Road Safety Discussion

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  • 1.  Driveway Safety Design Guidelines



  • 2.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 01-07-2013 18:21
    I like the idea that we're looking to assist with providing guidelines for various things, but in general terms I still think the emphasis is moving away from the people who have the most responsibility.

    In this case it's the parents or guardians of the children to should be supervising their kids. So many rule and regulations have come in due to the lack of the few that usually punish the majority, it's the same in all walks of life.

    There are many things that engineers try to design out, but there are times when we should be able to say that people / drivers also have responsibility for their actions. 

    When you sit behind a car, or put your leg over the bike or step out of your front door, people still should be responsible and they still have a choice of how they use their car / bike / feet. 

    Some people may decide to drive too fast; some cyclists may choose to cycle the wrong way in a bike lane and a pedestrian may choose to cross away from a controlled crossing. These are all not the safest option and these people know it.

    If we tried to design for every eventuality, nobody would get out of bed!.

    I know it's being a little negative, but I think it's time that responsibility should be shifted away from designers and more focus put on educating people about the correct way of doing things. 

    The majority of our everyday life is great, but sometimes it is spoilt by a careless event.

    I've ranted on too long, but just wanted to put it our there. Good morning all.

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    Richard Jones
    Associate Director - Traffic

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  • 3.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 02-07-2013 18:15
    Fully agree with the sentiments expressed by Richard Jones.

    Personal responsibilty in many walks of life is being passed on to governments.
    The result has been that the wider society ultimately pays for the sins of the few.
    You cannot eleminate risk , only mitigate risks to the extent that the  benefits are greater than the costs.
     
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    Paul Samaratunge
    Manager Infrastructure Assets
    Glen Eira City Council
    CAULFIELD SOUTH VIC

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  • 4.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 02-07-2013 23:33
    Hear Hear Richard!

    As a parent I was/am always extremely careful about driving or reversing when my kids & dog were about. Too many people seem to put their brain into neutral when they put their car into gear. (From psychology in uni, I think Paiget's theory of cognitive development appears to explain this. When driving many people appear to lapse back into "concrete operational" to reduce brain usage instead of staying in "formal thinking" and concentrating on what they are doing & it's consequences. Cycling in Sydney when I went to uni taught me to always pay full attention to everything on the road around me & that carried through to my driving. I'm happy to hear if anyone has a better theory on it.)
      
    On driveway safety there is one area that needs improvement in behaviour and design can help reduce the hazards although it's not related to toddler drive overs. That is visibility from drivers to pedestrians, bicycles & mobility scooters on the pathways. Too many child (& many adult cyclists in states where footpath cycling is legal) get hit when cars suddenly come out of driveways blindly because of high fences, too much vegetation, steep basement driveways etc. It's actually illegal to reverse into a hazardous situation but too many people don't know the road rules or think of other road users. Some statistics indicate it's safer, even for kids, in many circumstances to ride a bike on-road than on pathways when there are cross streets and driveways.
     
    Very briefly, some solutions are;
    • where possible put driveways onto quieter side or back streets instead of main thoroughfares. In one brand new building where I once worked next to a high school, several kids were hit by drivers coming out of the steep, blind driveway too fast onto the main street. But the car park entrance could easily have been built from the back street instead to completely avoid conflict & risk in the first place.
    • Try to maintain some maintain better sightlines out of driveways. Flare fences or walls away from the driveway, less vegetation, lower fences or permeable fences.
    • Wider verges &/or maintain as much separation as reasonable between paths and property boundaries so there is more visibility and space to react.

    At the end of the day though, as Richard says, drivers need to recognise they are driving a machine that can kill & maim. (1,300 killed, 40,000 injured by cars each year in Australia.) Drivers need to drive safely & be aware that other people exist & have rights too.


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    Iain Cummings
    Senior Transport Infrastructure Officer
    Gold Coast City Council
    Gold Coast QLD

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  • 5.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 03-07-2013 17:30
    I'm concerned that there is an air of "washing of the hands" in the response to the design guidelines for driveways. It was seen as a big enough issue for the National Road Safety Forum to get serious about.  In all areas of "safe system" design we try to give the drivers maximum chance to avoid mistakes and to minimise the consequences when something goes wrong - but we don't then tell the driver that he/she has no responsibility.  There is a warning to that effect with the reversing camera in my new car. 

    Iain says he agrees with Richard, but then goes on to make some very important points about ways in which driveway movements can be safer.  He is absolutely right.  There are other ways in which the risks to those around a maneuvering vehicle can be reduced, and the least you guys can do is look at the Discussion Paper and see what it proposes (have you looked at it yet?).  There you will find that driver education and parent awareness are key components of the proposals.  But, with all the road-user care in the world, we can still design better.

    Here endeth the lesson.

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    Ray Brindle
    Editor, "Road and Transport Research"
    ARRB Group


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  • 6.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 04-07-2013 17:33
    The call for comments does not say that anything can be done, or should be done - they just want to see if further actions are feasible.

    I would like to raise the discussion to a more realistic level.

    For a parent to lose a child, particularly a toddler and particularly on their own property is a tragedy that is hard to come to terms with. Improved design can assist and this has been proven with pool fencing regulations and practices.  But little kids still drown in pools that have well maintained fences.


    We need to remember that just like the road toll, we will never achieve zero fatalities in driveways.  Only 15 children are killed and 60 seriously injured each year, on average, due to driveway incidents.  In a population of 22 million people this is an incredibly good performance for drivers.  

    Considering the current infrastructure that won't/can't be changed, we need to accept that about 15 children will continue to die in driveways each year. To seriously argue anything else is to engage in a purely academic and emotional discussion.


    Saying that drivers should take more responsibility in their own driveway is as irrational and misguided as saying we should engineer a "safe system" where no one is killed.  Human behaviour is predictable and controllable only in the George Orwell fiction "1984".

    The airline industry does not aim for zero and has not done so for many decades. Why is the road transport industry continuing to follow such a misguided and purely emotional objective?

    At some point in time, road engineers, educators and enforcers need to include in their reports that the current performance of drivers in Australia is actually exceptionally good.

    This will be my submission to the enquiry.
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    David Tynan
    Road Safety Officer
    Blacktown City Council
    BEROWRA NSW

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  • 7.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 05-07-2013 11:40
    Correction on my previous comment.

    I misread the discussion paper - only 7 children are killed each year on average, not 15.

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    David Tynan
    Road Safety Officer
    Blacktown City Council
    BEROWRA NSW

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  • 8.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 15-07-2013 13:52
    getting a bit off the topic of driveways but.

    "...the current performance of drivers in Australia is actually exceptionally good" ??? Try riding a motor bike or push bike on peak hour roads and see how quicky you change your mind on that. I look forward to technology providing driverless cars or at least cars with pedestrian and cyclist avoidance systems to reduce human errors. We now have reversing cameras etc that should eventually help bring down the number of kids being run over in driveways by drivers who are quite frankly negligent and careless.

    I'd say a couple of the reasons we have a road toll reduction over the last 40 years & a better road toll than many countries is not improved driver skill and are not just because of safer roads but also -
    1/ We have cars that are far more protective than the old ones.
    2/ We do have more road rules to prevent at least some drunk driving, excessive speeding etc.
    3/ Mobile phones to enable quicker calls for help so emergency response is often much quicker than in the 70s.
    4/ Medical advances are keeping far more people alive who would have died in the 70s & still die in many less developed countries.

    I do agree that zero is unrealistic & human behaviour is not as controllable as some might like. However improvements can always be made if people think and give it a go.

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    Iain Cummings
    Senior Transport Futures Technical Officer
    Gold Coast City Council
    Gold Coast QLD

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  • 9.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 16-07-2013 14:18
    Hear hear Iain Cummings.
    Totally agree with all you stated.
    Don't get me started on motorway driving and truck drivers!
    Must catch up sometime soon?
    Richard

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    Richard Jones
    Senior Traffic Engineer
    TTM Group Brisbane
    Sanctuary Cove QLD

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  • 10.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 18-07-2013 22:08
    G Day Mates
    Bit unfair comment on truck drivers on the motor way, In another life I was a road train driver, it was a bloody hard job with long hours, my point is that most of us drive with care, we have families as well and want to get home alive, motorists all have to compromise and make logical decisions based on the road environment at the time, its no good having good design and technology when there is rain or fog and motorists dont adjust speed


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    Gil Wainwright
    self employed
    Perth WAau

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  • 11.  RE:Driveway Safety Design Guidelines

    Posted 04-07-2013 17:34

    Iain and Ray are correct in saying that things could be improved to provide better safety at driveways and that no, I was not implying that we all wash our hands; but in some instances in design some are over designed to reduce the risk of the few but possibly increase the risk of the many.

    Education for young and old are very important and should be encouraged where possible. Maintenance of trees and shrubs are usually on top of the list together with poor sight lines. My driveway is on an incline and I need to take extra care when driving in or reversing as its difficult to see everything. I make sure all the kids are inside and the dogs too. Teaching young kids to stay away from the garages and the driveway can be easy things to do in a household and can be treated as just another house rule.

    I think it is our role and engineers to try to mitigate as much risk as possible, whilst also bearing in mind that what we change in one area might worsen something else or increase the risk of other types of crashes or injury.

    It is not always straight forward, and I'm sure we've all done some mistakes on the drawing board (or CAD these days!).

    I'm all for a safer environment, especially if it encourages people to get out there to walk, cycle, play and work.


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    Richard Jones
    Senior Traffic Engineer
    TTM Group Brisbane
    Sanctuary Cove QLD

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