Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Well, I was wrong

I just made another contribution to South Australia's coffers today, thanks to the nice policeman waiting for me with his laser gun at the bottom of the hill. For a long time, I've complained that the majority of speed enforcement is carried out in rush hour - morning and afternoon - and that this is because there's more targets to scalp rather than more accidents to prevent. However, looking at the Motor Accident Commission's website, I came across this report, which clearly shows that casualty accidents occur most frequently during rush hour. (See Table 7 and Figure 7.) Crashes drop off markedly after 6pm.

So it would appear that rush hour really is the most dangerous time to drive in South Australia, and therefore, that speed enforcement should be concentrated around that time.

There's lots of other interesting data in that report. Like how crashes rise steadily from Monday to Friday; presumably as we get tired and stressed during the week. Even more interesting, Table 18 shows that:
  • 30 fatalaties were caused by excessive speed,
  • 37 by inattention,
  • 40 by DUI,
  • 1 by dying sick or asleep at wheel,
  • 3 by a vehicle fault,
  • 36 by "disobeying road rules",
  • 3 drunken pedestrians, and
  • 4 "other",

for a total of 154 fatalities.

Do you get breathalysed as often as you pass a speed camera?
Do you get checked obeying the road rules as often as you pass a speed camera?
Do you get checked specifically for inattention as often as you pass a speed camera?

No, saying that if you slowed down you wouldn't have got a fine and thus proved you were paying attention doesn't count. You should be looking at the road, not searching for police hidden behind bushes, building and bus stops, or scanning every recent model Falcon/Commodore/Magna for a little black box as you pass it.


  • First of all I will say that i am a police officer.

    Now that's out the way, I would like to say thanks for not slagging off about cops, and also thanks for making your post an informative, well researched piece, instead of the usual rubbish that is sprouted by those who get caught speeding.

    Speed cameras are not manned by police as such. They are manned by "Police Security" which although is a branch of the SA Police, they are not operational coppers, and more like a uniformed public servant.

    It can be argued that speed cameras do slow people down. I have just returned from a long drive through VIC, NSW, and QLD. In VIC in particular, where it is known that the cops have zero tolerance on speeding, and cameras are over used, it was hard to find a car speeding. Well one with VIC plates anyway. Whether that has anything to do with lowering the road toll or not is another thing.

    More important than hammering all speeding drivers, I feel, is educating young drivers better. There are plenty of drivers out there that are dangerous at low speed. I would rather have a good driver doing ten kms an hour over the limit behind me, than some idiot doing ten kms an hour under the limit, while drunk, or stoned, or couldn't drive a wet finger up their own backside.

    Of course all this is just my opinion and in no way reflects the attitudes of my employer.

    The only way to truly have an effect on the road toll, and stop the unneccessary death of so many; ban cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses, and we all walk (slowly and carefully). Regardless of what we do in relation to speeds, DUI, defectable heaps of rubbish, registration and licencing, if the numb skull coming the other way at 180 km/hr stoned and drunk with no licence in a clapped out old Torana hits you - You will die!!! And if a speed camera catches the acident on film, then good for it!!

    For the record, I was not always a cop and have certainly had my fair share of speeding tickets and contrary to what you might think, now that I am a cop, I don't speed, for the following reasons. Firstly, I work in a small town and everyone knows me. I have to set the good example. You would be surprised how many people complain about cops to the police. Secondly, I have seen the end result of crashes at speed (I work in the country where high speed is a usual factor in crashes), and I don't want one of my colleagues to have to make the late night call to my house and wake up my wife. Thirdly, speed cameras get cops too!! I get caught (in my car or a cop car for that matter) and I get a fine. I agree that cmaeras raise revenue and I feel my taxes are a good enough way to contribute. I am not paying fines as well.

    Long winded post, I know, but believe me that's the short version. Anyone wanting to discuss it further, feel free to email me. Cheers.

    By Blogger cowboy george, at 12:11 pm  

  • Thanks Cowboy George :)

    I think there's a lot of people like me who have nothing against speeding cameras per se, and definitely nothing against police - but who smell a rat in the current overenforcing of small speeding violations to the detriment of a real improvement in the road toll. It's really costing the police a lot of credibility, which is bad.

    I don't envy you being a cop in a small town - every little indiscretion would be the topic of weeks of gossip!

    By Blogger Austenite, at 6:20 pm  

  • Its interesting to read the comments of Cowboy George. I for one do believe that the speed cameras do slow you down. I have a vested interest in them, having just started a service to inform people via their 3G mobile phones of the daily known locations of the speed traps. (For ethical reasons i wont post the URL here unless i am asked to by Austenite.) There is great debate re speed cameras. Certainly they put fear into people due to cost and loss of licence, but since getting involved in my new service i am finding that i am so conscious of the cameras all the time that i have slowed down heaps. I was never a serial speeder, but more a careless 2 - 8 kmh over the limit type. This carelessness can cost $160 plus demerits. I think the public notification of the allocated sites is a good thing. It puts speed traps on your mind everytime you drive; and it slows you down.

    By Blogger Radar, at 8:46 am  

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