AN INCREASING number of Victorian drivers believe that driving over the speed limit by a small margin is acceptable.
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria has released its annual Road Safety Monitor survey for 2017, which canvassed the opinions and behaviours of 1742 of the state’s drivers.
It found that Australians have become less accepting of the government’s ‘low tolerance’ approach to speed enforcement, with more Aussies believing that driving 5km/h over the posted speed limit should be allowed.
A third of respondents to the survey believed driving at 105km/h in a 100km/h zone is acceptable – an increase from 24 percent in 2013.
The same margin of error wasn’t as acceptable at lower speeds according to the survey, with only 13 percent of respondents believing driving at 65km/h in a 60km/h zone was okay. However, this is still an increase from the eight percent who shared the same view in 2013.
Despite the increasing acceptance of speeding, the vast majority of Victorians say they wouldn’t fess up driving above posted limits themselves.
Just six percent of survey respondents admitted to speeding at least half of the time in 60km/h zones, while nine percent said they speed in a 100km/h zone to the same frequency.
Self-reporting of speeding just ‘some of the time’ fell from 35 percent to 30 percent in 60km/h zones, and from 36 percent to 32 percent in 100km/h zones between 2013 and 2017.
More worryingly, a third of those surveyed admitted to using a mobile phone while driving during the three months prior. A similar number (34 percent) said they had been behind the wheel of a car while feeling drowsy during the same period.
While 33 percent admitted to ‘passive’ distractions while driving, such as reading a text message or answering a phone call, 18 percent said they had written a text message or made a phone call behind the wheel.
Less than 10 percent of respondents admitted to driving under the influence of either illicit drugs or alcohol.
Six percent said they had driven while knowing or thinking they were over the legal blood alcohol limit, while the equivalent of two percent admitted to taking recreational drugs and then driving a vehicle soon after.
According to the TAC, “those who report to do these behaviours are disproportionately males aged 18-25 or 26-39 [year’s old], although these behaviours are apparent across all groups to some extent”.
“Males aged under 40 [year’s old] typically rate their perception of danger lower than other groups,” the study added.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Victorian’s rated driving with an illegal blood alcohol level the most dangerous behaviour (9.5), ahead of driving while drowsy (9.2) and using a handheld phone (9.0).
Victorian’s also thought riding a bicycle on urban roads was more dangerous (6.8), than driving a few kilometres over the speed limit in both 100km/h (6.2) and 60km/h (6.1) zones.