Standing up for Australian Motorists
We believe that more resources and attention needs to be directed at high risk motoring groups (the young, the aged, minority groups, motorcyclists and heavy vehicle users) and serious repeat offenders. With a more targeted approach the greatest impact on road safety can be achieved. Blanket, draconian measures (such as mass deployment of speed cameras) are not necessarily the best use of resources. Further, they risk losing the continued support and respect of the average motorist.
Across the board lower speed limits and covering Australia with speed cameras is not an efficient use of resources
No one should speed. Full stop. But some studies suggest only 3% (DfT UK 2008) of fatal accidents occur when the actual speed limit is being exceeded. We need to tackle speeding, but when almost 70% of all traffic fines (WA data) are given for speeding, and millions are spent on speed camera and related speed strategies, we believe the resource balance needs to be looked at.
We need to focus on the real causes of accidents - the driving skills of high risk groups, serious and repeat offenders, safer cars and better designed roads
We need better training for high-risk groups
Almost 50% of the serious or fatal accidents on our roads (WA data) involve learners, the aged, minority groups or heavy vehicle operators. High risk groups need better training, more restricted license conditions and more regular - targeted - controls.
We need to tackle serious and repeat offenders
Anti-hoon laws are a great start, but this focus must be carried into all levels of policing. The same drivers who are capable of driving 100 km/h past a school, or doing a burn-out on a busy street, are the same drivers making our roads more dangerous each and every day. We need to get serious and repeat offenders off our streets - and if necessary in prison - where they can't get behind a wheel
We should be much more demanding on car safety - there is a huge amount still to be won
The improvement in car safety has probably been responsible for the majority of improvements in the remarkable decrease in serious accidents and deaths on our roads over the last 30 years. But cars could be much, much safer - take a look at the thickness of your door next time you step in your vehicle - often only 3 mm of sheet steel protect you from a side impact. The roofs of some cars can barely support the weight of the car in a rollover. We should demand cars that can protect passengers from the vast majority of side and rollovers - two accidents that comprise up to a half of all serious injuries and deaths. Governments should demand realistic side impact and roll-over crash testing.
Safer roads - investment is needed, but let's try doing more with less
When even a modest single road upgrade program can cost millions, we should focus on doing more with less. Tactics such as more one-way streets (where possible), intersections with slow-down features such as chicanes, better signing on country roads warning of dangers. Consistent regulations across Australia would also keep traffic flowing - such as a national introduction of the turn-left when on red regulation, or regular reviews of red light timing sequences to keep them up to date. We need more creative solutions and experimentation to make our roads safer for less.