Cut in speed limits not the answer

CAR accidents have a massive impact on our community, and the road toll of 33 in 2012 was clearly 33 too many.

The family trauma impacts on rescue staff and the impact on hospitals and hospital staff are huge.

Additionally, there were more than 240 serious injuries for the year and many of these people would be still in recovery at this moment.

Unfortunately, the Road Safety Advisory Council reports that most of the accidents are caused by speed, drink-driving and inattention.

However, inexperience, inattention, distraction and failing to give way was by far the biggest problem - 28.6 per cent of crashes.

Alcohol was blamed for 9.3 per cent of the crashes, and excessive speed for the conditions 13.1 per cent.

In light of these statistics it is still a mystery why the RSAC remains fixated on reducing the speed on country roads from 100km/h to 90km/ h.

If 13.1 per cent of crashes were the result of excessive speed, that equates to 4.3 deaths in a toll of 33.

If you then deduct the crashes on major highways, it becomes clear that excessive speed on country roads is not the real problem and there are no statistics to support the theory.

Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne was quoted in The Examiner this week as saying that lowering the country speed limit by 10km/h "could prevent 100 fatal crashes in the next six years".

Those numbers simply don't make sense.

The road toll would have to average 125 a year for the next six years to achieve Mr O'Bryne's figure of 16 deaths a year due to excessive speed - and that's on all roads, as opposed to just country roads.

Unfortunately there remains no evidence that there is an epidemic of Tasmanians dying on country roads between the speeds 90km/h and 100km/h.

It appears abundantly clear from the statistics that inexperience, at 15 per cent, and failing to give way at 8.4 per cent, are where the attention should be directed and those require education, not new speed limits.

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