UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED

by

John Gavin 

 

On 7 October 2012, News.com.au reported on a Queensland Government report recommending a review of speed limits due to ageing population. The report found that “Older people liked to drive slowly.”

The report, goes on to very vaguely mention instances of death or serious injury caused by a 76 year of woman; and another person having his leg amputated after being hit by an 88 year old driving an out-of-control vehicle. (The report does not say if the 88 year was the cause.)

The measure proposed by the Queensland Government to “control’ these older person’s people include redesigning roads and it observed that older drivers can frustrate other road users by driving slowly. This " Can manifest in road rage and intimidating driving behaviours".  This is a confusing the road safety argument that “speed kills.”

"There is clear (emphasis mine) research evidence of the benefits of realistic and well-enforced speed limits, however the speed limits do not take specific account of older road users (and) this will become a more important consideration with demographic change.”

If these proposals are the best the Government can consider, then communication between Police, the Road Traffic Authorities and other resources are blatantly deficient. It is time for a holistic review of the contribution including the cause and effect of tragedies incurred by all drivers - the young and old, male and female.

The considered opinion of PiandO is that most drivers, whoever they may be, are taught to drive by family and friends or a driving school. They are brought to a basic standard then granted a license to drive. In other words, they have been taught how to pass a driving test. How many of them receive any further instruction in driving or the theory of driving” Most of their skills result from the process of learning by error and/or mistake. No matter how they practice driving, bad habits become ingrained.

Accordingly, it is our belief that retention of a licence be dependent on mastering the skills of driving, commencing on day one, through proper and qualified instruction repeated at intervals of say, no more than ten years.

The examples quoted in the News.com.au report on older drivers are evidence of the need for medical certification and the individual standard of driving. Doctor Alex Douglas MP rightly objects to this responsibility being paced on Doctors.

How often, on say the Bruce Highway, do you see a vehicle that has left the road, crossed the median and endangered traffic coming from an opposite direction? How often is an incident such as this caused by “Rapid Lane Change?” For some reason the driver has swerved to avoid something, maybe a genuine cause or could it be just skylarking? If an attempt is made to return to the lane they were originally using without proper correction, and that must be immediate, the result is a spin, two and a half to be precise and the vehicle is out-of-control. Centrifugal force, (you may pronounce it centrifical) something that is always present, takes over.

Now let us turn to other example of abhorrent driving practices. Something the Government and Road Traffic Authorities are not overtly concerned with.

(a) A young lady, young men are not overlooked, steps into the vehicle to drive and prepares to drive.

(b) Adjusts at least one rear view mirror, checks make up and appearance; generally does everything but prepare mentally and physically for the task ahead.

(c) At stops; signs or lights, her hands go to adjust her hair. Meanwhile the rear view mirrors give a very clear view of the sky. After all, what else are they for

(d) Both sexes attend to the adjustment of radio and sound. Is the air conditioner set correctly, what do I have in the glove box.

Oh! You see it all the time. The mobile phone must be on hand and available; how many text while driving Many drive with an arm on or out of the window. Two hands on the wheel is only for amateurs.

Speed, merging into lanes. A burst on the accelerator and the vehicle surges ahead to merge in moderate safety. What do they then do, release pressure on the accelerator to slow in front of the driver they have just merged ahead of. Perhaps this is to assess the new road ahead of them.

Four wheel drive vehicles. The equivalent of a qualified driver taking a Kenworth 500 hp Prime Mover into a shopping centre car park, however, you will not find the disabled sticker on display.

Roundabouts:   How often with a car clearly on the roundabout ten metres away and continuing through or around the roundabout do motorists enter dangerously and accelerate in front of the oncoming vehicle? It makes one wonder what perception of distance and /or speed they possess, if any. Seriously they must consider themselves in the right, after all, they do manage to get a cars length or so into the roundabout. Do they accelerate? No. They brake. 

On the open road or a main road, a vehicle ahead will inexplicable slow. Bet your bottom dollar they are on the phone

Traffic Lights? When you see a vehicle accelerate, it is an obvious action, just bet they are preparing to run the light. On the Gold Coast, two or three will cross on the red. Is anything done? Better ask the police. 

Marked traffic lanes are too many people, simply, white lines on the road. Straddling  a white line is a good guide.  It is unsafe to assume a driver will stay in their lane.

(Continued on next page)

 

We have outlined a few practices that are an everyday occurrence. Amplification of what has been said would take some and a far longer essay.

The report in question is all blatant hypocrisy. Why has not the State complied with their obligations to ensure that drivers have the physical and mental capability to drive? Do the doctors that issue these certificates actually go

 

Page 2: Road Safety

Page 2: Road Safety