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when I was working up at Dubbo in the early 80s hardly a weekend used to go by without feedback from our road reps of a fatal accident where they knew the individual or a member of their family and this was over and above the regular series of industrial accidents involving farmers and their families.

Another one today in Perth.

Same old story, stolen car, fake plates, police pursuit aborted when the stolen car went the wrong way down an on ramp to the freeway, and head on with a taxi, just going about his business.

4 am on a weekday morning, an innocent 62 year old cabbie now fighting for his life, a teenager burned to death in the crash, and two thieves facing years in jail.

If anyone's got an answer, please tell me.

I don't know about an answer but I recall 20 years ago a social worker telling me of an exchange he had with some young terrors out in the depressed western suburbs.

After asking them why they vandalised property, stole cars etc, they replied, 'Because it's the only thing left to do that's free'.

CORRECTION : That should read, 'Because it's the only fun thing left to do that's free'.

I've just looked at the web site for the Dept. of Transport (www.dft.gov.uk) in the UK, our equivalent of the RTA. We have an average of over 85 people seriously injured and over 10 people killed every day on our roads.

I guess the question is 'What is the government trying to do about it?'. I'm the first to moan if I get a speeding ticket, and there is a lot of resistance to the proliferation of speed cameras going up around the country - the same was true when I lived in Australia. However, our stats show that two-thirds of accidents where someone is killed or seriously injured is as a result of someone exceeding the speed limit.

Food for thought next time that you go over an 'unnecessary' speed hump or that camera flash goes off behind you.

Rob C. A cop once told me a fixed camera equalled one patrol car and two cops. According to the budget boys.

On my recent visit to the bush I once again noted, as I often do in the City, the rare instances when one sees a patrol vehicle.

Frequent and unpredictable patrolling vehicles are much more of a speed deterent than cameras.

I can't disagree on that - I would much prefer to see patrol cars than safety cameras - but I have to give the government credit where it's due.

The Dept. of Transport website shows a reduction in accidents of 25% in ten years - even though road use has gone up 20% in the same period. The RTA show a similar picture, fatal accidents reducing 13% in the last ten years even with a big increase in road usage (no figures).

At the end of the day I guess it is all about directing resources appropriately, and undoubtedly a patrol car is a lot more useful than a camera. But in the case of road fatalaties alone, I think we should give credit to these organisations - they do seem to be winning the battle.

Yeah good point Rob, from memory the Aussie road toll is way down on what it was in 1970. At the same time traffic volumes are way up. Despite safer cars and better road design I guess we'll just have to live with a certain percentage of fatalities.

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