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      01-19-2009, 05:10 PM   #1
Dr_Jones
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how do you survive...

First time in australia...great country but how do you guys stand driving down here with the ridiculously low speed limits and all of the cameras.


im even afraid to drive my nissan tiida because of the ticket threat...cant imagine a 135 (which i typically open up once or twice per commute at home in the states).
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      01-19-2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Jones View Post
First time in australia...great country but how do you guys stand driving down here with the ridiculously low speed limits and all of the cameras.


im even afraid to drive my nissan tiida because of the ticket threat...cant imagine a 135 (which i typically open up once or twice per commute at home in the states).
I think most of Australia would agree with you. In recent years, Speeding in Australia has been recognised as a serious offence and the consequences are exceedingly severe. Another issue is that in certain areas it seems that the roads have not been zoned properly and the speed limits being set are too low. Each year the fines and penalties have consistently gone up in price for speeding offences. We work on a demerit point system and once all your demerit points are diminished due to speeding tickets, fines etc you will more than likely lose your licence. It doesn't take much to lose your licence here though.

In Queensland we get 12 points on an Open Licence which is meant to last 3 years. If you get a couple of tickets in a year or 2 you will probably lose your licence. Each state has slightly different rules but they are all essentially very much the same. Driving 40km/hour over the speed limit and getting caught results in a 6 month High Speed Suspension and also a 3 month Suspension from the Dept of Transport. There are plenty of other harsh rules but they have all been implemented to combat speeding on our roads.

The government invests alot (and I mean alot) of resources into police targeting motorists that speed, speed cameras, red light cameras, random breath testing, random drug testing etc etc. The revenue that this generates is huge and alot of people believe that the government is simply cashing in.

Regardless of the governments motives, speeding is seen by the majority as a serious issue here in Australia and our road toll is considered to be way too high. Most speeders are repeat offenders but there are alot of motorists that receive tickets for being about 10km/h over the speed limit too. I have recently heard of governments using car crushing to stop repeat offenders. Today a court may, if it sees fit, order for a persons vehicle to be crushed if they think it is the necessary punishment.
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      01-19-2009, 06:50 PM   #3
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All good points BMW86. Speed restrictions are even more strictly enforced in the state of Victoria where exceeding the limit by as little as 3km/hr will result in a fine (if you're caught). It is a totally ludicrous situation, but it's a massive fund raiser for the state governments, and they're "seen to be doing something" about road safety in lieu of spending money on much-needed road infrastructure!

Meanwhile, the national crash-rates have remained virtually unchanged in the last decade. Fatality rates have dropped slightly, but nowhere near the targets that were set in the late 1990s. The 10-year national road safety plan is almost complete, and I bloody well hope that the current focus is given some serious reconsideration for the next round. Clearly, it's not working.

So how do we survive? Track days are increasingly popular. And there's still plenty of quiet backroads that can be enjoyed without speeding excessively.
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      01-19-2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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Until the level of driver training increases for new and existing motorists the current problems will persist, despite the increased threat of more severe fines.

IMO it's too easy for people to get a licence. Problem is legislating that people spend more time and money to get a licence is so unpopular it'll never be brought in I believe.

Policing "speed" is easier and simpler for the population at large to swallow, it's just unfortunate it wont deliver the desired result. Forgoing this revenue may be hard for Treasury to swallow too... don't worry about the lives saved though.

/end rant
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      01-19-2009, 11:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattyv View Post
Until the level of driver training increases for new and existing motorists the current problems will persist, despite the increased threat of more severe fines.

IMO it's too easy for people to get a licence. Problem is legislating that people spend more time and money to get a licence is so unpopular it'll never be brought in I believe.

Policing "speed" is easier and simpler for the population at large to swallow, it's just unfortunate it wont deliver the desired result. Forgoing this revenue may be hard for Treasury to swallow too... don't worry about the lives saved though.

/end rant
Couldn't agree with you more mattyv; one of the first things I noticed when I came to Oz 5 yrs ago (from the UK) was the generally poor driving standards in Australia (not inc. present company :wink.
I think they should make a license far more difficult to come by and include more advanced training. I'm not suggesting the UK is any better in training, but I do think there are better road manners over there.
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      01-20-2009, 12:04 AM   #6
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the biggest red light and speed camera manufacturer in the states is an australian owned company. we're famous for having the best fun police and for living in a nanny state and we're taking it to the world.
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      01-20-2009, 12:35 AM   #7
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You might be onto something there Breville. Fatality rates in the UK are lower than in Australia by some margin, whether they're expressed in terms of per capita or per billion km. Even Germany has better safety stats than Australia, despite the unlimited speeds on autobahns! On the other hand, US fatality rates are appalling but that's believed to be mainly due to poor seatbelt usage.
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      01-20-2009, 01:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guran View Post
You might be onto something there Breville. Fatality rates in the UK are lower than in Australia by some margin, whether they're expressed in terms of per capita or per billion km. Even Germany has better safety stats than Australia, despite the unlimited speeds on autobahns! On the other hand, US fatality rates are appalling but that's believed to be mainly due to poor seatbelt usage.
Here we do have a bit more wild life to contend with Roo's Wombats etc that must have something to do with it.
More mobile phones per head of population than the others I think hence more dickheads talking while driving.
the Yanks dont have to where a helmet with a motor bike (but they have to with a push bike??) and yes re the seatbelts so the car companies in there wisdom have set the trgger point of the air bags to go off much lower and have sometimes gone off for no reason.
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      01-20-2009, 01:43 AM   #9
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While I will admit that the nanny state rules and the less than perfect state of our roads annoys the crap out of me I know the changes made the laws over the last ten year are there for a reason and have made a difference.

In NSW the fatality rate is much lower than in other states (6.0/10K versus 7.7 for rest of Australia) and compares well to all but the best of countries (which are sit in high 4s/10K people). In 1980 the rate was over 25 fatalities per 10K people. Much of the reduction is due to improved cars, but much is also due to changes to enforcement. Yes I know the accident rate has not dropped, but over the same time frame road usage has soared and we now have one of the highest car ownership rates in the world (only USA and Luxumberg have higher).

And it is because of that stat that using using some of the other stats becomes a case of "there are lies, damn lies and statistics." The fatality stats are a significantly misleading as all of the lowest fatality rate countries have MUCH lower car ownership rates (Car Ownership) than Australia. So if you factor that in Australia actually has one of lowest fatality rates in the world.

So at the end of the day whether we like the changes to the rules or not, between improved cars and the rules we are all safer (if a little more frustrated).

That being said... I don't know about you guys but my pet hate are the roads where the speed limits chop and change repeatedly and they stick a speed camera in the middle of that.
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      01-20-2009, 02:55 AM   #10
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Hands up those who think Australia has low speed limits ?

Yep I did too (although I was aware that ours were on average higher than in the US). It is funny how coloured our perspectves get. Actually our speed limits are marginally higher than average with the sole exception of freeway speeds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_by_country

The difference is mainly in enforcement and our perspective of that. Must say I dont get the 3KM tolerance in Victoria when the ADR standard for speedo is +-10%. Seems unfair even if the reason for doing it is sound!!! Glad to be north of the Murray.
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      01-20-2009, 04:05 AM   #11
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You all please.

Don't complain about speed camera unless you live in Melbourne. We have the most number of speed camera per capita!

It is a norm to drive on freeway at 90kmh and slow car on right lane, while inattention driver and people tailgate are not patrolled.

We are living in a wonderful world.
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      01-20-2009, 04:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input Cameron. A lot of the debate depends on how you define the fatality rate. Deaths per 100,000 population? Deaths per billion vehicle kms? Deaths per million cars? And then there's also the potentially more relevant measure of injuries rates, which are much more difficult to obtain reliable data on.

Personally, I feel that there is far too much attention paid to the issue of "speed kills" even to the point of dressing up advertising campaigns that blame speed for incidents that are occur below the speed limit (ie. the RTA's pinky ad). Afterall, the official figures say that speed is a factor in ~25% of fatal crashes. OK, so the "speed kills" strategy could be contributing something. But these figures imply that speed was NOT a factor in ~75% of cases! So what the hell are they doing to address the vast majority of fatal crashes??? What are the other factors? Fatigue, alcohol/drugs and seatbelt non-usage. The latter is being taken care of by ANCAP, even though many people poo-poo the bells and whistles that go with seatbelt reminders. Fatigue sensors are starting to appear in high-end Mercs, and Volvo has launched their auto-braking system (hardly a life-saving system -- to date, that will change). The next major step would be to install "boozometers" in cars that must be passed before you can drive them. It's been done before, but why not make it more common?

WRT the ADR speedo spec, I remember hearing that the spec has been changed recently. Now the speedo in new cars is permitted to overestimate the actual speed (not sure by how much), but must not underestimate the actual speed to any degree (ie +0% error).
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      01-20-2009, 05:13 AM   #13
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Agree... speed is just one of any number of factors and as you say there are many issues to address.

Seat belts are my personal favorite, why in the name of god would you not wear one? Or is it just me that thinks that?

On the stats front one of the more telling ones is that about 10% of the road fatalities are pedestrian related !!

If you are ever really bored (and i mean you are considering ending it because you can not find anything to do!!!) there are stats on the NSW RTA site which do include injury info. Really Boring RTA Stats
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      01-20-2009, 05:12 PM   #14
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Could be urban myth but I heard from a source in Qld Transport that the default reason for a road accident is recorded as "speed related".

Kind of a no-brainer when you think the vehicle was probably moving at the time, therefore some speed was involved. Whether or not it was greater than an arbitrary limit is another matter altogether...
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      01-20-2009, 05:21 PM   #15
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OK I looked. I admit it. Actually I'm really fascinated by road safety stuff. There, I said it.

Interesting to see that after seeing fairly flat stats for a while (especially in terms of vehicle kms), they have improved a fair bit in 2007 and 2008.
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      01-20-2009, 07:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattyv View Post
Until the level of driver training increases for new and existing motorists the current problems will persist, despite the increased threat of more severe fines.

IMO it's too easy for people to get a licence. Problem is legislating that people spend more time and money to get a licence is so unpopular it'll never be brought in I believe.

Policing "speed" is easier and simpler for the population at large to swallow, it's just unfortunate it wont deliver the desired result. Forgoing this revenue may be hard for Treasury to swallow too... don't worry about the lives saved though.

/end rant
This is an excellent point. I am aware that Queensland has recently increased its standards to basically the same as NSW for obtaining a drivers licence but still the driver standard is far too low. There are some people who have a licence to drive on our roads that probably aren't the safest drivers but the government is partly to blame for allowing a person with such minimal driving abilities and driving knowledge to drive on the roads.

I personally think that it should be compulsory for people obtainign a drivers licence to undertake thorough safety driving courses and are more extensive and rigourous test. Driving around for 30 mins with a driving instructor to receive your Provisional Licence seems hardly adequate in my opinion.

Furthermore, I think that 16 as the driving age is far too young. Most 16 year olds haven't even completed school yet and haven't even matured into an adult physically and mentally and they are being given the opportunity to drive on the roads WITH other people. Once they obtain their provisional licence they can be a risk to others on the road. I am not putting down all 16 year olds but there are some out there which probably shouldn't be driving just yet.
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      01-20-2009, 11:28 PM   #17
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Well I have a 16 year old son. As well as an 18 year old. The eldest gained his licence just prior to the introduction of the 100hours of log booked tuition, but still has the 3 year probationary period. Graduating from red "Ps" to Green after 12 months.

Now my point is 100hrs dosent seem like a lot....until YOU have to fit the time into your schedual. It is a pain in the ..... Yes I make the time and yes I try to pass as much knowledge on as possible and I will get him some higher level of driver training as well. But lets give the kids a fair go.

It is all well and good to say "Its too easy to gain a licence". Just remember back to the easy time we had of it, we turned out ok and have an interest in cars and driving. That is why we do advanced track days etc and proffess to be better drivers for it.

Most of the poor drivers on our roads (Generalisation coming) dont really have an interest in cars and drive out of neccesity.

What mightl fix the problem is to introduce "RE-qualification programs" where as at every licence renewal or 5 year period you have to sit the same road rules test as a P plater and do a practical driving test.

If you fail, you have a set period to complete re-training then re- sit your test. Fail again your licence is cancelled.

Now I for one would be most upset about having to do the above, and would most likley fail the first go "bad habbits". But its the way we are headed.
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      01-21-2009, 12:00 AM   #18
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I read the following from a Federal survey of community attitudes to road safety ...

Quote:

There is growing support in the general community for making the penalties for exceeding the speed
limit more severe. The current year result (31% in favour of harsher penalties) confirms an upward
trend from 28% in 2006 and 24% in 2005. A further 11% believe speeding penalties should be made
less severe and 52% opt for no change to the current penalties.
http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roa...omm_att_08.pdf

Scary!!! Should our road rules be set by popular opinion (that is influenced by indoctrination), or should it be based on serious research and science?
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