Call for suburban speed cuts

This article looks at the levels of support for reducing the speed limit from 60km/h to 50km/h in residential areas. It would be well coupled with an article appearing in The Mercury on the 7th of April, page 1 and 2 called "Tassie on target to top 100 deaths, horror toll", which reports statistics relating to deaths occurring as a result of car accidents.

The article (Call for suburban speed cuts) deals with a number of mathematical and numeracy issues. It would be of value to discuss with students the ratio km/h and how 60km/h could be described in different units, eg. m/s. The statistics also offer an opportunity for discussion of survey results conducted by the RACT and the Council as to whom the sample represents and excludes. The council reported letters received in regard to the change of speed limit were almost 100% in favour of automatic loss of license in some circumstances. What is almost 100%? Is it 98%, 90%? This would be an interesting discussion to have with students.

The article refers a paper by 'The Tasmanian Road Safety Council. It would be interesting to discuss with students the kind of mathematics that would be involved in the report. For example you may expect some graphs, tables, use of percentages and ratios.

Another task of interest would be investigation of the stopping distances at different speeds, and how these would affect a real life situation. The distances could also be investigated graphically, that is speed versus stopping distance. Students could research the stopping distances for 40km/h (which is discussed earlier), 100km/h and any other speeds found in your local area. Why do we want people stopping sooner?

(Written by Janene Rosewall, BTeach student, University of Tasmania, 2001)

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