Nice to see the Age actually present this sort of article.
A bit more analysis of the statistics doesn't paint such a pretty picture however.
1. The actual total number of accidents involving injury was UP by a small percentage. We aren't killing as many people but we are injuring more. No doubt a percentage of that drop is thus attributable to the on going reduction in the average age of our vehicle fleet leading to a higher number of survivable accidents.
2. The total drop from 2002 in the road toll was a commendable 63 lives saved but 38 of these (60%) were non vehicle occupants such as pedestrians -17), cyclists (-17) etc. Might be one of the positives from the 50 km/h zones given that the bulk of the reduction is in the Melbourne metro area.
3. There was a 2.6% increase in fatal accidents throughout regional Victoria and an even greater increase in total accidents.
4. Whilst these are the lowest figures on record the 2nd lowest (both with 377 fatalities) were recorded in 1994 and 1997, but these low levels have never been sustainable.
Of course the revenue raisers will be licking their lips at the prospect of even more speed cameras now that these figures act as a pseudo endorsement of their strategies even though those strategies have failed everywhere else they have been used. Consequently we can expect at least another year of more roadside stealth registers until this statistical anomaly is either proven to be correct or shown to be a complete COS.
It's interesting to note the well buried comments made in a 1997 report which looked at the ageing vehicle population and postulated that a 1 year drop in the average age of the Victorian road fleet would save 60 lives per annum based on a higher degree of surviveability in later model vehicle accidents - not to mention the improved safety measures that assist in accident avoidance. The actual drop since that time has been 1.19 years!
From the figures I would conclude the 50k limits have worked, but I'm worried about what they'll do to lower the toll on country roads. If anything the increased enforcement and lower tolerance may have increased the toll due to people driving more slowly and having more problems with fatigue. I'd like to see more of the rural highways brought up to a standard where you could have a 120km/h limit, with 4 lanes.
heh, and probably because everyone blatantly ignores the speed limits anyway ?
While driving through italy, I had a semi-trailer cab (ie semi without trailer) have a drag race at the lights with another car . . . and win. I was amazed at his behaviour, must have just dropped the clutch and launched. Some tyre spin, then he disappeared into the distance . . .