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Speed Kills

Entry 119, on 2005-01-23 at 22:55:18 (Rating 1, News)

I read in the news recently that police are now issuing over 1000 speeding tickets per day, over three times more than five years ago. New Zealand is a small country of 4 million people, and the total doesn't include tickets generated by automated speed cameras, so this is really a substantial number.

Naturally, many people are suggesting that this is all part of a revenue gathering exercise by police, and doesn't have a lot to do with traffic safety. Police respond with their standard line that excessive speed is dangerous, and they don't apologise for being tough on it. Of course they would say that even if they were mainly interested in gathering fines, they are hardly likely to say "oh, we don't care about safety, its just easy money", are they!

There has also been an advertising campaign (or what I call a propaganda campaign) on TV about the evils of speeding, its almost being seen to be as bad as drinking and driving now.

Since the extra speed fines have been collected, the road toll in New Zealand has come down a bit, but that doesn't mean the two are related. Many other things have changed at the same time, such as improved roads, and safer cars - maybe these have been more responsible for the reduced toll - no one really knows.

I admit that the faster you travel, the more serious an accident is going to be, and the more likely you are to have one. But by this logic we should all travel around at 50 kilometers per hour - at least that's safe! My point is that there are situations when driving above the speed limit is reasonably safe. For example, travelling over a deserted country road at 130 ks and being careful is safer than travelling at 100 in crowded conditions and not paying attention.

All I want is for police to enforce the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Last time I was pulled up by a cop I presented this hypothesis, I launched into a tirade about the money they spend on TV propaganda, etc, but he just calmly said "there's nothing you can say which will change my mind", and gave me the ticket anyway. Well its what I expected, I suppose!

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Comment 1 (24) by wiseman on 2005-03-23 at 15:32:15:

Haha, that's interesting. I heard online defensive driving course sites like www.officaldefensivedriving.com and www.thedefensivedriver.com are pretty good. man, i hate those classes, online is much better.

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