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Did you hear about the killer who got pulled over for speeding?

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 am, February 2nd, 2018 - 36 comments
Categories: health - Tags: , ,

They were running late for their next kill. This was an example of anti-humour 😉
Obviously, that is a take on the well-known traffic-safety campaign Speed Kills[See links at the end]. Does or did it (ever?) have the desired outcome? This was a rhetorical question 😉

We drive every day. We drive everywhere. Most of us (81%, which happens to be a real majority) walk less than 100 m in a day. We take the Leaf, Prius, V8, 7-seater, people-mover, or SUV to the local dairy for a bottle of milk or to the gym (!!) for our (costly) exercise routine. Ordinary law-abiding (see below) citizens drop off their kids at school every day – those kids follow their every move and store & copy it for future use.

It’s also fair to say that many of us are sloppy drivers, tired or lazy, aggressive (with the odd psychopath), inconsiderate, or just simply bad

Familiarity breeds contempt and this might be a contributing factor causing our driving ‘standards’ slipping even further close/closer to home. We don’t necessarily stop at the STOP sign on the corner of our street; we don’t necessarily slow down on the way to school, especially when running late; we may take that blind corner a wee bit faster than is safe given that we ‘know it so well’. Not surprisingly, there are many stats showing that most traffic accidents happen near (the) home.

We display this (driving) behaviour every day and speeding is only one aspect and symptom of our overall (bad) driving. Thus, when we violate traffic rules and break the law, almost every day, this is habitual and thus recidivist in a broad sense. And no, not getting caught is not an excuse nor does it change the fact that we’re hypocrites and, in fact, habitual law breakers.

A recent post here on The Standard by Enzo highlighted an article by Dr Jarrod Gilbert in the New Zealand Herald pondering the idea of making speeding fines related to one’s income. Much of the discussion centred on fines being a penalty and deterrent and I may have missed it but there was no mention of how fines are meant to correct the errant behaviour, after the act, and re-educate the driver, i.e. it is all ‘stick’ and no ‘carrot’ (except for no-claim bonuses on car insurance that is not (!!) mandatory). Perhaps fines indeed are only a penalty, a slap, and a nice revenue earner but nothing more.

Let’s dig into this a little deeper. A pecuniary fine usually means that you have to work a certain time to pay the fine. In other words, it is a claim on your time in the confinement of the workplace, which one therefore could call ‘work detention’ and no expensive electronic anklet and monitoring system are needed. In contrast to ‘real’ detention (i.e. incarceration or imprisonment) there are no or not many systematic attempts to rehabilitate drivers who received a speeding ticket as far as I’m aware. To me, this seems illogical & inconsistent and prevention always is better than a cure, isn’t it?

Interestingly, Wanaka police gave teens the option to write an essay about the impact of binge drinking on the teenage brain, to avoid a $250 fine, after they got caught breaching Wanaka’s public liquor ban during the December 31 public street party. Apparently, the teens had to visit the police station for an interview at which they were given some information to read to help them write the essay. I applaud this alternative approach as it may actually have a lasting positive effect on some (but not all?) individuals. In turn, this may have a trickle down and positive effect on our collective behaviour on our roads.

My suggestion is to follow a similar approach with speeding drivers and not just young drivers. In fact, I argue that it is older drivers with engrained bad driving habits and attitudes whom should be targeted. For example, make them watch some un-edited ‘raw’ footage from the carnage caused by speeding and interviews with victims and/or their closest friends & family. This is then followed by writing an essay without associated marking and/or judgement to avoid overloading the system or causing disproportional embarrassment and/or humiliation. I reckon this may have a higher likelihood of correcting bad driving habits than a fine and a few demerit points. It forces people to think, if only for a brief period, about the (possible/likely) consequences of their actions because, as I argued, we literally go through the motions on a daily basis.

Essay writing takes time, possibly more for some than for others, but arguably it is better equalizer than a standard fine that does not take into account people’s capacity to pay up, i.e. related to income. For many adults it would be a rather novel experience …

I would love to hear other (preferably creative) ideas!

PS These couple of pieces plus comments support much of the above and the need for (a) behavioural change on NZ roads:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/100608862/calls-for-dutch-reach-to-be-introduced-in-new-zealand-to-improve-cycle-safety

https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/100674418/dutch-reach-yeah-nah-shell-be-right-mate

A few links relevant to the main post:

http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/crashfacts/speed/

http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Import/Documents/ACC672-Down-with-speed.pdf

http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/Speed-2017.pdf

www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/speed/speed-ads/in-my-shoes/

https://nzta.govt.nz/safety/our-advertising/history-of-road-safety-advertising/

https://www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/speed/

http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/driving-and-road-safety/speed-limits-cameras-and-enforcement/road-safety-campaigns

http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/new-advertising-campaign-challenges-‘right’-speed

This Guest Post is by Standardista Incognito.

36 comments on “Did you hear about the killer who got pulled over for speeding?”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    There’s a wasp nest nearby incognito if you want to give it a kick, then perhaps, sit on it?

    A brave person indeed to invite discussion on New Zealander’s driving habits and attitudes.

    My twopennyworth ?

    Drivers simply do not fully engage with the whole of the activity of driving.

    There’s an awful lot going on both inside and outside of our vehicles and it seems some simply can’t deal with everything. I strongly suspect some simply shut off…I call the worst of these drivers ‘the blithely oblivious’…they are simply in a little world of their own.
    These drivers are closely related to the ‘one speed traveler’, who finds a speed most comfortable to them and sticks to it regardless of the posted limit.
    Then there’s the ‘gotta pass’ bunch…who I would personally send off for some kind of re-programming, they seem not to have any awareness of the relationship between speed and the damage to frail human bodies in an accident.

    And we are an impatient and intolerant bunch. We get in our vehicles and forget that it could be our friends, neighbours and workmates in that vehicle we are tailgating or honking at while pounding our fists in frustration on our steering wheels. We seem to lack empathy or the imagination to work out why that vehicle ahead of us, slowing us down and making us late for whatever is more important than arriving safely. Not enough imagination to realize that an accident is going to make everyone even later…if we’re lucky enough to survive.

    Stupid? I don’t know. Outside of their vehicles, some of these folk are perfectly nice. Like the friend who blames drivers who stop at give way signs for all the traffic congestion…because, like, if you just keep going they’ll have to let you in. Or the other friend who closes the gap between his car and the one in front on the motorway to stop other vehicles getting in front of him. All perfectly sane and rational folk you’d share coffee with….

    I drive around in a 7m, 5 tonne 90 kph speed limited vehicle with “Patience” written in large friendly letters fore and aft….some folk get it and will give a friendly thumbs up, others seem to take it as a personal insult.

    Solution? Psychometric testing for repeat offenders, and detain them until their attitudes change.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      Agree on all that. There are many very careful and considerate drivers. But the selfish, speed addicted, and competitive drivers who aren’t fully engaged make the roads an unpleasant place.

      It is about more care and less concern with haste. Better to be late that in an accident.

      I saw a comment recently on the Greater Auckland blog, by a guy critical of pedestrians stepping out suddenly onto pedestrian crossings without looking and seemingly catching the driver unprepared to stop.

      That’s bad driving.

      I took driving lessons in London before I went for my UK license. I was trained to be aware of all pedestrian crossings, to do a visual scan around the crossing to see if there was anyone hovering there that was likely to step onto the crossing, and to always be prepared to stop.

      Doing that is fairly automatic to me.

      On several occasions as a pedestrian, I have stood at crossings waiting to cross – I don’t trust drivers – and several cars have driven over the crossing completely oblivious to the fact that someone is waiting to cross. It’s as if the crossing doesn’t exist to them.

      However, most drivers do notice and stop when someone is waiting to cross.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.1

        hah! Wellington has been for some years the Capital of the Distracted Jaywalker.

        Even before it became the law that pedestrians have to have both ears plugged into a device, Wellingtonians, (and I assume they’d be bureaucrats), had this thing about hands- free phones and walking in a hurried manner whilst managing whatever office crisis was imminent.

        Then stepping into the road…not at a pedestrian crossing… and nearly being collected by moi’s left wing mirror.

        Luckily, I too ‘learned’ to drive in the UK (came here at twelve, but early conditioning stuck) so I had done the scan thing…

        One day though.

        Not trusting ANY other road user would probably be the wisest course of action.

        • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1.1

          I found that jaywalking, “I own the streets” kind of pedestrian in the City of London (ie the area of the city with all the big banks and financial institutions).

          There was a period when I regularly cycled through there to and from work. Men in suits used to jaywalk across the streets without any attention to a cyclists – clearly cycles didn’t exist for these guys. Some days I use to shout “get off the road” at these guys (was always guys) as I cycled through.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.1.1.1.1

            So your basically as bad as any bad driver but because you cycle you think pedestrians don’t have a right to share the same space as you.

            • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Did you really think about what you just wrote? Some spaces are for certain kinds of vehicles, with designated rules.

              I am quite happy with a designated shared space.

              I’m writing about a roadway in the early 1980s that was designated for cycles and motor vehicles.

              It also was a case of people stepping right out in front of me as I was cycling along on the side of the road, causing me to brake suddenly.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Compare what you wrote in 1.1.1.1 with what you wrote in 1.1 dumb dumb.

                You obviously haven’t been trained in cycling well applying the same logic

                • Not “dumb” at all. Someone using a pedestrian crossing isn’t “stepping right out in front of me.” Someone jaywalking without looking most definitely is “stepping right out in front of me.” No contradiction there.

      • Crashcart 1.1.2

        I agree with a lot of what you say. We also seem to have a habit of not being able to reflect on our own failings. We are surely the best or safest driver on the road. Whether you are the person who thinks they can safely handle driving at 120 on the open road or the person who sits at 75 on that same road because they think they are being safe. Both are creating hazards and dangers to other road users.

        I know personally I drive to tired or distracted often. Rather than stopping or focusing I just soldier on. We all need to look at what we do on a day to day basis and reflect on its real merits. Perhaps retesting when your license expires to ensure that you are current on road laws. If you have receive infringements during your last license period than a practical assessment before reissuing rather than just making it the walk up and pay that it is at the moment.

  2. Tricledrown 2

    Cell phone use while driving texting while driving.
    Huge numbers many having the Cell phone jammed up to their ear one hand on the steering wheel the other holding the cell phone. cutting head movement and visibility.

  3. Bill 3

    Sometimes I wonder if some car drivers have ever negotiated roads as pedestrians.
    Sometimes I wonder if car drivers think they are lords and masters of a four wheeled fiefdom.
    Sometimes I think of cigarettes, second hand smoke, and the insanity of a society that endorses car driving.
    Sometimes I used to wear steel toe-capped boots.

  4. Fred H 4

    There was once a devil in Hell named Carnifex, who liked to eat small children. Sometimes he would take them alive and crush all the bones in their bodies. Sometimes he would pull their heads off, and sometimes he would hit them so hard that their backs snapped like dry twigs…But one day, Carnifex got out of his bed in Hell to find there was not a single child left. ‘What I need is a regular supply,’ he said to himself. So he went to a country that he knew was ruled by an exceedingly vain king. He found him in his bathroom…and said to him: ‘How would you like to fly?’ ‘Very much indeed,’ said the king, ‘but what do you want in return, Carnifex?’ ‘Oh . . . nothing very much,’ replied Carnifex, ‘and I will enable you to fly as high as you want, as fast as you want, simply by raising your arms like this,’ and he showed the king how he could fly. ‘I should indeed like to be able to do that,’ thought the king to himself. ‘But what is it you want in return, Carnifex?’ he asked aloud. ‘Look! Have a try!’ replied Carnifex. ‘Put out your arms – that’s right, and now off you go!’

    The king put out his arms, and immediately floated into the air…He went higher and higher, until he was above the clouds… Then he landed back beside the devil and said: ‘But what is it you want in return, Carnifex?’ ‘Oh, nothing very much,’ replied Carnifex. ‘Just give me one small child every day, and you shall be able to fly – just like that…there are thousands of children in your kingdom…I shall only take one a day – your people will hardly notice.’ The king thought long and hard about this, for he knew it was an evil thing, but the idea of walking anywhere, now he’d tasted the thrill of flying, seemed to him so slow and dull that in the end he agreed. And from that day on he could fly – just like that.

    ….Every day some poor family would find that one of their children had been taken by Carnifex the devil. Now the king’s youngest daughter had a favourite doll that was so lifelike that she loved it and treated it just as if it were a real live baby. And she was in the habit of stealing into the king’s bathroom (when he wasn’t looking) to bath this doll in one of his baths.Well it so happened that she was doing this on the very day that the king made his pact with Carnifex, and thus she overheard every word that passed between them. Naturally she was terrified by what she had heard, but because girls were not reckoned much of in that country in those days, and because she was the least and most insignificant of all his daughters, she had not dared tell anyone what had happened. One day, however, Carnifex came and took the king’s own favourite son. The king busied himself in his counting-house, and would not say a word. Later that day he went off for a long flight, and did not return until well after dark.

    Eventually all the people from all the corners of the realm came to the king to protest. They gathered in the main square, and the king hovered above them looking distinctly uneasy. ‘You are not worthy to be our king!’ the people cried. ‘You have sacrificed our very children just so that you can fly!’ The king fluttered up a little higher, so he was just out of reach, and then he ordered them all to be quiet, and called out: ‘Carnifex! Where are you?’ There was a flash and a singeing smell, and Carnifex the devil appeared, sitting on top of the fountain in the middle of the square. At once a great cry went up from the crowd – something between fear and anger – but Carnifex shouted: ‘Listen! I understand how you feel!’

    …But the king’s youngest daughter stood up on her stool, and cried out: ‘He’s a devil! Don’t listen to him!’ ‘Quite, quite,’ said Carnifex, licking his lips at the sight of the little girl still clutching her favourite doll. ‘But even I can sympathize with the tragic plight of parents who see their own beloved offspring snatched away in front of their very eyes.’ ‘Don’t listen!’ shouted the king’s youngest daughter. ‘So I’ll tell you what I’ll do,’ said Carnifex, never taking his beady eyes off the little girl clutching what he thought was a small baby. ‘I’ll give you some compensation for your tragic losses. I will let you all fly – just like that!’ And he pointed to the king, who flew up and down a bit and then looped-the loop, just to show them all what it was like. And there was not a single one of those good people who wasn’t filled with an almost unbearable desire to join him in the air. ‘Don’t listen to him!’ shouted the little girl. ‘He’ll want your children!’ ‘All I ask,’ said Carnifex in his most wheedling voice, ‘is for one tiny. . . weeny. . . little child a day. Surely that’s not too much to ask?’ And, you know, perhaps there were one or two there who were so besotted with the desire to fly that they might have agreed, had not a remarkable thing happened. The king’s youngest daughter suddenly stood up on tiptoe! and held up her favourite doll so that all the crowd could see, and she cried out: ‘Look! This is what he’ll do to your children!’ And with that, she hurled the doll, which she loved so dearly, right into Carnifex’s lap. Well, of course, this was too much for the devil. He thought it was a real live baby, and he had its head off and all its limbs torn apart before you could say ‘Rabbits!’ And when the crowd saw Carnifex apparently tearing a small baby to pieces (for none of them knew it was just a doll) they came to their senses at once. They gave an angry cry, and converged on Carnifex where he crouched, with his face all screwed up in disgust, spitting out bits of china and stuffing.

    And I don’t know what they would have done if they’d laid hold of him, but before they could, Carnifex had leapt from the fountain right onto the back of the flying king, and with a cry of rage and disappointment, he rode him down to Hell where they both belonged. And, after that, the people gave the youngest daughter a new doll that was just as lifelike as the previous one, and she was allowed to bath it in the king’s bathroom any day she wanted. As for Carnifex, he returned every year to try and induce the people to give up just one child a day to him. But no matter what he offered them, they never forgot what they had seen him do that day, and so they refused, and he had to return empty-handed. And all this happened hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and Carnifex never did think of anything that could persuade them.

    But listen! You may think that Carnifex was a terrible devil, and you may think that the flying king was a terrible man for giving those poor children to Carnifex just so that he could fly. But I shall tell you something even more astonishing, and that is that in this very day, in this very land where you and I live, we allow not one. . . not two. . . not three… but twenty children to have their heads smashed or their backs broken or to be crushed alive every day – and not even so that we can fly, but just so that we can ride about in things we call motor cars. If I’d read that in a fairy tale, I wouldn’t have believed it – would you?

    By Terry Jones

    • Bill 4.1

      Thanks for that Fred H. Gets to the heart of it.

    • Ad 4.2

      Seems fair.
      When you compare road travel to …
      – smoking
      – drinking
      – war
      – communicable disease
      – freight cost
      – city living
      – accidents
      – public healthcare

      … I mean what is the actuarial cost in human lives of living?

  5. I would love to hear other (preferably creative) ideas!

    Dragging in slow bastards who won’t pull over so they can write an essay on what uses a hard shoulder that’s wider than their vehicle could be put to.

    • Fred H 5.1

      Incrementally alter the structural settings over time to aggressively deny access(insurance, culpability, life bans, regulating private sales) to the purchasing and operating of cars as private transport vehicles(90% of kiwis are urbanites), a little bit of nuance is needed to understand this(of course emergency/support service/cargo vehicles would be catered for, in effect applying the same type of limitations on licencing as what we see in the aircraft industry. The positives of this would be a huge increase in health and wellbeing, lower rates of mental illness and social isolation, $4 billion(NZTA stats) per annum saved from crashes and the resulting deaths and injuries, and billions saved not building endless gold plated motorways to holiday homes. Increase in housing provision due to the lack of minimum parking requirements and available land space. Carbon emissions might drop a tad too.

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.1

        Incrementally alter the structural settings over time to aggressively deny access(insurance, culpability, life bans, regulating private sales) to the purchasing and operating of cars as private transport vehicles…

        Awesome – only one question: who will put the bell on the cat? Or, in this case, who’s going to elect the government that will do this?

        • Graeme 5.1.1.1

          Probably won’t be necessary, if driverless / autonomous cars and transport as a service actually become a thing. Insurance incentives will become pretty strong then. That might be a rather large IF

      • Ad 5.1.2

        Now just remind us of the economic and social negatives of all that travel freedom you propose constraining. As a calc.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.2

      Patience, Psycho Milt, patience. 🙂

      or, I could respond…

      “If you would stop hanging so close to my arse you ignorant dag, it might just be safe for me to slow down and pull over…”

      but, I wouldn’t, because that would be rude. 😉

      • Psycho Milt 5.2.1

        It would be very rude and also inaccurate to accuse me of tail-gating people, yes. And people driving slowly with a queue of cars behind them and a nice wide hard shoulder next to them would try the patience of a saint.

  6. gsays 6

    On a wee break, so this will be brief.
    My son is starting to drive and it has made me painfully aware of all my bad habits, (driving one handed, seatbelt use…)
    Inattention is the cause of far too many incidents on the road.

  7. Andre 7

    My last speeding ticket: In my Landrover, I generally cruise at 95ish. Came up behind someone driving really erratically, speeding up, slowing down, frequent excursions over the centreline and edge markings, slowing to a crawl for most corners but taking a few at quite high speeds. Get to a really long straight (several kilometres) with an oncoming vehicle at the far end of it but plenty of space for a safe pass, bozo was only doing 65 so I go for it. The prick speeds up a bit so I keep the foot down and concentrate on judging times and distances rather than focusing on the speedo. Get past and pull back in, then the blue and reds light up on the oncoming car, still about a kilometre away. 111km/h. Cop wasn’t interested in the erratic driving of the bozo I was passing. Get my ticket and carry on up the road. About 30 km up the road, there’s bozo’s car in the ditch where it looked like he’d tried to turn into a driveway and missed.

    Traffic cops out patrolling on the road would serve us a lot better if they were less obsessed with speed and paid a bit more attention to other problem driving behaviours. That means spending more time in mufti cars going with the flow and watching what other drivers are actually doing, and ignoring brief episodes of speeding (unless it’s in conjunction with other factors to make it dangerous driving). Speed cameras do an entirely adequate job of dishing out reminders to habitual speeders.

    • Cop wasn’t interested in the erratic driving of the bozo I was passing.

      The joys of Key Performance Indicators. They’re much more easily met by issuing tickets to people overtaking than by monitoring the traffic for erratic driving

    • Puckish Rogue 7.2

      Yes agreed, nothing more annoying than seeing a sign at a tourist stop saying beware thieves and a couple of kms down the road theres a cop on the side of the road with a speed camera

    • Ad 7.3

      Their karma was worth it.

  8. Kay 8

    While obviously this can never be a practical punishment/rehabilitation for said drivers, on behalf of the MANY of us who are full time pedestrians as a result of medical driving bans and have had to turn getting down to the local shops safely into an art form in order not to get bowled, temporarily render them physically/medically unfit to drive and see how they like it.

    I’m scared of the traffic now, I never used to be (never driven). As a pedestrian the number of near misses in recent times, I’d say half of them were on their phones, the other half simply not using their indicators, which, believe it or not we rely on to know the intention of their next move. Green men and zebra crossings may as well be irrelevant a lot of the time now. Even being a passenger is getting more frightening, especially being driven around when I’m up in Auckland being tailgated. The relative concerned is now too scared to drive on the motorway.

    In my circles, we have no ethical issues with the driving ban because we really are high risk of causing a crash behind the wheel. But at the same time, we cross paths with these morons who can LEGALLY drive and are pretty convinced we’d be safer.

    • Carolyn_Nth 8.1

      The indicator issue is extremely frustrating. Some drivers do not seem to know where their indicator control/lever is. Indicating as an after thought, just as a car starts turning, is no help at all.

      Motor vehicles whizzing in front and behind a pedestrian on a crossing can be frightening. It also can give a travelling vehicle driver the idea that there isn’t anyone on the crossing.

      Some drivers are very impatient and can’t wait a few seconds for pedestrians to clear a crossing.

      • Psycho Milt 8.1.1

        I remember long ago visiting a friend of mine who’d moved to Melbourne, and as we were driving around she bemoaned the fact that in Melbourne you have to let pedestrians cross the road. She pooh-poohed my claim that actually you have to do that in NZ too.

      • Kay 8.1.2

        So true Carolyn. I can’t just distances very well, eg how far away a car is and certainly not how fast it’s going, so I won’t step out on a crossing until the car’s stopped for me. (Also makes me a lousy jay walker).

        I have no idea what this obsession is with having to be somewhere even 30 seconds faster. Will the milk go off if it’s not in the fridge a bit sooner? Or is it some sort of competition?

  9. Ad 9

    I love Melbourne’s preferences.
    Such a mannered difference to NZ.

  10. Obtrectator 10

    Must have been a couple of years ago now, I read a feature article in the Sunday Star-Times. It described a typical (fictional) car crash at something in the 50-70kph range – nothing extraordinary. None of the four occupants was killed, but they all sustained injuries and ongoing disabilities of an extent that made outright death seem preferable. Since reading it I’ve never again carried glass bottles in the passenger compartment ….

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