Saturday, July 05, 2008

What kills on our roads? Speed, bad roads, what?

This did the e-mail rounds with the label 'Justice'.
Why was it labelled so? It helps to look at the state of Victoria's road policing policies. Victoria probably has the best roads in Australia, the lowest speed limits, and the heaviest police (and speed camera) presence.

In Montana, USA, they had a period where no speed limits were in force, according to the Victorian road safety mantra, that should have led to bedlam. It didn't.

In most of (western) Europe, Autobahns have long been used as fast vehicular roads, with speed limits in the 130Km'h class (or none at all on Germany's autobahns). yet they can make the statement that "...Autobahn-like roads have a superior safety record, regardless of speed limit...".

Something doesn't gell here. The Victorian 'authorities' position is that speed kills, and they seek to slow traffic down as much as possible. Yet the European experience is that high vehicle speeds and safety are quite achievable given good road design.

Better roads cost state governments money, speeding fines make them money. No wonder that many Australian motorists have the cynical view that speed limit monitoring (eg speed cameras) and policing is as much, or more about the revenue it raises than it is about safety.

Great Wikipedia article on motorway safety.
Montana no limits/greater safety paradox.
NRMA (NSW) article on speed limits.
Great forum on Autobahns and Motorways.



Blogger Worldman said...

In Switzerland we have a limit of 120 km/h on the "autobahn's". With a lot of cameras. And still a lot of idiots who think they can come by racing at over 200 km/h. They are dealth with very harshly. The effect is that safety has indeed increased. And with 120 km/h per hour, it takes you 2 hours to drive from Montreux to Zurich airport. Which is not bad. Because you will have crossed two third's of the country.

Sunday, July 06, 2008 1:39:00 pm  

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