How many effective ways can you name that alleviate the problem of speeding on the roads significantly? Governments have been trying to get the hang on this problem for decades. It is not uncommon for newly introduced measures to provide fertile ground for public debate. In this blog post, we would like to look at two particularly relevant and much-discussed regulations of recent years.
Perennial topics at dinner tables, birthday parties and at lunch time are traffic fines and their fluctuations. The basic idea behind the concept of fines for or against speeding has always been to signal to drivers what is considered safe and what is considered unsafe behavior on the road. In doing so, the amount of the fine should signal how risky certain behaviors are to themselves and the society. At least that is the theory. However, once set, traffic fines cannot remain constant at the same level due to a variety of factors, from the increasing number of violations to inflation, so speeding fines always need to be adjusted.
What happens when fines are not adjusted to new situations can be seen in New Zealand, a very special situation has arisen in recent years with regard to the level of fines applied there. This has not changed in New Zealand since 1999. In principle, such a situation would not be a problem if it did not result in corresponding consequences. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Transport, appropriate penalties are the most important preventive factor in discouraging people from speeding, but the same penalty as 20 years ago does not have the same effect under today's conditions. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Ministry of Transport is working on increasing penalty points and discussing the introduction of proportionate fines, but nothing concrete has been decided yet. This makes New Zealand one of the worst performers in the international comparison when it comes to the consequences for speeding. What could strengthen New Zealand in its adherence to the existing framework conditions is the fact that, despite unchanged penalties, the number of traffic accidents has remained at a similar level for years and has even fallen in some cases. The question arises to what extent penalties contribute at all to falling accident figures. Presumably, there would only be a real change in thinking if nationwide speed controls were possible and speeding became not only unattractive but completely unaffordable.
The second major topic that often leads to protracted discussions is the introduction of speed limits. This topic is particularly relevant for Germany, the only European country without a general speed limit on highways.
On the one hand, fatal accidents occur with particular regularity on highways, half of them as a result of speeding. In a study of speed-limited and non-speed-limited road sections, the German Road Safety Council (DVR) found that the number of fatal accidents in 2016 was 2.6 times higher in all areas without speed limits than in restricted areas. On the other hand, statistics say that only 13 percent of all fatal accidents occur on highways, while more than 50 percent of fatal accidents occur in built-up areas. So this is another issue that cannot be easily resolved. The fact is, however, that one can overestimate oneself even more quickly in areas that are not limited than in those where a speed limit at least provides a guideline that is unfortunately seen by many as just that. If there were a speed limit everywhere, at least the number of fatal accidents could be reduced.
Regardless of how high or low speed limits and penalties should be in road traffic, one thing is clear in any case. In order to increase road safety, it makes sense to check speeds driven in sufficient breadth. The fact is, however, that to date there are hardly any affordable solutions that are so intelligently networked that speeding is no longer worthwhile. This is where ROADIA comes in, linking artificial intelligence with modern optical solutions. Would you like to know exactly how this works? Contact us and we will show you how meaningful traffic monitoring can work.