It was only the other day that I was reading a full page excerpt in the paper, with the Queensland government in full voice with their achievements in reducing the road toll. There claim was through speed management and enforcement strategies, addressing the fatal four, that had improved safety on our roads.
We often hear this and whilst no one wants to belittle the fallen, play on the emotion of the families of which are now not complete, we do need to understand the origin of such conflicting claims.
The road toll always fluctuates, factors include the economy, for instance, a suppressed economy, such as what we are experiencing and have been for a number of years, high fuel prices, high unemployment, these factors and more simply mean that people drive less, drive for shorter distances and more out of necessity than for recreation.
It does not mean we have reduced their driving risk, it just means we have reduced the amount of time on the roads for their risk behaviour to be such as influencing issue.
Another great gain we have had in road safety that gets lost with every government press release is the innovations in vehicle design and engineering. Cars today are inherently safer, handle, stop and exhibit fantastic control and compliance.
They are full of safety equipment, both active and passive. Air bags, ABS, ETC, ASC, the list goes on and on.
Don’t forget infrastructure, roads have come so far they rival the best of Europe and America today.
Driver training and more importantly, Driver Development, is the last remaining frontier of road safety.
Yes I can hear you say, we have had so much legislation put into this, but wait, what if I said Driver Development was not being invested in. The Graduated Licencing Scheme (GLS) simply allowed students to get their learners licence earlier, and enforced the parents to be the guardians of 100 hours of practice.
But who prepared the parents? This is the same group of people whose driving test often resembled taking the local policeman to the cafe down the street for a burger and drink. ( no donut jokes here, we are Australian)
Can you name any other form of education that allows the student to define the process, the teacher to be appointed, without experience, education and most importantly, qualification.
Welcome to the world of Driver Education.
Once this frontier is addressed, then we will start to see stability in not only our fatality statistics, but also our crash statistics.