A study found that strict speed limit enforcement reduced drivers' attention on the road.
A study found that strict speed limit enforcement reduced drivers' attention on the road. Paul Braven

Watching our speed is taking attention off the road

COULD strict speed limit enforcement be making our roads more dangerous?

Research from the University of Western Australian found rigorous police enforcement on roads is more demanding on drivers and has a negative impact on seeing dangers.

Researchers tested 84 young drivers on a driving simulator where they could be fined for doing one, six or 11 kmh over the speed limit.

Researcher Vanessa Dowden said at stricter levels the drivers's peripheral vision was diminished.

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"Our overall finding was that stricter speed enforcement may impair a driver's ability to detect hazards, especially those on the side of the road, because drivers are dedicating more attention to monitoring their speed," she said.

But Queensland road safety minister Mark Bailey said enforcing speed limits kept people alive.

"That enforcement element really is quite important in terms of keeping speed down," he said.

Mr Bailey pointed to some American states where no speed or drink-driving enforcement was undertaken.

"I went on a trip to Texas a couple of months ago. They have no speed cameras, they don't have any random breath testing and their fatality rate is three times that of Queensland," he said.

"They lose 15 people per 100,000 every year. We lose about five."



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