10th of April 2019
There are many and varied reasons proffered for the dramatic increase in the Road Toll. However, we have noticed there is a remarkable similarity between the spike in the Road Toll and the spike in the crime rate of 2016.
That,” Crime Tsunami”, has left this State with an unacceptably high crime rate with our leaders trying to take solace in marginal falls; it is still far too high when compared to preceding periods and other jurisdictions.
Moreover, that is likely to remain the case until a seismic shift to embrace sound police practises occurs, and the same applies to the Road Toll.
It is more than likely that the Road Toll spike will herald a new and unacceptable level for a long period and Victorians will have to adjust to more carnage. Many more Victorians will die on our roads many of them innocent victims.
Premier Daniel Andrews was quoted as saying the crime spike was six years in the making and he was right. The Road Toll spike has had a similar but longer gestation period, but the outcome of death and injury is substantially greater than the equivalent violence metered out in the crime equivalent.
This State has spent millions upon millions of dollars in trying to engineer its way to a safer road system, it has increased and continues to increase confusing enforcement rules, it has tried to use technology for enforcement, the overall Victorian vehicle fleet is by world standards relatively modern and safer so why this cataclysmic failure?
Both Victoria Police and the Government are missing the critical components in redressing this horrendous road carnage and should revitalise the basics of effective road policing.
We implore the police to take a leadership role to focus on strategic road safety initiatives in partnership with high-level media education and awareness programs. This must be combined with community involvement and a commitment to ensure effective road user discipline to prevent crashes and SAVE LIVES. To do that the Police must be on the road and visibly enforce the law.
Road safety has the same genesis as the crime spike – a visible disconnect between Police and the community.
The current road toll crisis can be curbed by empowering every member of the public to act. I resigned from Victoria Police in disgust after 42 years service. I held the rank of Inspector. I am a current member of the Community Advocacy Alliance. I researched the police response to members of the public calls to 000 reporting dangerous driving. Each month there are approximately 5,000 calls. In each of these calls the vehicle involved can be identified as the registration number is given. Arising from these calls approximately 20 offenders are prosecuted, 7% are recorded as inquiries pending and in the remainder of calls there is no further action taken. These facts come from Computer Aided Dispatch data held by the Emergency Service Telecommunications Authority. This data is not available to members of the public, even though we pay for it, the data can be published without identifying any individuals. I was appalled by these facts as I believe members of the public would also be if they were aware of them. I submitted reports stating the Victoria Police Command needed to urgently address this issue. I also developed a process how these calls could be effectively followed up. These reports went unheeded.
How much more effective would it be if dangerous drivers not only had to watch out for marked and unmarked police vehicles but were aware that any member of the public could report their dangerous behaviour and they would be held to account?