Ways of look­ing at the speed­ing cam­eras in­stalled

Fiji Sun - - Comment - RACHNA LAL Feed­back: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

At least 11 speed­ing cam­eras have gone up along the Queens High­way from the Co­ral Coast all the way to Lau­toka. So what will this mean? The move has ob­vi­ously been un­der­taken to stop peo­ple from speed­ing and get­ting in­volved in ac­ci­dents. But the ar­gu­ment is – is it ONLY speed­ing which leads to ac­ci­dents? Driv­ing from Suva to Nadi it­self would take at least three and half hours when one drives within the speed lim­its and re­stric­tions. But this doesn’t take into ac­count those driv­ers who drive way be­low the speed limit – some­times go­ing at 40km/h or be­low in an 80km/h zone. There­fore, com­ing across such driv­ers would nat­u­rally means it takes longer to reach your des­ti­na­tion. Why do peo­ple speed? There can be a few rea­sons. One they might be get­ting late to get to some place, ei­ther last minute some­thing came up or just that they left late. An­other rea­son could be they have got frus­trated driv­ing way be­low the speed limit and just want to over­take some­one who is driv­ing re­ally slowly.

Let’s con­sider both the pros and cons of this im­ple­men­ta­tion/in­tro­duc­tion.

Start­ing off with pros first

More rev­enue surely for the Land Trans­port Author­ity as whether know­ingly or un­know­ingly, there will be many peo­ple caught driv­ing above the re­quired speed in the area. This will also mean peo­ple will pay much more at­ten­tion to the speed which is re­stricted in the par­tic­u­lar area. Less hu­man re­sources would need to be used, in terms of po­lice and LTA of­fi­cers, to stand with speed de­tec­tors and fin­ing peo­ple. These re­sources can be di­verted to more use­ful ar­eas.

Mo­torists might also start driv­ing within speed lim­its and in an ideal world, there will be less ac­ci­dents.

But what are the cons

The cam­eras have been in­stalled on straight stretches where many mo­torists were able to over­take safely be­fore, even if it meant go­ing slightly over the speed limit. But what can hap­pen now is since mo­torists would not be able to over­take in this straight long stretches, they will be forced to over­take at risky bends. Would this not be an even big­ger threat with in­creased changes of ac­ci­dents?

Peo­ple will be con­stantly check­ing their speed to en­sure they are within speed lim­its, and mo­torists would know well that dis­trac­tion for a split sec­ond can lead to an ac­ci­dent. Aren’t the chances higher now? Be­cause of the de­lays caused for not be­ing able to over­take in these safer stretches, aren’t peo­ple go­ing to speed in other places to make up for the de­lays?

Con­clu­sion

The speed cam­eras have been lo­cated at places which ar­guably have not had many ac­ci­dents. So will they re­ally help in re­duc­ing ac­ci­dents? Should there be more in­vest­ment in en­sur­ing that our driv­ers are skilled enough to drive on our roads to en­sure we have safer roads in­stead of in­vest­ment in speed cam­eras. There were two speed cam­eras in­stalled in Suva and within a few months of op­er­a­tions, they are now no longer work­ing. Why in­vest in some­thing which ul­ti­mately does not bring back much long-term re­turns? At least with the fear to know­ing there would be po­lice or LTA along the road, peo­ple would not risk speed­ing be­cause lo­ca­tions are not known.

It is a wait­ing game to see if this re­ally works. But it would be in­ter­est­ing if in­for­ma­tion/data is re­leased in terms of how these speed cam­eras have as­sisted in re­duc­ing the num­ber of ac­ci­dents

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