Speedy Sue won’t sign Safe Driving Pledge

Fraser Coast Councillor Sue Brooks intends to continue speeding because some speed limits are too low and sometimes driving above the speed limit is safer!

Last week, Sue Brooks, a Councillor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, stated on her blog (Speedy Sue or Snail Sue, 14 Oct 2010) that she could not take a safe driving pledge because she would be lying. Note: This is a pledge (it’s about the future, not the past).

There have been a number of fatal crashes in the Fraser Coast Regional Council area recently. Two separate crashes killed two young women, and the most recent, killed a well known restaurateur. The pledge was created by a local news organisation for people to ‘sign’ online as a way to help reduce the number of car accidents in the area. While this may not be a very effective strategy for reducing accidents, it couldn’t hurt! The ten safe driving pledges are included below.

I will:

1.    Abide by the 3 c’s (concentration, consideration, control)
2.    Always be patient
3.    Not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
4.    Drive to the conditions
5.    Not speed
6.    Check my health regularly and accept my limitations
7.    Never take a phone in my hands
8.    Exercise caution at all times
9.    Be aware of my surroundings
10.  Ensure my car is roadworthy

Fraser Coast Chronicle

Councillor Brooks stated on her blog:

“I can’t sign the Fraser Coast Chronicle Road Safety pledge as I would be lying! I can’t sign it because I sometimes speed.”

“I reckon numbers 4 and 5 are contradictory somewhat as some speed limits are just too low. And we should ALWAYS be driving to the conditions, which I think means sometimes it is safer to go SLIGHTLY faster than the posted limit on some roads at some times.”

I’ll take these points separately.

Some speed limits are too low, therefore it’s okay if I speed!

Now, I can understand that there is debate about what level speed limits should be set at on particular sections of road to achieve a relatively safe driving environment. A debate about speed limits is perfectly fine with me and I’d encourage people to have their say. But, it is important to note here that Queensland Transport sets speed limits and has quite a substantial criteria for determining the level; they don’t wake up one day and just pick a number. The following elements are taken into account:

  • environment in which the road is located;
  • pavement, shoulder and lane width;
  • horizontal and vertical road alignment;
  • traffic volume, activity and prevailing speeds;
  • frequency of intersections and property access;
  • on-road parking activity;
  • type of roadside activities;
  • presence of unsignalised at-grade pedestrian crossings;
  • presence of traffic signals;
  • magnitude of property setback;
  • presence of linemarking, channelisation and medians; and
  • proximity of roadside hazards and standard of protection.

Queensland Transport

Now, I’m not calling Sue unintelligent, but who would you rather set speed limits, Sue or Queensland Transport? At the end of the day, a limit is set, and that limit should be followed.

Sometimes it’s safer to go faster than the speed limit, therefore it’s okay if I speed!

Well, it doesn’t take much to counter that argument; it’s simply false.

Some people may argue that occasionally it’s safer to speed in order to overtake a big semi-trailer and get back to their side of the road as quickly as possible. Incorrect; it would be safer to not overtake! Your decision to overtake should be predicated on you not needing to speed to safely overtake. Take a chill pill, and enjoy that distinctive cow poo aroma!

Next statement:

“In residential areas the speed should be a carte blanche of 50kmh”

I believe the speed limit is already 50km/h in residential areas – I also believe that this is an incorrect use of the phrase “carte blanche” but that is hardly a topic to cover in this blog post. Yep, Queensland Transport confirms:

“The default speed limit in built-up areas has been reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. This means that when driving in a built-up area, you should drive no faster than 50 km/h unless there is a sign stating otherwise.”

Queensland Transport

Were you not around during the advertising campaign informing us of this change?

To hear someone in a position of authority even suggest that speeding is tolerable in some circumstances  on some roads is an absolute offense. I’ve actually crashed a car at high speed (100km/hr), and I don’t want to ever be involved in something like it again. I ran off the side of the road, hit a culvert for a driveway, was airborne over the driveway and landed in a ditch. The road was good, I wasn’t speeding, it wasn’t rainy or foggy. I made a mistake. Anyone can make a mistake!

Sue, sign the damn pledge and stop fucking speeding!

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