Road Safety

14 Oct 2003 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, representing the Minister for Transport, a question about road safety.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I note that the government recently released a road safety plan—in fact, last month— containing three main strategies: safer roads, safer people and safer vehicles. I was quite interested in the ‘safer people’ strategy which will target the following: speeding, alcohol and drugs, fatigue, restraints, at-risk groups, and pedestrians and cyclists. As a regular road user, particularly of the South Eastern Freeway, my observation is that one of the greatest menaces on the roads in this state is caused by drivers with plain old bad attitudes.

I suspect that, given that South Australians have not had to share the road with many other road users, we might live under some mistaken belief that we can act as if there is no one else on the road. Specific dangerous habits prevailing in this state are tailgating and not allowing other cars into your lane. I note that Rex Jory, in his column last week, related a recent incident in which he experienced this sort of behaviour at very high speed on the Southern Expressway. He described a very dangerous situation in which a menacing tailgate driver sat just metres behind his bumper bar at 100 kilometres an hour.

In today’s Advertiser it is reported that 90 per cent of motorists have been victims of other drivers’ bad behaviour and that tailgating is the second highest cause of driver frustration at about 85 per cent. In my observation, changing lanes must surely be one of the most difficult manoeuvres in this state as you can never be sure whether drivers already in that lane will adjust their speed to accommodate your vehicle; whether they will accelerate to some point—exceeding the speed limit—because the space in front is available; or whether someone else might weave into that spot. From my own experience of driving in the eastern states, the flick of an indicator is enough for a car sized space to materialise in the next lane. Given that 30 per cent of accidents in South Australia are, in fact, rear-end collisions, I would think that this behaviour warrants further scrutiny. My question to the minister is: why has the government completely omitted from its plan, given all the facts which I have outlined, any specific strategies aimed at driver behaviour?

The PRESIDENT: I ask the minister to hold back on that answer. We have a protocol problem. I remind honourable members that Her Excellency the Governor will receive the President and members of the Council at 3.30 p.m. for the presentation of the Address in Reply. I ask honourable members to accompany me to Government House.

Thursday 27 November 2003

In reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14 October).

The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS: The Minister for Transport has provided the following information:

Why has the government completely omitted from its plan, given all the facts which I have outlined, any specific strategies aimed at driver behaviour?

The heading “Safer People” on Page 3 of the South Australian Road Safety Strategy 2003 – 2010, includes specific reference to addressing community attitudes to road safety, legislation and enforcement, and road users educated in appropriate behaviour.

The subject matter dealt with on pages 8 to 11 under this heading have been limited to the major issues which contribute significantly to serious crashes and the road toll.

However, the accompanying document Possible Initiatives 2004 – 2010, released in line with the Government’s commitment towards community consultation in the development of road safety strategies, provides a comprehensive listing of issues and initiatives for possible inclusion—including a section dealing with “Community Attitudes and Behaviour” on page 19.