Chronicle – Hypocritical or not?

October 23rd, 2010

After deciding to make my comments about speeding their front page story earlier this week I was surprised to read the most recent of the Chronicle Drive 2 Stay Alive Campaign installments. Surprised is probably an understatement I was closer to highly annoyed.
You see the story is ‘buried’ on page 30 of the Friday edition of the Hervey Bay Observer. Guess what the headline is….and I quote –
“Faster Saves Lives – Expert claims increased speed limits could make roads safer”. The story then goes on to explain how a ‘leading German safety expert’ says Australian drivers could travel faster on freeways in an effort to reduce the road toll’. It goes on to explain why.
I suppose I have a right to question why is this article not front page news with an apolgy to myself, after all my opinion about speed reflects exactly what this article is saying?
I also received an interesting article by mail posted to me by a local resident who regularly visits America. This article from the Denver Rocky Mountain News describes how a Police Chief had ordered his troops to stop setting speed traps and to get out and patrol the roads instead. Guess what happened? They fined more people for speeding than when they were using stationary ‘speed traps’ and the number of speed-related crashes dropped. I would also add that road users respect for the police force would also have increased.
I also remind readers that the Ch 9 ACA is highlighting the innacuracy of some fixed speed cameras this coming week as is the Courier Mail.
I will be asking Peter Chapman at The Chronicle for another prominent story to highlight how similar my views are to other so called ‘experts’ and to include their Observer article in The Chronicle where it should have been placed in the first instance.
PS I am thankful that at least my letter with my pledge to drive safely was printed yesterday….

15 Responses to “Chronicle – Hypocritical or not?”

  1. Colin Burton 23 Oct 2010 at 10:11 am

    The differnce between Australia and Germany, and America, with regard to faster being safer on freeways is the quality of their freeways and their near universal presence. Australia lacks the population base to fund a good freeway network with the result that most interstate roads are still old fashioned ‘highways’ or worse. With the exception of the Hume and some odd bits of the others there are few roads in Australia which safely support speeds of 110 Kph, never mind more. That, and the prevalence of over tired drivers, drunk drivers, young hoon drivers, potholes, unbanked curves, wandering kangaroos and stock.
    I have enquired in depth about maintaining a steady speed of 80 Kph on ‘highways’ except where a minimum is posted – which is rare – and am informed that provided I keep to the extreme left, allow overtaking wherever possible, and do not ‘interfere with’ the flow of traffic I can drive as slowly as I like, which suits my age, reflexes, and the fuel consumption of my non streamlined type motor home. I still come across farm machinery going even slower ! When we get proper autobahns, which will not be in the lifetimes of anyone reading this blog, then maybe 120 Kph plus can be contemplated. Maybe – if we can get rid of the suicidal menaces who drive on the present roads the way they now do. About the time the pigs take off .

  2. Paton 23 Oct 2010 at 11:01 am

    Sue, you said, “I would also add that road users respect for the police force would also have increased.”

    Do I take it that by that comment that you are suggesting that we shouldn’t respect ANY of our police, or only the ones who book someone for speeding, or just the ones who operate fixed speed traps? I’d suggest to you that ALL police at some time in their training or careers have booked a motorist for speeding at a fixed speed trap, so I assume that you are saying that you don’t respect ANY police officers. That is a pretty disrespectful comment in itself isn’t it? Especially to those officers who have died in the line of duty to protect you and me. So what happened to your earlier stance where you said that the public have no right to judge the actions of police, teachers and councillors unless they have walked a day in their shoes? Were you a police officer at one time Sue? I don’t think so.

  3. skidliteon 23 Oct 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Pat by quoting one small section of Sue’s message you are doing the same as a certain tabloid around here likes to do.

    Either that or comprehension wasn’t your best subject at school.

    Sue, yes, the Chronicle is being hypocritical to hide that story on page 30 of the Observer and not printing it in the Chronicle.

  4. Paton 23 Oct 2010 at 5:07 pm

    skidlite, my point was that if Sue is going to accuse the Chronicle of being hypocritical, then she has to be willing to be blamed of being hypocritical herself. As to your comment that it was only one small section of Sue’s message, so was the article on page 30 of the Observer only a small section of the paper. At least I didn’t go as far as to say her comment about disrespecting police wasn’t “hidden” in her post. Note also that she hasn’t denied any such disrespect for police – even the ones killed on duty. That says more than anything else – I think.

  5. Sue Brookson 23 Oct 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Pat have you heard of the saying “build a bridge”? If you are determined to keep referring to one sentence out of the myriad sentences that I have written via the web so be it but I did think that I had explained the meaning of my ‘no right to comment’ comment ages ago. In reference to the respect for police. Of COURSE I respect the police and believe the wider community does (or should) respect them also. I was simply attempting to say that personally speaking…. I don’t respect THE ACTION of sitting in an unmarked vehicle catching motorists unawares in spots that are likely to have many drivers SLIGHTlY exceeding the posted speed limit. I believe that doing this does absolutely nothing to reduce the road toll and is a waste of time that police officers could put to better effect. Now does that clarify it better for you? sue

  6. Paton 23 Oct 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Yes Sue, it does clarify it better. But may I point out, that I’m not aware of many (if any) locations where “police are sitting in an unmarked vehicle catching motorists unawares in spots that are likely to have many drivers SLIGHTlY exceeding the posted speed limit”. These locations are not selected randomly. There are very strict conditions that need to be met before these locations are selected, and the individual police who man those speed cameras vehicles have no control or choice in that location. It is actually determined by a computer programme based on black spots, previous accidents, complaints from individuals and councils (people like you), ministerial complaints etc etc. I repeat, the individual police who man those vehicles have no control of where they are directed to position those vehicles. These are the very same police who you openly admit that we should have no respect for. They are just doing their job – surely you agree?

  7. Sue Brookson 23 Oct 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Old Maryborough Rd but only on the side where everyone is going down the hill. This is the new bit near the golf course. Never been a fatality or bad accident there to my knowledge. McLiver St as it is a good place to catch people and Saltwater Creek Rd where it is a wide 4 lane stretch where everyone tends to sit on about 70kmh safely. Any accidents on these roads are far and few between unlike the highway and the Hervey Bay Maryborough Rd where more care and police presence is needed. Can I also remind readers that when I lived in Darwin I didn’t ever get booked speeding. Not even once but here I do have to pay the odd fine. The difference is mainly the speed limits are just more sensible in Darwin with main arterial wide roads prevalent and all posted at 70kmh which is what most of us prefer to sit at. Why not use stationary speed camera boxes and circulate the cameras so no one knows if there is a camera there or not in KNOWN trouble spots where accidents can happen not on smooth straight stretches of safe roadway.

  8. Chrison 25 Oct 2010 at 8:52 am

    Latest spot is on the South Side of Childers where the 80km zone bridge is, both sides have a hill, both sides go from 100 to 80 for less then 1 kilometre. I’m sure they have gone close to making enough from that spot to re-surface the road.

    As to follow with Sue, I respect a police office who keeps CRIME down, who understands we are all human and make mistakes. However, one who sits at the base of a hill and writes speeding tickets at the most probable point is picking on someone when they are most suceptable. And yet, as Pat says, the police do not choose this places, I guess Queensland Government does. Well, bring on the next election- not that it will make the roads or some police officers decisions anymore sensible.

    I once recieved a ticket for pulling out from Scarness at dusk, it wasn’t dark but dusk, I indicated, started to pull out, turned my lights on, wheels still in the parking spot and the oncoming car coming over the speedbump turned out to be a police car. $30 and a point, now no-one can tell me that is sensible policing.

    Germany, 16KM over the limit = $25/ QLD 10 km over the limits $130ish now I hear??? How is it fair to fine a student $130 of their $200 FORNIGHTLY student allowence? Finland you get fined based on you income, hence why one such rich man was fined 200,000E- fair??

    In the old days police got respect because they were a familiar face at fete’s, markets, events and if they pulled you over at times they could afford to give you a second chance. Or at 3am when someone marginly rolled through a stop sign would potentially warn them- now since when should a job be about finding faults- from what I hear police have quota’s?? QUOTA’S to penalise people- SERIOUSLY. Imagine teachers MUST send send 10 kids to detention, suspend 5 and have 30 pick up rubbish every week. That would be some education system…

  9. Paton 25 Oct 2010 at 4:15 pm

    To be honest Chris (and Sue), I have never understood the “revenue raising” argument, nor the argument that it is wrong to situate a radar at the bottom of hills. We, as drivers, must learn to control the speed of our vehicles no matter what the conditions – whether those conditions are bad roads, bends in the roads, wet weather, and also hills. We have no problem accelerating to maintain speed UP a hill, so why is there all this problem with adjusting our speeds DOWN a hill. Honestly, if you can’t maintain your car at the speed limit down a hill, then you really shouldn’t be driving at all until you learn how to drive.

    As to the revenue raising argument – how come that argument is used exclusively for speed traps? We don’t accuse police of setting up a booze bus near licensed premises as “revenue raising” – we don’t accuse drug enforcement agencies of “revenue raising” when they target the premises of bikie gangs – we don’t accuse transport Department officials of “revenue raising” when they stop truck drivers and weight their vehicles and check their logbooks – we don’t accuse council compliance officers of “revenue raising” when they patrol and pick up stray dogs on the beach – we don’t accuse Customs Officers for “revenue raising” when they target people at airports. So why are traffic police so different?

    Let me ask you this Chris – if you were a recreational fisherman, and you went to certain spots and ALWAYS caught fish, would you keep going back there, or would you go back to spots where in the past you caught no fish? What would YOU do if your job was to enforce the traffic law? And by the way Chris, despite what you might hear, there are no quotas – but there are performance assessments – like there are in ALL jobs these days. You will learn about them when you finish your studies and enter the real world. The “real world” sounds like it might be a big learning curve for you.

  10. Sue Brookson 25 Oct 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Pat what is the purpose then of police sitting in wait at spots where road conditions naturally lend themselves to many motorists slightly exceeding the speed limit at places where there are no accidents time and time again? In other words on safe stretches of road. This activity certainly has never altered my driving habits. I drive in a manner I consider safe all the time.

  11. Chrison 25 Oct 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Pat, nice attempt at a below the “real world’ remark, your more then a couple of years out of date with that one, but ‘Good Try’. I’ll let you off this time with a ‘Good Behaviour Bond’.

    Just to prove it, here is an artice from the Courier Mail regarding quota’s in Brisbane, now, with my previous studies I could reference it properly but if you can’t cut and paste it then I guess it might be time for some tertiary education, in the real world. Since you know more about getting high tallies then the officer interviewed in Brisbane. Maybe you are the Under Cover Chief of Police.

    You make a great point about targeting regular spots, regular speeding locations, not regular crash locations. If we want to stop crashes shouldn’t we be where the crashes are, not outside a golf course, with no schools around or pedestrian crossings nearby where people crash. Pick a round-about- there will be a crash there often enough. Also, discussing regular spots, why not regular times, like an RBT stop on Friday nights and Saturdays?? Because Tuesday mornings seriously seem to be a bit of a dud of a regular time slot to me, but it would be the perfect time for a bit of PR.

    You arguement re. speeding is alike all the above mentioned is absolutely out of proportion. I don’t deal drugs accidently or deliberately, I don’t knowingly overload my vehicle, If you read what was written in the Sunshine Coast local paper about the increase in penalties for the council pet registration, I think you will see people are up in arms about it and think it is a rort in many cases and they are copping the raw end of the stick. At airports people knowlingly know what they can bring into the country and/or upon arrival they can choose to have it torched or knowingly pay for the item. The only accidently at times exception to all these is speeding.

    I also have empathy for drink drivers who unknowingly drink drive believing they are 100% under the limit, however, in about 2007, I had 2 drinks in the Valley with friends, when I went to go home after 3 or 4 hours I thought, to ensure the safety of others and my license I will do an RBT before driving my car just for the gaurentee.

    Now, I asked some officers appearing to be casually talking (watching the surrounding areas) who said that this was not going to happen, when I asked again and mentioned ‘With honour we serve/ To serve and protect’ and I was told to go away or else I would be in trouble. Now this was a straight forward Hervey Bay boy asking to do an RBT. Had they pulled me over 5 mins later they would have had no problem with forcing me to have an RBT or face the loss of my license. Now, wouldn’t that have helped out the officers KPI???? So at the end of the day you say it would have been in his best interest to drug/ alcohol test me. Afterwards I did go and get into my car and was never pulled over, however if I was a drunk…..

    As for the real world Pat, I am in the real world, I haven’t done drugs, I haven’t been done for drink driving and don’t believe I have ever performed the act, I haven’t abused a police officer or any member of the public for any reason, I haven’t a DVO against me or against anyone. I have however been done for speeding, and for pulling out at dusk whilst turning on my headlights. Now, might be time for the police to go back and have a look at the real world and how the rest of us make a hard earned buck. Yes, I feel for the police that have to deal with DVO’s and drunks, and I have no problem with fining someone who hits an officer, I even feel for their future of PTSD in many cases however speeding is, lets say in all my cases, (3- 10km over X2 and 11 x 1) been accidents whilst all the above mentioned things can’t be accidents- speaking of accidents, even with my 3 speeding tickets I haven’t been in 1 (touch wood I am writing on).

    Police have the power (yes, to fine us for everything, yes everything, swearing, if we are somewhere and officer has a problem with us it could be loitering or public nuisance), however I have not yet had one say OK, fair enough, it’s been two years since his last offence, he is clean cut and working, maybe he was too busy watching the road as he came down the hill for animal X. But no, just the fine thankyou.

    Back to the Chronicle Chronicles slander, I’m just wonder at how many locations police regularly radar where the road is in very poor condition as I haven’t seen any on Main Street in the last 5 years, on the old goat track that is currently being resurfaced however I have seen the at the top smooth end shooting a radar up and down on the safer looking smooth stuff. How does some road engineer give Main Street the OK for 70 whilst the Cricket Oval end of Boundary gets 60?? Whatever. We won’t win this, were not french and we won’t get off our rear to protest the council, the state or the National government for anything. Let’s just wait for the next election and we can all take it all over again for another 3 years. Yes yes, the police are just being law abiding citizens, but wiat, next time I see a police car merge or exit a round about without indication, how do I bring them back to the life of a average citizen with what would probably be their first local, officer derived ticket in Hervey Bay.

    And I bet with your law abiding morals you agree with the below also,

    Would you mind asking the local police how many have other local officer hand written traffic infringements. That will show us the real world. It’s kinda like supporting Collingwood, either your on the inside, or the oustide- I’m on the outside and I’m staying there in both cases.
    At the end if the day, some of us shouldn’t be tarnished with the same brush that all speedsters get, that is we don’t it deliberately. To tarnish me with the same brush that Sue holds up is the same as me to compare all local police officers to the girl bashing thug in Blue in Byron Bay. It’s a two way street.

  12. Paton 26 Oct 2010 at 10:29 am

    Chris, Chris, Chris – you make many good points in that one post, but unfortunately very few that I can agree with. There are too many points to examine in the one email, and it is probably boring everyone reading, so I’ll just address the most alarming of your points.

    You suggest that accidentally allowing your car to speed is not as serious as intentional speeding. I couldn’t disagree with you more, and neither does the law. You see Chris, when you are pulled over for speeding, the police officer will ask you if there is any emergency or reason for speeding. The reason for this is to determine which offence you have committed. When the driver says ‘Oh, I didn’t notice I was speeding”, the correct offence in not actually speeding, but “operate a motor vehicle without due care and attention”. However, that is not a ticketable offence, and requires you to be summonsed to court, and it takes a lot of time, paperwork and court time – so police to the lazy thing and just issue them a speeding ticket anyway.

    Just recently in Toowoomba, a young man fronted court to contest a speeding ticket, but when he faced the magistrate he decided to plea guilty but with an explaination to the court that he didn’t intentionally speed, but he had just let his car drift over the limit. The magistrate refused to accept his plea on the grounds that all the elements of the offence could not be met, and that the correct offence was “operate a motor vehicle without due care and attention” – she then proceeded to amend the charge, he pleaded guilty to that charge and she not only fined him, but suspended his driver’s licence for 12 months on the spot. That sure back fired on the poor bugger didn’t it? Now, I don’t know if the magistrate was having a bad wig day or not, but this same magistrate had earlier in the day ordered two workmen who were doing renovations in the adjoining court room, in the cells for making too much noise. True story. Nobody believes me when I tell them, but here’s a link to the story.

    So back to accidentally speeding – if you are driving and you don’t notice you’ve gone over to speed limit, perhaps you also didn’t notice that there’s a motorbike in the lane next to you in your mirrors blind spot. If you change lanes and run him over and kill him, do you think you shouldn’t’ be charged because “you didn’t notice”? If you run a red light, do you think the cops shouldn’t book you if “you didn’t notice” they were red?

    But Chris, I know what you are going to say. You are going to say that traveling just a few Km’s over the speed limit isn’t as serious as killing a motorcyclist or running red lights – and you’d be absolutely right. But neither is the punishment for speeding a few K’s over the speed limit the same as those more serious offences. But it should be if the reason for speeding was “I didn’t notice”.

  13. Paton 26 Oct 2010 at 10:50 am

    Chris, in relation to the jet ski incident – if we only go by what the story tells us in the newspaper which, on the face of it, appears to be a case of bureaucracy gone mad, he says he got a $300 fine for falling off a jetski and failing to report it. But if you heard him being interviewed this morning, the real story emerged. He was involved in a jet ski accident which resulting in his jetski sinking (pretty serious don’t you think?) – bystanders rang 000 and lifeguards were sent to rescue them, but by the time they got there bystanders had already rescued them. Obviously the lifeguards had to report the incident to authorities – which is a requirement by law – and the driver was asked to submit his incident report. He claims that he did and they lost it. He then got a reminder letter and he sent another incident report, and they lost that one too. So he received another reminder to submit the report or risk a fine, and he said that he ignored it because “what’s the point? – they’ll only lose it again”. So he ignored it, and then whinges to the media when he gets a $300 fine for failing to lodge an incident report. Then he tries to make himself out as some sort of hero for saving his mates life. He was the reason his mates life needed rescuing in the first place. So there Chris, don’t always believe what you read in the paper.

    I wonder if we will hear another sob story from this guy when he gets the bill from the lifeguards who were sent out to rescue them? Their bill will make this $300 fine seem like chook feed. So sometimes these types of stories have a happy ending.

  14. Sue Brookson 27 Oct 2010 at 7:46 am

    Point of order called by the Chair… which is me. I don’t think any new info is being revealed but please refrain from personal crticism or I will moderate the comments. Healthy debate is fine and good but please stick to the topic to be discussed not the person please! Cheers, Sue

  15. Chrison 29 Oct 2010 at 1:24 am

    Why is it a judge can take something to such an extent whilst as far as I know major offences are adjucated by persons to be considered of our peers??? I think most would consider that to be ridiculous- and even potentially yourself? I am probably wrong somewhere there however, 12 months for 12km??? (I don’t know) over is ridiculous. No doubt the judge and any reporting officer, if they were honest with the legal system would be licenseless prior to now anyway, if they fined EVERY PERSON everytime they found themselves breaking a road rule- is there a law preventing you booking yourself, as one would have to do if they were fully upholding the law?

    Agreed Sue, no futher relevent information is forth-coming. It appears no person is allowed to drive and have their odometre cross marginally over the set limit at any stage. I still query however, based on your question of hypocriticism, how is it that local authorities can merge in and out of traffic without indicators at minimal and yet still book the locals for the exact same offence. What if they hit some-one? Hypocritical or not?

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