Dob-in-a-Hoon The Government is increasing fines, adding greater restrictions and longer punishments as well as adding more speed cameras on our roads. But are these working? What is the solution to our increasing road toll?
Hoon laws have taken place, resulting in 'hoons' losing their licence and even their car being impounded for 24 hours then 48 hours for the second time and then losing the car all together for the third offence. "Over 1000 cars have been seized under the laws," says Assistant Commissioner for traffic Noel Ashby Local. The idea of the program being that when caught overly exceeding the speed limit or reckless driving which is endangering others the punishment is having the car impounded. This is meant to attack the 'hoons' who value their car more than their life.
Governments have also added the dob-in-a-hoon scheme where members of the community can call up and essentially 'dob' in a driver for driving recklessly and endangering others. The idea of the phone hotline is to decrease the anti social behaviour and excessive speed from drivers.
One idea is to create regions similar to that of the Autobahn in West Germany, a stretch of freeway, without speed restrictions for approximately 20% of the road, for those 'hoons' who thrive on speed to have an environment where it is legal. The idea being that when they had their speed thrill they would be able to follow the speed limits in place in suburbia. 60km of the Autobahn in Bremen, Germany, has placed a speed limit on the freeway, of 120km; surprisingly this wasn't to reduce the road toll, but to cut Co2 emissions.
The drivers who exceed the limit are as much danger as those who are overly cautious and travel particularly slow, under the speed limit. Roadsafe.com.au says that 98% of fatalities on Australian roads occur while travelling at or below the speed limit. Introducing re-tests for all drivers every ten or more years, becoming more frequent once drivers reach the age of 50, this would be beneficial for all drivers.
Darwin used to have no-speed-limit stretches of roads, nevertheless in 2007 placed a 130km speed limit on all roads. After the introduction of speed restrictions in Darwin the road toll was slightly decreased, any decrease is fantastic! Imagine if that small decrease saved the life of a family member or friend.
40km has been introduced around school areas at school times to protect students as well as their parents. The areas are dominated with young children at certain times and it is a must that drivers follow the 40km speed limit, although sadly most don't. However to help protect all 40km speed limits will most likely be introduced in and around busy shopping regions as well. Making many areas safer.
John from Perth believes that to decrease our road toll we need to "reduce, or half, the number of demerits required to keep licences" and "introduce mandatory advanced driver's courses for all newly licensed drivers".
Holiday periods such as Christmas, Easter and New Years Eve contribute large numbers towards the road toll for the year. Methods such as losing double the demits points for offences in committed within these periods help in reminding drivers to be extra caution during these busy times.
Victoria has followed Sydney in making all Learner drivers complete a log of 120 hours and one-year of holding a Learner licence before being able to even be tested for their Probationary licence. Also restricting those who commit an offence or are in their first year of their Probationary licence, from having more than one passenger between the ages of 16 and 21. This will hopefully cut distractions from having multiple passengers and peer pressure. The Victorian Government claim that 26% of first year drivers' accidents happened when the driver was carrying multiple passengers.
Bridget, 19, believes that "passengers restrictions will cause more problems with drink-driving at night, as only allowing the designated driver to take one passenger home from a nightclub will mean more cars on the road, and probably more drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving".
Kelly, 20, is all for passenger restrictions and has learnt from driving experience. "I learnt all about the road and my car by participating in a 'Murcotts Driving Experience Course', which I received for my birthday. I know that the less people in a car, if there is unfortunately an accident, the better. The more people involved the more people likely to be killed or injured".
Travelling too fast for the conditions is dangerous. The speed limit is set as that is the safest speed for that portion of the road. Speed cameras aren't being used for there intended use. They were designed to be highly visible and situated at black spots in order to slow traffic, not hidden, to raise revenue.
People are angry though at 'revenue raising' they believe Governments have introduced cameras in certain spots for no purpose other than to make money. Many are annoyed that speed cameras can be placed on the decline of hills and only allow a three kilometres difference in speed. You will find that most cars pedometers are tuned out by more than five kilometres. Meaning you may think you are travelling at the right speed, but will still be fined. Is attacking the minority the issue? Or should they be fighting the drivers who exceed the speed limit by 20km or more?