Do the highway police in your area try to save lives, or collect money for the government?
Below is a letter I sent to my state members of parliament. This will explain my question. How do you see the actions of YOUR local highway police?
Dear Mr Gay and Mr Gallacher
I appreciate the efforts you both go to in order to make the policing of NSW roads fairer and directed at dangerous driving, rather than at minor technical breaches of the law. Unfortunately, it appears that this message is not getting through to some officers, as an incident last night illustrates.
Last night, 25 August 2012, I attended a concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. I parked my car in the adjacent carpark. At such an event, one expects delays getting out of the carpark, but the delays experienced seemed extraordinarily long. When we finally made it out through the boom gates, we saw the problem; the traffic lights were only letting two or three cars at a time out on to the main street (Darling Drive) before changing back to red. The traffic on the main street was sparse (being around midnight),
As I approached the intersection, the lights turned to orange, and I proceeded to turn left on an orange light, which I believe that I am entitled to do. There was only one vehicle waiting at the lights, and my actions were perfectly safe. As I proceeded along Darling Drive, a police vehicle came up behind me, and indicated for me to pull over, which I did. This police vehicle came out of nowhere, and the only place he could have been watching from would have been the alcove to the side of the driveway leading out of the carpark, which tells me that he must have gone through a red light in order to pursue me. At no stage did he operate his lights and siren until he indicated for me to pull over, so he must have gone through the red light in a most dangerous fashion.
The officer claimed I had gone through a red light, when it was clearly orange. This incident is worrying from a number of perspectives:
Officers hiding, rather than being a visible deterrent, which is proven to be the best deterrent to dangerous behaviour.
This officer going through the red light with no emergency lights or sirens, and then accusing me of going through the red light (which I didn’t). If it was supposedly dangerous for me, it was more so for him.
It appears that the traffic lights at this intersection have been set up in such a way that the police know hiding near them will reap the rewards of fines for them. Fining drivers should not be the aim- deterring them from dangerous behaviour should be.
This officer was most unreasonable, and certainly not a good advertisement for the force. He had his prey, and was not going to let it go.
I have worked in hospital emergency departments for many years (since 1983), and have attended to many victims of road trauma. I see the results of dangerous driving, and I am a safe driver myself. My record of never having an at fault accident since obtaining my licence in 1981 is proof of that. I support policing of dangerous driving, but this type of police behaviour is a joke. I hope that you can intervene, and stop this kind of behaviour. Diminishing the respect of law abiding citizens for the police force is no way to improve road safety.