Over the last ten years or so there have been numerous articles in the news, both the written news and the TV news, telling us that Western Australia (WA), and Perth in particular, has the worst motor vehicle drivers in the world. Anyone in WA who reads the paper or catches the TV news semi-regularly could not have missed reading or seeing one of the these reports.
I actually seriously doubt that, using any suitable method of scientific analysis, WA does really have the worst drivers in the world but we are probably in the Top 10; or Bottom 10 depending how you sort that list.
It seems that, according to the insurance industry, despite all the advertising about safe driving, the bingle rate relative to vehicle registrations is climbing faster for Perth than any other Australian capital city. Now there are those that say this is most likely just because more people are claiming for their bingles now whereas in the past many bingles were not reported and claimed. There could be something to this, but then what is the logic for more people reporting and claiming on bingles now than in the past? And then why only Perth people? I can’t really think of a good reason why this would be the case.
So, why are Perth drivers so bad?
It’s a difficult question. People far smarter than me who the State Government have paid millions to and used as consultants on this very problem have thought long and hard about it, and as far as I know they have not come up with any useful answers. Not that I have seen published anywhere anyway.
Another part of the problem, and this is probably a big part of the problem, is that WA drivers either don’t know many of the basic road rules or they choose to completely ignore them. According to a recent RAC (Royal Automobile Club) item some of the common road rules people either don’t know or don’t care about that are contributing to the increasing bingle rate are:
- Stopping at STOP signs.
- Coming to a stop at controlled intersections on the Amber light.
- Slowing down to 80 going through controlled intersections on highways.
- The two second rule (being at least two seconds behind the car in front).
- Being at merging speed before merging with other traffic (if you are merging into traffic moving at 100 kph then you need to be travelling at 100 kph).
- Indicating when you are coming off a roundabout (so many people dutifully indicate right going around a roundabout, but that matters little; what matters is where you are coming OFF the roundabout).
- Frequent lane changing and not indicating, or insufficient indication, when changing lanes.
Interestingly Perth drivers even rate themselves as the worst. As you can read in the scrap at right (which links to the source article), 55 percent of RAC members surveyed believed that WA drivers were worse than drivers in the other states. Even more depressing, only seven percent of members surveyed rated drivers in Perth as good or excellent.
I guess one thing is for sure. WA drivers are not going to improve any time soon.