A very good read Pete, well said, pity the "People in the know" don't think like you.
I’m about to babble, so please bare with me, I have said most of these points in other forums, so you have probably read them before.
Highways and freeways in our cities are perfect examples of 21st century engineering, policed by people relying on laws that have failed to keep up. I know of some roads that were built with speeds exceeding 160km/h, but are policed at 100km/h. Some major dual lane roads should not have speed limits (to an extent, eg not over 160km/h), drivers should be able to drive at their own limits, but this would require drivers to use their brains, undoing years of government training not to use them. This would also dramatically reduce fatigue accidents, as the drivers stay alert.
Fatigue would be the biggest killer on our roads, we are driving modern cars on autobahn style roads that are using pre-dated speed limits, this would be the perfect recipe to fall asleep at the wheel. What are our Governments doing to stop this? Lowering the speed limit!! My personal experience with this is driving interstate. At 110km/h I was getting bored and not concentrating, at 130km/h I was wide-awake and aware of my surrounding conditions, but according to the Government, at that speed, I’m a danger to society.
Driver training should be high on the Governments list of priorities when it comes to road safety, how many bad drivers have you seem on the roads? I see them every day. I know how to handle a car in a slide, how to brake hard without locking the wheels, all this due to my motor sport background. My mother has never had a speeding ticket, and only had one accident (she is 60), but she is considered a more experienced driver than me. I hate driving with her, she drives in the top lane under the speed limit, she cuts people off, and doesn’t indicate, not to mention the time she pulled out of a side road and lost traction, planted her foot hard on the brake and held the wheel straight. She ended up facing the on coming traffic, she didn’t have an accident which was lucky. No who is the better driver?
How many people drive in the cities all their lives, retire, buy a big 4x4 and caravan and drive around Australia. This is the biggest concern with me, as they have no experience towing, or towing on our country roads, passing traffic at such a speed, or traffic passing them so close and at those speeds.
The Government has us driving on sub-standard roads in the country (city roads I’ve covered in Speeding). As an example, in WA here there was an article from the Assistant Police Commissioner, saying that deaths in 110km zones had not decreased in 12 years, so they are going to have a blitz on speeding in country areas (wrote a letter to the West Australian, but it didn’t get in). He basically blamed speeding for these deaths.
What about other factors like Fatigue? Inexperience? Distractions? Drink Driving? or animals? In country Australia we are driving on single lane roads, at speeds which are considered unsafe on city freeways that are multi-lanes and have barriers between each direction of traffic. On country roads, trees are within metres of the road, a simple accident like a blown tyre could cause the car the spear off into a tree killing the occupant, or worst still, occupants. If the Government wanted to lower the death toll (they will never stop deaths on our roads), they should look at how accidents in the country occur, head on collisions with other cars, single car collisions with trees, roll overs etc.. interstate roads should be dual or multi lane roads, with a substancual distance between any on coming traffic on the right, and trees on the left (American interstate highways come to mind).
Lastly, why is it the Government considers placing a speed camera at a "black spot" as fixing the problem? If that particular part of the road is a "black spot" why doesn't it fix the road?
I guess it’s easier to make money than spend it. If the Government was so keen to lower road deaths, the roads we drive on would be world class, and all us drivers would be professionally trained.
PS Pete, I also have the complete story MOTOR magazine did on speeding, it’s a very good read, I’ll email it to you if you want.