Speeding has reached epidemic proportions and calls for a paradigm shift in the way we tackle it. That shift must include a change in the perception and management of community volunteers' involvement with road safety.
For many understandable reasons, enforcement and broad-stroke campaigning have made little progress over the past decade, and focused, large-scaled education is currently only organised efficiently in the shape of Speed Awareness Courses after an offence is detected. Modern preventative educational methodologies like Speedwatch have yet to been utilised to its fullest extent. Now is a good time to change that..
Research show that on average 97% of speeding offences (not including Speedwatch observations) are detected by speed cameras. The vast majority of these are fixed at the roadside in areas known to both local residents and regular commuters, hence - and in spite of the so-called 'Halo-effect', they have little effect in areas not covered by camera technology.
Equally relevant - and especially to rural areas where fatalities are four times more likely to happen than in urban areas, the discussion about road safety has a tendency to focus on number of collision casualties alone. In most areas where Speedwatch operates and where speeding evidently is a concern to the communities, the quality-of-life issue as well as feeling safe when using the roads recreationally, are equally important to the affected areas' residents. This is not an attempt at diminishing the dismay of the high number of fatal and seriously injured victims but a reminder that the problem of speeding goes well beyond quantifying its consequences with casualty statistics alone.
Inconsistently applied enforcement methodology is not likely to change socially perceived acceptable behaviour if the majority of those caught speeding either are not - or consider themselves habitual speeders. Increased compliance with the law can be achieved with other means than enforcement. In the case of Speedwatch, personalised education is a methodology that is just as efficient to help bring the problem under control.
Organising concerned, proactive community volunteers on a grand scale is vital to succeed with this goal.