Monday, 3 January 2011

How road safety articles should be

After so much ranting and so many brickbats, I felt I should really present a bouquet.

This is now three weeks out of date because, well, that's what the past month's been like.

It was from the Queensland Times, by staff journalist Andrew Korner (who's also a nice bloke) and it's the first halfway lengthy newspaper/online article on road safety I've seen in quite some time that hasn't lowered my opinion of the outlet and/or the talent being quoted.

The title is a nicely positive Annual Ipswich road toll slashed.

The reason I like this is right up front in the first paragraph, and doesn't get worse:

POLICE have attributed a sharp drop in the number of Ipswich road deaths to drivers making smarter decisions and obeying the rules of the road.

Lower down, a direct quote from Snr Sgt Hamilton which may be the best yet on the topic at hand:

"At the end of the day a traffic crash is the result of people making poor choices and it's that fewer people have made poor choices on the road that has led to the reduction."

Slightly mangled syntax (pot, kettle, black...), but you should be able to detect that this is the most intelligent thing I've seen said about road safety in some considerable time.

He's not focusing on one problem which is a factor in less than a third of crashes, he's not talking down to motorists, he's recognising the complexity of the problem and the paradoxically simple solution: Drive smarter.

Can we get this guy as spokesman state-wide, please?

Lower down, after an out-of-place all-caps IPSWICH traffic branch's 21 officers... we are told that police will be patrolling roads, conducting RBT's and speeding, licence and vehicle checks. Speeding as one component of a complete approach - wow.

Finally, I was ecstatically glad to see something other than speeding identified as one of the most common contributing factors (note: contributing factor, not cause): fatigue. This particularly makes me happy because the fatigue-awareness ads we've had are, almost exclusively, better than any of the anti-speeding (not speed-awareness: anti-speeding) ads.

Particularly the ones with Dr Karl in them.

News reports don't have to be bald, basic, simplistic, or pandering to lowest common denominators. I maintain that even the most purely objective news media has a role to play in encouraging thought, debate, discussion and a general improvement in the logical and cognitive capacity of the community at large.

Plus, if you talk to adults on their level you're much more likely to enlist first their ears and then their support.

I really, really want to see more like this.

1 comment:

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