Full throt­tle

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - Paul Gover Na­tional edi­tor

IMAG­INE for a sec­ond that you’re out walk­ing on a Fri­day night. As you ap­proach a close neigh­bour’s house you see some­one lurk­ing in the shrubs who looks as though they are plan­ning some­thing il­le­gal.

They are car­ry­ing what ap­pear to be house­break­ing tools— crow­bars and such— and are dressed to­tally in black, with a black beanie.

So you stop and, gen­tly, sug­gest that a breakand-en­ter might not be a good idea.

You re­mind the per­son that you have seen them, you can help the po­lice if there is trou­ble, and that there prob­a­bly isn’t much worth steal­ing at your neigh­bour’s house in any case.

This would be con­sid­ered a good deed. It is stop­ping a po­ten­tial crime.

So what’s the dif­fer­ence if you use your head­lamps to warn about a speed trap? A fine, for a start, if you’re caught. Flash­ing your head­lamps in Aus­tralia is con­sid­ered counter-pro­duc­tive in the battle against the road toll, and an in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of the high beams in a built-up area.

Yet a new sur­vey shows that most of us are happy to flash a warn­ing and the prac­tice is most wide­spread in Vic­to­ria, which is also the state with the tough­est speed-en­force­ment reg­i­men.

There are laws against flash­ing in some states, but most peo­ple don’t seem to care. They are more wor­ried about help­ing a fel­low road user and— ar­guably— help­ing in the battle against speed.

If speed cam­eras re­ally are used to com­bat the road toll, and not just for rev­enue rais­ing, then surely the idea is to even­tu­ally have zero cam­era fines.

If there were no fines, it would mean ev­ery­one was obey­ing the speed limit.

That would be bad news for state gov­ern­ment in­come across Aus­tralia, where speed cam­eras now raise hun­dreds of mil­lions each year, but good news for the road toll.

So any­one who flashes is po­ten­tially help­ing the battle against the toll, be­cause it’s a way to get peo­ple to slow down. It might not bring a cash bonus from a speed­ing fine, but it achieves the same re­sult.

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