18 April 2022

New survey wants to know why Canberrans 'casually speed'

| James Coleman
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ACT Policing handed out 3980 speeding infringements during the 2020-21 financial year. Photo: AFP.

Queensland researchers are trying to get to the bottom of why and where Canberra drivers speed in a new online survey funded by the ACT Government.

The Queensland University of Technology received funding for the research under the ACT Road Safety Fund Community Grant Program and is undertaking the work through social media to find out just what we’re thinking when we speed.

The findings will then be relayed to the ACT Government so they know how best to tackle the problem going forward.

With a relatively small population and 5900 km of bitumen between us, the ACT enjoys some of the clearest roads of any other capital city in the world, making it all too easy to depress the accelerator that little bit too far. It turns out we are prone to a spot of ‘casual speeding’.

READ ALSO Insurance refund awaits Canberra motorists renewing passenger car registration

The survey takes about 20-minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. Respondents will also enter a draw to win one of ten $100 gift vouchers.

This is separate from the ACT Government’s attempt to better understand the community’s view of road safety cameras, which was undertaken by Monash. The public’s feedback is now in and the survey results will be released in mid-2022.

Another survey in 2018 of Canberra drivers undertaken by Monash University revealed 20 per cent “sometimes” exceeded the speed limit by 10 km/h or more, while over 40 per cent said they did so “very occasionally”.

Up to 85 per cent of respondents thought it acceptable to exceed the limit in a 60 km/h zone by 5 km/h. Less than 20 per cent believed police adopted a “no-tolerance” approach in such zones. A similar attitude was found in 100 km/h zones.

Car pulled over by police

Police target speeding motorists on Majura Parkway. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT Government has launched a number of anti-speeding campaigns, including ‘Think speeding is ok?’, designed to address low-range speeding. It espoused that “Just five or 10 kilometres over the speed limit really can make all the difference”, but the campaign seems to have made little difference.

ACT Policing meted out 3980 speeding infringements during the 2020-21 financial year. This is down 21 per cent from the previous year, largely due to a COVID-induced drop in traffic volume and police resources at the time.

Between 2015 and 2018, speed was identified as a contributing factor in eight fatal crashes, or 21 per cent of all fatal crashes.

When asked in 2018, over 20 per cent of Canberra drivers thought that if careful when driving over the speed limit, the chances of having a crash were low.

Up to 25 per cent of Canberra respondents strongly agreed enforcing the speed limit would help lower the death toll, while close to half believed that increasing the number of police officers on the road would improve driver behaviour overall.

READ ALSO Is it time to rethink Canberra’s roads?

Under its current road safety action plan, the ACT Government is already rethinking speed limits across the territory’s road network, such as reducing some limits from 40 km/h down to 30 or 80 down to 70. This would also see more mobile speed camera vans added to the current fleet of 10.

With the Easter long weekend starting tomorrow (15 April), ACT Policing is also reminding all road users that double demerit point periods will be in place for the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends.

During both periods all speeding, seatbelt and mobile phone offences attract double demerit points, as does riding without a helmet. All other traffic offences will incur one additional demerit point.

Original Article published by James Coleman on Riotact.

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