d motorof ficial f motor_mag 7 VICTORIA needs to ditch or signpost its hidden speed cameras and put more marked highway patrol cars on its roads, if itís serious about getting the road toll to zero (as a new campaign suggests).
Now, donít get me wrong, this is not an easy suggestion for me to make.
I could find plenty of other things to complain about than a lack of highway patrol cars.
And it seems there is exactly that, a pitiful lack of highway patrol cars on the beat. As a very frequent Victorian road user, I might see one a week in Melbourne, if Iím lucky. In country areas theyíre even rarer.
It wouldnít be cause for complaint if not for Ďanytime, anywhereí speed enforcement being heralded as some sort of silver bullet to road trauma.
But hidden speed cameras create more problems that are, in turn, entirely ignored by authorities.
Lane etiquette in Victoria is truly appalling and tends to result in people dawdling in the right lane, doing 81km/h in an 80 zone, while a B-double, aware of where the speed cameras are, sits behind them like itís the Indy 500. Put a marked highway patrol car on the side of the road and suddenly drivers, and truckies, are aware they need to pay attention to much more than just their speed.
I grew up in Sydney, and the state seemed to budget more sensibly for the salaries of highway patrol officers and their cars. Not only did more patrol cars on the beat make me more aware of my speed, but it made me careful to wear my seatbelt, not to touch my phone, not to have too many drinks prior to driving, not to sit in the right lane for too long, not to tailgate Ė and generally do the right thing at the right time.
In Victoria, speed cameras donít give a toss about any of these things Ė one could argue they donít even slow you down until weeks later when you get a letter from the State Revenue Office. Think of all the other road users youíve been endangering in the meantime with your speeding.
More hidden speed cameras? Please. As much as it makes me squirm to say it, Victoria needs more highway patrol.
ON A lighter note, I hope our Performance Car Of The Year issue is as enjoyable to read as it was to make. It was one of our strongest fields yet and just making the grade was achievement enough. The shenanigans, trials and tribulations begin on p60. Enjoy.