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Submissions for Enforcement approaches for speeding heavy vehicles - discussion paper May 2016

Stuart Greig

23 Jun 2016

Disappointingly this NTC proposal has the shallow 'single-lever' mentality of policing speed.

Transport by its very notion implies both speed and velocity.

The notion that stopping wheels from turning is the only path to road safety utopia is simplistic and absurd. If that is the only answer the NTC has it may as well wind-up.

The case for these penalties does not demonstrate a requirement for stronger laws. It is an emotive argument lacking case data. NTC would need to provide a much more scientific case as to the true cause of accidents in which heavy vehicles were involved for these initiatives to be warranted.

The case for these changes ignores that cars are very often the cause of heavy vehicle accidents either directly or by forcing evasive action to be taken.

Recent case in point: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3985073/deep-creek-crash-cuts-two-young-lives-short/?cs=86

Until such time as all road vehicles are autonomous, it is the driver not vehicle which needs policing.

Punishing the vehicle harms the operator, and disproportionally so if its a smaller company. The notion of 'zero tolerance' is primitive in a society with a civilised justice system.

Punishing the vehicle also harms the cargo owner and productivity. Impounded vehicles and trailers punishes the load recipient. Not all recipients of cargo get to choose the vehicle on which their load will be carried.

The notion that, given time, non-compliant operators would be forced or purged from the industry is naive.

If this proposal made sense, it would be valid to extend it to rental 'cars'.

Obviously it is implausible that hire 'cars' found to have broken the speed limit would be impounded. Even though

they too are not driven by an owner;

there is a commercial company involved; and

even though the speeding infringement severity was identical.

Court records amply demonstrate vehicle speed infringement claims are neither foolproof or accurate. Imposing a such a harsh penalty for an alleged 15 km/h overspeed without challenge or recourse is unjust and unworthy of contemporary justice.

The NTC needs to accept that it makes no difference if a truck hits a car or vice-versa. It's still a mess and as such both classes of vehicle should be policed equally.

Heavy Vehicles are already policed for current speed, Vmax speed, load weight, driver fatigue and roadworthyness. Ordinary motorists are not subject to these same measures and yet are equally capable of colliding with a heavy vehicle.

Until such time as authorities have the will to police and monitor all road users equally, accidents will prevail.

Without the will to police with equality, increasing the penalties only for heavy vehicle operators is unwarranted, unjust and doomed to fail.