I drove for a couple of hours on Queensland roads on Christmas Day and I drove for another couple of hours on NSW roads on Boxing Day. Particularly in Sydney, I was amazed at the number of mobile police cars, police bikes and parked police cars using radar that I saw. In the space of an hour I would have passed 12. Clearly out in force to keep us, the travelling public safe. Then at the end of Boxing Day I got back to my motel, flicked on the TV to see report after report of horror car crashes. One in Melbourne where two women were killed and who were hurt so badly they couldn’t be identified. Three killed on the Princess Highway just north of Ulladulla and then two more killed in a crash in Manly in Brisbane. That’s just three that made the news…..The news also said that this year the Christmas road toll is triple that of last year. Now that it’s the new year, the horror road carnage has continued with media reports saying Police are shaking their heads in disbelief at the number of deaths over the Christmas/New Year Period. I also read a statistic that said ‘In NSW a person is either killed or injured on the state’s roads every 42 minutes’.
Now I know that the road toll over the last decade has been falling…. but I am wondering if anyone else is thinking that whatever the police are doing at the moment…..it’s not working. Highly visible policing, double demerit points, increased fines, increased period of time that you lose your points for, media ads etc…..Yet horror crashes are still happening and with sad regularity.
Are people dying in car accidents just a fact of life?
Is there anything more the police can do? Is that question fundamentally flawed because it’s not up to the police….it’s the people behind the steering wheels of the vehicles they control. One media report I read this morning said, that ‘personal responsibility is lacking in many road users.’ Sadly though its often innocent people who are killed…..like it would seem from media reports, the two ladies killed in a small hatchback in Melbourne when a speeding Audi hit them (this is one of the accidents mentioned earlier).
Here are my thoughts: –
I like watching the reality TV shows Highway Patrol and RBT and I am amazed at the lenient penalties that the courts give out to offenders. One driver in the latest show I watched, was driving whilst on a suspended licensed, driving an unregistered car and was mid-range over the limit and got suspended for 12 months (and a dollar figure that I can’t remember but generally they are around the $500 figure). Clearly these penalties aren’t a deterrent. Maybe the court system is failing the road users of the nation. We all know that the court system is failing victims of Domestic Violence. Click here to read my blog on that topic.
Secondly, I really don’t know why car and bike manufactures make vehicles that can travel 200ks an hour when pretty much the maximum speed of any road in any state in Australia is 110km/hr. Now I have in the past raged about how Australia is becoming a Nanny state and part of me wouldn’t want to see regulation here….but the speeds that cars and bikes can do seems to be excessive for no purpose whatsoever. I ride a ZX14 Ninja Motorbike and its top speed is 320km/hr. I don’t know why it needs to be made to go that fast.
Thirdly, we seem to becoming a very angry and self-centred society where common courtesies are a thing of the past. Just ask anyone in an industry that has connections with the general public….and they will tell you that the anger and abuse they deal with on a daily level is on the rise. I wonder if this level of anger and frustration contributes to the way people drive….I am not sure what the solution to this would be as we as a society seem to be doing everything we can to leave the values of the Judea-Christian ethic that used to be the foundations of our society.
So no real answers here….just musings. And I guess an encouragement to always drive as safe as you can when you are behind the wheel.
Anyway, that’s what I think.
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Categories: Current Affairs