High risk drivers

January 25th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

One in three road deaths are caused by speeding, young and repeat drunk drivers, according to a new report released by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

The Ministry of Transport report shows that between 2005 and 2009 642 people were killed in crashes where high-risk drivers were at fault.

The report is well worth reading. There is lots of interesting info in it.

The report defines high-risk drivers as unlicensed and disqualified drivers, those with previous speed and alcohol offences, or those who drive over the legal alcohol limit, evade enforcement or take part in illegal street racing.

Those drivers were at fault in 35 per cent of fatal crashes, the research shows.

It’s good to have some research focusing on the drivers who cause a disproportionate nunber of road deaths. It would have been useful to have them also calculate what percentage of the driving population are “high risk”, so one might then have a figure along the lines of “The 4% of drivers who are high risk cause 35% of fatal crashes”.

I tend to favour measures that target high risk drivers.

The minister also released an addition to the report showing that when at-fault young drivers who were not already classified as high risk were added to high-risk drivers, together they comprised 53 per cent of at-fault drivers in fatal crashes and 48 per cent of at-fault drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes.

Hence the Minister says his priorities are:

  • A zero drink drive limit for young drivers and repeat drink drivers
  • Raising the driving age
  • Tougher licensing tests for new drivers
  • Alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers
  • Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.

Sensible targeted measures, which target the drivers who cause the most crashes, rather than targetting those who drive at a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08 – a level at which almost no over 25 year old drivers are involved in fatal crashes.

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52 Responses to “High risk drivers”

  1. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    One in three road deaths are caused by speeding, young and repeat drunk drivers, according to a new report released by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

    So two in three road deaths are not caused by speeding, young and repeat drunk drivers.

    But Joyce wants to focus on the 33%, not the 67%. Why?

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  2. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    Why focus on just the fatal crashes – there are plenty of crashes that cause serious injury and the long-term impact and cost of those crashes is probably higher.

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  3. s.russell (1,619 comments) says:

    This sounds pretty sensible, and I strongly support focusing on the drivers who are most likely to cause crashes.

    (In anwser to MyNameIsJack: he is not focusing on the 33% – he is focusing on the maybe 4% who cause 33% of the crashes.)

    My one doubt about the recommendations above is tought driver licensing tests. I doubt the problem is young drivers’ inability to drive safely, I think it is unwillingness to drive safely. Tougher tests wont help with this.

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  4. smttc (741 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    Perhaps the Minister figures he can actually do something to mitigate the extent of crashes caused by at risk drivers whereas it is more difficult to target general negligence among the driving population.

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  5. m@tt (628 comments) says:

    “A zero drink drive limit for young drivers and repeat drink drivers”
    I’m fine with the zero limit for young drivers, not sure why we think dropping the limit for younger drivers is any better than older drivers. Surely it’s not just statistical. The family of just a single person who is killed by an older driver who has been drinking but is under the legal limit doesn’t give a fuck about the stats do they…

    “Raising the driving age”
    So that we have older inexperienced drivers on the road?

    “Tougher licensing tests for new drivers”
    Are we actually going to deny licenses to more people? What are the target percentages? How many people fail to get a license AT ALL now and how many would fail under a ‘tougher’ test? Is this policy a measured and quantified approach or does that only apply when BAC levels are affected?

    “Alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers”
    What’s the definition of repeat? I’d suggest this should be done after the first offence for a period of at least 6 months then after that for good if they offend again. What would the penalties be for obtaining a car without an interlock and driving. And would a repeat drink driver care?

    “Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.”
    Because a drunk driver is so on control they’ll think… Shit, last week i would have only got 3 years, now I will get 6. better not drive…. really? And I suppose this will also help fill up all those empty cells.

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  6. quirky_username (22 comments) says:

    » A zero drink drive limit for young drivers and repeat drink drivers
    Hmm… driving above the legal limit (whether that is the youth limit or the adult limit is already illegal. If they are going to drive drunk, they don’t care what limit they are breeching.

    » Raising the driving age
    Would prefer they focus on better driver education with the “tougher licencing tests for new drivers”. A new driver is inexperienced whatever their age

    » Alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers
    A nice idea in theory but there will be plenty of cars available that do not have the interlock. The only way this would really work is to have an interlock on all vehicles.

    » Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.
    This would only raise the maximum penalty. I doubt many get the maximum at present.

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  7. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    sometimes i wonder whether big boy has a financial interest in keeping the BAC at .8, irrespective of the resulting deaths injuries and heartache?? Be careful on the roads everyone….

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  8. quirky_username (22 comments) says:

    k.jones – can you provide the statistics for crashes where the drivers were between .5 and .8?

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  9. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Hey jackoff can you get your head around the concept of proportions? A third of accidents are caused by a tiny minority of drivers which makes that group proportionally exceedingly dangerous.

    Sure maybe in your world everyone is a perisistant drunk driver and general wanker who finds the fact that there are other drivers on the road annoying, but your world is pretty fucked up as we can see from your delusional rants here. Its no wonder you can’t hold a job other than professsional extemist left wing troll.

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  10. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    See what Steven Joyce is doing here DPF, he’s saying the problem on our roads are these ‘high risk drivers’ these other people, not people like you or I.

    Whereas the idiot drivers I encounter every day on the roads of CHCH are a complete cross section of the population.

    And his solution? Stricter controls on the ‘high risk drivers’ leaving your average middle age driver who has spent their life-time running red lights, ignoring the speed limits and treating other road users with contempt completely alone.

    So my solution? How about more driver eduction (remember the 2 second rule campaign?) and as close to zero tolerance as possible for speeding, red light running and other traffic offenses that at present seem to have no policing of. I actually think there is merit in making everyone retest for a license every 10 years of so but I don’t think that would be a vote winner.

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  11. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    “Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.”
    I think it would be far more efficient to state a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for this crime. Apart from that I think the Minister is on the right track.

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  12. Enzo (44 comments) says:

    I quite liked an idea I heard from Steven Joyce (quelle horreur!) on the radio this morning: Limit the engine size of cars that can be driven by people under a certain age. Seems very sensible to me. Put all the boy racers in 1300s. Won’t solve all problems but it would help.

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  13. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Hi quirky:

    When Sweden lowered its BAC level from 0.05gm/100ml to
    0.02gm/100ml in 1990, fatal alcohol-related accidents dropped by 10 percent, similar to the
    experience of Austria, Belgium and France. In

    14 Eurocare (2003) Drinking and driving in Europe. Pp. 36. Brussels: Eurocare

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  14. redeye (629 comments) says:

    I’m not sure engine size has much to do with it. By 2013 formula one cars will only be 1.6 litre

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  15. Phil (126 comments) says:

    “Raising the driving age”
    …So that we have older inexperienced drivers on the road?
    …A new driver is inexperienced whatever their age

    Actually, this is a common fallacy. A former colleague of mine did his masters thesis on the accident incidence rate, using some really detailed data from the insurance industry. He found that there’s almost no correlation between ‘driving experience’ and accidents, but a very high correlation between driver age and accidents.

    The reason, as I understand it, is that the human brain is not fully formed until into its late 20’s, and some crucial spatial awareness traits dont develop before then.

    This is the reason why one of the first pieces of information used to determine insurance premiums is driver age, not driving experience.

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  16. Phil (126 comments) says:

    I actually think there is merit in making everyone retest for a license every 10 years of so but I don’t think that would be a vote winner.

    I don’t know, I think it could be successfully sold to the electorate. Remember that old saying: 90% of the population think they’re better than the average driver?

    You had the ‘vote sell’ strategy in your own comment – these other people, not people like you or I (because we’re better).

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  17. Viking2 (11,413 comments) says:

    How about 3 strikes for recidivist drunk drivers? 10 Years to think about their next drink. Sounds right to me.

    Don’t forget the 50 motorcyclists that were killed mostly by their own hand. Genetic selection perhaps.
    Whats the point of having cars with smaller motors. Its the gee gees’ that are the issue.

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  18. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    The report defines high-risk drivers as unlicensed and disqualified drivers…

    I’ve got an idea for dealing with unlicenced and disqualified drivers who are caught on the road: LOCK THEM UP.
    That thing where your license got taken off you was a warning.

    But I still can’t get too excited about the “why are they targetting law-abiding drivers like me” wailing. There are a huge number of people on the roads, so if they all loosen up a bit there will be a hell of a lot more crashes. Concrete walls don’t differentiate between good and bad, and it makes little difference to me if the car crossing the centreline and heading for a collision with me is driven by a drunk or a businessman in a hurry. So I have no problem with the current policing [i.e. The Law applies to you too Sir] and I hope that any new initiatives are on top of extensive speed policing, not instead of it.

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  19. theodoresteel (91 comments) says:

    How the hell is raising the driving age sensible? Sure it is targeted, but not sensibly.

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  20. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Enzo (13) Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I quite liked an idea I heard from Steven Joyce (quelle horreur!) on the radio this morning: Limit the engine size of cars that can be driven by people under a certain age. Seems very sensible to me. Put all the boy racers in 1300s. Won’t solve all problems but it would help.

    Wishful thinking I’m afraid. Racers gonna race, no matter what weapons you give them. halve their power and they’ll just use twice as much of the Te Rapa straight winding up to crazy racing speeds.

    It will also encourage the kind of behaviour we want to be rid of.
    Small engines with not much power just tempt the enthusiastic driver to keep the revs up in the power band and drive like it is a racing car all the time. Also to attempt to carry as much speed as possible into corners, because if you brake going in you know it will take you a long time to accelerate again on the way out.

    In England, tax and the cost of insurance effectively limits the boy racer elements to low-powered, shitty little hatchbacks, as opposed to the high-powered Japanese cars racers can get into here. This doesn’t seem to limit the grief that English hoons cause however.

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  21. gravedodger (1,552 comments) says:

    So RRM what would you propose as the answer please.
    I wonder if Mr Joyce meant the output of cars for young drivers and if that was indeed his comment target I would support him.
    Many young drivers just want mobility and a dry, flexible convenient transport. Power, noise and appearance however are much more likely to be attractive to the main contributors to the 33%.

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  22. s.russell (1,619 comments) says:

    Older drivers are ON AVERAGE more responsible. Therefore, older drivers are likely to have fewer accidents even if the level of experience is identical. As Phil cites above, there is research that backs this up.

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  23. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    The road toll has gone done immensely over the years. Fuel prices will marginalise drivers. The roads will be thinning out soon.

    Plus road tolls will spread out over the country shortly. This is all just an excuse for the police state to thrive and target for more revenue.

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  24. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    According to the AA, Maori are at fault in over half the fatal crashes involving alcohol. Forget the 0.8 – 0.5 debate just focus on the Maoris if you want to cut your kill stats in half.

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  25. starboard (2,523 comments) says:

    One in three road deaths are caused by speeding, young and repeat drunk drivers, according to a new report released by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

    Could have told you that 25 years ago. Had the same problems back then. Why has it taken so long for the penny to drop?

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  26. nasska (11,277 comments) says:

    Insurance availability & premiums are probably the most reliable indication of young drivers’ accident risk. That said it is drastic to penalise all youngsters for the actions of a largely visible minority. In case the knuckle draggers of the Highway Patrol haven’t caught on, targeting drivers of cars lowered to 25mm off the ground sporting exhausts like cut down 44gal drums would be a good place to start.

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  27. OTGO (544 comments) says:

    Look, people want to drive fast. It’s programmed into us. I do and I have a car that’ll max out at 250kph. Now I don’t drive it at that speed obviously because the law says I can’t but if the roads were built to enable me to drive at that speed and it was legal I sure would. The world is getting faster. Cars are faster, broadband is faster, aircraft are faster, trains are faster (ok I got that one wrong), money transfer is faster etc etc. So how come we are stuck with 50k and 100k. And not only are these things all faster they are safer too. If the Govt was really serious about safety we’d have divided state highways, more high speed corners and a speed limit around 130kph.

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  28. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Forget the drivers age, just start teaching responsibility instead of allowing so much irresponsibility.
    There are no longer consequences for wrong behaviour amongst our young so no wonder we are having such major problems in society.
    Bring back the cane into schools would be a great start, followed up by public floggings for bad behaviour and just watch how quickly things would turn around. But of course that would be so unpolitically correct wouldn’t it?
    They really are not interested in results only public perception. That is why we have had so many public inquiries that nobody does anything about.
    Time to get back to basics.

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  29. starboard (2,523 comments) says:

    GJ @ 2.04pm

    Bingo. Promote that man.

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  30. nasska (11,277 comments) says:

    OTGO @ 1.56pm

    In theory it’s hard to dismiss your proposals. Problem is the cost of divided state highways (which would probably halve the road toll) as they need to be 4 laned else you’ll be stuck behind some geriatric POS forever. Likewise realigning corners would be great but in a country where it is hard enough to get potholes fixed inside a week I don’t hold out a lot of hope.

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  31. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    While we are on this tack, add to that hanging for people who toot their horns needlessly inside Mt Victoria tunnel, and mounting their heads above the tunnel mouth a la the Southwark Gate of old London bridge. Stupid F**kers.

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  32. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    This report (and most of the discussions around road safety) is absolute bullshit. All accidents (except maybe one or two per year) are caused by people lapsing in their self-protection reflexes or not having them in the first place, and no laws, nanny-police or ‘reports’ by petty bureaucrats will change anything.

    If we were to overnight take down EVERY speed restriction sign, EVERY traffic sign and every set of traffic lights and close down the nanny-police, the road toll WOULD NOT MATERIALLY CHANGE. In fact, it might imporove as people wouldn’t have to put up with all this bullshit nagging and they could concentrate on driving (and avoiding the idiots on the road) instead.

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  33. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    Further to my above – what happens when traffic lights fail? Everybody gets more careful and courteous and everything just moves along smoothly. Why do we have all this stupid nannying in our lives all the bloody time? Nobody with an ounce of brains would just hurtle at a bend in the road at 150kph…. we don’t NEED all this controlling every minute of the bloody day.

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  34. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    OTGO suggests:

    Cars are faster, broadband is faster, aircraft are faster… If the Govt was really serious about safety we’d have divided state highways, more high speed corners and a speed limit around 130kph.

    But they’re not serious because, as Dave Mann points out:

    we don’t NEED all this controlling every minute of the bloody day.

    But if we were to realise that we weren’t all going to die in a fiery ball just because Mr Plod wasn’t fining use for driving at 110km/h then we might realise we don’t need politicians and policemen telling us how to behave in other aspects of our existence. We might start exercising choice and free will. We might wake up to the fact that NZ has far too many laws and regulations encroaching on our liberty and start to demand they be examined for necessity and repealed if found wanting.

    And then where would they derive that smug sense of moral superiority they get from lecturing us on everything (using our money to fund the ads) and how would most of them justify their existence? It’s called the status quo, and a lot of people are heavily invested in maintaining it.

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  35. OTGO (544 comments) says:

    Couldn’t agree more Rex and Dave Mann. Spend a day in Shanghai and see how they do it. Amazing! Wife and I spent 20 mins watching an intersection with a pointsman in uniform and white gloves. When he took a break for a drink of water and left his station the traffic just carried on as normal. He made absolutely no difference to the traffic flow.

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  36. iMP (2,364 comments) says:

    If raising the DRIVING AGE is gonna work, how come dunt work with raising the DRINKING AGE. ???

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  37. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Bring back the cane into schools would be a great start, followed up by public floggings for bad behaviour

    The floggings will continue until the cessation of violence.

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  38. nasska (11,277 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom @ 4.22pm

    You are taking a hell of a risk suggesting (correctly) that 95% of our laws & the attendant enforcers could be scrapped tomorrow & good ol NZ would roll along as ever, albeit a happier place to live in.

    I fear your reward for such candour could be incarceration in the cubicles until the thought police can rinse your brain of such dangerous nonsense.

    I’ll wrap a cake around a file tonight.

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  39. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    A perfect example of the bullshit that bureaucrats peddle over road safety.

    “What I want to say, and this is something my brother believed, is that New Zealand is not a safe place for cyclists. He used to get quite upset at how cyclists were treated by drivers.”

    So this fellow’s tragic death is down to car drivers, then. Did one just plough into him recklessly? Was driver error the cause?

    “While we don’t know the cause of the accident, it’s very poorly lit on the side where Ben was.” With no traffic island, cars often cut the corner as they headed up Makara Rd, she said.

    Err, apparently not. It seems that NZ’s roads are crap because government and local cuncils have better things to spend our money on. Like themselves. So why imply driver fault earlier in the story?

    But that could be attributed to a grieving relative and sloppy reporting. What’s inexcusable is this:

    A spate of five cycle deaths on New Zealand roads in November convinced the chief coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, to start a special inquest into bike safety.

    It will examine whether there are any patterns in cycle deaths, and possible law changes needed.

    More laws? The victim’s family are suggesting poor road design (and, knowing Wellington, I’d imagine lack of maintenance) is at fault and some bureaucrat’s response is “Right, I’ll sort the bastards out with more laws”?

    More laws won’t save lives. Better roads will. Stop lecturing us and fining us and spend our road taxes on… here’s a novel idea… the roads, you bastards.

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  40. OTGO (544 comments) says:

    “here’s a novel idea… the roads, you bastards” Yep faster, safer roads. My V8 demands it…

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  41. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    ^^^WRT that Makara Rd example… NZ’s roads are crap because there isn’t a centre island at every intersection, is that your view Widerstrom? We don’t need to spend a fortune on laws to protect us from each other’s failings, we need to spend a fortune on concrete furniture to protect us from each other’s failings instead?

    You are a political dreamer of the most theoretical kind. The answer’s less government, it doesn’t really matter what the question is.

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  42. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    PS I know that corner well, there is nothing wrong with it. Makara Rd is my favourite test run/ Sunday drive destination.

    Nothing wrong with it that better driver behaviour couldn’t fix.

    Better driver behaviour, enabled by better training and motivated by greater fear of the law perhaps?

    Oh, no, never, laws are bad!

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  43. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Just need to fix everyone and everything else.

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  44. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    RRM you little authoritarian, you. Is it the uniforms you love? The moustaches? Or just that frisson you get when some high school drop out pulls you over and starts telling you off? :-P

    (I’d return the favour and dismissively call you “M” but that makes you sound like a character from James Bond).

    How you extrapolate from my comment that “roads are badly designed and/or in poor condition” that I believe “NZ’s roads are crap because there isn’t a centre island at every intersection” I don’t know. Reading comprehension fail I suspect.

    Some roads need resurfacing. Some need widening. Many need a barrier up the middle. A few might benefit from a redesign which included a centre island. Certainly the intersection north of Porirua which was once controlled by traffic lights and at which I nearly died after being hit by a truck was much improved when they put in a roundabout and let people make their own judgments about when to go (guided by the road rules, of course).

    I don’t recall Makara Rd intersection with sufficient clarity to argue that specifically, I’m merely quoting the sister of the victim who died there and who said “it’s very poorly lit” and that “with no traffic island, cars often cut the corner as they headed up Makara Rd”. Given her brother died there, I assume she’d have given the matter some thought.

    But hey, I’m sure fining the driver who hit him will prevent the next fatality by… umm… “deterrence”! That’s it! Works so well for serious crimes like murder, which have plunged since the first person was imprisoned for it centuries ago.

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  45. nasska (11,277 comments) says:

    RRM

    Oh, no, never, laws are bad!

    Few, including me, can honestly state that we can do totally without laws. Problem is that there are so many of them. Every time something in NZ goes tits up our employees in the Beehive enact another law or tack an amendment onto something else all so they can be seen to be “doing something”. Ditto with local body regulations.

    They are frequently poorly drafted involving expense for someone testing them in court but worst of all the damn things accumulate. Moses made do with ten……. how many years would it take for anyone to read & understand all the crap that has been passed over the last 150 years?

    And then we are told that ignorance of the law is no excuse!

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  46. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    I am an avid cyclist and I have a fiendish plan for ‘poorly lit’ areas….. so clever that you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel (hahaha, or whatever the phrase is)

    I put sexy little flashing light thingys on my bike and I never go out without turning them on, day OR night. There’s a nice bright white one one the front and its so bright that will burn the tar off the road if I stop too long to catch my breath…. and the back one is a lovely red colour which conveniently lets drivers know that they are coming up behind a bike.

    Fuck, people….. grow some bloody brains!!!

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  47. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    But hey, I’m sure fining the driver who hit him will prevent the next fatality by… umm… “deterrence”! That’s it! Works so well for serious crimes like murder, which have plunged since the first person was imprisoned for it centuries ago.

    When traffic is flowing freely what speed do most motorists drive at on the motorway? Is it more like 150km/h, or is it more like the legal limit of 100km/h?

    Sorry my bad, you’re right there’s no such thing as deterrence. Complete waste of time.

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  48. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    When traffic is flowing freely what speed do most motorists drive at on the motorway?

    In my experience most seem to drive at around 110 – 115 km/h (which is of course illegal) while others opt to do 80 90 km/h (also technically illegal in some circumstances). In the wet, and at twilight, they tend to slow down. I assume they’re making rational, adult decisions based on the capacity of their vehicles, the conditions, the road etc. I doubt the possibility of adding to the already ridiculous amount of revenue derived by the government from speeding fines is uppermost in their minds.

    But let’s assume that it is. My point is that careless and reckless actions – whether they be behind the wheel of a car or the barrel of a gun – aren’t deterred by threats of punishment because the people behaving in such a manner are stupid, mentally sub-normal, drunk, on drugs, enraged, or otherwise have their thinking affected to such an extent that the possible effects of their actions, on themselves or a possible victim, doesn’t enter into it.

    Or are you arguing that the comstant barrage of drink driving ads coupled with the penalties handed out to those caught (not to mention the “fly on the wall” police PR exercises masquerading as TV programs showing people getting caught on the roads) are effective in deterring, say, the hard core recidivist drink drivers – surely the single most dangerous cohort on our roads? Because quite clearly they’re not.

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  49. slijmbal (1,230 comments) says:

    two portions in the report stood out for me

    “Overall 76% of at-fault drivers are male. Males make up 83% of high-risk
    drivers at fault compared to 72% of other at-fault drivers.”

    “Ethnicity is not recorded on traffic crash reports for 7% of high-risk drivers.
    Where it is known, about half the high-risk drivers are reported as European
    (49%), compared to 42% Māori and 6% Pacific. A higher proportion of Māori
    and Pacific at-fault drivers are in the high risk group. Fifty-three percent of
    Māori and 46% of Pacific at-fault drivers are high risk, compared to 27% for
    drivers of other ethnicities. To some degree this reflects the younger age
    profile for Māori and Pacific people compared to the European population.”

    no-one has suggested that girls don’t need their driving age raised or that young, male Maori’s should be targeted by hiding their car keys etc

    Logically consistent with some of the other suggestions though obviously would never be accepted.

    On a more realistic note this report does seem to reflect what my (hopefully) common sense always told me. A small number of alcoholic or high risk takers or ‘don’t give a shitters’ or any of the obviously very high risk behaviours cause a disproportionate number of the serious accidents.

    Not convinced the measures proposed will actually target them though. Putting the driving age up will probably be effective but solely based on the fact that younger drivers have more accidents as we already know and we didn’t need this report to tell us that. Making it more difficult to get a license will probably have an effect as it will also reduce the number of younger drivers on the road but is unlikely to filter out the high risk drivers. They are just as capable as the rest of us in terms of passing a test. It will lead me to invest in a driving instruction business, which was the main effect seen in countries where they progressively made the driving tests harder.

    Any deterrrents will only work if they keep the risky drivers off the road and let’s be blunt they are already aware that driving at 130k at night after 10 jugs of beer is likely to result in a funeral, the ultimate deterrent. They just don’t believe it will ever happen to them. Having said that, there may be some effect but I suspect marginal.

    Alcohol interlocks? I don’t enough about how they work to see how effective they are but my gut feel is they are probably relatively easilly circumvented.

    Locking people up for very high risk behaviour might work as it will keep bad drivers off the road for a while but what was suggested was a deterrent and not a preventitive approach. Not that I am against punishing people for bad behaviour. We punish not just as a deterrent, which many forget.

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  50. laworder (290 comments) says:

    Dave Mann says


    I am an avid cyclist and I have a fiendish plan for ‘poorly lit’ areas….. so clever that you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel (hahaha, or whatever the phrase is)

    I put sexy little flashing light thingys on my bike and I never go out without turning them on, day OR night. There’s a nice bright white one one the front and its so bright that will burn the tar off the road if I stop too long to catch my breath…. and the back one is a lovely red colour which conveniently lets drivers know that they are coming up behind a bike.

    Good plan, I do the same, only more so. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out like that, because some people out there are either functionally blind or grossly incompetent. I have three 15 watt High Intensity Discharge halogens, plus two 10 watters, plus four 2-3 watt flashing LED lights…. and thats just at the front. I have four sets of red LED flashers at the back as well. And I dress head to toe in bright high vis gear and my bike is flouro orange….. and with all that there are people driving out there that literally cannot see me behind them or even in front of them

    I think this actually relates quite well to the gist of what DPF and the report is saying – that there is a minority of drivers out there that simply should not ever be permitted to drive anything, and that minority is the cause of the bulk of the accidents. My experience as both a cyclist and a driver bears this out – most drivers are fine, but a small minority are the problem, and enforcement efforts should be focused on them. I cycle quite a bit at night (shift worker) and see quite a lot of people driving who are clearly pissed. Yet I hardly ever encounter a breath test checkpoint….

    There was a excellent researcher in this field by the name of John Bailey, now sadly deceased, who found that most recidivist drink drive offenders also had other extensive criminal histories as well, and this was especially true of those that caused fatalities. Locking these particular offenders up for life that would have a significant effect on the road toll, not to mention preventing other offending.

    That said, I can see a benefit in lowering the current limit. I used to think that I’d only need one or two standard drinks to exceed the current limit, until I read a Herald article which revealed it’d be more like 6-8! I’d be shit faced and consider myself completely unfit to drive at the current limit. Even at two standard drinks I feel that my reactions are noticably blunted, so prefer to stick to just one for driving on NZ roads.

    Regards
    Peter Jenkins
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  51. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    Gee Peter I thought I was pretty bright (on the bike that is) but you probably have blinding effect on drivers! Most of them probably wisely pull over and cover their eyes, but there must be a few who just don’t react fast enough before you burn their retinas off. These are the ones to look out for as the pain in their eyes overrides their braking reflexes and they become really dangerous and out of control at that stage!
    Seriously though, in light of what you said about the character of offenders, this would appear to support my opinion that less rules and controlling are needed because 95% of people will behave intelligently and competently without being nannied while the others wouldn’t obey any rules anyway?

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  52. turakina (1 comment) says:

    Did you know overseas drivers are twice as likely to be ‘at-fault’ in any accident in which they are involved? (compared with domestic full license holders). The risk profile of injury and fatal accidents for overseas drivers in New zealand is very similar to that of Restricted Drivers.
    In 2008:
    Of those OS drivers involved in fatal accidents, 12 were at fault (75%).
    Of those OS drivers involved in serious injury accidents, 70 were at fault (67%).
    Of those OS drivers involved in minor injury accidents, 369 were at fault (66%).

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