Opinion: crashes aren't speed-related; they're idiot-related
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For another chapter from our book of what's possible if you follow everything literally versus what we should be doing in the real world, may I present to you the thinking of the ITF, the International Transport Forum.
They've concluded that we need to lower the open road speed limit to 70km/h, and urban roads to 30km/h.
I, by the way, on a flat road, with possibly the wind slightly at my back, can cycle that fast. So they want us driving at the speed of a bike.
Anyway, they cite several countries that have done a number of different things. Sweden 90 to 80km/h, New South Wales 60 to 50km/h, Italy heaps of cameras, and so it goes.
Their broad argument - and it's not actually a bad one - is around the quality of the road. And I think most of us would agree our roads aren't flash, they're not wide, they're not new, they're not conducive to cornering at 110. Some are, most aren't.
You could also argue if you're up in arms at the prospect of 70km/h on an open road that in major cities with congestion, even though the limit is 100km/h, you're not going anywhere near it anyway.
But, and this is where a touch of reality comes into it and Superintendent Steve Greally put his finger on it: let's worry about the idiots - they're the problem.
Forget the tourists, that rich source of whinging and moaning we've dipped into these past few years, looking for yet another simple solution to a complex problem.
Forget them he says, let's look at ourselves and our appalling habits, and he is right. Most of the crashes, the issues we face, are not speed-related or tourist-related. They're idiot-related.
Yes, they might involve speed, but it's idiots and speed that's the combination, not speed by itself. Any experienced, professional operator behind the wheel will tell you speed in isolation is not an issue.
Since joining Hampton Downs and taking my car round a track at 220km/h I have not crashed, will not crash, and have concluded I am vastly less likely to be in trouble on a track than I am on a road. Why? Because there are no idiots. There is respect and concentration and rules are adhered to, and - oh the irony - ever safer cars.
And yet, they've failed to find the answer to the moron in the drivers seat. But I can tell you having us go at 30 or 70 isn't it. It's a piecemeal, sticking plaster, clickbait, attention-seeking one-liner to a much more complex issue.
If you follow its logic, if we all did 10km/h, no-one would die, and we may as well get a horse and cart. It's not real, and probably more importantly it's not helpful.
Build better roads, test people to drive more than once in their lives, enforce the law more, take drink driving and drug driving seriously, crush cars, stick repeat offenders in jail.
I - driving 100km/h - am not the issue. Target the issue. Don't punish the vast majority of us that aren't the problem.
- NZ Herald