INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public conned over anti-speeding strategy

Published: Fri 27 Mar 2015 12:45 PM
Public conned over anti-speeding strategy, says safety campaigner
The police are continuing to use phony science to justify a failed anti-speeding campaign, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.
Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an active road safety campaigner, says:
“The police recently released a public opinion survey, in which 62% of New Zealand road users said they had made a positive change to their driving behavior during the Christmas holiday campaign. However, when announcing the results of this survey, the police conveniently forgot to mention that this same holiday road toll was one of the worst in recent years.”
“When the road toll goes down, the police claim credit. When it goes up, they blame bad driving. They can’t have it both ways. Either the police anti-speeding strategy works or it doesn’t work.”
“When the road toll rises dramatically after the heaviest anti-speed campaign in recent years, any sane person would question the police’s whole road safety strategy. Instead, the public and much of the news media appear to have accepted the police public relations spin without question.”
“The police anti-speeding strategy is based on a discredited theory that if you ticket mums and dads who drift over the speed limit, then criminals will stop driving recklessly. This claim is simply not based on any credible science.”
“The facts are these: only about 20% of fatalities occur above the legal speed limit."
"Of these 20% of fatalities that occur above the speed limit, most involve either drunks, motorcyclists or young working-class males who live on the edge of the law. There is simply no evidence that rigid enforcement of speed limits has made the slightest difference to the behaviour of these high risk drivers.”
Matthew-Wilson gave the example of Cameron Presland, 20, who earlier this year killed his girlfriend Danielle Kiriau, 17, and her brother Shannon, 22, while driving at 180km/h. The pair were passengers in Presland’s unwarranted, unregistered, modified vehicle that spun out of control on Dunedin's southern motorway and crashed into a pole and tree. Danielle and the girls in the rear seats were not wearing seatbelts and were thrown from the car.
Matthew-Wilson asks:
“Can anyone tell me what difference the anti-speeding campaign made to this fatality? The driver was quite clearly comfortable with breaking the law, comfortable with getting tickets and comfortable with the risks he was taking. There are plenty of police cars and speed cameras around Dunedin, but they appear to have had zero effect on this driver’s behaviour.”
“The police enjoy tremendous support from the public and the news media, so when the police announce that an anti-speeding campaign will save lives, most people believe them, even though the police claim is not backed up by much science and even though the recent holiday road toll was terrible.”
Matthew-Wilson adds:
“I’m not saying speed limits shouldn’t be enforced; I’m saying that police should refocus on high risk drivers, not ordinary people who’ve innocently drifted over the speed limit in conditions where there’s actually not much risk.”
Release ends.

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