Overseas research suggests that there is a clear connection between countries with good enforcement levels and good road safety performance (Janitzek and Townsend 2006, p6).
While education and engineering countermeasures help provide longer-term road safety improvements, effective enforcement can achieve crash reductions in the shorter term and is viewed as a cost-effective means of enhancing road safety (Janitzek and Townsend 2006, p9).General traffic enforcement consists of on-road activities to discourage unsafe and irresponsible driving behaviour by detecting a range of offences and applying penalties including a demerit point scheme and monetary fines. Deterrence-based enforcement by conventional means can be very effective in achieving behavioural change (Edmonston, Dwyer and Sheehan 2002, p37).
Technology to monitor and detect traffic infringements has assisted in the enforcement process and provided the potential to free up police for deployment to other duties. It is expected that there will be wider application of these technologies in the future (e.g., fixed speed cameras at high-risk locations), point-to-point cameras and other automatic number plate recognition devices.It is important, however, that enforcement measures be balanced between:
RACQ members clearly support an increased, visible, on-road police presence on Queensland’s roads. The RACQ agrees that this physical presence should be complemented, not replaced, by automated/remote enforcement methods.The loss of demerit points and monetary fines can have a limited effect as a deterrent for repeat offenders who continue to drive unlicensed after they have lost their licences, as well as for those drivers who have a lack of transport options.
There is currently only limited use of other intervention programs in Queensland. Although there has been an expansion of the number of offences for which vehicles can be impounded/forfeited in recent years (e.g., ‘hooning’ offences, driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, driving while unlicensed or disqualified, driving with a BAC of 0.15% or more, driving while under 24 hour suspension from another drink driving offence, failing to supply a specimen of breath or blood, or driving an illegally modified vehicle), other possible interventions include incentives for displaying improved behaviour and mandatory attendance of driver improvement/rehabilitation programs for multiple violations/crashes.
Edmonston, C., Dwyer, J. and Sheehan, M., 2002, Progress Report 1: Literature Review - Road Safety in Rural and Remote Areas of Australia, CARRS-Q, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Janitzek, T. and Townsend, E. 2006, Traffic Law Enforcement across the EU: Time for a Directive, European Transport Safety Council, Brussels, Belgium.