I’m going to sound like a stuck record yet again on the subject of safe holiday driving. But so is everyone else when talking about road deaths and speed limits, so why should I be any different?

These depressing thoughts struck me yet again as the Christmas / New Year period began and governments boasted about the number of new fixed and mobile speed cameras put into play.

TV news programs kept up a running score on the tens of thousands of people booked for speeding, and another gruesome list on the number of road deaths. It never seemed to cross their minds that the concentration on the former wasn’t affecting the latter.

From time to time the police came up with information on a lunatic caught doing something like 160 km/h in a 50 zone. The inference being that we would all drive at such ridiculous speeds but for the vigilance of the police. Yes, 160 km/h was quoted on a police press release just before Christmas.

Which is arrant nonsense – only a tiny minority of drivers are idiots and these clowns will continue to do the wrong thing no matter how many speeding fines they ignore and how often they keep on driving without a licence.

This enormous concentration on speed enforcement isn’t working. I’ve said it many times before, but will continue to do so: the vast majority of drivers will travel at the appropriate speed for the circumstances and shouldn’t be fined, perhaps even lose their licences, for technical breaches of limits.

Those who do drive at an excessive speed for the conditions should be dealt with very harshly, preferably in some way that will keep them off our roads until they finally wake up to their own stupidity. Any suggestions on how best to do this? No, neither have I…

It really is time governments weaned themselves off from the obscene revenues, well over a billion dollars in 2017, from speeding fines and started to get serious about campaigns addressing the real causes of road crashes. It certainly looks as though inattention due to mobile phones by drivers is the number one killer.

If I can see drivers on phones dozens of times a day why can’t the police? Or is it simpler to sit beside the road, turn on the speed camera have a bit of a rest, catch up with the paperwork, or whatever?

Which brings up my mantra on safe driving – always have two hands on the steering wheel, two eyes on the road and all of your attention on driving.

Driving is an extraordinarily complex task that requires constant monitoring of a multitude of factors and taking the correct actions moment by moment.

Want to comment on this? You can reach me at ewan@marquenews.com.au/.

Finally, may I request that the “law-is-the-law-and-must-be-obeyed” brigade don’t bother wasting my time? Anyone who feels blind obedience to all road rules is guaranteed to keep them out of trouble is living in fantasy land.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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