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Speed blamed in annual police crackdown

police radar licence checks low lidar

Police in all states are conducting annual Christmas/New Year blitzes and using the inevitable high road toll caused by massive volumes of holiday traffic to trot out the tired old line about speed.

Australian and NSW Motorcycle Council executive, and former police driving instructor Peter Ivanoff says police references to the proportion of accidents caused by speeding is “absolute crap”. (For example, NSW police are referring to 40% of fatal crashes being caused by speeding.)

“They don’t know what the real causes of crashes are because ‘cause’ isn’t even on the agenda when crashes are ‘investigated’ by police,” he says.

“Their claimed speeding statistic of 40% for fatalities (or whatever it is from month to month) is the result of their own extrapolations of corrupted data and the application of their own contrived causal criteria.”


Statistics vary from state to state as police perform massive radar and drug/alcohol testing blitzes  as millions make their way to and from holiday destinations.

NSW figures as of day 11 of their blitz were 10,120 speeding infringements, 475,091 breath tests for 640 charges, 961 major crashes and 11 fatalities.

Peter says the figures don’t match up wth police claims about the causal effect of speed in fatal crashes.


“The 10,000-plus speeding drivers they have caught is just the tip of the iceberg and yet with 11 fatalities, well you can do the maths for yourself,” he says.

“If exceeding ridiculously conservative speed limits was really our biggest killer, we should be seeing hundreds and hundreds of fatal crashes week after week – but we don’t – not even remotely close.”


The statistics of speeding offences always sound alarming, but there is no indication of how many of these were simply people drifting a few kilometres over the speed limit and being snapped by a “safety camera” hidden at the bottom of a hill.

Police also trot out some extreme examples of excessive speedsters they have caught, such as a 38 year old Sydney motorcyclist who was caught doing 157km/h on the Princes Highway.

However, that rider was caught by the highway patrol, not by a “safety camera”. Surely the answer to excessive speed then is more police patrols, rather than cameras which tend to snare the accidental speeder, rather than the idiot road racer.


While police continue to deploy more cameras, Peter, who has recently retired as aN an Academic Director in CSU’s School of Policing Studies, says the biggest killer is not speeding, but inattention, for which police seem to have no plan to counteract.

“More and more speed cameras will simply catch more and more motorists exceeding speed limits and if the claims of road authorities were true, as we have more and more speed cameras, the road toll should declining accordingly, in a virtual linear fashion – it isn’t.”

  1. People die because they hit fixed objects after they crash or the crash itself is into a fixed object (which, for practical purposes, includes on-coming vehicles). The solution is better road engineering and a vastly expanded blackspot program. It’s more expensive than speed cameras and booze buses, it’s less visible to the general public and doesn’t create revenue. Guess which option is favoured by governments?

  2. Too true!
    The supposed purpose of speeding fines is to educate people about the dangers of speeding. The problem is that justification only works if there is some actual education attached. But the problem with giving people that education is that they will soon realise that exceeding the speed limit is not the same as speeding. You could be traveling at half the speed limit and still be dangerously speeding. Once the majority of people learn this they will see that speeding fines have little justification.
    The over enforcement of speed limits has gotten to the point that any possible improvement in safety it may have theoretical made has long been lost and now it is one of the biggest killers along side alcohol drugs and distraction.

  3. All of us at some time have had a brain ‘fart’ and mostly been lucky
    you cannot take the human part out of driving. and when you consider
    the number of vehicle interactions on our roads on a daily basis i find
    it astounding the road toll is not higher. just today i have had 4 drivers
    wave me through and make room. There are a lot of safe and courteous
    drivers out there and really not that many idiots.
    Just maybe it is time they started acknowledging and rewarding good
    driver behaviour. The present regime re enforces cynicism and just puts
    many good drivers offside. Also a bit of training for highway patrol officers
    to ensure they act in a respectful and professional manner at all times
    maybe body cameras on a national basis
    have a great new year and ride safe

  4. This makes me so glad not to be in Australia. I’m sick to death of Australia flogging the dead horse and scamming the public on false pretences.

    If speeding was a major killer, every German would be dead here with unlimited speed limits allowed and even in the places that are not, FAR FAR more leniency than Australia. People casually cruise at 120kph in an 80kph zone and zero crashes. Even cruise past police. The difference is driving fast and driving dangerously. Australia puts both in one category. Completely uneducated fools the government are.

  5. British black spot statistics say that a speed camera can reduce serious incidents by upto four percent but redesigning the black spot can reduce serious incidents by thirty percent or more. So when used appropriately speed enforcement can have a very minor beneficial effect on statistics. However due to the easy revenue speed enforcement can generate appropriate use of speed enforcement is a very rare thing.
    It is now probable that any theoretical safety benefits have long been lost too the extent that the extra fatalities and associated costs caused by the over enforcement of speed limits actually now cost more than the revenue raised. There is now too much evidence to ignore the fact that removing speed restrictions on major roads and highways actually reduces the number of fatalities not increase them as some nannies fear.

  6. Guys – think about it. Speed is *always* a factor.

    If the vehicle was stationary(not moving, no speed) there would be fewer injuries(unless you drop a stationary bike on yourself).

    It is simple physics – if the speed(velocity) is lower the force of impact is lower, therefore lower injuries. Doesn’t matter what the speed is.

    Ever notice in the “cookie cutter” statements at the scene mention is nearly always made “speed is a leading cause of road trauma” – notice that it doesn’t mention illegal speed, inappropriate speed for conditions, and it doesn’t indicate that the incident would not have occurred if the speed was lower, only that “trauma” would be less. Very safe statement to make, implies that the driver/rider is at fault, but wouldn’t be prejudicial if it came to court.

    1. It is not the speed it’s the impact over about 30km into an immovable object
      and your dead , all the safety gear in the world wont save you.
      Yet we have trees power poles etc close to highways if the power
      lines were underground and a wide verge cleared it would decrease the road
      toll considerably.Racers walk away all the time from accidents at over double highway
      speed limits.Why? They don’t hit anything .Simple really. But the road toll
      is a good little revenue earner for state governments, so why fix the real

  7. 1. When tens of thousands are booked for speeding, surely it says more about the law itself than the offenders. If thousands of ordinary law-abiding citizens are breaking any law, then its the law that needs examination.

    2. Putting thousands of licencees off the road for accumulation of minor breaches runs the risk of getting rid of good drivers, while hoons escape. In other words, the cameras probably contribute to a lowering of the overall driving standard.

    3. The Northern Territory has some unrestricted major highways, and other 130 limited zones. Yet over the 2015 Christmas period, the NT was the only State to record zero fatalities.

    4.Why oh why don’t the authorities give credit where its due?
    Namely, the dramatic fatality reduction in recent years due to major advances in safety technology in cars and bikes.

  8. Road Safety is supposed to involve 5 E’s – Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation. It should be an ongoing cycle, reviewing what has worked and what hasn’t. Unfortunately, it would appear Enforcement is seen as the easiest, simplest, cheapest option providing the quickest return. Enforcement should be the part of the process, after implementing, Education, Engineering and Encouragement. At the moment it seems Enforcement is the first step in the process.

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