Source: The Mercury, Thursday June 11, 1998, p.3

Perils of extra 5kmh

 Warning: don't kick on all night 
BLEARY soccer fans 
beware! Staying up all 
night to watch the 
World Cup could have 
the same effect on your 
ability to drive to 
work as drinking a 
couple of stiff 
scotches for breakfast. 
   University of South 
Australia sleep 
researchers warn that 
fatigue affects 
people's ability to 
perform tasks as much 
as, if not more than, 
having a blood alcohol 
level of .05 or above. 
DRIVERS travelling just 
5kmh over the 60kmh 
limit on urban roads are 
as dangerous as drink- 
drivers, a Federal 
Government report 
   Now drivers could face 
tougher penalties, reduced 
urban speed limits and a 
police crackdown on moderate 
speeding in the wake of the 
shock report. 
   The three-year Federal 
Office of Road Safety study 
said the chance of a crash 
involving casualties doubled 
for every 5kmh increase 
above 60kmh on urban roads. 
   The study's findings, 
obtained by The Mercury and 
other News Ltd papers, said 
the risk of a crash travelling 
at 65kmh was the same as if 
the driver had a blood alcohol 
content of .05. 
   Driving 10kmh over the 
speed limit increased the risk 
of a casualty crash fourfold 
and was the equivalent of 
driving with .1 blood alcohol. 
   Federal Transport Minister 
Mark Vaile said the re- 
search demolished the widely 
held belief it was safe to drive 
5-1Okmh above the limit. 
   Mr Vaile also backed action 
by the states to tackle the 
problem, including tougher 
penalties and lower tolerance 
of drivers slightly exceeding 
speed limits. 
   Industry sources said police 
informally gave drivers the 
benefit of the doubt if they 
were travelling at speeds 
within 10% of the speed limit. 
   But police may be required 
in future to crack down on any 
deviation from the limit. 
   Mr Vaile has been advised 
that speeding causes 
significantly more casualty 
crashes than drink-driving in 
urban areas. 
   More than two-thirds of the 
151 crashed vehicles in the 
survey occurred at speeds 
below 75kmh. 
   The FORS report said lower 
posted limits on local streets 
would significantly reduce 
road trauma at minimal cost to 
the community. 
   The Australian Automobile 
Association reacted cautiously 
to proposals for tougher 
speeding penalties. 
   An AAA spokesman said it 
was more important to have 
speed limits which were most 
appropriate for the area and 
strict enforcement of those 
limits to get driver 
   The FORS research will 
play a key role in a national 
road safety summit to be held 
in September.

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