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Journeys : Jun Jul 2011
From the President Inrelation to car crashes we all hear a fair amount of discussion around speed limits, the condition of roads and dr iver behaviour. But what about safer vehicles? The RACT, along with other Australian motoring clubs and governments including the Tasmanian Gover nment, has continued to financially support the Australasian New Car Assessment Program. ANCAP provides consumers w ith independent and transparent advice and infor mation on the level of occupant protection provided by vehicles in serious front and side crashes. Since 1993, ANCAP has published crash-test results for over 300 vehicles. These vehicles are awarded star ratings indicating the level of safety they provide in the event of a crash. Crash-avoidance measures such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) are among the key factors that lead to high ANCAP ratings. The higher the ANCAP star rating, the better the vehicle performed in the tests. ANCAP and the R ACT recommend that consumers only buy 5-star rated vehicles, which make you the driver and your passengers much safer. Surveys have shown that motorists are becoming increasingly aware of the need for safety technologies like head-protecting airbags and Electronic Stability Control. Cars equipped with ESC are far less likely to lose control and therefore less likely to cause a loss-of-control crash w ith another vehicle – the innocent party. Australian research shows that ESC can reduce the risk of a single car injury crash by up to 30%. Other research from Europe shows that cars with ESC have a lower depreciation rate – proof that safety features add value at the time of resale. The RACT lobbied the Tasmanian Government for many years to buy the highest ANCAP-rated cost-effective vehicles for its gover nment vehicle fleet. It was pleasing to see a purchasing policy adopted in 2008 that fleet vehicles should be ANCAP 4-star rated (or equivalent). Now that the Australian Government has announced its new policy of a 5-star ANCAP government fleet vehicle standard, the Tasmanian Gover nment must follow, as soon as possible. The philosophy behind this is the system-wide trickle-dow n effect of safer cars from the resale of government vehicles into the private f leet in Tasmania, thus raising the average safety level of light vehicles in our state. This is a very specific way in which the purchasing decisions of government can have a positive effect over time on road safety in Tasmania. Stuart Slade President and Chairman of the Board RACT campaigns to end speed signage confusion The RACT has launched a campaign to put an end to the confusion over ‘end speed limit’ signs, by dumping the signage that is so prevalent on Tasmanian rural roads, and replacing it with signs that clearly signify the speed limit on the road ahead. The widespread use of end speed limit signs in Tasmania is causing continuing high levels of complaint from members. As one said: “On one hand the author ities are telling us speeding is bad, and on the other hand their signage fails to tell drivers what the speed limit is.” The R ACT has produced End the Confusion bumper stickers that are available free in all RACT branches. We have written to every member of Parliament, detailing members’ complaints and explaining the need for the signage to be scrapped and replaced with signs that inform motorists what speed zone they are entering. Irrespective of the speed limit in force on a particular stretch of road the R ACT believes a message should accompany the speed limit sign, reminding drivers that they should always drive to the conditions. Another recent message to the RACT came from a member who had driven from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay, and reported that rather than end speed limit signs, clear signage meant that drivers were always aware of the speed limit in the area where they were travelling. The RACT has also noted with encouragement the views of the Minister for Infrastructure, David O’Byrne, who has asked the Road Safety Advisor y Council to review the use of end speed limit signs in order to (in the minister’s words) “see if there are better and clearer ways to infor m drivers of speed limit changes on Tasmanian roads.” Like the R ACT, Mr O’Byrne says he has received feedback suggesting many drivers find end speed limit signs confusing and ineffective. END DRIVE TO THE CONDITIONS In our community 4 June / July 2011
Apr May 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011