September 12, 2007

Horse 805 - Speed Kills... Not Really

It was once said that speed doesn't kill, it's the sudden stop that does. Yesterday proved this for me yet again.

On a Boeing 777 there was probably nobody on board other than me even remotely interested in the veritable orgy of big numbers on the information screen. We were told in no uncertain terms that we were doing +500mph and everybody on board didn't even bat and eyelid.

If you were to take this principle to a German Autobahn, then the story changes a little bit. Instead of 500mph, traffic moves relatively cleanly at and average speed of about 120mph. Crash rates on the whole are no better or worse than Australia, so obviously speed isn't the issue.

In Oz we're limited to a rather pathetic 110km/h or 68mph. Motorway speeds in the USA are at 65mph though on good stretches there are 75mph sections. Traffic moves along rather boringly at about 85mph anyway.

If then speed is not an issue provided everyone moves together, why then does our government believe that having P-Plate drivers move at 20km/h slower than everyone else make things safer? It quite honestly doesn't. If I'm closing in on a hapless P-Plater at 110km/h quite leagally then I have to nudge the brakes because the law is an ass, a idiot.

Most fatal accidents do not occur on motorways in the first place, but rather on suburban streets where although speed is an issue, we're talking about people breaking the law in the first place. The NSW Government's smear campaign and the dirty scumbags at the Daily Telegraph blamed them for accidents when they should have found ways of countering speeding drivers. Limiting P-Platers to 90km/h on the motorway when they like anyone else can only do 60 in a 60 zone was short-sighted.

Not one of those "high-powered hoons" that the Telegraph published was actually adhering to the law in the first place. 72 in a 60 zone is dangerous, yet 72 in an 80 zone magically is no faster but road designers put that limit on because it was safe to do so. To be honest 110km/h on some stretches of the Hume is paltry when the road is quite capable of 150 without trouble.

Speed if managed and properly thought about doesn't kill. Idiots kill... and some of those are in parliament.

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