As one of our readers pointed out. There were 26 deaths on Australian roads during the Easter break and despite the State governments blaming speed, the reality paints a different picture:
- 1 person was killed after suffering a heart attack at the wheel (ACT)
- 1 crashed into a tree after being awake for 3 days straight, smoking cannabis and drinking bourbon (WA)
- 1 pedestrian was killed after lying on the middle of the road after an argument (WA)
- 1 child was killed by a rubbish truck reversing (NSW)
- 1 cyclist fell off his bike and was run over by a truck (VIC)
- 3 army special forced counter terrorism personnel veered off a bridge into the water under what appear to be suspicious circumstances (VIC)
- 1 person died after hitting the trailer of an oncoming vehicle (VIC)
- - Was the driver attempting to overtake and did not see the trailer?
- - Was there a severe wind that caused the trailer to sway into oncoming traffic?
Of the other 17 all were in NSW, VIC or QLD where harshest speed restrictions apply
- 4 were motorcyclists (with less protection than a car)
- At least 5 were where the driver was 68yo or older
- 2 are head on collisions (Did the drivers take their eyes off the road? Perhaps to check their speedos)
The State and Federal governments have failed miserably in keeping the road toll down this Easter long weekend. As it stands now, 21 people have died on Australian roads since Friday. Victoria's Easter road toll is now nine. NSW has recorded six deaths, three fatalities on Queensland roads, two in Western Australia and one in the ACT.
What I do want to focus on however, is QLDs police's attitude to QLD drivers. more than 8,000 drivers have received their yellow infringement notice for speeding (with a likelihood of it reaching 11,000 by monday night), 340 people have been cought drink driving, and 320 drivers have been cought driving without a seatbelt.
Since last monday, eleven people have died on QLD roads. If we compare the current QLD road toll to last years, a quarter of the way in to the year, the state's road toll stands at 98, 18 more than the same time last year. I am going to go out on a limb here and say QLD's Campaign 300 is a dismal failure.
Of course, QLD police continue to blame the entire problem on, yes you guessed it, speeding.
"I am particularly concerned about the excessive speeds being detected by police on our roads." Police Minister Judy Spence said.
QLD Police have given 3 examples,
- a motorcyclist on a restricted licence caught travelling at 178km/h in a 80km/h zone;
- a driver who tried to run away from police after recording 172km/h in an 80km/h zone;
- a motorist who was caught driving at 185km/h in a 100km/h zone;
Out of all those 3 examples, no one has actually died. As for the 98 people who have died on our roads this year? Police like to mention that speed has been a contributing factor. But the reality is, when you can't blame anything else, Speed is always a good cause.
However, QLD police have admitted defeat. Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson admitted police need the help of the community to combat irresponsible driving.
"The next phase for us as a community is to say we shouldn't speed, we shouldn't drink and drive, we should wear seatbelts, we shouldn't drive while we're tired. That that behaviour is no longer acceptable," he said.
"And as much as (it's about) enforcement, it's as much about changing people's attitude as well. I think we'll achieve that. I genuinely believe that we can do it. But I think we have a little way to go before we do achieve it."
So lets go back to the Speeding tickets, currently set to reach 11,000 tickets for the easter period. An average speeding ticket is for 13km over, but 20km under the speed limit. Which equates to 3 demerit points and $150. That works out to be $1.65 million dollars in speeding ticket revenue. Not a bad Easter bonus for QLD police?
As for QLDs fear driver campaign 300, which aims to bring the states road toll below 300, if the current trend continues (and there is no reason why it wouldn't) Queensland would record more than 400 deaths in 2007.
"The road toll can be unpredictable. Some years, for the first six months, it's been well over for six months and come back and vice versa. It's still too early to call but if the current trend continues unchanged it will be close to 400." Mr Atkinson said.
The state's road toll has only been under 300 deaths once since 1956 and that was in 1998. QLD transport has been using a fear campaign to scare drivers into slowing down, a tactic which has obviously failed. One memorable poster involves a Police car with the police lights engaged, and the text reads "There is no where to hide".
So, if you put your self in Mr Atkinson's shoes, with the road toll 12% higher than last year, and more speeding tickets given to drivers than last year, what would you do to combat the problem? Bring in Fixed Speed Cameras of course.
Mr Atkinson said legislation for fixed speed cameras, to come into effect from July 1, might help to reduce the high number of fatalities this year.
It seems that QLD police and QLD transport are governed by senile decision makers unable to comprehend the real problems on our roads. When will QLD transport wake up and realize that there really is an alternative way to combat the road toll as oppose to using speed cameras to raise more and more revenue whilst using fear as oppose to education to improve driver maturity and reason.