Sunday, December 05, 2004

A sad day, complicity, poetic justice and proctrastination redux

Well, been a long time since my last post, hasn't it? Not that there's been nothing happening, just that there's been so much happening I've barely been sitting down at the computer. Unfortunately, it's mostly work stuff I can't tell you about so you'll just have to imagine it for yourselves.

A sad day
Well, it had to come eventually. I bid farewell to my SS lease car, which I'd barely run in with just 4200 km on the clock. Holden made me give it back to them.... rotters! Still, it wasn't all bad - in exchange I got a bright red Monaro, so I think I'll find it in my heart to forgive them. Such are the crosses we bear.

So, it happens that just last night I thought I'd take the Monaro (still need a name, suggestions?) for an enthusiastic drive through the Adelaide Hills, which is a goldmine for drivers. Twists, turns, hills, very exciting roads. There's a few streets from my house to the open road, and on the way I saw a motorcycle policeman hiding his bike in the bushes beside the road. This is one of those roads where it's a single lane road, wide verge with with high fences beyond that and should really be zoned at 70, but it's zoned at 60. Speed trap, pure and simple as they come.

The sight of this policeman hiding in the bushes like a rat left a really bad taste in my mouth. I don't know why yesterday in particular, but it did. So, a little ways further along I decided I didn't feel like driving any more - the scoundrel act had turned me off so much - and turned around, determined to drive past him at 59 km/h as often as possible until I got sick of it.

Meantime, I was musing about the post Cowboy George made to one of my previous rants. This wasn't a "Police Security" speed camera, this was a gin-u-wine, card carrying bona-fide police speed trap - the most contact anyone will ever have with our police force. You probably can't blame the plods on the beat for doing what they're told, but surely the people at the top of the police forces have the information and intelligence to see that what they are doing has been demonstrably ineffective in reducing our road toll for the last decade or so.

By allowing the police force to be manipulated to over-concentrate on minor speeding offences, more significant causes of crashes go under-targetted. This means that the death toll is higher than it might otherwise be, and that by their misaction they are responsible for deaths on our road.

Poetic Justice
When I drove back down the road, I could not find the policeman. "Ah ha!", I thought, "He's nabbed some poor bastard." I drove up and down that road a few times, looking for him, but he was nowhere to be found. Disappointed and frustrated twice that night, I gave up and headed home. Only to find that just around the corner, at the only traffic lights between my house and the open road, someone had just had an accident and all the police, ambulance and fire brigade units in the area were attending.

Bizarrely, it looked like the crash was because someone in a small green Daewoo had crashed into a "Just Cruisin" hot rod that was part of a Santa parade - there were 5 or 6 more hot rods parked just up the road. There were Santas eveywhere, pointing this way and that explaining how the crash had occurred. Kids getting lollies from the Santas who weren't talking to bystanders, firemen putting kitty litter on the road - Salvador Dali would have been proud of the strangeness of it all.

The cause? It looked like the person driving the Daewoo was too busy looking at one of the other Santa cars to see a bright yellow hot rod turning in front of them, and ran a red light. Speed had nothing to do with it. In fact, it wasn't one of the "Speeding" accidents that kill 30 or so South Australians every year, it was one of the "Not looking where you're going" accidents that kill 70 or so. (Defined as 37 from "Inattention" plus 30 from "disobeying road rules".) Maybe it was one of the "DUI" accidents that kill 40 or so of us every year.

But you don't see 2 policeman booking people for road rule violations for every speed camera you see.....

Is the reason it's been so long between posts. Even though I've been busy, it's not like I haven't had even 30 seconds to bash out a post. And it's not the reason I was going to write an essay on the subject for this post, but have decided to write this short note instead. That would be laziness. :)


  • OK playing devil's advocate again.

    I agree that a cop hiding in the bushes in the Adelaide Hills may seem a little sneaky, but really do you think if we sign posted where we were, that we would catch anyone? Now maybe nine out of ten people who are given a speeding ticket don't pay any attention to it other than the cost incurred. Fair enough. That's their choice. However, if only one does, and it saves their life, then good. The other nine decide to take notice and may never have an accident, I agree, but I bet they get another fine. And who's fault is that?

    I am also amazed at Traffic Stats. They are so inncaurate it is not funny. Let me explain why. Driver A comes into the station and says I had a crash. He/she gives Police a report by way of mouth and the car has already moved. He hit a tree for instance. Officer Plod has no way of telling how fast the driver was going. Driver A says "I was doing the speed limit" and that is what is entered into the VCR (vehicle collision report). Plod asks, "Where you blind rotten drunk when you swerved to miss this roo and hit the tree?" Of course he wasn't. The accident happened 20 hours ago (you have 24 hours to report a crash). Now Driver A is known to Police as an alco and a crazy driver. That VCR refelects nothing of the truth of what probably happened. Driver A, drunk, runs off road at high speed and hits tree. Miraculously he gets a few cuts and scratches and rings a mate to pick him up.

    Now having shown how the VCR system is so flawed, guess where the stats come from? How accurate do you reckon they are?

    This is VERY COMMON, believe me.

    And I think you sort of answered your own question (so to speak). You just got a Monaro. You go for a drive in the Hills (a driver's paradise). Presumably you intend to use your vehicle's potential, and dare I say, possibly more than what is permitted by law. You CHOSE to go fast through the hills, and it is no mystery that motor bike cops are targetting that area, especially close to Christmas. And you are amazed to see cops? Hmmmmm......Now I used to ride (and fast) through the Hills a lot on bikes. I saw two fatal bike crashes and had numerous close calls myself. Funnily enough nearly all the close calls I had came as a result of a car driver going to fast the other way and coming onto my side of the road. This would most likely be becasue the roads are not designed up there as race tracks combined with the fact that most the driver's probably couldn't drive as well as they thought they could. Further to that nearly every other time I almost had crashes was as a result of the gravel spat up on the road from cars cutting over the edge of the road, again for the same reasons as above. For info both fatals I was at (as a witness not as a cop - I wasn't a cop then), involved very high speeds. Now if this kind of behaviour is going on, and it is well known that it does in the hills, it si pretty obvious the police are going to target that area. And guess what the easiest ways to target that behaviour is - Speed Detection!!

    Since you posted this comment, the road toll has risen dramatically for this time of year. Obviously it could be argued that speed detection does not work and the government is wasting it's time.

    Howeverm the amount of idiots that just don't learn, is ridiculous. Motor bike rider in Adelaide Hlls the other day - speeding with no helmet on. Dead. Three young lads at Millicent, overtake a car at high speed, on a dead straight road, day light, perfect conditions, seen by numerous motorists driving like maniacs for miles, head on into huge semi-tralier. 3 DEAD. 6 youths in a Commodore driving like idiots the other day. Lost control - 2 DEAD/4 injured. The common factor to nearly every fatal crash I have been to or been involved with is SPEED. After walking across a road and realising that the white substance on your shoes is someone's brain, I don't need stats or rhetoric to tell me that speed kills. Any measure to stop speeding motorists by Police should be used.If the motorist chooses not to heed the warning, then that's their fault, not mine.

    A lot of driver's, myself included, can drive better than others. I have had extensive training, and drive fast at work regularly. I have faith in my driving and have never had a crash. Doesn't mean the moron coming the other way has seen me - hence when I drive fast I have big red and blue lights and a siren on. And that still makes driving fast in traffic a challenge as most people couldn't drive a wet finger up their own ass!

    All in all, everyone knows the law. The law is there to protect those who are genreally too stupid to protect themselves. Some people can drive better than the law allows, others can't drive around a shopping centre car park on a Sunday. Some cars can handle speed etc, others shouldn't even be on the road. The fact of the matter is that speed limits are set. There has to be a line drwawn in the sand somewhere. You break them you get fined. You choose to speed and you get caught, wear it, or go for a drive to Northern Territory.

    Martin Bryant shot and killed 30 odd people in Tassie. Within months, laws were changed due to the huge public outcry. Thousnads of law abiding gun owners payed for that morons mistake. Gun laws were tightened and enforced like never before. Thousands of guns were declared too powerful for what is needed and were bought by the government and destroyed. people who had owned guns there entire life but never broken the law were told they had to give up there guns. And yet 1000's die or are seriously injured each year, devestating families with the ripple effect of the tragedy and yet people still think the government are overreacting about speeding laws!!!

    Hoon driving legislation (the offence is called misuse a motorvehicle) is now in. In the first weekend it came in I reported 3 people for it and another for driving without due car. All related to drivers that were known to me for the poor driving and all related to complaints from the public. And on the same weekend pinched a guy for drive manner dangerous. P plater driving too fast around a corner, lost it and ran up another guys front lawn. Less than 2 minutes before a two year old girl was sitting on the front lawn right where this knucklehead drove. I ahve no problems sending this guy to court. He will lose his licence and as a result, possibly his job. HE SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT BEFORE BEING A TOOL - I WON'T LOSE ANY SLEEP OVER IT.

    Anyone who is reading this and think their job sucks, i'll trade you when I have to go make the next 3 in the morning door knock to a parent of a "p" plater that is never coming home. And stats or no stats, I will bet money that the next fatal I go to, excessive speed IS A MAJOR FACTOR!!

    By Blogger cowboy george, at 3:50 pm  

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