The Need For Speed
Many of us are guilty of driving over the speed limit at one time or another. And many of us are fairly confident that if we set our speed to 10 kms over the limit on the highway, we wont get caught. We live in a fast paced society, where even half an hour can make a significant impact on our productivity.
It may be time to rethink that attitude.
The road toll for 2009 has jumped considerably since last year. Newspapers are littered with accounts of road fatalities, many caused by speeding drivers, particularly young drivers.
According to Richard Johnson, Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury law at Stacks The Law Firm, In the majority of motor vehicle accident cases speed is a major factor.
Weve seen the statistics. We know that speeding greatly increases the risk of injury and death. RTA research shows that the risk of a crash doubles if you drive 5 kms over the limit, and quadruples if you drive 10 kms over.
Yet the typical aussie, itll never happen to me attitude prevails.
RTA figures have shown that we tend to respond best when the perceived risk of being caught is high. The double demerits initiative for offenders on public holiday weekends is pretty successful, as long as people know about it.
Fixed speed cameras with warning signs on approach work.
The introduction of 50 km/h speed limits in urban areas has also been effective.
But the RTA has recently been criticised for appearing to allow a 10% tolerance for camera-detected speeding offences. If this is true, our general perception about getting away with doing 10 km over the limit is in fact right.
Is the solution simply a tougher approach? The police have made it clear that they reserve the right to book a driver for even 1 km/h over the speed limit. The camera settings can be changed at any time so there is no guarantee that a 10% buffer will be extended. Those who speed take the risk.
Greater awareness about when and where crashes most often occur might also help to change attitudes. For example, did you know that speed-related crash rates are particularly high on country roads by country residents?
At least if youre injured in a motor vehicle accident which was not your fault, the law protects you. If somebody breaches a traffic rule, and it can be proven that this breach contributed to the accident, you have grounds for a compensation claim. Even in the case of an uninsured driver causing an accident, or for hit and runs, the law protects the victim.
Be mindful of time limits though. You need to let the police know within 28 days of your accident, and lodge a claim within 6 months.