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.