||The PCA and the BFA today congratulated the Bracks Government on its anti-speed campaign and called on the Victorian Government to hold its tough line in spite of reported comments by the local bosses of some of Australia’s biggest car makers. The heads of Holden, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Porsche and BMW were reported last Friday as saying that governments focus too much on speeding and not enough on driver education and training.
On Friday 21 November, Mr George Polites, president of Ford Australia was reported as saying: “No company condones speeding or unsafe driving, but my concern is an over-emphasis on speeding …”
The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby responded: “Car makers in Australia have an appalling record of promoting unfettered speed and dangerous driving on our roads. The vast majority of their advertisements feature such behaviour (a blatant breach of their own voluntary advertising code) and their promotional material invariably includes data showing vehicles capable of well over 200 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h in nanoseconds.”
Mr Scruby added. “To prove this point, on 14 October 2003, the AAMI released the results of their survey which prove that car manufacturers speak with forked-tongue: (QUOTE) ‘Three-quarters of drivers believe car advertising builds an unrealistic expectation of being able to drive fast and freely on Australian roads. Eighty-five per cent say they would like to see a greater focus on safety rather than speed in car advertising. According to RMIT marketing academic Con Stavros, these findings challenge the traditional tactics used by car advertisers. ‘Advertising is often used by audiences as an indicator of how they should behave .. ‘ Mr Stavros said. ‘ ”
Ms Fiona Campbell, spokesperson for the BFA said: “Simply because there has been a minor technical glitch in some of Victoria’s speed cameras, car-makers are now cynically seizing upon this as an opportunity to get speed-cameras banned so they can continue to promote and glamorise ‘speed’. The Victorian Government has produced its lowest Road Toll in history, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists (see attached) by employing some of the toughest anti-speed measures in the world, including covert enforcement and a 3 km/h discretionary tolerance.”
Mr Scruby said: “It’s extraordinary, isn’t it, that you never hear the petrol-head brigade accusing governments of revenue-raising when they fine motorists who run red-lights? And equally, since the introduction of over 80 red-light speed cameras at intersections throughout Victoria, which issue tickets for both speeding and running red-lights at intersections, the same well-oiled lobby has been contemptuously struck-dumb on their revenue-raising tirade.”
“While the PCA and the BFA agree there should be far more driver education and training (such as in Germany and Holland), speeding motorists severely damage the amenity of our neighbourhoods, reducing the propensity for people to walk and cycle.” Ms Campbell said.
Both Ms Campbell and Mr Scruby praised the Bracks Government and called on all state and territory governments to follow their most laudable, no-nonsense enforcement approach to the biggest killer on our roads – speed.
Fiona Campbell - BFA - (0403) 821-374
Harold Scruby – PCA – (0418) 110-011