Grumpy Motorist: Speed vs safe driving


There are a couple of comments I don’t fully agree with in this article (that police are lazy, going for the easy option) although I have seen on many occasions marked and unmarked police cars ignoring unsafe driving. But the overall message is a strong one.

Speed is not the issue for safe driving. Safe driving is the problem. I challenge anyone to prove to me Victorian drivers are safe! Licensing is so easy to obtain, once you have it, as long as you keep feeding Vic Roads money, you get to keep it.

There are however a group of people, probably cyclists who live in Brunswick and don’t actually own a car, who swear black and blue that speeding is the most dangerous thing on our roads (not lack of driver education).

I would like to draw attention to the Eastern Freeway (in Melbourne). This has no “safety cameras” installed on it. (“Speed camera” sounds too much like revenue raising, and would offend drivers of smart cars who can’t speed and therefore feel left out.) The Eastern has on average the same number of incidents on it (percentage of traveling motorists per year) compared to other highways that do have fixed cameras, M1, Hume etc.

So let’s focus on speed. If these speed cameras are supposed to make roads safer by slowing drivers down, then why don’t those roads have less incidents than the Eastern? Furthermore, I travel on highways most days of the week for work, and on many different ones. The only times I have come across incidents in these situations is when traffic is slow and congested. Traffic starts moving from a stand still, the driver on his phone doesn’t notice when the car in front stops again, and bam. That’s what I see on the roads. Distracted bad drivers, not fast drivers.

Now onto speed for cars…

Cars these days are designed to go fast. They’re safe at high speeds with improved crumple zones, airbags everywhere, and more importantly control designed to stay on the road at 120+ kmph. If manufacturers want sales in Europe, the cars must be safe enough for higher speeds and open roads.

Because we can..

My car, when driving at least 120kmph, is much more responsive and feels sturdier. The airflow over the rear wing and through the front fender physically pushes the car into the tarmac as it is designed to do. And as I cannot engage cruise control over 110kmph, I’m much more alert. So which is safer? Someone who is only half there because a machine is trudging along at the speeds issed by a government which is more interested in revenue than driver safety, or a driver who is actively responsible and more alert for every facet of their journey?

In the Northern Territory they have recently opened yet another road to have no speed limit. To paraphrase an article review on the change – There have been less traffic instances since removing the speed limit. Drivers are now more responsible for their speed and their actions.

The proof is there and has been shouted by many and it’s still falling on deaf ears. High speed doesn’t kill – just like the guns don’t kill debate, it’s the idiots behind the wheel not paying attention to the world around themselves who kill.

The roads would be safer if unsafe driving practices were targeted on highways, and not just speeding motorists.

Grumpy Motorist

Photo by jaguarmena