While checking on some facts for my previous blog, I came across a lot of data related to speed limits and speed laws on our roads, about how speed cameras save lives. What I found strange though, is that there was very little data coming up related to how much safety improvements to the new cars affected road statistics.
If we are to believe our government, “Speed cameras make our roads safer. They’ve reduced crashes at intersections by 47 per cent and have helped cut our road toll by a third”. At first glance, this statement is pretty self-explanatory and non-controversial, right? Wrong!
Read it again: “and have helped cut our road toll by a third”. Notice – speed cameras didn’t cut road toll by a third, they have helped to cut it. What it really means is that the actual number attributed to speed cameras could be as low as 1%. Just think about it….if speed cameras really saved lives, and our government had the numbers to prove it, they would’ve come up with a statement that reads something like this: “Speed cameras make our roads safer. They’ve reduced crashes at intersections by 47 per cent and 30% of all lives saved is due to speed cameras”. See the difference?
Now that you spotted the difference, let’s see what the original statement actually says. It says that the road toll has been reduced by a third. It has been reduced by COMBINED efforts of car manufacturers making our cars safer, by improvements in road constructions making roads themselves safer, by improved algorithms of traffic management and by constant education campaign.
We all know that European cars have a reputation for being safe. It comes as no surprise than, that the vehicle safety is identified as a key strategy by the European Union towards addressing the EU-wide goal to reduce deaths by 50%. Again, take notice – not by putting more speed cameras on a road, but by improving car safety.
I would like to finish by quoting the boss of Mazda Australia, who has accused road safety authorities of creating a nation of “distracted drivers” by forcing them to watch their car’s speedometer – rather than the traffic ahead – because they’re scared to go 1km/h over the speed limit.”