Anyone watching Campbell Live last night would have been treated to the police reassuring us that their decision to impose a 'no tolerance' approach to speeding over the Queen's Birthday weekend is all and only about road safety. Campbell ran a simultaneous poll asking the audience whether they thought it was for safety or revenue gathering.
Revenue gathering attracted an 81 percent response.
4 in 5 people listening didn't believe the talking head.
Police have already imposed a 'no tolerance' approach around schools. Yesterday I heard a number of people calling talkback who had received recent speed camera tickets for going 53 - 54 kmph in a 50 km zone. Two were in school vicinity BUT outside term time. One arrived in my letterbox last week for going 56kmph in Days Bay. The notice described the location as near Wellesley College. But the photo was taken at 9.45am and anyone that knows Days Bay knows the school is set a long way back from the road with the sea on the other side. It is unusual for the pupils to be anywhere near where the camera operates, especially in class time. Now I wouldn't be opposed to speed limits being lowered around schools during periods of activity and by all means police it (as well as the drivers of 4WDs that double park to pick up precious in the rain insanely blocking the movement and vision of other motorists and children). But the speed camera operators are exploiting the 'no tolerance' around schools simply to ping more people and gather more revenue.
And when they try to tell us they are not, we get a little bit madder.
There is a location at the western end of the Petone Esplanade where routinely, on Sunday mornings, a bunch of cops hide behind a building, jump out with their radar and then slightly further along, haul in offenders, speed criminals. Grey-haired Sunday drivers who thought they were in a 70 kmph zone, being industrial, when in fact it is a 50 kmph zone. More than a few hefty fines will have been gathered from that little goldmine.
Yesterday I was up flying. It is very easy to become over-fixated on instruments when performing particular manoeuvres and watching height, airspeed, angle of bank and balance, all of which are meant to stay at prescribed values. The trick is to get these right as well as maintaining ongoing visual and aural vigilance. Drivers obsessing about whether their speedometers are reading 100 or less (or to allow for any inaccurate calibration, 95 or less) have their heads inside the car and not outside. And it wouldn't surprise me if psychologically they are in a worse frame of mind for driving than when the 'no tolerance' isn't being preached at them.
But back to the police and their constant road safety refrain.It reminds me of a piece I was reading earlier this morning about how language is used to achieve certain ends. And so it is with the police, telling us that their actions are all about saving lives. Yet most of us are sitting there saying, How bloody stupid do you think we are?
It is not a state of affairs conducive to achieving anything positive.
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