Sunday, February 26, 2006

'Fixed' Speed Cameras

A 'bingo!' moment for your's truly this week when this happened:

Fixed speed cameras... will be introduced (in Queensland) in new measures to slash the road toll.
I hate to say I told you so but I did - and though I may have been out with my early 'within six months' prediction, I stand by my assertion that the Government's motives are more fiscal than caring.

After all, Queensland's M1 Motorway may have had a few crashes over the years but never any massive pile-ups. The relatively new road is actually surprisingly safe considering how badly everyone (I mean everyone - from every state of Australia) drives on it.

And anyone who bleats the 'it'll stop those hoon road racers with their rolling blockades' line has missed the fact that the midnight racers cover their number plates so they won't be afraid of fixed speed cameras. Any that are will be coming soon to a side road near you.

What we really need to do to address the road toll is teach people to drive properly and with care and respect for other road users, plus enforcement of all the road rules we already have, not just the ones that pass the cost-benefit analysis of earning enough money to make it worth a copper pulling one over.

Instead we get permanent flash for cash and a bunch of hooey about repeat offenders. The announcement came following the 'Road Safety Summit' announced by Beattie late last year.

One suspected that would be a cynical affair and one was not disappointed. The event began with a media call carefully stage managed by Beattie and his spin merchants to show tough talkin' Pete with some of the more stellar participants. Then it got down to business by splitting the participants up into groups to 'workshop' various ideas while a Queensland Transport representative took notes.

At the end of the session, the Queensland Transport rep had a whole 60 seconds to give a precis of their 'findings' - except that at least one group realised that what the bureaucrat was reading out bore little if any resemblance to what they had actually been discussing.

One hears that racing driver Dick Johnson walked out halfway through but that wasn't reported in the media.

Ah, the media, those schizophrenic idiots with short memories - here's how they've headlined one road safety story this morning:

How police are ambushing drivers who talk on their mobiles
The story, by a journalist old enough to remember old-fashioned 'pull over driver' style radar stops, goes on the describe the police technique of a spotter radioing ahead to a stop team as:

...(a) heavy-handed approach...
Dickhead. When they used to pull you over for speeding like that, it stopped you speeding there and then and usually, stung by the shame of being publicly booked, for a month or so afterwards.

That's a whole lot more than can be said for a photo and fine in the mail weeks after the event.

-- Nick

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