Sunday, January 07, 2007

Holiday Road Toll and P-Plate Drivers

Operation Safe Arrival ran from 22-Dec-06 till midnight on 5-January-07. In that time there were 19 people killed on NSW roads, more than 16000 were booked for speeding; more than 1000 were booked for driving with proscribed amounts of alcohol; and more than 1000 were booked for seat belt offences!

Of the 19 killed in NSW 4 were P-plate drivers; 1 was a 4-month old passenger of a P-plate driver and the other 14 had full licences.

Much has been discussed in the media about bans and further restrictions on P-Plate drivers, and they are certainly disproportionately represented in the holiday road toll. But what about the rest: 15 people died at the hands of people with full licences. I had an experience where a car about 200m in front, on a good dual-carriageway, dual-lane highway, lost control on the outside of a gentle curve, fishtailed, then spun through about 540 degrees. The tyres were useless after. The driver? - an man, about 40 years old, driving a performance version of a family car, who was speeding (about 120+ km/hr) There were 5 or 6 cars alongside and immediately behind him.

With 16000 drivers (repeat sixteen THOUSAND drivers) fined for speeding in NSW over 15 days, the impact of "double-demerit points" and the advertizing for drivers to slow down is having minimal impact.

Solution: - those drivers fined for speeding, alcohol and seat-belt offences during times of "double demerit", should automatically have their licence suspended for 1 month, on-the-spot! A hole punched in their licence indicates a cancellation. Their licence can be re-issued after paying the appropriate fine and taking the receipt to an RTA office. Drastic? Yes, but at least those people putting the rest of us at risk will be off the road for the holiday period.

The Analyst