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Traffic policing and road safety for individuals and for populations

Faulks, I, Lane, M, Irwin, J

Police Enforcement Programs

ACRS conference 2012

Traffic policing is about changing driver behaviour through guiding, enforcing and promoting safe road use within the road transport system. Typically, when we think of traffic policing, we think of enforcement alone . . . the detection, the ticketing, and the penalties. But traffic policing has traditionally been much more than that, partly as a consequence of not having technologies and methods to effectively enforce illegal driver behaviour. Prior to the 1980s and 1990s, interventions with erring drivers were mostly unplanned and arose from observations of an illegal act. Police intervened in person, which allowed for discussion about the illegal behaviour, its causes and consequences, and corrective actions to avoid re-offending. Since then, the availability of enforcement technologies and procedures targeting drink driving, drug driving and speed detection have seen a predominant focus on detection and punishment of drivers on a community-wide basis. As a consequence, traffic policing strategies became less focused on individual guidance and safety promotion. The Safe System approach provides perhaps the strongest direction for several decades in highlighting that guiding, enforcing and promoting safe driver behaviour comprise three core taskings for effective traffic policing. Examples from Australian, New Zealand and overseas projects will be presented to illustrate the application of Safe System principles to meet traffic policing challenges in guidance and promotion of safer individual behaviour.