by Bron | August 12, 2013 5:44 am
In 1974, when my brother was a tiny baby, Mum would sling his basinet onto the back seat of the car, and then get behind the wheel and drive off to the shops. I don’t think she even put a seat belt around it. I can also remember leaving a New Year’s Eve party with my folks around the same time, and laughing at my dad because he was honking the horn and driving all over the place, because he was pissed.
Thankfully now, with compulsory seat belts, red light and speed cameras, air bags, better roads, better designed vehicles and driver awareness education, we know better. We know not to speed, we watch our number of drinks and we take care when driving in the rain.
Well, most of us do. There’s still some idiots who sit in the pub and go, “glug glug glug, I only live down the road, another schooner thanks Doreen, glug glug glug, no one is out at this time of night, glug glug glug, I’ll be right.”
And maybe they are. And then one day they’re not. One day (or night) the police are wandering around that neighbourhood and they’ve got a fresh breathalyser and they see this fool leaving the pub and think, “I might just check that out.”
Then there’s an 18 year old who has just got his Ps and a 1994 Commodore, all on the same day. What’s he going to do? Drive it like he stole it, of course. There am I, tottering along Gympie Road in my 1.6L car when this idiot rushes by, weaving in and out of traffic without much thought for his fellow drivers or his indicator.
Or when it is bucketing down with rain and I’ve slowed my speed, another fool is sitting right up my tail pipe. If I cared less for my car, and my own life, I’d be tempted to slam on the brakes just so I could say, “You tosser”.
Now anyone who knows me will know that I do not have the cleanest of driving records. I’ve got what is affectionately known as a lead foot, even though it is shod in fabulous heels. I’ve been nabbed by the red light camera on the Story Bridge approach from Main Street, and I’ve had those intimidating blue flashing lights behind me when I was doing 130 on the Gold Coast highway.
So I am in no position to judge.
All the media hype and police advertising is correct though. Speeding kills. You can’t disagree with that. It’s a message that has been drummed into drivers for so long now it is almost like the 11th commandment. Thou shalt not speed. Yet still it happens; yet still it is identified as the blame in road fatalities.
My concern is that in Queensland we don’t have severe penalties. My fine was about $200 and three points. The government let me pay off this fine at $20 a month if I chose, and will still give me a chance to accrue a further nine demerit points before they get serious.
What if, my loves, what if the fine for speeding was $2000? What if you were not allowed to pay that off over five years at $20 a month. What if you had to produce your living expenses budget to some authorised officer, and he/she would say, “Cancel your gym membership, no money for going out or buying clothes, your hair appointment can wait, so can your nails, cut your grocery bill in half, no alcohol and only pay the minimum on your credit card. Now, you will live like that until this fine is paid.”
Would that make a social change? Would that be a big enough incentive to make speeding a disincentive?
I earn a reasonable enough salary, but let me tell you, a fine of $2000 is going to hurt. Really hurt. With the goal of hopefully making it hurt so much that I would think very carefully before ever exceeding the speed limit again.
The bleeding hearts amongst us will cry that it is discrimination or unfair on minimum wage earners. To me, discrimination is when the car mechanic will only talk to my husband, and unfair on minimum wage earners is when they are denied free health care for their children.
As a kid growing up, I had a mother who was somewhat fond of the wooden spoon when I was naughty. So fond of it in fact that she broke one or two of them in the process of whacking my backside. Even now, I cannot use a wooden spoon when cooking without feeling slightly menaced.
When I outgrew the wooden spoon, I was grounded when I misbehaved. I had my pocket money and phone privileges taken away and I wasn’t allowed to even walk down the street to get milk.
Ergo I was punished in a way that severely impacted on my standard of living and my quality of life.
Ergo (again) it was easier to simply do what Mum and Dad asked me to do ie keep my room tidy, do the breakfast washing up and not take up smoking.
In simple terms, don’t break the rules.
So if you’re speeding along at 90km/hr in the 60 zone, and you get caught, you should get the wooden spoon from my mother.
Failing that, you should be hit with a dirty great whack of a fine. A fine so big that it disrupts your standard of living and your quality of life to such a point where you realise it is easier to follow the rules.
After all, they’re there for a reason.
Have you met my mother?
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