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Muttacar Sorry Business


pocketgpsworld.comThe indigenous population of Australia have an Aboriginal phrase that encompasses the grief that often goes hand-in-hand with motor cars: "Muttacar Sorry Business". And the carnage caused by cars on the roads of Northern Territory are not only a very sorry business, but also surrounded by great controversy.

TheNewsPaper.com have reported that road deaths have actually increased after speed limits were imposed on rural roads in Australia's remote Northern Territory. The roads had no speed limits up until 2007, after which the government imposed what they thought were an appropriate range of limits across the state. Their intention was to save lives, but after the change, fatalities increased by 70 percent.

The Australian road safety initiative, RoadSense, are quoted in TheNewsPaper.com saying that the government's enforcement "implies that traveling below the speed limit is safe, leading to complacency, inattention and increased fatalities. Additionally, the current policy of hidden speed cameras has actually impaired driver awareness through adding to an increasing list of dangerous distractions."

The statistics tell a grim story...

In 2006 with no rural highway speed limits = 44 deaths
In 2007 with rural highway speed limits = 57 deaths
In 2008 with rural highway speed limits = 75 deaths

It must be noted however that sudden spikes in the statistics are not unusual in Northern Territory - fatalities have risen and fallen quite dramatically over the last 25 years.

There is some encouraging news though, the death toll reported so far up to 03 July this year is 14 compared to 33 for the same period last year. This will give the decision makers some small comfort. According to current Northern Territory government statistics, the risk of being killed in a car crash in the Territory is 3 times greater than anywhere else in Australia and is higher than any other developed country. One person is killed and 9 injured on Northern Territory roads each week.

Imposing speed limits, and their accompanying speed cameras, may have had an undesired affect, but presumably there are many other factors at play here.

Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs or the effects of petrol sniffing are a major factor in this area. Additionally, fatigue brought on by long-haul journeys - often on poor quality roads - and socio-economic factors such as inadequate vehicle maintenance, outdated vehicles and vehicle overcrowding add to the deadly mix. Include widespread non-use of seatbelts and the delay in medical attendance to very remote areas and the shocking figures become easier to understand.

Let's have your thoughts. Are speed limits on rural roads a good or bad idea?
Comments
Posted by Buzzby on Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:26 pm Reply with quote

Unfortunately speed limits do save lives. We all know the difference between hitting someone at 30 and hitting them at 45. However hidden speed cameras, and excessively draconian speed limits have no place on the road. In the UK whilst most people speed a little, most of us that 'get caught out' are often doing a safe speed on good road, in good conditions which has a stupid speed limit. Where i live several main roads have recently seen the spped limits dropped from 40 to 30, 60 to 50 and even 70 to 40! the rational behind this being a number of recent fatalities. What the powers that be forget to take into consideration, is that these accidents were (in this case) caused by large groups of teenagers crammed like sardines into poorly maintained dangerous cars being driven at excessive speed. It makes no difference to these people if the posted speed limit is 40 or 60 they're still going to drive along it at 70 to 80 at 2am in the morning, and they're still going to crash and kil people. Lowering the speed limit (in these cases) only serves to annoy good drivers and generate the government more revenue when we accidentally get picked off by a mobile speed trap on road that we trully didn't realise was 40mph, because the road is built to the same standards as a motorway. I'm sure you can tell what happened to me.


 
Posted by Bilgescraper on Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:19 pm Reply with quote

Shocked I must tend to agree with the previous comments on vastly increased and enforced speed limits.
Over the past 50 years I have driven almost every type of car, and many motor cycles, capable of vastly exceeding the limits of the time - without being penalized.
However in the last five years or so I have been "caught on camera" and subsequently fined for speeds that were only a few MPH above the limit including one occasion on a deserted motorway in the early hours of the morning when I drove at 45 mph through equally deserted roadworks.
In essence the reasoning that limits are being imposed to save lives is flawed. In fact no such limits, or cameras, are instigated until TWO people have been killed on a given stretch of road - surely a single death is too many so why wait?
More worrying is the huge numbers of speed traps being introduced and the latest technology of "traffic management" or "variable speed limits". Both these innovations allow authorities to change speed limits at will in order to feed the cash generating cameras.
In more remote areas new and underhand signage is being employed. I recently entered a village before which [quite fairly] the speed limit was reduced from the national limit[60mph] in stages to 50, 40, and the 30. However on leaving the village the next sign [within a 100 yards of the 30MPH derestriction] was a 50 sign - inducing drivers to up their speed. However just around a blind bend, less than 500 yards away, there was another 30mph sign - making it almost impossible for drivers to reduce speed in time - and thus open to prosecution. Surely it would have been more sensible [ but not cash generating] to simply extend the 30mph limit through the entire stretch of road.
If authorities were really trying to reduce traffic speeds they would employ more automatic speed indicating signs and not employ cameras or use valuable police resources.
If drivers are to be confronted by 40mph limits on deserted main roads and motorways their respect for sensibly imposed speed limits is going to be reduced with inevitable results.
If you care to motor in Northern Ireland you will find few cameras and even less people exceeding the limits - there must surely be a moral there!


 
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