Utilize Resources for Road Safety

 

(Third in Series)

by

John Gavin

 

From what has been said in this column in at least the past two issues, any motorist who seeks information or clarification concerning a road rule or motor car control will be disappointed as to the available reference information available.

Do not expect to obtain the relevant information you seek from the various automobile associations, the Main Roads and Transport Department of Queensland or the equivalent in other States. You could go to the local police but don’t anticipate receiving correct information.

You may find that Ask.com or a similar web-page will permit a search for the appropriate information you require. The best solution as far as the law is concerned is undoubtedly the relevant State Legislation. Ask yourself, should this be in the book-case of every Australian Home? Don’t expect a solicitor to quickly provide the information in a way that you can understand.

A motor driving school may provide a lesson or interpretation of the law. Yahoo.com suggest an expenditure any-where from $35 for 30 minutes to $70

Is it not time a State or Federal Government, in view of the road carnage we have discussed and the high cost to all Australian’s, to provide this service free of charge?

There are web-sites available. They are few and far between and it is doubtful if any are in Australia. PiandO found one North American site. Of course, there are considerable differences in the law however, the principles of motor car control, happen to be the same anywhere in the world.  Accordingly, for information on the skill required for driving a motor vehicle http://www.driversedguru.com: is a good place to start. More on this to follow.

How often do you question the knowledge of another driver? Do you ever doubt your own ability? How often do you receive the “finger” from another motorist; or abuse? In late 2012, a driving examiner with the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland was questioned about such instances, “Young women are the worst. We just ignore their lack of understanding.” was his response.

Whether you are the recipient of disapproval or the disproving party, one of you is likely at fault. How you determine right or wrong is an academic question. Perhaps it is true to say that most motorists regard right to be theirs. So, for the remainder of their driving life; are they not consolidating a gross misapprehension? Appearance before a court or worse still, a coronial inquiry can often provide an answer.

Who would agree that the motoring organizations and road safety organizations with their abundant staff and even expertise could not combine to formulate an on-line reference source along the lines of http://www.driversedguru.com suitable for the Australian driver? 

A comprehensive survey is not necessary to establish that right now, something needs to be done, not only to determine the issue of licences to responsible drivers but to educate those already holding a licence to drive.

If applicable to other States, the Queensland Sunday Mail of January 23, 2013 published a relevant article entitled Classroom Smackdown. The article reported the behaviour of young persons in schools. Disruptive behaviour, violence and criminal behaviour were three examples. Those three students the paper refers to will shortly be applying for a licence to drive. Are they going to be considered suitable and sufficiently disciplined to hold a licence or will they add to the present road carnage? Who will answer that question?

In Australia, the number of companies offering motor car insurance is staggering. They have strategies to lower their exposure and risk that do not seem to have a great effect on the accident rate. Accordingly, the user pays. Add to this the automobile associations in each State, the traffic authorities plus Federal National Road Safety (who can be contacted at roadsafetystrategy@infrastructure.gov.au).

The web-site http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safetycontains a vast resource for information. It reveals the annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is enormous—estimated at $27 billion per annum—and the social impacts are devastating.

Perhaps an examination of the staff employed by of all these agencies and authorities will reveal a drain on Federal and State budgets with an abundance of skilled personnel who do not seem to be developing many innovative ideas.

Quite a few authorities have responded to the editors of this column. Responses have mainly revealed two principal considerations. One is that advanced driver training after the grant of a licence to drive can lead to undesirable habits. A main point appears to regard advanced driver training to be associated with a skid-pan. A skid-pan effect can be found in certain mountains roads and around Black Mountain in Canberra when “black-ice” forms on the road surface. Otherwise, Skid-pans exist in name only. Environmental and pollution legislation together with the mechanical design of the modern motor vehicle destroy the experience that could once be gained. Along with the term “Defensive Driving” techniques they have no part in present day motor car control.

The second principle is the overuse of statistical evidence of a questionable standard in support of equally questionable arguments.

The reader should ask themselves, “When was the last time I had a question about driving law, procedure or theory?” Did the police, your automobile association provide the answer or did you engage a solicitor for that purpose?

An answer to most questions raised in this article is at hand for motorists in the United States of America. One source is http://www.driversedguru.com. Is it not time available resources in Australia: companies offering motor car insurance, automobile associations in each State, the traffic authorities pus the Federal National Road Safety combine to create a web-site suitable for Australia and for each separate State. If a survey needs to be taken, why not ask licence holders throughout the country if they now or ever had a need to query the law or their own driving practices from time to time.

(Continued on next page:)

Anyone with the temerity to respond with “but I am already a perfect driver,” should immediately be relegated to a horse and buggy. At least the horse would have some sense. No driver is perfect and with the advance in motor vehicle technology, there is always something new to learn.

Let us assume a home page on a web site, has a link directing new student drivers to driving lesson instruction; information that the new driver could then put into supervised practice, it would be available to the new driver and older drivers. Another

 

Page 7: Road Safety