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AA Endorses Government Road Safety Package

Media Release 16 December 2003
AA Endorses Government Road Safety Package

The Automobile Association has welcomed the Government's Road Safety Package saying that it largely supports the measures announced today by Transport Minister Paul Swain.

"The focus to stiffen the penalties for those infringing repeatedly, or well over existing speed and alcohol limits is commended. This sends a clear message to those who otherwise disregard the law," AA Director, Public Affairs, George Fairbairn said.

Mr Fairbairn was pleased that the Government had not pressed the 50mg/100ml issue.

"Almost all drink-drive accidents are caused by drivers with blood alcohol in the ranges targeted by this enforcement package. Reducing the limit is an unnecessarily divisive proposal when there is clearly still much to be done to get repeat drink drivers off the road. The "three strikes and you're out" approach gives first offenders a sharp message to change their behaviour, but protects the community by removing the worst offenders from the road" he said.

Mr Fairbairn said it was also pleasing to see the Government take action against drugged drivers as there is clear evidence that drugs are increasingly involved in motor vehicle crashes.

On the speed issue Mr Fairbairn said maintaining the 10km/h threshold was technically the only feasible option. The reduction in the 28-day suspension period for those driving 40km/h over the limit was not contentious, so long as it was enforced fairly.

"Enforcing a 28-day licence suspension for ignoring a 30km/h temporary speed limit left out by a road crew that had clearly gone home, would not serve the interests of safety, public good will or justice," he said.

Mr Fairbairn also expressed concern that the "anytime anywhere" approach to speed cameras and the removal of camera signs reduced an important cautionary signal for drivers.

"The identification of speed camera zones reinforces of the importance of keeping to speed limits in high risk areas. While "anytime anywhere" may initially increase overall caution this is likely to wear off over time, while a clearly identified zone does not," he said.

But overall Mr Fairbairn said the package was good news for the majority of law abiding motorists, and hoped that it would have the desired effect on road safety in 2004.


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