Victoria recorded it’s lowest road toll ever this year. 303 deaths on the roads, down from 331 last year – nearly a 10% drop. I think that this actually deserves some praise, don’t you?
Absolutely not says Victoria’s Assistant Police Commissioner Ken Lay. According to him we should be ashamed of ourselves.
"Despite our high visibility enforcement campaign, the educational campaign by TAC, the legislative changes by the government and the improvements to our roads we are still reliant on the public playing their part and changing their behaviour." Source: SMH
So in other words… it’s all your fault you bloody idiots!
Does Mr Lay realise who was driving the millions of cars on the road in Victoria this year?
Clearly, to gain a 10% reduction in the road toll, something has happened that involves the general public. They deserve credit for it. Instead what they get is more and more condemnation from the stupid shortsighted media tactics of the Victorian Police. The standard line used in most media interviews is:
"The public aren’t getting the message."
I can’t recall a single interview where a police spokesman on roads has ever praised drivers for the progress they have made and the significant attitude changes that have occurred. Instead, we continually hear stupid negative statements from people like Lay using the official line.
This official line has the same effect as the TAC’s current ad campaign. It criminalises and alienates everyone. According to the current TAC ad’s closing line, "We will catch you before someone gets hurt."
What is the real agenda behind this negativity?
Some would say that it is to justify the continuing campaign for speed cameras and the like. To me, speed cameras don’t seem to be about simply revenue raising. It seems to me like speed cameras and police agendas are more like a tool of psychological repression.
Why do I make this bold statement? I’m not trying to invoke conspiracy theory.
Surely everything that we know about human nature tells us that guilt and shame are extremely poor motivators. If you really want people to change their attitudes and behaviour it is far more effective to get them onside and involved.
Instead, we are constantly reminded that the police are out to get you. It fosters suspicion and distrust of the police. We should be being reminded that the police are there to help.
So is it just large scale incompetence that keeps perpetuating the "not getting the message" line? Or is it a more sinister agenda?
Interestingly the entire improvement in the road toll this year came from rural roads
as represented by these TAC figures.
- 166 Melbourne – 5 Year Average 161
- 137 Rural – 5 Year Average 170, down from 174 last year.
Nearly 30% of deaths involve alcohol (clearly the biggest factor in road deaths, not speed as claimed).
You are far more likely to be seriously injured on a Melbourne road than a rural one.
Link: TAC road statistics