I've noticed just recently many more signs on the expressways in Singapore that mirror the campaign "Speeding Kills" in other countries. Although I applaud the traffic authority for this initiative, I'm sure that many will agree with me that much more needs to be done. There have been many facebook discussions in the past on the (soon to be defunct) Singapore network surrounding driver and pedestrian safety, and unfortunately there are many people out there (predominately younger drivers) that make light of the issues. Quite often, it is not until one (or their family) is exposed to the tragedies and/or losses befalling traffic accident victims, that the subject is taken seriously. Some people I've spoken to actually take a strange sense of pride in the fact that they can 'get away' with speeding, and even go as far as saying that it their right as a licenced motorist to be able to undertake any behaviour they wish whilst in control of a motor vehicle.
The most common statements made are - "I am an excellent driver", or "I've never caused an accident", etc etc... the purpose of this blog entry is to dispel the belief that speeding or carelessness on the roads is safe at any time, regardless of the (self-professed) reflexes or ability of a particular driver. Please note, some of the statistics and attached videos are not for the faint of heart and may not be suitable for minors.
Data Collected from "WIPE OFF 5" Campaigns in Australia
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 15%. 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.
Last year, Victoria recorded a total of 332 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. The graph below depicts the relationship between travelling speed, stopping distance and impact.
'Wipe Off 5' Video
Many drivers believe that exceeding the speed limit by 5 to 10 km/h is still “safe”. This belief is not supported by the evidence from research. In fact, the evidence indicates that if Victorian drivers reduced their average speed by 5 km/h, some 95 lives could be saved and 1,300 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.
It doesn't matter how good a driver you are - The "Good" Driver
Another 'Wipe Off 5' Video:
It's NO ACCIDENT: