In August 2001, the TAC launched the first phase of its Wipe off 5 campaign targeting the issue of low-level speeding and dispelling the myth that traveling even a few kilometres over the legal limit is safe.
Eight Wipe off 5 campaigns have been released with all emphasising even a small reduction in speed can make the difference between life and death. Some of these campaigns focused on the consequences of speed - not just for the victims but for the family of the driver. Others have taken a more statistical, scientific approach to demonstrate the lower speed/lower impact approach.
Over time there has been a change in community attitudes towards speeding and also in behaviour. According to Sweeney Research, people who report they speed most, or all, of the time has dropped from 25% to 11%.
Market research surveys show that the Wipe off 5 concept is generally understood by Victorian motorists and is having a positive affect on their driving behaviour. Since the campaign began, Vic Roads has reported a drop in average travel speeds in 60km, 70km and 80 km/h speed zones.
Wipe Off 5 case study
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One of the TAC's top road safety objectives is to reduce speeding. The Wipe Off 5 campaign began in August 2001 to educate road users about the dangers of travelling, even a little, over the speed limit. Many drivers believe that driving 5 to 10 km/h is acceptable, but evidence shows that if Victorian drivers reduced their average speed by 5 km/h, up to 95 lives could be saved and 1300 serious injuries prevented in one year.
There are many reasons why higher speed has a major influence on safety:
- greater distance is needed to stop a vehicle in order to avoid a crash
- less time to react to quickly changing road and traffic conditions and make the right decisions
- dangerous situations can arise more easily
- the time to react to other drivers or respond to emergencies is reduced.
In crashes at higher speeds:
- the body is subjected to greater physical forces that will cause severe injury or death
- the protection that seat belts and air bags are designed to provide is reduced
- pedestrians and bicyclists will almost certainly be killed if struck by a vehicle at higher speeds - and severely injured even at relatively low speeds.