Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sheesh That'l Do For A Beatup.


Cripes did sense of perspectives all take the holiday weekend off along with the millions of citizens and the thousands of tourists using our roads

Living at the end of a holiday Highway, 75 is its number, I have dodged vehicles and up until recently assisted in extricating the damaged meat from the tin cans when a nice drive turns to shit.

Yes some of the clients and barely controlled missiles have been in the hands of visitors to our country.

Possibly the most extreme incident in my dozen or so years of involvement was the evening crash at the Okains Bay intersection at Duvauchelle triggered by a North American Family being piloted by Dad, vereing into the right lane and the path of an oncoming car at around a combined crash speed of an estimated 100 Kph. The Dads car had fortunately slowed significantly in its maneouver, triggered by a child in the rear seat on seeing a few sheep in a paddock over the fence to the right, calling for a 'Photo Op' and Dad without hesitation pulling across the oncoming lane to stop on the verge. Damage to the occupants was surprisingly light and nobody died, the two cars however it was seriously more damaging.
A great lesson in seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, rapid response and a big dollpop of good luck in occuring on a reduced speed bit of road with additionally further reduced speed.
Coming from a righthand drive country, vereing right was not intstinctively beyond an appropriate move.

Since the advent of  amalgamation with Christchurch City,  that now has additional fleets of cars, vans and trucks on our highway, some of which have inexperienced drivers on a narrow winding often damaged from subsidence and weather, roads.
Then there are the tradies repairing the damage from the 10 000 earthquakes mingled with the ongoing new building needing travelling workers and some of those vehicles are piloted by over confidant ability challenged drivers with in-congruently loaded payloads trying to match the roadspeeds of sports cars.
Add to that the many tourists who upon arrival at Harewood, hire a car, people mover or campervan and where better for a shakedown trip to start a South Island tour than a nice 150 Km trip to Akaroa in one day or as an overnighter.
For a condiment to such a cosmopolitan dish there are an occasional wandering farm animal and the ubiquitous lycra clad exhibitionist doing a wobbly exhausted hill climb.

Within that mix and variations of knowledge and  driver abilities, foreign and domestic, the most surprising thing by a country mile is how few come to grief requiring outside intervention
A salient fact supported by statistics and the knowledge base of the police and emergency crews who see it all.  unfold when stars collide.

The crossing of the centerline by the campervan in the Coromandel and the crash at Rakaia on a Holiday weekend were both avoidable tragedies, and blew the smug bastards and their chorusing of how the four Km rule and the marked improvement in driver behavior had delivered such a great result twelve months ago out of the sludge of their sanctimonious pulpit.

Queens Birthday 2013 zero death road toll was only a statistical blip and however welcome as a respite to those who it falls to to clean up ,it was still only a blip.
Better roads, massively improved vehicles as regards safety from cacoons and impact absorbtion  plus education are the main components of the downward trending Road Toll.
Speed attacks and patrolling on main highways have minimal impact. Jesus on a bike there was a  duel manned but parked patrol car nearby Sommerton Rd and Thompsons Track, WTF were they doing, eating the bludged donuts from the Salmon Cafe and discussing what they would do on their 'day in lieu' with the extra pay???

A 52 year old man either didnt see a stop sign on a rural road or for some reason ignored it, did he drop off, was he distracted, did he suffer a TIA, whatever, shit happened and tragically two children and a mother died, a very sad event and totally avoidable.
How many of you are aware that according to a media report, that 52 year old Dutch tourist didnt drive into the intersection against a stop sign at normal road speed, HE "PLOUGHED THROUGH A STOP SIGN",  no wonder three died.

Millions of tourists arrive here, get in a vehicle and drive  off, and we take in millions of dollars from that activity.
Hundreds of thousands of us  annually travel all over the world and do the same thing unfettered under a reciprocal agreement with over 100 nations to accept their domestic licence systems.
The little scroat in a car with stolen plates between Midlemarch and Outram who survived  a serious rollover while fleeing police could have taken out over a dozen innocents had "HE PLOUGHED INTO A PEOPLE MOVER", and that was barely one week after another retard had hit a power pole on the nearby Southern motorway killing and maiming in a crash estimated at over 150kph.

But the news of the day is foreign tourists driving on our roads so we will ignore all the accidents traveling to their destination, or is that an appointment with destiny, under the control (advisedly) of scroats and see what serious damage we can inflict on the billion dollar travel industry.
That will involve the Minister of Tourism and we all know who is to blame now.

From my observations there are deficiencies in the current system and the Petition started by the remarkable young man who lost his Dad to a foreign driver in the Lindus is a great heart warming act of doing something positive but the question remains as to a viable answer.
A short online test before handing over keys, sounds good but how long before an equally short app is available to get that test correct.
A short driving practical, well at what cost and who will do it, oh I know the taxpayers could pay, or do you think it could be farmed out to manipulative and unscrupulous "approved testers" as a user pays and pay enough you will pass.

One step that could have a meaningful success but at a possibly prohibitive cost would be to change to driving on the right and leaving UK/Ireland, Japan, India and whoever else.
Of course that radical move would require Australian buy in and if Queensland wont accept any form of daylight saving good luck with that.
At least in my advanced years that is something well beyond any planning input required from Moi


Anonymous said...

Perhaps a rider to the agreements with all the countries allowing their licences to be recognised here would help.
"If the driver causes an accident involving injury or death, then that person's home country shall prosecute them for that offence according to local law on their return, not withstanding any action already taken against them in NZ"


Anonymous said...

That is all good, but one's attitude changes somewhat when one experiences one of these drivers coming around a corner towards you on the wrong side of the road.

Only experienced it once, but it was somewhat disturbing.

gravedodger said...

Anonymous, yes that is the problem and a considerable number of the numpties ending up on traffic duty often as a sanction will say to you "were you driving at a speed that allowed you to stop in half the visible road" and as it was closing at something over 160kph any answer other than no sir will still end up as driving without due care and attention and that mr anonymous commenter is only more evidence of a well established problem!!!!
Believe me when all the oncoming lane is occupied by a large truck with wheels over the white line and a lycra clad moron cyclist climbing on the left side of the downhill lane near the water table, all options evaporate very fast and underwear comes under a threat of clear and present danger.