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Doubts raised over whether double demerits actually make our roads safer

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Doubts raised over whether double demerits actually make our roads safer

Australia’s leading researcher in road safety has argued that double demerits aren’t an effective way of reducing road crashes and improving road safety.

Double demerits will be enforced from midnight tonight for the Easter break and heavy traffic is expected on regional WA roads.

Professor Max Cameron from the Monash University Accident Research Centre told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett an increased police presence is what causes people to drive safer, not extra demerits.

“I don’t think we are at all persuaded it’s an effective thing to do,” he said.

“During these periods police enforcement increases, especially enforcement in speeding, and it’s difficult to separate the two.

“The fear of being caught is what changes the behaviour.”

However chairman of the Road Safety Council of WA, Iain Cameron, said double demerits are just one vital component of a greater traffic enforcement plan.

“It’s not a one trick pony, it does rely on extra enforcement, it does rely on community awareness.

“We have never held double demerits as the savior of all of our problems.”

The double demerits system is only used in Western Australia, New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland.

And the last time an evaluation of double demerits was conducted in Western Australia was in 2009.

“We will do more evaluations, and we will look at what else we need to do,” Mr Cameron said.

Double demerits will be in place until midnight on Monday.

Click play to hear more. 

 

Liam Bartlett
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