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 subsequent 'Wipe off 5' campaigns – emphasising that small reductions in speed can make the difference between life and death - have been launched in the past six years. These campaigns have varied in nature. Some have focused on the consequences of speed not just for the victims but on the family of the driver while others have taken a more statistical, scientific approach to demonstrate the 'lower speed, lower impact' approach.
During the time of these campaigns, there have been some significant improvements in community attitudes towards speeding and also in behaviour. For instance according to Sweeney Research people who report they speed most or all of the time has fallen from 25% to 11%.
Market research surveys also 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 commencement of the campaign, Vic Roads has reported a drop in average travel speeds in 60, 70 and 80 km/h speed zones.
A case study of the Wipe off 5 campaign has been developed and can be downloaded here in Adobe Acrobat format. The case study offers an in-depth analysis of the development and implementation of this campaign, including background to the issue of speeding and the various stages of the campaign from concept and market research through to launch and post-campaign evaluation.
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.
How can 5km/h make a difference?
In basic terms, as your travel speed increases, so does your risk of crashing and being seriously injured or killed.
Less speeding on Victoria's roads is one of the TAC's top road safety objectives and the Wipe Off 5 campaign, which began in August 2001, began to tackle low-level speeding.
The Wipe off Five Campaign aimed to show drivers that even a small drop of 5 km/h in speed reduces the risk of a crash. Unfortunately many drivers believe that exceeding the speed limit by 5 to 10 km/h is still "safe". However research shows that if Victorian drivers reduced their average speed by 5 km/h, some 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
- there is less time to react to quickly changing road and traffic conditions and make the right decisions
- dangerous situations can arise more easily, for example, a vehicle veering onto an unsealed shoulder of the road and the driver losing all control
- the time to react to critical errors that other drivers make or respond correctly 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 and can be divided into three categories:
- excessive - where speeding behaviour is quite deliberate and the driver exceeds the speed limit by a considerable degree
- low level - where 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 eg. it may be "risky" to travel 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 with the aim of reducing the number of road accidents from excessive, or inappropriate, speed.
When the 54 cameras were introduced, at a cost of $4.5 million, a media campaign was developed to:
- inform the public of the technology available to combat speeding
- inform people of the cameras' role in saving lives and avoiding serious injuries and
- encourage people to adopt a more responsible attitude towards speed
Laser speed detectors
In November 1996 60 Laser Speed Detectors were funded by the TAC 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.
The Wife is a sequet to No Accident (May 2004) where the ad starts with a very brief reprise to the original ad. The father is on the phone to the police who are wanting him to come into the station for questioning - and, because he was speeding, it he who is to blame and responsible for the injuries.
No Accident explores the acceptance of blame and guilt and looks into the legal and moral responsibilities of drivers who choose to speed. The overall message is that the harm inflicted on others because of speeding, even at low levels, is really no accident.
Here we see the crash test impact on a human body and this commercial reinforces the message that road crashes cause real damage to real people. It tells the story of road crash victim Rachel Roberts, seriously injured in a collision in 1998. The advertisement shows the long-term impact that a serious road crash has on a person’s life.
Director of the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MURAC) Dr Ian Johnston talks us through the difference 5km/hr has on impact when drivers are faced with an emergency situation.
Post Mortem looks at the guilt of responsibility when a driver recalls events leading up to a car crash that results in the death of his daughter. He was travelling only 5km over the limit.
Spot reinforced the role mobile speed cameras play in safety. This advertisement explains that speed cameras will not flash during the day, that speed camera cars would be come in all makes and models as well as be in more locations and more often.
Doubles shows the difference 5km can make when having to suddenly stop. The metropolitan commercial showed the vehilce travelling at 60 km/h and then at 65 km/h, highlighting the difference between the stopping distance. "Wipe off 5, or wipe out lives'