Professor Ian Johnston of the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) talks us through the impact of low level speeding. Here the end result of two cars - one travelling at 60km/hr and the other at 65km/hr - is shown when they have to unexpectedly brake.
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.
Below are some speeding statistics:
- In 2009, Victoria recorded a total of 290 deaths on the road, with speed a major factor contributing to many of these crashes.
- Research by the University of Adelaide shows that a driver travelling 5 km/h above the 60 km/h speed limit doubles his or her risk of being involved in a crash.
- Driving 5km/h less can lessen the severity of injury and mean the difference between: death or a serious injury; or a serious injury and a minor injury.
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.
Download more details on the Wipe off 5 case study below:
Speed is one of the major factors contributing to accidents on Victoria's roads. It can be divided into three categories:
- excessive - speeding is deliberate and substantially over the speed limit
- low level - the driver travels at a speed marginally over the posted speed limit, typically by 5km/h (research shows the majority of motorists engage in low level speeding) and
- inappropriate - travelling at a speed that is inappropriate for the conditions such as travelling at the speed limit when the road is wet.
All of these types of speeding are dangerous. Speeding reduces the time drivers have to avoid crashes, their ability to control the vehicle and lengthens stopping distances, increasing both the likelihood of crashing and the severity of the crash outcome.
The TAC has worked closely with Victoria Police to target speeding motorists by funding the purchase of speed detection equipment.
The speed camera program began in 1990 to reduce road crashes caused by excessive or inappropriate speed. Fifty four cameras were introduced, at a cost of $4.5 million to combat speeding.
In November 1996 the TAC funded 60 Laser Speed Detectors at a cost of $500,000. They were introduced to help Police detect speeding on roads with moderate to heavy traffic - areas where radar devices were not always effective.