Saturday, September 17, 2016

Parp Parp, as Noddy's horn used to sound.

There’s something seriously wrong in Australia. According to the OECD data, 5 children under the age of six years died on Swedish roads in 2011. The corresponding figure for the UK was 13, which after allowing for population size, is better than Sweden. But in Australia the equivalent figure was 39 and this figure is deplorable. I wonder what the figure might be for the US?

Driving in Scandinavian countries really is a privilege. I expect its driving training standards are very high. I just recently learnt that you do a cram course to learn to drive in Japan with a two week in house full time course, or the same course part time over six months. Rather puts Australian driving training standards to shame.

Australian driving standards have fallen to an appalling level. I will suggest that something like 10% of Australian drivers just should not be behind the steering wheel of a car, 20% are just not vaguely competent as drivers. Yes, I reckon 30% of Australian drivers should not be on the road. About half of the 30% would be immigrants who through nefarious means or not can drive on our roads forever without a Victorian driving license. I have seen them passing by a tram at 60 km/h as people were getting off the tram. They just have no idea that they have to stop to let people get on and off trams. Mind, I have seen Irish backpackers do the same, along with outer suburban people. There is some very incompetent driving by older many generational Australians who have grown up with cars and driving and should know better. Don't let me start on blonde women in monster black RVs who window shop as they drive along our better streets.

Rant over, and I found this of some interest. Dagen day in Denmark was in 1967, when Denmark changed from driving on the left, like we in Australia, Japan and Britain do, to driving on the right, matching Denmark up with other Scandinavian countries and many parts of the world. The funny thing is that Danish cars were left hand drive and they drove on the left. That is really weird.

The people fought against the change for a very long time but eventually through propaganda, legislation and any way they could think of, the legislation was passed.

It was quite a logistical task to change over the side of road the Danish drove on, especially in Copenhagen. Cars were banned from the streets for many hours while lines were repainted, signs replaced, and roads rebuilt. Sadly the Danish authorities found trams all too hard to incorporate into the change and just scrapped the tram system, replacing them with buses.

While I can't recall its name the same change happened on a Pacific island. In both countries, car accident and death rates dropped during the transition. I think Burma changed driving sides too, to the right.

I've never understood why among all the Asian countries, Japan is nearly alone in driving on the left hand side of the road. It is wonder post World War II that a change was not forced by the victorious US.

12 comments:

  1. I can't begin to imagine the chaos that changing the side of the road on which we drive would cause...
    And, despite being a non-driver, I agree that a lot of the people on the road here shouldn't be.

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    1. EC, it is nightmare just crossing the road where a country drives on the other side of the road. We hear lip service about driver training here, not serious driver training.

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  2. I'm glad I know several people who knew they were/are too old to keep driving and others who knew they would never be any good at it and didn't get their licence.

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    1. River, I too know people like that. It is good that they know their time has come, or never arrived.

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  3. It is an interesting point you make Andrew that our driving standards have indeed dropped in spite of learner drivers(Qld) having to do some 100 hours driving before they can get their license.

    Weird about Denmark, I agree.

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    1. Carol, yes 100 hours driving with their parents, their parents who have exhibited their own bad driving habits to their children as they have grown up. Driving school standards are rubbish. There needs a proper driver training course.

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  4. Here are some US stats, from back a decade on childhood traffic fatalities in the us. Back then, over 1300 children under 14 were killed on the roads. But the US population is huge compared to yours. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811387

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    1. Strayer, yes your population is much greater, but I'm afraid 1300 child deaths far exceeds two digit figures I have mentioned.

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  5. Here are total fatalities on the roads just in Oregon. We have so many accidents in this county where I live, many of them due to alcohol or drug consumption.

    Oregon Daily Traffic Toll Report

    Year to date as of September 14, 2016

    2016: 336
    2015: 309

    Percentage Change from 2015 to 2016: 8.7%

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    1. Your state of Oregon about 4 million. Population of my state of Victoria is about 6 million. Our toll to date this year, 213. We do better, but not significantly so.

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  6. As you know Andrew my family know all too well the tragedy of careless driving and you're right, accidents are happening far to regularly. Sadly I heard on the news headlines just a few minutes ago that a family going home in the next suburb to mine died as a result of a car crashing into them, a police car chase apparently. And people wonder why I worry about Aimee and am a nervous wreck on the roads!

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    1. Grace, I heard of that accident and thought of you. You are fortunate to have a very competent driver to drive you around.

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