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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4309 ..


MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, the question, thank you.

MR STANHOPE: It never rains but it pours.

I do thank Mr Hargreaves for a question on a very important subject, and that is the steps that a community or a government can take to seek to reduce road deaths and road trauma. It is a challenge and I believe that the introduction of point-to-point cameras will play a very useful role in dealing with the challenge of the culture of speeding. It will reduce road trauma and it will save lives.

I have been interested in some of the commentary and the response today to the proposal and it seems to me that a lot of that denies the role of speed in accidents in causing death and injury in crashes. We need to deal with this culture of speed. We need to engender a greater understanding of the implications of speed for road safety and we need to seek to create a culture where every person that drives accepts responsibility for their behaviour. I believe point-to-point cameras have a capacity to do that. Indeed, that is the advice that the government has received most recently as a result of a consultancy in relation to some of the design and practical aspects of point-to-point cameras. It is new technology. It is quite challenging technology. I am sure everybody here understands the way in which it works.

But we do have a significant issue in the ACT. There is a culture of speed here. We have, proportionately against national averages, a very high level of high-end speeds. The fact is that a significant proportion of our population believe it is okay to drive 10 or more kilometres above the speed limit. They adopt the notion that “the roads are good; we can afford to speed”. What that denies is the implication of speed in an accident.

By way of illustration, the stopping distance for a car travelling at 60 kilometres per hour, accepting the conditions are dry and the vehicle has good brakes and tyres, is 45 metres. That is the accepted mark. It is. I am sure this is the fundamental issue that I do not believe people grasp. The same car travelling at 65 kilometres an hour, just five kilometres per hour faster, will still be travelling at 32 kilometres an hour by the time it hits that 45-metre mark. A car travelling at 70 kilometres per hour will be travelling at 46 kilometres per hour when it hits that 45-metre mark. That is the difference. That extra five kilometres per hour represents a 32-kilometre per hour impact.

You can understand, I am sure, the implications of that if that car were to hit a cyclist or another car or a person. Of course, the implications are death or at least a life-threatening outcome. That is the culture, the attitude, the behaviours we need to change. We have speed limits. We have them for very good reasons. Speed is the major factor in road deaths, road crashes and road trauma, and we need to stop it. That is in an environment where, in 2008-09, 87,000 speed infringement notices were issued in the ACT. That is the nature of the problem. Under current arrangements, 87,000 speed infringement notices were issued to the people of the ACT. We have a lot of work to do. Point-to-point cameras, I believe, are the latest and potentially the most successful—(Time expired.)


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