problem – and a potential goal-kicking opportunity for their respective political oppositions. And that’s the last thing you’d want in an election year – handing the opposition a gilt-edged opportunity to take a swipe at the way you’ve run the ship.

However, that’s exactly what we need – fessing up about entrenched problems, and the steely resolve to cop the flack and get on with the job of fixing them. Have a listen to a few radio news broadcasts – all too often there’s the traffic story highlighting the textbook moron we desperately need off our roads. You know the bloke I’m talking about – he’s speeding, unlicensed, drunk and driving an unregistered car. He’s ticked all the boxes marked ‘scumbag’. And often he kills an innocent party (or parties) and walks away unscathed. What we need is a real, serious, ‘get tough on scumbags’ policy – not just the soundbite that sexes it up. We don’t need a new label for these people, because we already have one: they’re called dangerous drivers.

The reason the roads have degenerated to the extent that one in 10 drivers qualifies as a potential scumbag is because the courts in every state have the limp-est of limp-wristed attitude to unlicensed driving. It’s pathetic.

Let’s say thousands of people lose their licenses every year, which they do. Most of those people respect the law. They refrain from driving, go through the process, do their time (maybe even drop a few kilos seeing as they walk a fair bit more than before), get their licenses back and start driving again. But a proportion – a significant proportion – are scumbags. They lose their licenses and drive anyway.

If they get pinged by the cops, you know what happens? They go before the court. The magistrate tells them they’ve been very, very naughty. He disqualifies them for a longer period. Often, in this situation, they drive home from court. (A reporter I know on A Current Affair, Ben Fordham, once famously citizen’s-arrested one such scumbag for national TV – a great story. Pity it didn’t catalyze a wave of regulatory reform.)

This process often repeats itself. Again and again. And let’s face it – if you’ve been disqualified from driving for 10 years because you’ve driven, and been caught, again and again, how much of an impact on you will it really make on your driving if a magistrate ups the ante to 15 years next time? Or 20? Another contact of mine, a traffic specialist solicitor, claims there is a growing number of drivers he refers to as the “long-term unlicensed”. It’s a significant social problem.

We don’t need to start confiscating cars and, occasionally, crushing them because it’s the court system that’s broken. The cops catch plenty of dangerous drivers, who go before magistrates and are disqualified from driving. The system is broken because many of these people simply ignore their disqualification and keep driving. It’s not until they kill or maim somebody that they’re likely to see the inside of a jail cell – and that’s a bit late to start fixing the problem in my view. The damage has already been done.

Driving unlicensed is the kind of thing the regulators would focus on if they weren’t blindsided by what the former deputy Prime Minister and devout car enthusiast, John Anderson, once told me was a “singular obsession with speed”. In my view, Mr Anderson was – and is – one of the very few good ones. Maybe that’s why he got out of it.

As I understand it, you might be committing an act of hoon driving if you simply accelerate a little harder than you intended when the traffic lights go green. A small degree of wheelspin – and I’m not talking a burnout or a donut here – and you might be up for having your car confiscated. There’s no due process. I mean, you’re presumed innocent of murder right up to the point where the court convicts you, but as a practical matter you’re charged, convicted and penalised as a hoon right at the roadside. And, while you’re being booked a couple of dozen unlicensed drivers will probably drive right past you. So, while they’re stomping on you for a minor offence, the long-term unlicensed get a virtual free kick. It’s unconscionable.

Society would benefit more if the cops carried out large-scale random license checking, and if the people convicted of dangerous driving went inside for contempt of court if they ignored the court’s orders to refrain from driving for whatever period.

If any government minister thinks targeting hoons – whatever they really are, officially – and holding the odd press conference in front of the compactor at the nearby scrap-metal yard has any chance of lowering the road toll, then I have some swamp land in Florida he can buy, dirt cheap. Developers are snapping at my heels, but he can have it for just $10,000 an acre – that’s less than half of what they’re offering. It’s the bargain of the decade – guaranteed.




  • Sam

    Now why can’t somehting like that get in the mainstream press? Oh yeah, it’s not what the public want to hear so it won’t sell papers.

    Shame.

  • Paul

    I didn’t notice many suggestions on ‘actual’ road safety here! Just getting scum bags off the road doesn’t teach dumb drivers how dangerous driving actually is so they’ll take road safety seriously (like all the young women who tailgate.. who have clearly never experienced a serious accident.. otherwise they wouldn’t drive like that)

    License requirements for young drivers have increased substantially over the years, i.e. requiring a log book minimum time behind the wheel before going for a test and having 3 levels of provisional license, but – IMO – it doesn’t seem to actually produce better drivers. Are advanced driver courses such a political none starter?

    As for unlicensed drivers, I believe here in NSW they do have anti un-registered cameras in western Sydney. Just past Eastern Creek on the Great Western Highway there are 3 permanent stationary cameras facing on coming traffic. They aren’t posted as speed cameras and don’t look like speed cameras.

    From what I’ve been told these cameras are checking license plates for unregistered vehicles although we are left to imagine how effective they might be.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      IIRC Paul those cameras were initially installed to monitor truck drivers to ensure that they are taking their mandatory breaks. How they do that is there are a number of these gantries on the main trucking routes and the trucks are timed over the distance between them. If the truck does this trip too quickly that takes into account the breaks etc they are supposed to take, they get a ‘please explain’ etc.

      However it wouldn’t be hard for the Govt etc to do with them what they want as the infrastructure is now already there! I am sure they are now looking at more than just trucks! ;-)

      • Andrew M

        RE trucks taking breaks etc,
        I reckon the system they use in the UK should be adopted here. I forget wat its all called now, but when I was over there at the time I found it quite interesting.
        They have a continual clock that prints average speed etc on a paper disc that must be kept as a record for if the officials are to audit them.
        Its fitted to trucks and buses, and the auditers can easily asses to make sure they havent exceeded speed limits or break quoters.

      • Paul

        I wasn’t referring to the gantry cameras as seen on major interstate routes. I know they’re for long distance trucks! The same ‘rego plate’ ID system developed for those truck cameras by the CSIRO is now used in the road side cameras I referred to and has now been incorporated in a new version of red light cameras too.

        On a more important note.. news today of another P plater killing herself near Eden…. slid off a wet road at night in an old Hyundai Excel and demolished the car against a tree… WHEN are the authorities going to start teaching kids how to drive properly? No amount of 3 point turns and reverse parking can train drivers for highway speeds in adverse conditions.

        The technical solution for the US and EU is to make ISC mandatory from 2012. But no surveillance technology in the world is going to prevent under-skilled under-trained drivers from sliding into trees.

  • Jester

    If the pollies and and cops are serious about road safety they would make it harder to get licences in the first place. There would be much stricter driving school tests and even advanced driving courses required before you should be allowed to drive.
    But seriously – this wouldn’t be an election winner since it would cost you $2,000 to get your licence, and then voters would be mad, nobody would like the policy etc.
    This current approach is easy – it doesn’t cost voter a sigle cent, somebody’s car gets crushed, media has a field day and politicians and cops appear to be making the roads safer, and all along millions of dollars get funelled into the treasury from all these speed cameras that keep on popping on every single intersection like mushrooms after the rain, and then you get stung by a $245 for doing 80 in a 70, on a road with visibility and road surafce good enough for 130km/h. You probably only missed the 70 sign since the policing and laws force you to constantly stare at the speedo, and the speed zone changed from 80 or 90 to 70 without any reason, except for the fact that they installed a camera up ahead, so with 70 zone instead of 90 the camera with catch more people. simple.
    Typical Australian approach to road “safety” – and it a zero impact approach, no wonder we are the laughing stock of the world.
    If there is a single reason why we have a decline in road toll is because of the safer vehicles.
    First vehicles that should be crushed would be those of people that cause accidents, even minor ones, and they should also be charged with reckless driving – for me doing 20-30kmh over the speed limit and not causing an accident is not an offence compared to some retard that just failed to give way, failed to indicate, run a red light etc, and smacked into a family car, regardless of that retard doing the speed limit.

    • Pat

      I didn’t realise we were the laughing stock of the world, also I find it interesting you are trying to justify that you doing 20-30km’s over the speed limit without causing an accident as not being an offence. Speeding is just as bad as not giving way, failing to indicate or running a red light, saying one set of rules is fine for some people while others get a different set of rules based solely on their driving skill is stupid, thinking that 80% of the road rules (speeding up to cut someone off while they are indicating intent to merge into your lane for instance) are optional, is stupid. I agree that more needs to be done, people need to be educated and re-educated, tested and RE-tested on a regular basis, just the same as any specialist operating dangerous machinery would be, vehicles are extremely dangerous and should be treated as such with EVERY road rule adhered to strongly, people driving 20 km’s UNDER the speed limit are just as dangerous as people driving 20km’s OVER the speed limit. Indicating, obeying lights and signage, keeping left unless overtaking (which apparently has been forgotten), these all fall under the flag of being a responsible driver. The entire process has become far too lax, and action proportionate to the crime should be mandatory.

  • Paul

    Just to show how much little I read the tabloids, turns out ALL speed cameras in NSW are getting a digital upgrade over the next 4 years to enable them to do rego-plate scanning and cross reference that against the RTA data-base. They have similar rego scanning cameras in Tasmania.

    • Benjie

      How is that actually meant to stop them from driving though?

      If they are repeat offenders, they’ll just get another fine in the mail and continue driving. It’s all just about revenue raising, it’s an easy way to squeeze some more money out of people.

  • Tony

    the problem is the people in charge or ‘safety’ are also in charge of ‘revenue’

    so how can they be trusted? hoons are just a scapegoat

    there’s 5,000 people who die on the roads yearly right? is there any chance this is gonna go lower? not likely with the poor skill levels and the increasing number of cars and lower expenditure on infrastructure

    is it worth this effort to try to lower the road toll when its apparent it’s as low as it’s gonna get without radical non revenue based ‘change’?

    the most sickening thing i’ve seen lately is booking drivers for ‘speeding’ on hwy onramps

    you leave an urban street at 60 for a hwy at 100… so the onramp is 60 right? all the way until the hwy starts at 100

    so how many cars do you know that can do 60 to 100 instantaenously?

    to me police are part of the problem and not the solution with decisions like this

    • Save it for the track

      Where is that happening ? Not something that I or others I work with would do.

  • Save it for the track

    Jester, surely you jest… What do you think people say when they are stopped for running a red ight, or not stopping at a stop sign, or not indicating, not staying in their lane or not keeping left?? I wasn’t speeding, why are you topping me. Now that is obviously a product of the Government ‘speed kills’ message. But these very offences, and poor driving skill of others are but some of the reasons we have sped-limits. It’s all very well for people to say they drive ‘safely’ 20-30km/h over the posted speed-limit, but you are on the same road as those that are a bit slow or inept in indicating, not giving way at intersections properly, have trouble staying in their lane, and even like recently discussed and seen on another CA review, sticking resolutely to their dispalyed speed on their speedo, even though it can be about 10km/h or so below that limit. Don’t you think that a vehicle travelling 20-30 above a speed-limit will have more trouble avoiding the fool that runs an intersection, than if they were travelling at or below the posted speed-limit? As far as I’m concerned, the speed-limits are posted to cater for the lowest common denominator. Some of our freeways may have the road surface to handle higher speeds, but that doesn’t take into account slower moving and slower reacting drivers that may move into the path of vehicles travelling at high speed. Many drivers struggle to even effectively merge onto a freeway, with a combination of those that dawdle down the often too short on ramps, combined with those that resolutely will not move over to even give someone room, even when the lane next to them is clear. Combined with a few facts about misconceptions that many people have in regard to our road rules. Firstly, on a multi-lane road (key word mutli) it is NOT illegal to overtake in the left lane. Secondly, the ‘keep left unless overtaking rule’ DOES NOT mean that vehicles have to be in the left lane on a road with MORE than two lanes. The way the rule reads, is ‘must not drive in the right lane unless:’, then it goes on to list the exceptions, and of course it ONLY APPLIES TO ROADS WITH speed-limits ABOVE 80km/h. I agree that speed is not the only issue, but a speeding driver on the same roads as those that are ‘challenged’ or in some other way are disobeying the rules, such as not giving way or something else simply adds to the chances of a collision. That extra 20-30km/h that you speak of is in raw terms a distance of 5.5-8.3M (the extra distance travelled in one second), which in many cases can be the difference between a collsion and a near miss. As I have said before, despite ANYBODY’S personal view or perception of a speed-limit or any other rule or law. If you drive to the rules, you won’t have a drama. Unfortunately, I usually only come into contact with those doing the wrong thing, most with the same answers, ‘why aren’t you stopping [insert pet peeve here]‘, or the other usual laments. By the way, where I work, we are very active at trying to catch the unlicensed drivers, in all too many cases they are assisted by their family and friends to try and avoid detection. I agree that slapping ever lengthening disqualification periods onto people does not work, but unless not only the courts but government and society as well change their views, it will not change. There would need to be traffic specific Gaols, or perhaps to avoid past ‘tragedies’, perhaps repeat traffic offenders could be put on lengthy community service programs. However, I believe that traffic offenders that are recidivist should end up in Gaol, just like anyone else, perhaps that would deter some, and then only the real ‘crims’ that couldn’t give a damn anyway would be the only ones left driving around unlicensed. It’s hard to fathom some though. I have had Unaccompanied Learners go from having their L’s to disqualified for a couple of years, in less than a year, simply because they couldn’t serve out their 3 month Suspension for driving unsupervised, and many live on railway lines and/or bus routes.

    • costa

      Were I live there is an industrial area and yet the limit is 50 Kmh, Do you really believe that the 50 kmh limit is there for safety and not for revenue raising?
      My car is lucky to get into top gear without breaking that ridiculous limit. Half the rules and regs on the road are nothing but knee jerk reactions by a bunch of overpaid pollies.
      And as far as crushing a car is concern’d i would like to know witch part of the word ownership is hard to understand in a so called democratic Country?
      Cars don’t kill ! its the idiot behind the wheel that kills that’s why drivers licences should be a part of a high school curriculum were the education can be done at a younger level and bring the drivers age up to 20 years of age instead of the stone aged system we currently have!!!

  • Tony

    could you possibly use paragraphs? a solid wall of text makes it hard to follow

    • Reckless1

      I didn’t even read the novel – just gave it a -ve.

  • Save it for the track

    Stream of consciousness.
    Highlights – ‘keep left unless overtaking’ ; applies to multi-lane roads with posted speed-limit ABOVE 80km/h, MEANS not to drive in the right lane, i.e. on three lane roads or more, does not mean having to stay in the left lane.
    – In Australia on those same multi-lane roads overtaking to the left is NOT an offence.
    – persons thinking they ‘safely’ drive at 20-30km/h over the speed-limit are more likely to have a collision with the other miscreants that fail to give way, have problems merging, and don’t use indicators etc. etc.
    - those blindly driving to their speedo can also cause dramas, as seen with the speedometer error in the Subaru Exiga review here on CA (indicated 112 but doing 100)
    - Obey ALL the road rules regardless of whether or not you agree with them or not, they are there in most isntances to cater for the lowest common denominator.
    .
    E.g. non-english speaking female(can be males as well) from countries in our region(and I don’t mean pacific) driving a Toyota Camry with no idea how to keep left, how to indicate, what the speed-limit is, or what to do when an emergency vehicle with lights/sirens on comes up behind them. (think of this example in the old context of the ‘hat wearing Volvo driver’ of years gone by)

    • Nick

      I see your point but I need to know why the non english speaking driver was given a bloody licence in the first place.

      People like this should have their licence stripped from them until a time that they can prove they are safe competant drivers. The RTA naught that passed them on their driving test should be fired as they are putting peoples lives at risk.

      Driving is a privilege not a right.

    • Nelson

      Sorry Mate but I disagree with you on almost everything you said here.
      Regarding overtaking on your left just proves you know nothing about driving. Now if it is part of the Driving code here in Australia it even makes it more ridiculous.
      Australian drivers and driving system aka RTA are just outdated and retarded.
      Anyone who had the experience to learn to drive in Europe is far a better driver, regardless if He or She is considered a bad driver. It’s a fact pesonal expirenece.
      In Europe you overtake on the left lane and you always stay right according to your speed, you also NEVER overtake on you right that is the rule. Almost everyone complies with it, cops will pull you over if you don’t obey.
      For anyone who is going to say they have driven in Europe and blablabla, you probable the “Sunday Driver’s” That we have to overtake or just get out of the way because of you slow sluggish driving.
      Speeding is not a crime, sluggish driving is! Consider that some people have more capacity to drive faster than others, sound ok?
      If my friend is a laborer and I’m a doctor, it does not mean he doesn’t have rights like I just less capacity.
      Wake up Australia!

  • Gidge

    There’s no semblence of driver education. Making extreme penelties more extreme only reduces respect for aouthority. In the eyes of the masses the Police have become The Fun Police. No penelty will stop these ideots but geting more and more draconian only reduces the insentive of the more moderate members of society to obay the rules. They may not do 160 in a 60 zone but they won’t pay much attention to other messages.

    What needs to be done is manditory driver eduaction and training to get a lisence. But that would cost money instead of making it

  • Tony

    I agree 100% with Mr. \”Save it for the track\”

    However who\’s fault is it that ethnics in maroon Camrys who can\’t drive are given a license?

    Whose fault is it for the deplorable lack of ability?

    • Rick

      I agree with the save it for the track quote only problem is the nearest track for me is over 500 km so while it sounds good unless the gov gives us more tracks how do you suppose we do this

  • Yonny

    John, yet another great article. I often wonder how politicians make any progress at all – I mean, it’s hard to move forward when your knees keep jerking uncontrollably…… If only the politicians could see that they are a part of the problem.

    I’m not sure what I think about the new “hoon” laws as a whole, but the bit about crushing the odd car strikes me as a bit (a lot) strange. What would be the criteria used to decide whose car gets crushed? Probably it would be something as simple as (and as unfair as) an arbitrary official response to another serious P-plater accident.

    On the topic of unlicensed drivers, and the punishment of drivers who commit serious injuries, I have often thought that the law is way too lenient. Kill or injure somebody whilst driving in a grossly negligent or openly criminal manner and you should expect to go to jail. That rarely happens. Drunk tosspots get off way too lightly.

    But, I also believe that the law needs to be careful about removing driving licenses for long periods (and I’m talking years, not months). Seems to me that that risks creating a whole new class of unlicensed drivers. Drivers who have committed offenses that are severe enough to lose their licenses but who have not established a long-term pattern of repeat offending need to be treated with some sensitivity. If they go on to demonstrate a serious unwillingness to comply with the law, then that if a completely different matter – and possibly jail is one answer.

  • Save it for the track

    Yonny. There are many drivers out there that are disqualified for long periods, and it all started simply from them not paying a fine, whether it be a traffic fine or a parking fine. Many live on transport corridors, thus should easily be able to comply with their initial restriction from driving, however for a variety of reasons they simply don’t. They continue to drive. The very fact that they are not licensed negates ANY insurance that the vehicle they are using may have, thus encouraging them not to stop if involved in accidents.
    The class of unlicensed drivers you refer to already exists. I have seen many a traffic record where disqualification periods stretch to 10, 15, 20 or even 50 years. Will such a person who is in their teens or twenties be able NOT to drive in that time?? Many of course don’t bother trying to comply in the beginning of the spiral toward long-term disqualification. It’s the long-term recidivists that need to be Gaoled.

    • Yonny

      I agree with that you’re saying. What I’m trying to say (and it’s difficult, via the medium of a blog in place of face to face verbal communication) is that some people whose licenses have been suspended are redeemable. This can be forgotten in the rush to condemn people who have committed various traffic offenses – and I’m thinking here of comments I’ve read stating that people should lose their license permanently if caught doing x, y or z (ie something that the person making the comment thinks they personally would never do).

      Mind you, the number of offenders who are redeemable may be very small – I defer to your knowledge in this matter! Clearly, people who drive while disqualified are displaying a contempt for the law that needs to be addressed. Such people probably need a sharp lesson in one of the key realities of life – actions have consequences. What form that lesson should take I don’t know, but jail may well be appropriate in some cases.

  • Save it for the track

    I should clarify, that those lengths of disqualification are the results of multiple convictions for various offences, in some cases but not all, drink drivers. Many with such long disqualifications (in NSW at least) also have automatic disqualification periods (habitual offender declared) added on top of any Court imposed period.

  • Jester

    See “Save it for the track”. You are aware that there are people without even the basic driving skills, yet we allow them to gain licence and mix it with the rest, causing havoc on the roads.
    Who’s fault is this – politicians fault, cops, all of the above. The burden of catering for the lowest possible denominator should not be placed on people that have high driving skills, or good driving skills. Those few/many fools which should be removed from roads and sent to driving schools until they are “fit for service”. We have no driving standards, so not surprised common denominator is getting lower by the hour.
    All these 3/4 lane freeways – why not implement rules that will ban slow moving vehicle, trucks and buses in the two right lanes – it would be simple enough to do.
    You know, its not like European drivers have above average driving skills or IQ. They have rules that account for the bad drivers, but they also have rules that cater for good drivers, hence the no-limits, 150km/h limits and 130km/h limit on freeways, urban and out-of-town penalties also differ.
    Don’t even start talking about short on and off ramps – dammit, government spends billion on the roads – if those in the cabinets have an average IQ higher than 100 than why don’t they make them longer and wider – its simple, very simple.Saying that we don’t have the facilities and doing something about it are two completely different things.

    Other thing is that law the way its written is wrong, as expected for something written by politicians looking for re-elections.
    Exceeding speed limit in a school zone with a 5m visibility by 20km/h and exceeding the speed limit on a stretch of road with 5,000m visibility by 20km/h – how can the penatly be the same is beyond me. Urban zones and out of town zones – those should be two completely diferent penalty rates, and I’m not alking about increasing urban penalties, I’m talking about reducing the out-of city penalties – we are a huge country, with many, many 100′s of kms of great roads, people that love driving should used them for what they are suppose to be used.

    Unfortunately people like our “Save it for the track” are all for status quo – and even knowing the system is broken they do nothing to fix it, although they could if they want to.

  • Yonny

    The system is too comprehensively broken to be fixed any time soon.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that if getting a driving license required the same training and testing for aptitude and attitude that is involved in gaining a pilot’s license a significant percentage – the vast majority – of current drivers would fail to qualify. They don’t modify standards or requirements to suit the lowest common denominator; if you don’t meet the minimum standard then you don’t fly. This is almost certainly not an original observation, but if the car had been invented 10 years ago instead of 120 years ago, then its use would be highly regulated and it would be extremely difficult to get a license to operate one.

    However, society has progressed way beyond the point at which it would be possible to seriously revisit driver licensing requirements, not without depriving vast numbers of people of their licenses. That’s just not going to happen – not in the short term at least.

    • Mick

      Here lies the problem with the current system as you mention. The lowest common denominator is catered for too much, there generally is a reason sections of society are the lowest denominator. Don’t get me wrong I am not having a go a anyone here but just making a broad statement.

      The pilot analogy is a really good one, if you are unable to tick box 1, 2, and 3 you don’t qualify. Rather with the current licencing system where if you tick box 1, not 2 and part of 3 you manage to get a licence. Yet the pollies go on and on about road safety.

      There needs to be something done to either train these people better or get them off the roads, but then comes the other side of this losing battle. There isn’t enough police and police presence to enforce these rules.

  • pb

    Speeding drivers are simply too profitable to the regulators (i.e. the government). As long as the windfall from speed cameras continues, the focus on speed as the be all and end all of road safety will continue. Ergo, you speed (driving to the conditions or otherwise), you are dangerous, you deserve to be fined.

  • Tom

    if only everyone had access to a track day event CLOSE to them. if there was more tracks hooning would go way down. But its to expensive to do that and its much easier to take away peoples cars and push it under the carpet and not actually do anything to fix the problem

  • Save it for the track

    Any ‘fault’ or blame as regards the licensing system cannot be blamed on Police. We enforce the rules, we don’t make them. Society is as it is. When you get right down to brass tacks, take driving away for a moment, what about the propensity for some people to breed when they really shouldn’t? Absolutely no licensing in place to have children is there??
    .
    I’d prefer not to book anyone, or come across anyone drink driving, but its the way of the world. People have free will, various rules, regulations and laws are put in place to try and allow most to live in harmony with each other. There will always be those that willfully break the rules, have no clue of the rules, or are just plain stupid and/or incapable of following rules.

    • Daniel

      Actually “Save it for the track” I would have to say that, yes Police do need to cop some of the blame. I work for a police department and while many officers I speak to, don’t agree with the current road safety initiatives and don’t believe they are effective, they sit back and watch as Inspectors and Commanders make career advancement out of enforcing some pollies misguided “anti speeding/hoon” message of the minute.

      Time for rank and file coppers to say that enough is enough and refuse to go along with this tripe, until what they believe will work is actually put in place.

      • Nelson

        WOW
        I’m impressed and I know for a fact that a good cop can see a good driver and his sincerity, after backing a rule.
        I was almost pulled over for speeding 10 over the limit, but the cop behind realized that I had to speed to avoid some idiot trying to get on my lane in a dangerous manner.
        I do believe that cop’s want to stop and fine dangerous drivers on our roads like bad overtaking, super slow drivers, tailgaters, etc… but they are obligated to fine speeding drivers.
        The speed limit on qualified freeways to a higher limit at least 120km/s or even 130km/h. Will avoid lot’s of accidents that are from micro-sleep/fatigue, but it is not easy due to the lack of talent on our roads.
        We just have to sit and wait until RTA change to the European driving system so that we could eventually change a little.
        Not being obligated to have a Hazard triangle to put 50 meters to alert drivers in case of a breakdown or accident, or even wearing a florescent vest when getting out of the car in this situation is so outdated and dangerous!

  • Andrew M

    Gee CA really know how to cash in on ratings winners…..

    What further discussion does this bring that the last article didnt???

    • noj

      I personally think its a good topic.

  • Tinman

    It’s interesting to note, everytime CA brings up the subject of speed and enforcement, some people turn ego-centric. The problem with that view is that it creates ignorance, it diminishes the ability to see the big picture.
    We could always raise driver standards through more training and harder tests.
    What makes the proponents of this believe that they would pass? Ego-centricity.
    Imagine if you legislated 40% of the drivers off the road and they stayed off the road(I chose 40%,but it’s just a matter of how high you raise the bar).That’s 40% fewer cars sold and 40% less government revenue.
    Suddenly, the ones who pass and are allowed to drive, find themselves facing a fewer choice in the number of cars that they can buy.Which manufacturer wants to hang around in a shrinking market, unless that manufacturer can get more money for the fewer cars sold.
    Oh, and the roads, well there’s less revenue, so the roads that WERE good for 110km/h are now starting to look like 60km/h roads.
    Get the picture!
    They are called public roads because they are PUBLIC roads.
    They are designed to move millions of people, billions of kilometres and anybody who would like to tweak them a bit to suit themselves better dig deep and cough up.
    The population as a whole is getting older and as a result, overall driving ability will get worse before it gets better.
    You will never get rid of the HOONS.They are predominately young males and it seems to be natures way of getting rid of the stupid ones.

    • Davo

      Like your logic Tinman & I say that in a sincere way.
      A lot of rubbish gets written about revenue raising,it reflects the values of the writers,they have none or they don’t think for themselves & jump on the band wagon of some CA journo without question.
      Those at greater risk of a bad outcome on our roads are young & male, natural selection accounts for some.Behind the wheel they are alone with their attitudes or with like minded peers encouraging them to take greater risks.
      Mum & Dad or older sibling are not there to influence behaviours.
      The crush laws will affect a minority who never learn.
      After the publicity about multiple funerals,traumatised families,I still hear idiots in the distance doing burnouts,witness speeding,driving under the influence of whatever.
      What can be done with an ADULT that will not toe the line?
      They are fined which does not hit them where it hurts sufficiently or worse imprison them which often is not effective,OR you deny them the means to reoffend ie crush the car & therefore the means to get another one,NO TRADE IN.Harsh justice but these people have a potential to maim & kill at a huge personal cost to themselves & the wider community which they never think about.EGOCENTRIC,SELF ABSORBED,CALL IT WHAT YOU LIKE.
      It is anti social behavior that needs dealing with.

  • Reckless1

    There were many places last century where Governments applied similar draconian policies agains citizens. They used their secret police, under various names, to detain citizens, confiscate property, and various other penalties – all for the “Good of the State”.

    We fought two world wars and a Cold War against such tyranny, and yet we have the same thing happening under our noses.

    Give morons in power a mandate, and they will quickly drink of the nectar of power and become totally irrational, cruel, and uncaring of the impact of their increasingly obnoxious actions.

    • Davo

      Reckless1 there is nothing more obnoxious than a dangerous road user.
      Was almost a victim of a driver under the influence all over the road who was closing in fast from behind & I was forced to take evasive action by getting out of his way avoiding being rammed on the drivers side from behind!
      Have seen others since of course. Then there is the one who appears from no where,didn’t see him because he is travelling at well over the sign posted legal limit.
      This is the real tyranny.Road users who have no regard for anyone & have the potential to kill or injure.Ever think of the personal & real cost of injury?
      The injured are a huge burden on the so called tyrant state as well as families left to be carers.

      • Reckless1

        I agree that certain road users need to be “curbed”.

        It’s the “how” that I object to, since it reeks of the same puerile “State-ism” that existed in Nazi Germany, Russia, etc. Statutory penalties is what I’m talking about, the kind that go against the foundation of our justice system. It’s the emotive “hoon” that’s the current target, but once they can do what they like there (whether it succeeds or not) they’ll start penalising motorists who spend too much time looking behind them instead of where they are going, and those who claim miraculous driving abilities in being able to avoid another car running into the back of them.

        Ever think of the real cost of losing your liberty to the tyrant state?

  • Tinman

    People who trade liberty for protection will have neither.

  • GranmaEcho

    Spare a thought for us people who put up with this rubbish day in day out. I had to get up at 3.00am this morning because of the noise. The engine screaming, the tires screaming and the yelling out that all goes with these hoons. I don’t bother to call the Craigieburn police anymore because they just say “call the hoon line there is nothing we can do”, which is nice when you live in a hoon suburb. When I heard about the crash in Mill Park all I thought was oh well five more off the road. That’s not how we should think is it ?.

  • Callous Aussie

    It’s not political vote scoring at all and needs to happen sooner rather than later in ALL states. The roads aren’t there for morons to endanger the lives of others.

    I had a clown in a massively worked VL commodore that looked like it should be on a drag strip rather than the road enter out street yesterday and proceed to put all that power onto the road. I promptly stepped out onto the road and waved him down. He slowed from his estimated 80 kph burnout in the belief I was going to compliment his car. What a tosser. My street is posted at 50 kph and kids play out there all the time.

    This wasn’t someone edging over the speed limit. It was someone performing a reckless act. Crush the cars. Fixed. if there were suitable laws in place, residents would start filming such incidents and report them. At the moment the laws are garbage. Due to the chance that there may be a speed camera on the miain routes they save thier idiocy for the side streets.

    Crush the cars. No-one can dispute that it doesn’t work because the USA do it and the stats are amazing. 95 percent of hoons don’t reoffend. The other 5% don’t deserve a car.

    Sorry CA, but you shouldn’t be using this as an election grab to gain support for your opposing party. People have right to make up their own minds. That’s plain wrong and not what you should be using this site for.

    Crush the cars. It is the only way the message will get through. While they were burying the kids from that 5 death accident in the XR6 ,some twat drove drunk (5 times over the limit) into a car outside the service. The message jsut ain’t getting heard. Crush the cars. If mum and dad let their dipsh!t son go out in the Porsche and he hoons it up. Crush the car.

    The current cotton wool approach ain’t working. Here’s a slap on the wrist .Now off you go and run someone down whilst showboating in front of your friends. This issue is zero to do with politics and everything to do with making the roads a safer place. Crush the cars.

    • Callous Aussie

      When you see an 8 year old girl crushed to death between two cars after one lost control at a crowded esplanade at the hands of a drunk driver doing donuts whilst enjoying a day at the beach with her family , or a car doing an estimated 130kph hit your neighbours 10 year old son and wrap his bike around his body in a 50 zone you begin to adjust your attitude.

      I have witnessed both and both were the result of young males behaving like animals. Crush the car. On top of that one of these clowns walked out of court. The other was a P-plater with a BAC over 0.2.

      • Reckless1

        The problem with people wh witness a “small” picture, is that they completely lose sight of the “big” picture and make knee-jerk responses.

        Big picture thinking is required, not to be clouded by small picture events.

        In economics, it’s called micro and macro. Just because a bloke down the road is bankrupt (micro) doesn’t mean the country is broke (macro). Get it??

        We need Macro thinkers and the plebs in office are Micro thinkers.

        • Callous Aussie

          Car Crushing works. They have already proven it in the US. There is no reason to discount it here. So many accidents on our roads have the same element of hooning in them. These can be reduced. We have shown commercials like the “come on mate you can do it” add where he ends up in a wheelchair amongst others and they simply do not work.

          The macro is a simply process. Crush the cars. Only when there is a very real threat that if you hoon you will lose your vehicle will we stamp out the reckless acts on our roads. 25 years as a motorist and witness to the madness that occurs on it ensures I have seen plenty of micros to be able to form a quantified and qualified view on the macro.

          You cannot argue against the stats in the US. Crushing cars saves lives.

          • Devil’s Advocate

            Even better, the ‘hoon’ should be the one who presses the button on the crusher! ;-)

          • Callous Aussie

            Yes, they should.

    • The Oracle

      Do you have any references to support your statements regarding the success of car crushing in the USA?

      • The Oracle

        72 hours later and you still can’t offer any references to support you argument. Do you have anything to say? I am interested in this topic, but you can’t convince people without offering some substance to you argument, rather than emotional rantings.

        Repeating an opinion more stridently each time doesn’t make that opinion anymore correct.

  • Buddha

    As a car nut who loves speed, burnouts, etc, but OFF the road in a safe environment, I have another angle on the crushing idea.

    Instead of crushing the car, which everyone would agree to be a waste, why not strip hoon’s cars down to the smallest parts, and sell each part, or groups of parts, with funds to go towards support for victims of road hoons.

    I’m talking stripping down to even valves, wheel nuts, etc. People would be able to buy a set of valve springs, or 4 tyres. This would be just as ego crushing for the hoon, but allows the bits to be used by other people (thus avoiding another wreck in the environment) and helping the victims of their stupidity.

    • Gazza

      Good idea, but just the cost of labour to do this would be prohibitive.
      Unless, they made the convicted hoon pull their own car apart in their own time at their own expense.
      The parts could then be sold off to cover any costs.
      This would also partly solve the problem raised earlier of the hoon that buys a $1000 clunker and couldn’t care less if it’s crushed.

      • Callous Aussie

        … because then it is open to exploitation. Some corrupt cop wants your set of wheels for his car. Bang, you were hooning. That is one of the reasons they crush them in the USA. The other is to make you watch as it happens so hopefully you don’t do a retun trip.

        • Jester

          I prefer creation rather than destruction – destruction, only idiots can support destruction, idiots and losers.

  • G

    Well said.

  • dan

    There needs to be more places for the hoons to go to get them off the road. I know living in melbournes east the closest place to go is over an hours drive away to calder park which is a pile or rubbish anyway…
    Give us a place to go.

    • Callous Aussie

      The more it is encouraged off the road ,the more it occurs on it. We have a burnout comp at the raceway here in Cairns every few months. The road that leads to the speedway is covered in rubber.

      There is currently a review of the burnout comps.

      • The Oracle

        Again, I would like to see some references regardng the increase in street burnouts since the introduction of the competitions at the speedway. And I mean other than the appearance of the adjacent street, I would like to see some independent data for the state or country in general, to support your statement.

        • http://www.betweentwopoints.com Andy

          I’d be interested in this as well. I’ve been doing some searching around and have found nothing other than a statement from NSW Police (on a story on AdelaideNow) that claimed that opening a drag strip had reduced the instances of illegal street racing.

          http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23209003-2682,00.html

          “Since the opening of the Western Sydney International Dragway NSW police said illegal street racing ‘has been non-existent’ in the area”

          It’s an anecdotal statement and not something which proves widely that off-street sessions on a track link to less (or even more, for that matter) illegal races. Alternatively, the NRMA site also says the following:

          “… interest in these [off street] legal races far outweighs availability. Different vehicle classes are run each week at Calder Park and the wait between class meets can be over a month”

          http://www.mynrmacommunity.com/motoring/2007/08/13/illegal-street-racing-%E2%80%93-your-say/

          If anyone else has anything more conclusive that links legal off-street racing facilities with more/less illegal racing and bad driver behaviour, I’d be interested in reading it.

          • The Oracle

            Andy, It’s good to see that you have been able to find some information on this. It seems to support the argument that the availability of off-street racing and similar activities decreases the frequency of on-street illegal racing. This supports some statements by others on this blog.

            Except of course Callous Aussie, who seems to be expressing an unsupported opinion.

            I’ll see if I can find any other references myself.

          • The Oracle

            I found this form the NSW Police where they actually site a reduction in complaints of hoon driving and a reduction in the number incidents of street racing. See p5. http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/165232/Annual_Report_-_Public_Safety.pdf

            I still can’t see any data to support the idea that organised events increase teh incident of illegal street racing.

          • http://www.betweentwopoints.com Andy

            Thanks for that, Oracle. They seem to claim (or at least hope to achieve) fewer instances of illegal racing behaviour, although they will most likely link it to increased visibility of police presence.

      • Jester

        What’s your point – doing burnout has got nothing to do with enjoying a car, not surprised they do them on roads aswell. If you really enjoy driving you will do track work, not spin wheels like some brainless idiot. The more track work you do, the less aggressive you will be on the roads, since you will see how much faster you can safely drive on the race track. Shame we only have 2 decent ones, Phillip Island and Eastern Creek.
        So the adrenaline rush you used to get doing 160km/h on public roads will not happen anymore, since on the track you can do 240-260-280km/h, then you just start doing track days and roads really do become cruising avenues.
        Burnout comps should be banned, its a senseless waste of good rubber that should be layed on the corners exits while powering away from the apex.

        • dan

          Whatever floats your boat mate.
          Plenty more car events apart from burnouts and this article isnt just about them either.
          Im sure you have a hobby and for many of us its drifting, powerskids, drag racing etc.

    • Jester

      Exactly – give us more places to play and people will relax on the road. When I do a hardcore session on the track I drive like a granma for 3 months. Its good to get it out of your system.

      • The Oracle

        I agree, years ago my mates and I used to participate in demo derbys at the local speedway. It was a lot of fun and it got rid of all the frustration and latent road rage for months. Now I am a bit more patient and have other constraints on my time and I find I don’t need that sort of outlet, but in my 20s, it was a great release.

  • Rex

    There was a famous Professor who always said “why is it so”. This saying also applies to the annual media and public outrage regarding the national road toll over the Xmas holiday period.

    As alarming as the statistics are for the loss of life, impact on families, use of emergency resources and the cost to the nation, more alarming is the lack of any comment and discussion by both media and the public on the real culprit, the Driver. Yes the roads should be better, bad vehicles should be banned from use, greater police presence etc etc however what is always tagged on to a sentence or worse still NO comment at all is that Driver Education should be at the top of the priority action list.

    Our country prides itself on the level of education in every field of endeavour but for some inexplicable reason our Governments both State and Federal do not consider Driver Education as a major priority…….why is it so ??? Well some police, bureaucrats and research boffins would have us and their political masters believe that if you teach drivers how to brake properly, swerve to avoid an accident, drive at speed on a freeway, drive at night, on gravel roads, in the rain that ALL drivers would become over confident and therefore drive without fear on the roads increasing the accident rate. Their only solution is to make even more graphic advertising campaigns for the majority to turn off or become numb to, this approach is NOT working.

    Clearly with the statistics for fatalities and accident numbers increasing around the country then the current “mushroom policy” of keeping drivers in the dark is obviously not working. It is now time for politicians to think outside this current narrow focus and look to introduce proper skills based Driver Education programs across the country. There is no doubt that the overwhelming number of drivers do not know the limit of their driving skills nor indeed the car they drive. With all driver training programs to obtain a licence solely focussed on defensive driving then they will never find out until they get into a real situation and in most cases they will panic with the result not being any good for anyone and potentially becoming yet another road accident statistic.

    Another argument against Skills based Driver Education is the cost and time it would take. I am not suggesting this will be an overnight solution to the problem because accidents will always happen given humans are not perfect and when added to the previously mentioned factors such as road conditions, bad vehicles etc it is impossible to eliminate accidents entirely. However we could commence a program as follows

    1) All people who lose their license must pay for and attend a skills based Driver Training program before their License is returned
    2) Incentivise all Drivers in the important 18 – 25 age group where they are awarded Insurance premium discounts if they attend and pass a course plus demonstrate continued good driving performance over time
    3) Incentivise ALL drivers with Insurance premium and Car License discounts if they attend and pass a course and again main

    Until such time as the Authorities agree that Driver Education is a priority then the accident statistics will increase and we will continue to have this debate long into the future without a resolution, so please tell me “why is it so”

    THE END………

    • Yonny

      Rex, I’m afraid that the various state government propaganda on speed being the primary cause of accidents is winning. That’ll be good news for them, as they can continue to do what they’ve been doing for a decade now – that is, nothing constructive or actually helpful (like reviewing licensing and training requirements, significantly upgrading roads and so on), but very very lucrative (like using speed cameras).

      Various road ministers will say that they would prefer drivers not get caught speeding and that speed cameras are not there for revenvue. What a crock – if it was ever true, it isn’t true now, when speed camera revenue is a large source of income for governments. Put it this way, if we all had a driver’s strike for a year, and paid no speeding fines, various state governments would be severely strapped for cash….

      What is needed is a long-term view, something politicians are really bad at. We need to devise plans, and stick with them over the long term – and not panic and legislate as the result of a single accident.

      The problem with the current approach is that it leaves state governments with very little room to move. They can cut speed limits further (as I believe they will) and upgrade automatic enforcement (a certainty), but that would likely be ineffective and counter-productive. You see, they can’t win the war if they are fighting the wrong enemy.

      • Callous Aussie

        Nice post Yonny. The enemy is often the state of our roads. Over the past 20-30 years ,even the most basic 4 cylinder cars have gotten faster and faster and in that same time our roads have deteriorated. Particulalry the ones that don’t hug the main GPO’s.

        If the money raised from speed cameras was ALL put back into out roads we wouldn’t have people hitting trees where a crash rail should have been.

        I still however support crushing cars for repeat offenders. The excuse “I didn’t have a race track to release my tension on” is crap. If someone’s that way inclined they shouldn’t be on the road to begin with.

        • Andrew M

          Callus,
          You cant keep blaming the quality of roads.
          It is a fact that most accidents are a result of human error.

          Sure some guy may not have hit a tree if there was a guard rail installed, He would have hit the guard rail instead which still would have registered an accident.

          The notion to rail the whole road network is plain silly.
          What ever happened to the driver taking the responsibility for an accident???
          Oh and how does 4cyl cars getting faster change things??
          Are you saying 10 years ago they were incapable of doing the speed limit???

          • Callous Aussie

            No I’m not saying that at all. The road toll has plateaued over that ten years. Cars ten years ago weren’t much different to now in terms of speed. However they certainly were 25 years ago. The biggest difference today is the safety systems of course compared to a decade ago.

            Yes the guard rail would register an accident but it would also absorb impact, even at that speed and would most certainly have given the occupants a better chance of survival. If not, why are they used at all?

            Yes, driver stupidity is a factor and we have already discussed that elsewhere. However the governments must accept some of the blame.

            The road safety campaign currently runs around a huge roll out of speed cameras.The number of drivers here in Cairns pulled over for RBT’s last year dropped by a significant amount due to funding cuts. At the same time more drivers died than the year before. 5 of those on a stretch of the Bruce Highway several kilomtres long that was earmarked for upgrade to a motorway 15 years ago. Motorways don’t provide for the driver to leave the road and hit a highway sign’s h-frame .So in those instances , yes a barricade should have been in place and would have prevented those deaths . 3 of the deaths resulted from this.

            One was from a head on when a motorist decided to drive down the wrong side of the road at lights and killed a woman on her way to work . Had the motorway been built as promised there would have been an overpass at that intersection and the offender wouldn’t have been able to access oncoming traffic. So yes, the lack of spending on our roads certainly does contribute.

            If the governments were truly concerned about our roadtoll they would look to spend ALL revenue from speed cameras to upgrade these roads.

            Also I never suggested railing all the roads, but how many times have you driven through a known fatigue zone and seen a row of huge trees there with crosses on them? Everything is put back to the driver and it shouldn’t be. Are there adequate numbers of proper rest stops? No. Particularly on the drive from Cairns to Brisbane. A distance of 1800 k’s.

            Are there adequate overtaking lanes? No. Between Proserpine and Mackay on the Bruce Highway (130km’s) there are two. Despite numerous sections of winding double white lined road. The road surface is rough ,the lanes in many places are narrow.

            I accept that drivers need to take precaution in their driving, however when a road is signposted 100kph it is reasonable to expect that you won’t suddenly bouce off the road on a bad surface or hit a huge tree that just happened to be on a poorly marked bend.

            We have had 4 cars hit on the rail line by trains in the past 15 months. None of them had boomgates and immediately behind them are vast numbers of traffic lights to provide a distraction. I actually went on 7 news Brisbane and local to protest this . One has since had boomgates installed. Another has a retirement home being built along side it, so expect a fatality there too soon. This sort of setup was ok 30 years ago but not now the population has quadrupled.

            Sorry, but the governemnt has to accept some of the blame. Especially on roads such as the Pacific Highway and Bruce Highway where the roads simply are ridiculous given the vast distances between cities in the country. We can give a billion dollars to Indonesia for Tsunami relief but drag our heels when it comes to looking after our own.

            Only when I see every penny from speed cameras allocated to roads like they do in other countries will I believe that they are more than a cash source for coffers.

          • Andrew M

            I see your point Callus, and the main one I agree on is the rail crossings.

            I dont believe that to be a main roads issue, but rather QR’s.

            As for the rest, if people drive accordingly, pay attention, be considerate etc, there would be far less deaths on the roads than a guard rail or 2 would save.

            The biggest issue is driver behavior, not road network.

            The example of the motorbike on the wrong side of the road is sad, but for christ sake, to blame the government is ridiculous.
            Well perhaps the government should be blamed for giving someone like that a license……

            Less driver revivers?????
            Since when did coffee have to be free at every servo??
            Any responsible driver would surely recognise when they need a break on long trips. Thats like the government pulling people over for toilet breaks.
            If people need a coffee or leg stretch, thats their choice, and if they dont opt for one, once again not the governments fault.

            And on funding roads…….
            Perhaps its just where you are, but in SEQ billions or dollars are going into main roads down here.
            Ever travelled the Ipswich motorway, Centenary motorway or Gateway motorway lately????
            All 3 of those were major accident sites, and the government is spending big dollars, and I would easily say its more than what speed cameras rake in.

    • http://www.betweentwopoints.com Andy

      Curious about the link between driver training and road safety, I stumbled onto reading about “Optimism Bias” and I found the site here:

      http://www.ambulancedriving.com/changedriving/assumptions.html

      They do make some assumptions in regard to changing driver behaviour, such as:

      “Scientific evidence has yet to demonstrate driver training courses have delivered clear safety gains. Some courses have even increased participants’ likelihood of crashing. Driver training programs have been developed on the basis of intuition and the experiences of ‘expert’ drivers. A more scientific and educationally sound approach is required.”

      I emailed them for some clarification and the reply I got said “Our position on driver training is that one should approach it with caution.” It was added that “It’s not that driver training cannot work, it’s just the approaches used to date haven’t”

      In short, driver training is okay, but there would have to be constant monitoring of its benefits and whether it really is communicating the danger of taking unnecessary risks – and not inadvertently encouraging it.

      Regarding incentives, well… look at Victoria’s annual road toll, and consider that the Victorian Government introduced good driver incentives in 2005…

      http://www.tacsafety.com.au/jsp/statistics/roadtollrolling.do?areaID=12&tierID=1&navID=16

      Any reduction in fatalities is academic, I feel… but I’m sure politicians have formed legislation based upon less proof…

  • Just another average motorist

    There are huge social issues in this.
    Shame that all the Governments can come up with is social engineering by legislated intimidation.
    Life is a risk and trying to reduce this when Australia is already one of the safest countries if you use the measure of deaths per million population is difficult.
    Any one who understands the Risk Matrix, knows that this is bordering on the top edge of a parabolic cure when it comes to expenditure V recourses and to try to reduce the risk, all the Governments have left is the consequences and to play on it. People dont like being treated like criminals when they are not. no wonder the Police have hard time.

  • Ironorebananabender

    Hm, seems they bungled everything in Victoria again. Vicpotholes, I mean Vicroads, erroneously did not give P platers points, but naturally made sure to collect the fines! Some details are here: http://www.theage.com.au/national/bungle-allowed-fatality-driver-to-keep-licence-20100208-nna7.html

    So the Victorian government should have suspended the license of Steven Johnstone, the Mill Park killer. Government incompetence has resulted in the death of five people! I be no one will even be sacked for this outrageous stupidity, and they expect anyone to take their initiatives seriously? The 2010 death toll would be lower if they could manage to just enforce the rules they already have.

  • Nelson

    WOW
    I’m impressed and I know for a fact that a good cop can see a good driver and his sincerity, after backing a rule.
    I was almost pulled over for speeding 10 over the limit, but the cop behind realized that I had to speed to avoid some idiot trying to get on my lane in a dangerous manner.
    I do believe that cop’s want to stop and fine dangerous drivers on our roads like bad overtaking, super slow drivers, tailgaters, etc… but they are obligated to fine speeding drivers.
    The speed limit on qualified freeways to a higher limit at least 120km/s or even 130km/h. Will avoid lot’s of accidents that are from micro-sleep/fatigue, but it is not easy due to the lack of talent on our roads.
    We just have to sit and wait until RTA change to the European driving system so that we could eventually change a little.
    Not being obligated to have a Hazard triangle to put 50 meters to alert drivers in case of a breakdown or accident, or even wearing a florescent vest when getting out of the car in this situation is so outdated and dangerous!

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    hey im cool!

  • Rick

    Why don’t they implement this law for drink drivers and excessive speed last I checked no one in Australia has died from a burnout

    • Harveykatren

      People have died because of burn outs i austraila

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