Semblance of Reason

On the weekend, there was a horrific crash on the Pacific Highway, where a B-Double truck swerving to avoid a ute on the wrong side of the road crashed into a house, killing an 11 year old boy in his sleep. The driver of the ute was also killed, and the truck driver taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The Pacific Highway is a 600+ km highway between Sydney & Brisbane, and its upgrade has been long promised. I used to live halfway up it, and I drove it myself this holiday season. It’s come from being a nightmare stretch of road with one lane in each direction for much of its length to being dual carriageway for over half its length.

The cause of this crash was a car being where it shouldn’t be, on the wrong side of the road. The driver may have been fatigued and inattentive, or he may have been distracted, or any number of reasons for being on the wrong side. The truck driver wasn’t to blame – he did his best, but the consequences were unfortunate.

In the aftermath though, media and community attention has for some unfathomable reason focused on the fact that a speed camera 1km away from the location of the crash had been switched off, following a review of the effectiveness of cameras. The new O’Farrell government said they would switch off those cameras proven ineffective, and this was one of 38 switched off. The transport minister has now promised to switch this particular camera back on, bowing to community pressure.


There’s no suggestion speed was involved – police have not said what the cause of the ute being on the wrong side was, but there’s no mention of speed in any of the reports. The camera was 1km away, and being a speed camera it would have only provided a temporary deterrent, and meant little if the driver was distracted or fatigued. And yet in the interests of appearing to do something, a speed camera is being switched back on, despite proving ineffective.

Why is it that people clamour for these things without any semblance of a reason for doing so? What would they think a camera would have done on that fateful night?


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