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The Forum > Article Comments > The great speed camera rip-off > Comments

The great speed camera rip-off : Comments

By Mirko Bagaric, published 28/4/2006

More cameras and lower fines - thatís the solution to the speed camera scandal.

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I think that this post misrepresents the intention of the "Speed kills" slogan. As I understand it, the slogan has two separate meanings: firstly that speed is a contributing factor to some motor accidents (as acknowledged in the article, although minimised); secondly that if one is involved in an accident, the speed at which one is travelling is a very significant factor in the severity of the effects for all parties. By ignoring this second aspect of the slogan, I suggest that the overall argument is weakened considerably.
Posted by Linguist, Friday, 28 April 2006 10:08:19 AM
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Well Linguist, while Mirko may be somewhat exaggerating his case, he is quite correct in stating that "speed kills" and other favoured government slogans tend to hide the true complexities of the causes of accidents. It is just that it is so much easier to both detect, with radar, laser or cameras, and to bray about it than it is to acknowledge that poor road design, insufficient driver training and assessment (and retraining and reassessment?) and variable conditions are major contributors to road trauma.

I strongly agree with Mirko that the fines, particularly for minor speeding offences, i.e. less than 10 km/h over the limit, far exceed what is reasonable in terms of culpability. By inflating the fines, governments leave themselves open to the justifiable criticism that they are more concerned with revenue raising than road safety. If they were genuinely committed to reducing road fatalities there would be far more investment in divided carriageways and re-testing of driver skills would not be delayed until a driver's 85th birthday.

Carpoint <http://carpoint.ninemsn.com.au> ran a series of articles last year on the manner in which governments were failing to deal with the full range of issues in road safety, while the Drive feature of the Sydney Morning Herald constantly raises the issue of poor policy by the RTA and the NSW government. I doubt other states would be any more enlightened; then again, considering Dilemma and his crew, maybe I'm being unkind to other state governments ;-)
Posted by jimoctec, Friday, 28 April 2006 10:35:10 AM
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I feel that Linguist is losing sight of one of the problems of our media-cluttered society, namely the boredom and disaffection created by monotonous repetition.
"Speed Kills" has become a cliche.
So have the lugubrious radio warnings from senior police traffic commanders before holiday periods.
The same thing is being said over, and over, and over, and over, and over.
(Getting a little bored with my well-meaning repetition?)
Slogans are of no use on their own except to brand a product or service.Unless they are used to trigger interest in further information, they run the risk of becoming mental wallpaper.
That is what is happening with "Speed Kills".
My reaction to this cliche is scornful disregard; speed only kills if the driver allows it to!
Any speed is safe, if it relates correctly to prevailing road and traffic conditions.
Posted by Ponder, Friday, 28 April 2006 11:16:46 AM
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Speeding fines are just another form of voluntary taxation, like cigarette and alcohol taxes. I would presume that the number of speed cameras has been adjusted for maximum revenue collection, and what is wrong with that? If I were in control of the roads I would make things much more interesting with variable speed limits. Roads which people were used to travelling on at 70 Km/h would be suddenly have the speed limit reduced to 25 Km/h for an hour or so, and motorists caught would be fined $575 for exceeding the limit by 30 Km/h. In addition the speed limit signs would be made much smaller, as they are much too visible now. The 40 Km/h signs near schools are a great idea, as they apply during school days, without telling you what they are. As most motorists have no idea when school is in or out, it will catch almost everyone except members of the Teachers Federation. What no-one seems to realise is that state governments have to balance their budgets. How else are they going to do it without taxing me?
Posted by plerdsus, Friday, 28 April 2006 11:45:07 AM
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In my eyes speed kills, now not all speedsters kill everytime they speed but speed does kill as do drunk drivers. Why this diatribe about fining law breakers, they become criminals when they break the law. This law is for the protection of the many not just for revenue raising. Yet revenue is raised and every motorist knows that if they speed and are caught they will be fined. Frankly I would not allow the locations of speed cameras to be revealed to the public. Further more anyone who did disclose the location of any speed camera or booze bus should also be fined the same amount and face a jail sentence. Then I would at least double the fines so perhaps if enough revenue was raised by fining these uncaring slobs of road criminals the rest of us could get tax breaks. As well every time a motorist is caught speeding their licenses, both vehicle and driving, would be annulled on the spot and they would have to re-apply for both again.This would mean passing a driving test and having their vehicle completely checked for it being roadworthy.
Road safety should start with us drivers. numbat
Posted by numbat, Friday, 28 April 2006 12:17:12 PM
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Not only are the fines over the top, many of the speed limits are just ridicules.
For 12 years I drove to the Gold Coast, to work each day, through Canungra. In the 14 kilometers from Canungra, there was a nice road, with a 100 Km speed limit, & 10 permitted overtaking places. There were 3 places where I slowed to about 80 Km, in my old ute, with its truck tires, for the rest 120 Km would not have been unsafe, & I could easily pass the occasional slow farm truck, or tourist.
I now drive a new, powerful, 6 cylinder sedan, which should make overtaking easier, & safer, but no. All the dotted lines have been replaced with double lines, It apparently, is no longer safe, in my powerful sedan, to pass where I used to in my slow old ute.

A few cars ran off this road, tourists, not looking where they were going, & idiots, trying to set a land speed record, but it took a silly act to do so. To try to protect these idiots from themselves the speed limit was reduced to 80 Km. on one 4 Km section. The cops had a field day, with speeding fines, but the idiots still ran off the road.
The road was improved, but they still ran off it. A little over taking lane was added, no change.

Now they have reduced the limit to 70 Km, & reduced another 5 Km to 90 Km. At last, it must be safe. But no! The first time I drove there, after the new limit, a tow truck was extracting not one but 2 cars from the scenery. Only an act of stupidity could have got 2 cars there, so much for ultra low speed limits.

As I no longer have any respect for our road authorities, I treat their laws with the same respect
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 28 April 2006 12:35:00 PM
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