||It isn't that they can't see the solution.|
It is that they can't see the problem.
- GK Chesterton
It is not enough to point out the lies, deceptions, fallacies and mistakes in current public perceptions and policies on road safety. We must also show the way forward.
One simple amendment to the road transport legislation would at a stroke overturn their whole house of cards:
A lawyer coments:
It should be a complete defence against any driving offence if the driver can prove in court that his or her actions were safe in the circumstances. Like any other accused, a driver should have the benefit of any doubt.
Your proposal shifts matters from a strict liability situation usually associated with regulatory offending... the implications to enforcement would make a prosecution almost prohibitive given the high volume of current offending...
But the present power to regulate is grossly excessive and has led to a situation where false science cannot be challenged legally by those adversely affected by it.
"Powerlessness corrupts and absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely."
The other major problem with the law and the emphasis on prosecution and blame, is that it prevents the proper and thorough investigation of the causes of accidents when they do happen:
the threat of prosecution and eagerness to blame someone else inhibits frank and unbiassed information,
once a driver has been blamed and charged there is no further investigation of possible significant contributing factors that could and should be remedied,
the legal system devours huge resources that could otherwise be allocated to reducing risks on our roads through better investigation and non-legal remedies.
There should be an absolute requirement on appropriate authorities (NOT the police) to investigate all accidents properly to determine whether there are any contributing factors that if remedied would have prevented or substantially mitigated the accident. They should also be required to report back as to what has subsequently been done and why. These investigations and reports should be entirely independent of, and unhindered by, any police investigations.
The Traffic Police should be required to have a broader vision than brain-dead, rigid enforcement of regulations:
Research and Policy Advice
The police operational objective should be to achieve maximum safety and road user convenience from minimal infringement notices and prosecutions.
At present LTSA is responsible for both giving policy advice and for expert evaluation of the quality of that advice. This has been a failure and is clearly an untenable conflict of interest. It is time to break the stranglehold that the LTSA and its State of Victoria advisors have exercised.
Money should be allocated for independent, contestable, traffic accident research. Even if this were done on the basis of a commission on money saved as a result of research findings it could stimulate contributions from independent, objective researchers.
The key is to making progress on road transport is to recognise and provide incentives to improve on all four parameters: faster, safer, cheaper and more flexible.
Involving private enterprise with the discipline and stimulus of competition is certainly the only way to achieve quick and best results.
There needs to be a focus on keeping dangerous people off the road, improving separation between different kinds of users on the roads (weight, size, speed, sight-seeing), improving driver training and improving what we learn from accidents to avoid repeating mistakes.
We support competing private toll roads and toll lanes. These must be actively managed and controlled by private operators to ensure innovative best practices and services.
We support good private prisons and initiatives to reform prisoners before release into the community. Anti-social or seriously-disturbed people are a serious hazard on the road.
The attempts at "traffic calming" and making "one size fit all" on the roads should be abandoned. Planners must recognize the different needs of different people and provide alternative routes and roadways that suit those needs. In particular, fast and slow, heavy and light traffic should be catered for separately.
Road traffic accident investigation should be treated as seriously as aviation accidents are. In particular, it is obvious that the likelihood of a road accident being repeated unnecessarily is much greater than that of a light aeroplane accident as there are far more frequent passages along the same routes. It is bizarre that authorities treat these two kinds of incidents so differently. It seems that the frequency of road accidents has had the reverse effect it requires - indifference rather than concern.