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Australia hits speeders where it counts

Posted by on June 26th, 2007 at 9:05 am

The dreaded small pinky wave.
From the RTA campaign

Via the BBC

The Australian Road and Transit Authority (RTA) has launched a new anti-speeding campaign targeted at young drivers.

The campaign is based on the slogan, “Speeding. No one thinks big of you.” According to the BBC,

“The series of TV ads shows women shaking their little finger – a gesture used to symbolise a small penis – as speeding male motorists race past.”

You can watch one of the ads here.

The RTA says previous ads showing graphic images of the death and destruction caused by speeding have been ineffective. More from the campaign website:

“It purposely talks to young guys in their language. Testing of the finished ad has shown this is a very salient thought that will change young drivers’ behaviour. It could very well be the thread that unravels the mindset that speeding is cool.”

This is absolutely brilliant.

America, perhaps more than any other country, is awash in a culture of speed. Car commercials bombard the airwaves with skidding tires and claims of horsepower and big engines.

However, the untold story is that over 42,000 Americans are killed each year in traffic deaths and hundreds of thousands are injured. Also, it is common practice for the police to not give speeding tickets until motorists go 12-15 miles per hour over the speed limit. As the chart below shows, that amount can easily mean the difference between life and death:

The effects of speed on stopping distance. Graphic courtesy PDOT. Click to enlarge.

We desperately need more aggressive anti-speeding campaigns in this country.

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Comments
  • David Dean June 26, 2007 at 9:47 am

    My father is Australian and he said speeding cameras are heavily used in the Land Down Under. In the US speeding enforcement seems to be more focused on revenue generation than determent. We should make speeding cameras so prevalent that if a motorist speeds, they will almost certainly get caught. Speed bumps should be replaced with speed cameras. And the amount of the fine should be linked to income (like Scandinavian countries.)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1759791.stm

    Insurance companies should also use logged OBD2 and GPS data to monitor driving habits and give discounts to safe drivers. The data could also be used to objectively determine fault in collisions and contest unjust tickets.

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  • Matt Picio June 26, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Deterrence in the US just doesn\’t work – enforcement is too spotty, and the penalties don\’t fix the problem.

    For an example of a penalty that fixes the problem – confiscate the offender\’s vehicle until the offender attends a safe driver training class. Rather than a fine, have the offender pay for the towing and the class costs.

    Ideally, this should be coupled with some sort of arrangement with Tri-Met or loaner bicycles so that the (temporarily) car-less offender could still get around.

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  • N.I.K. June 26, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Matt, in your example, why *should* the offender be provided with transport? That\’s not a penalty, that\’s a minor inconvenience.

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  • Evan Manvel, BTA June 26, 2007 at 11:18 am

    This reminds me of the Danish attempt to use sex to sell speed control.

    As far as injuries in crashes each year: about 2.8 million people are injured each year.

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  • brian June 26, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Deterrence in the US would work if the populace really wanted safer roads.

    Step up enforcement so that if you speed you will get a ticket. And if you get a ticket, the courts will make you pay.

    Unfortunately people spend to much time watching TV soaking in car commercials. These commercials are 90% focused on fun fast driving.

    How can we actually get the general populace actaully care about this issue?

    At some point fuel cost will make an impact. But judging from the number of single occupant Tahoe\’s gunning it off the line we are not there yet.

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  • Logan 5 June 26, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    \”Insurance companies should also use logged OBD2 and GPS data to monitor driving habits and give discounts to safe drivers. The data could also be used to objectively determine fault in collisions and contest unjust tickets.\”

    That data would also be used for more nefarious purposes and would cause just as many problems as it solved. What this effectively means is that there will be a complete electronic trail of every movement I make in a car, in a public record, available to anybody who wants it. No thanks.

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  • Cecil June 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    \”Step up enforcement so that if you speed you will get a ticket. And if you get a ticket, the courts will make you pay.\”

    An excellent idea. Of course, I can hear the howls of the speeders caught in speed traps already . . . \”Why are they targeting us? We\’re careful when we speed. They shouldn\’t have these stings, they should raise the speed limits instead . . . \”

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  • Doug June 26, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    \”An excellent idea. Of course, I can hear the howls of the speeders caught in speed traps already . . . \’Why are they targeting us? We\’re careful when we speed. They shouldn\’t have these stings, they should raise the speed limits instead . . . \’\”

    Which sounds nothing at all like the cyclists here who get caught running stop signs.

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  • Matthew June 26, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    #7 \”Why are they targeting us? We\’re careful when we speed. They shouldn\’t have these stings, they should raise the speed limits instead . . . \”

    Almost sounds like a bicyclist that gets caught running a stop sign… [ducks]

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  • Cecil June 26, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Doug said \”Which sounds nothing at all like the cyclists here who get caught running stop signs\”

    I never said it did. Looks like I didn\’t have to.

    But now that it has been said, of course it sounds EXACTLY like those bicyclists. I assume the point Doug was trying to make, however, is that the situations (i.e. big dangerous speeding cars as opposed to small, not so dangerous scofflaw cyclists) aren\’t comparable.

    But at a certain level, they are. How can we argue, as some of us have over and over again, that setting traps for scofflaw stop sign runners won\’t/doesn\’t work, yet at the same time call for more speed traps by arguing that greater enforcement WILL work? Personally, I believe that ongoing, greater, and consistent enforcement of both speed and traffic control laws will work and I\’m all for both . . .

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  • Disco D June 26, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I would also like to vote to NOT have government/insurance companies spying on me.

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  • tonyt June 26, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Blah blah blah, enforcement, enforcement.

    Enforcement is great and needed, but what this story is about is changing attitudes, mostly of men, who seem to think that driving, and speeding, is an extension of their manhood.

    To those who think it can\’t be changed, I\’d simply point out the HUGE differences that one encounters when you go from city to city around this country.

    This city, all things considered, does pretty well. But we can continue to ratchet up the pressure and make irresponsible driving decidedly uncool.

    When riding in a car with a friend who\’s speeding, say something. Give a speeder the thumbs down, not the finger.

    It\’s about changing the way we think and talk about driving.

    Ladies, bust out those pinkies! You have lots of power in your hands.

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  • David Dean June 26, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    \”That data would also be used for more nefarious purposes and would cause just as many problems as it solved. What this effectively means is that there will be a complete electronic trail of every movement I make in a car, in a public record, available to anybody who wants it. No thanks.\”

    It is little different than using a credit card or searching the Internet, something most people do without hesitation.

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  • Matt Picio June 26, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    N.I.K. – some people \”need\” a car to get to work (or get kids to school), and are low-income. The compensation \”program\” should be income-based.

    If you make $16,000 a year (minimum wage @ 40 hours/wk) and have 2 kids of school age, you might not be able to afford to pay the towing and attend the class for a month or two. That person still needs to be able to get to and from work in the interim.

    If you\’re single and make $75k a year, then I have no sympathy.

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  • rixtir June 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you for that laugh, Doug. Nope, sounds nothing at all like anybody who complains around here. Ooops, got me laughing again now…

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  • David Dean June 26, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    The current state of traffic enforcement is so bad, I think motorists have a right to complain about a ticket. I drive the speed limit in a small car and often feel like I\’m standing in the middle of the road as cars fly by. I can understand how people drive above the speed limit to avoid the hassles of dealing with their fellow impatient motorists.

    The only effective way to change the situation would be to insist on greater enforcement. And the most cost effective way to do it is through more cameras, not more police.

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  • Spanky June 26, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Interesting Big Brotheresque hopes and desires expressed by bicyclists, who enjoy a huge degree of anonymity over cars, which allows those of us on bikes to, if we wish, scoff at the law witha greater degree of assurance of getting away with it than motor vehicle operators.

    Like, for instance, the bicyclist at Ladd Circle this AM that blew through the SS at Harrison, and then proceeded to pass me (as I putted along at the speed limit and then slowed to make a well signalled and careful right turn), going the wrong way around the \”traffic calming\” island at the last intersection before reachin Hawthorne. Whoever you are, nice riding! Yer a credit to bicyclists everywhere!

    While driving a car I might be tempted to do a California stop at a SS, I would never dream of passing traffic by driving around an island going the wrong way.

    And there\’s very little that can be done about it. Enforcement is lax as to cars and bikes, and none of us have license plates on our bikes…. So there\’s a certain degree of anonymity that breeds, toa degree, bad conduct among some riders.

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