http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.13Change: -0.02
R/$ = 12.07Change: -0.13
Au 1187.17 $/ozChange: -20.08
Pt 1125.50 $/ozChange: -23.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Aug 03, 2012

There is no sound basis for speed trapping

Back
Engineering|Pretoria|Porsche|Road|Safety|R1
Engineering||Road|Safety|
engineering|pretoria|porsche|road|safety|r1
© Reuse this



Imagine the classic scene in a city library: people sitting quietly poring over books while others are quietly looking for books on the shelves. Then a fellow comes in with a saxophone. A few moments later, he launches into a loud rhythmic jazz number. As he dances around the tables, the people look up, amazed. After a few minutes, a librarian goes over to him and orders him to stop playing.

Why, he asks, the music is great. She replies that, yes, the music is great but the music can potentially affect people’s concentration. That then means that those studying for exams may fail the exam. Those looking for important infor- mation may miss the critical piece that they were looking for. So, she points out, although the sax playing does not seem to have done harm now, it may do harm to others in the future and, therefore, he must stop.

To make sure that this does not happen again, the authorities put up a sign saying ‘No Saxophones Allowed’. In fact, they do not even want people playing a sax outside a library window, so the sign is put up outside as well, and the law states that you may not play a saxophone within 20 m of the library.

In fact, to be really safe, the law says that you may not even carry a saxophone within 20 m of a library. A week later, a fellow walks past the library carrying a saxophone. He is immediately stopped by the police and fined R500. The officers explain that this was necessary because he may possibly have played the sax and may have disturbed people.

A few days later, a saxophone teacher is caught walking past the library, carrying two saxophones. This is really serious. He is fined R1 500 because he may possibly have disturbed even more people if he had played both saxes at the same time, or if his pupil had arrived and played as well.

A week later, a music shopowner and his assistant are returning from a music- instrument auction and are carrying ten saxophones between them. Gee! This is serious. They are arrested, locked up and the newspapers speculate that the fine will be R50 000. Just imagine what a guy could do in a library with ten saxes.

All this sounds silly. Now let us make a comparison. There is a concept of ‘speeding’ on the freeway. If someone is travelling above the speed limit, the authorities say the driver could cause an accident, and that accident could injure people. If the driver is travelling even faster, he or she may cause some bigger accident, so that is worse. If the driver is going faster still, that is much worse, and so it goes until one is travelling at about 400 km/h and that must be a crime against the whole of humanity.

So, because driving at high speed may cause some incident, which may be bad, the driver must be fined. One needs to think about this concept.

In Pretoria, some days ago, a father and son were trapped racing Porsches on the N1 on a Sunday morning. The son was trapped at 188 km/h and the father at 234 km/h. The son admitted guilt and was fined R1 500. The father still has to go to court, but speculation is that he will get a fine of R50 000. After all, a radio DJ was recently trapped at a speed of 182 km/h and was fined R10 000.

The two were charged with ‘reckless and negligent driving’ and also an alternative charge of ‘exceeding the speed limit’. So a person carrying saxophones by a library could be charged with ‘erratic and incompetent music playing’, even though he or she did not actually play any music, and with an alternative charge of ‘carrying a saxophone near a library’. That seems serious. The authorities bay for blood.

In the case of the Porsche drivers, a traffic police official, upset at the R1 500 fine being so low, said: “The public is concerned that people who so carelessly jeopardise the safety of others . . . can get off so easily.” Actually, the public were not asked for their opinion, as far as I am aware.

Let us get something clear right now – I do not support people who break the law. On the other hand, there is something wrong with this speed trapping obsession of the police.

People racing Porsches are unlikely to be driving ‘carelessly’; they would be driving with full concentration. They are also unlikely to be driving ‘recklessly’ or ‘negligently’. They were probably exercising total concentration; after all, they were trying to win.

It was also a Sunday morning when they were trapped, on a very wide good-quality road. The traffic density was low. In fact, the engineering authorities never chose the speed limit for those conditions; they chose it for a normal work day, with many cars and less-than-perfect conditions. So, to blindly apply the speed limit on a Sunday morning is silly. This is like hammering the sax player carrying two saxophones because he just may play both of them at the same time.

From a science point of view, there is also not a linear relationship between speed and accidents. A person travelling at 100 km/h is not twice as likely to cause damage, compared with a person travelling at 50 km/h. A person travelling at 200 km/h is not twice as likely to cause damage, compared with someone travelling at 100 km/h. In fact, the authorities say that 243 km/h is about five times worse than 182 km/h, which, in turn, is about 20 times worse than getting caught at a speed of about 140 km/h. This is rubbish.

I have been watching the newspaper crime reports and people get a fine of about R5 000 for serious assault and breaking someone’s arm, and R2 000 to R5 000 for housebreaking. So, travelling at a speed of 182 km/h is apparently two to five times worse than breaking into a house, even though the person travelling at 182 did not actually cause any harm, but only had potential to do so.

Imagine what they would do to a sax player who drove past a library carrying a bakkieload of saxes. Firing squad!

There is something wrong with this speed trapping, particularly when there is never an officer on point duty during rush hour on a Monday, when traffic conditions are dangerous, but one is always available with a speed camera on a Sunday.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
We have just passed the dates of the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.  I used the plural ‘dates’, because I have discovered that there are actually two. I was invited to a celebratory evening function by the Russian ambassador,...
Government continues to talk of introducing a carbon tax on industry.  The carbon tax is wrong and should not be introduced at all. The principle of the carbon tax is that it is supposed to ‘save the planet’.  The idea is to inflict pain on industry for emitting...
In our modern world, there is more and more science penetrating the world of ordinary people. We have cellphones, TV remotes and the Internet. We also have washing machines, stoves and food mixers, which are now programmable or contain fancy sensors to automatically...
More
 
 
Latest News
All grades of petrol will increase by 47c/ℓ on Wednesday, the Department of Energy announced on Friday. The reef price for unleaded 93 and LRP petrol was currently standing at R12.61/ℓ, while unleaded 95 cost R12.89/ℓ.
JSE-listed Tower Property Fund has acquired the Link Hills Shopping Centre, in Waterfall, KwaZulu-Natal for R160.9-million from The Sabre Trust and Matlu Family Trust. The shopping centre, on Inanda Road, was situated in an upper-high-growth residential area, next to...
South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R2.51-billion ($207-million) in April from a revised shortfall of R9-million in March, data from the revenue agency showed on Friday. Exports fell by 7.5% to R84-billion, while imports were down 4.8% to R86.5-billion on a...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
While strongly welcoming the promulgation of the new Part 101 of South Africa’s civil aviation regulations, governing the commercial operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) in South Africa, the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa...
LSM Distributors has contracted engineering consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa to undertake the R100-million restoration of the 54-year-old Kyalami racetrack, situated in Midrand. The restoration will assist in re-establishing it as a venue for...
South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has expressed the hope that the defence budget will be significantly increased over the next five years. She did so while addressing the media in her recent budget vote media briefing. The 2015/2016 defence...
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2008. The relatively young portfolio has 28 projects over 30 countries on the continent according to the 2014 AfDB and GEF annual report released...
PAUL SPEAR Training and development should be an integral and proportionate part of the long-term strategy of all companies, regardless of their size
Investment in South African youth through apprenticeships and learnerships will not only create direct benefits for businesses but will also contribute significantly to job creation and socioeconomic transformation in the country.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96