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Speaker: Sponsored post: Speed and Safety

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  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Which brings up a good point, are NZTA getting their money's worth? How many of y'all have had a speeding ticket or significant crash recently?

    My last speeding ticket was about 14 years back, and my last crash (which was my fault, but not speed related) further back than that.

    I believe I am becoming more aware recently of my own driving behaviours as my oldest boy approaches driving age (he's begun swotting up on the road code, even though he more than a year away from a learner's). Which isn't to say that I don't have a stack of iffy habits accumulated over the years since I got my full licence.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Never had a speeding ticket. Only ever had one at fault accident, when as a very new driver, I quietly reversed into another car at the supermarket.

    But... I know that I often make mistakes, and I'm just lucky that they've never ended up seriously. I try to be a sensible and safe driver, because I like being alive, and I figure that other people like being alive too. But every now and then I lose concentration and I miss something that I ought to have seen, or a misjudge a corner, or my speed creeps up too high. That's one of the things that I've found so powerful about this ad: it reminds me that a mistake can be just as fatal as wilfully driving dangerously.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    So, this post is sponsored by the NZTA. Does this mean our speeding tickets are indirectly feeding Russell and his clan?

    'Fraid not! The money goes into the Consolidated Fund.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I can’t follow your argument there. A mean can drop, without variation dropping.

    That said, of course it’s not the only factor. It’s pretty hard to be sure which factors are the most significant in this country.

    Watch the ad.

    To be honest, watching it, when I see the other car from the perspective of the speeding guy, my own instinct is that he’d be able to stop in time, even at 108km/h. You don’t have to wait until the road is fully obstructed by the other car before you even begin slowing down. Indeed, personally, I begin slowing down automatically that I even see a car at all in that exact situation, just on the presumption that they might pull out for whatever reason. I have my eye pretty much fixed on that car as the most likely danger, and my foot is already on the brake. So inattention would have been a big factor in this accident.

    But given that they do have an accident, the speed is indeed going to be a factor. Others have already calculated the difference in kinetic energy between 108 and 100 as around 15%. But that’s not the whole story in an accident, unless they actually hit at that speed. In reality, the driver will have slammed on his brakes and begun dropping speed, and the difference in the kinetic energy proportions unleashed, given those two initial speeds, will be considerably more than 15%. The most obvious way to see this is on the extreme end case, that the 100km/h car actually managed to stop with just the lightest of touches on the other car. Let’s call the energy of the collision one joule. The other car, going 108km/h initially, will hit going 40.8km/h, or 37.2m/s. At this point it has kinetic energy equal to 0.5*mass*v^2. If the mass is 1500kg, this is over a million joules, ie more than a million times more energy in the crash. That’s an extreme case to show how the difference in the crash energy as a proportion is not just quadratic on the speed. It’s actually exponential (obviously I could have had it not even being one joule, it could have been zero, in which case the difference is undefined/infinite, but people get confused by infinity much more than they do by a million-fold).

    Say we wind both cars forward 10m. Then the 100km/h car hits at 45km/h and the 108km/h car hits at 61km/h. The energy difference as a proportion is around 61^2/45^2 which is 1.83. In other words, the faster car hits with 83% more energy. Both are going to be pretty big stacks, but you can bet that the one that has 83% more energy is going to look like it too. You might not be able to tell on the car hit from the side, but you will on the other one. The driver is going to probably take a lot more damage.

    So in conclusion, no, it’s actually true. Small speed difference really does add up to quite a big difference in accident damage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m completely puzzled by that reading of it

    Well, I'll admit to not listening to all the words until I played it back just now, and there is a difference between the narrative message and the surface impression.

    Would I like such an ad being pointed at my ethnic class group? Probably not, [granted, it doesn't matter for me because posh Brits are in a position to shrug such things off, and a video about City boys caning coke and trashing Porsches would *obviously* be about the other guy] and I'd take that as a reason not to point one at anyone else.

    But I just see this as rich white people getting commissioned by the government to make a film about how poor brown people should behave. (A government that conspicuously fails to do anything practical about young people drunk-driving, like providing public transport).

    There aren't many ads aimed at middle aged men driving home drunk from the golf club in their Holden V8 / BMWs, are there?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    middle aged men

    Ah, the speeding demographic. Perhaps NZTA could comment, but isn’t middle-aged drunk-driving on the wane due to the supposed success of efforts to make DUI socially unacceptable? Whereas the older male driver is still more likely to maintain “I’m in control, don’t tell me what speed is safe, I know how to drive to the conditions, the speed limit is for idiots who shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel”?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 159 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    There aren’t many ads aimed at middle aged men driving home drunk from the golf club in their Holden V8 / BMWs, are there?

    What about the one about the guy constantly speeding driving his family to the holiday house, and when his son eventually starts driving the same route he totals his car ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    There aren’t many ads aimed at middle aged men driving home drunk from the golf club in their Holden V8 / BMWs, are there?

    What about the one about the guy constantly speeding driving his family to the holiday house, and when his son eventually starts driving the same route he totals his car ?

    True, that one. But there's a reason that road safety ads target young men. They disproportionately speed, drink-drive and suffer accidents.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts, in reply to BenWilson,

    Indeed, personally, I begin slowing down automatically that I even see a car at all in that exact situation, just on the presumption that they might pull out for whatever reason. I have my eye pretty much fixed on that car as the most likely danger, and my foot is already on the brake.

    I wish the ad every success in fostering that attitude. I do think that so many rely on everything going to plan, whether from naive optimism, arrogant entitlement, or whatever. Yesterday I saw the latter in a bike-on-bike accident on K Road.

    This guy passed me at speed then proceeded past an older gent who chose that moment to drift right. The passing cyclist adjusted his line somewhat, but only minimally, then cut back in too early and both ended on the ground. The speedster had time to brake and room to go wider, but held tenaciously to his original plan.

    The problem wasn't so much his speed but his attitude, exemplified by chewing out the old chap whom he had just cut down from behind!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • jb, in reply to Greg Wood,

    And still travelling in excess of 30 km/h. It's not a light tap...

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • jb, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    And rather different roads, too.

    Here's a breakdown for 2012 fatalities from Statistics Germany by transport mode (car, 2 wheeled motorised, bike, pedestrian) and road type (open road, motorway, town.
    Anything comparable from Stats NZ?

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tom Ackroyd,

    blind date...

    middle-aged drunk-driving

    wash out for tha innerselection coming, urp.!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Martin Roberts,

    I wish the ad every success in fostering that attitude.

    Yeah, me too. It might help a bit. Better roads clearly would (remember when the Harbour Bridge had no barrier down the center? There were fatal crashes every week, it seemed). Enforcing lower speed limits? Probably helped significantly too. I can certainly remember being one crazy bastard when I was a young driver. I drove at breakneck speeds everywhere. Then I just outgrew doing that. I'd probably have lost my license with higher probability nowadays, or slowed down. I think I had general road sense, apart from the speed, and that probably saved my life. But that sense would not have saved me, had I ever actually had a prang at those insane speeds that I routinely drove at.

    If we had an autobahn, though, then insane speeds would be normal, and comparatively safe. It's surprising how boring going 240km/h can get on a really good road.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's surprising how boring going 240km/h can get on a really good road.

    It's also surprising how such roads can lull you into a false sense of security. Two summers back driving out to Beidaihe and back I had to really careful because we were travelling along the Beijing-Harbin Expressway. The section through Tianjin was a bit bumpy, but otherwise, with three adults, a child, and gear for four days at the beach, and especially when the petrol tank was full, the road was so smooth and so safely designed that my super-light car (800+kg) that would normally feel a little light was cruising along happily at speeds that kept creeping up through 130 (speed limit 120, with a minimum of 110 in the fast lane in the Hebei sections). Which would've been fine given the quality of the road, except the quality of a few too many of the other drivers wasn't quite up to it. I reckon a lot of these fancy modern roads (and cars) are becoming so safe they're dangerous - drivers just don't need to develop anywhere near the level of skill needed to drive safely, just put it in D, plant foot and steer. Of course, an awful lot of drivers never developed that level of skill anyways, even back in the good old days when roads kept you on your toes and the adrenalin pumping.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Martin Roberts,

    The problem wasn't so much his speed but his attitude, exemplified by chewing out the old chap whom he had just cut down from behind!

    And it's not a new issue either.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    To be honest, watching it, when I see the other car from the perspective of the speeding guy, my own instinct is that he’d be able to stop in time, even at 108km/h. You don’t have to wait until the road is fully obstructed by the other car before you even begin slowing down. Indeed, personally, I begin slowing down automatically that I even see a car at all in that exact situation, just on the presumption that they might pull out for whatever reason. I have my eye pretty much fixed on that car as the most likely danger, and my foot is already on the brake. So inattention would have been a big factor in this accident.

    Bingo. My first thought was 'why isn't the guy in the car covering the brake? He's got plenty of visibility, he can see the potential hazard. Why isn't he already checking his speed and possibly scrubbing some off from around 200m away?'.

    The focus on speed as the risk in all of these campaigns seems to give rise to these really oddly illogical inconsistencies. There's been a series of campaigns that have all but come out and said that if you're going over 100, you're a death-dealing psycho, but under 100, you're sweet. It's an arbitrary line on the clock, not a blinkin' forcefield switch.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    A contributor to driving behaviour could be the low financial threshold of access to a motor vehicle in the first place.
    I just did some numbers for an 18 year old with a new license, insuring a 10 year old Japanese import with 150hp in Germany
    Insurance - 3rd party (compulsory as a minimum) - ranges from €2600 to over €5000 a year, car tax is €120 and it will have cost the driver €2000 to get his license.
    You can't get away with not insuring - if you stop paying your premium, the insurance company informs the licensing authority who inform the police who come to your house - compulsory residence registration - and take your plates. Which you can only get issued via the licensing authority.
    A bit different to buying a $2000 import and just letting rip....

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s surprising how boring going 240km/h can get

    aaah! So that's why my late mum's old 1996 Mazda has a speedometer that goes up to 240km!
    It always feels like you are crawling along when you look at the speedo, all that unreached velocity...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    For purposes of comparison, here's NZTA's last speed-themed ad, 'Flying Objects'.

    This campaign targets everyday drivers and their passengers. Not the speedsters or hoons who recklessly drive at excessive speeds, but the people whose vehicle speed tends to creep above the limit at a level where they still consider themselves to be driving safely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Martin Roberts,

    Indeed, personally, I begin slowing down automatically that I even see a car at all in that exact situation, just on the presumption that they might pull out for whatever reason. I have my eye pretty much fixed on that car as the most likely danger, and my foot is already on the brake.

    I wish the ad every success in fostering that attitude.

    It's certainly getting the eyeballs -- well over 9m YouTube views now. I confess I was surprised that the response of some people was focused on the allegedly unfair apportioning of blame. I though the message was more that being in the right wasn't a protection.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I though the message was more that being in the right wasn’t a protection.

    So have the guy doing under the posted limit! Because bringing in his over-the-limit speed means he's no longer "in the right". Now he's just a bad, speeding driver who's about to kill some innocent kid and his innocent dad.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Well, I’ll admit to not listening to all the words until I played it back just now, and there is a difference between the narrative message and the surface impression.

    I little surprised that you were prepared to publicly deem it “racist” without having listened to it.

    Would I like such an ad being pointed at my ethnic class group?

    The NZTA page for the ad explains the targeting:

    Young drinking drivers make up a large part of all drink-driving crashes. Over 40% of all drink-driving crashes involve drunk drivers under the age of 24 years. In all fatal or serious injury-related crashes in 2008-2010:

    82% of the drinking drivers in those crashes are male
    34% of all drinking drivers in those crashes, and 38% of the young drivers, are Maori
    one in five (19%) of all drinking drivers in crashes are aged 15-19, another 24% are 20-24

    And the theme:

    This campaign aims to encourage people who drink with our drink-driver to take some responsibility and speak up when he is about to drive drunk. We want them to have the guts to speak up and say something without feeling like they’ve killed the mood.

    The goal of this advertising is to acknowledge the feelings a young man might have around speaking up when a friend is going to drive drunk. Thinking you might ‘look bad’ in a social situation is what is in the way for most people. We need to break through this barrier and the use of humour is key to achieving this successfully.

    Oddly enough, the ad is called ‘Legend’, in line with a running theme, and they initially didn’t know what they had with the “ghost chips” and “internalising a complicated situation” lines, but they had the good sense to go with it when the audience started adopting and adapting it. The young lead became something of a star.

    See also ‘Ghost Chips’ by The Cuzzies:

    And ‘Ghost Chips’ by the Maozziez:

    And these two kids acting out the ad and clearly getting what it’s about:

    There’s pages and pages of this stuff on YouTube, most of it made by the group you think is being “pointed at” by whitey. I think they really got this one right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    remember when the Harbour Bridge had no barrier down the center? There were fatal crashes every week, it seemed

    You wouldn't be far wrong. In the early-mid 1980s, when all the Auckland motorways were undivided, the Fire Service's rescue tender at Manukau City fire station was the busiest fire appliance in the country (now it's the pump at Auckland City, which goes to thousands of false alarms in the CBD every year). The road toll was over double its current level. The government finally got serious about safety, put in median barriers, the number of serious collisions on the motorways dropped instantly and dramatically, and now fatalities on Auckland's motorways are never higher than very low double digits every year despite being, by far, the most heavily-travelled roads in the country and with a 100km/h posted limit (mostly) to boot.

    Engineering is responsible for a huge amount of the decrease, both engineering of roads and engineering of vehicles.

    As for your other post, if the through driver was driving defensively (a huge if in this country of untrained, low-quality drivers) he'd be starting to drop speed the moment he saw the car at the intersection. In that case he'd actually probably be able to stop, or at least swerve behind through that beautiful, wide intersection. But this is reality. Most drivers in NZ have more than 10 years of driving under their belt and they had very little testing and no professional training in order to get their licence. If they're over 50 and got their licence as a teenager they may as well have got their licence out of a Cornflakes packet for all the rigour of the assessment. The behaviour of not even starting to brake until it's obvious the other vehicle is pulling out is entirely consistent with reality, and the distances involved when that braking commences mean that the speeds will be upwards of 85km/h at point of impact. That is not a survivable side-impact speed for anyone who catches the other vehicle directly.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    but two identical cars hitting each other head on at identical speeds will only release twice as much as one hitting a wall at the same speed.

    And that energy is spread over twice the material (ie 2 cars as opposed to 1), so from a car’s occupant’s perspective, a head-on collision (with a similar-sized, and speed vehicle) is the same as hitting an immovable object at the same speed.

    There is one key assumption in that ... that is both cars are identical ... however most accidents occur between non-identical cars ... in those cases you are significantly better off in the heavier car and with a better crumple zone. In accidents where one car significantly outweighs the other then for the heavy car it is much better to hit another car than to hit a wall.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And rather different roads, too.

    A friend of mine at university was a foreign student from Germany. He told me about how soon after he arrived he had driven to the mountain for skiing and was super pissed off that he couldn't find how to get on the motorway and had to use some shitty back road the whole way down. He had driven there on state highway 1.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

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