Speed vs. Greed – A different approach to safety while driving
As more people drive as part of their work, while travelling for work, or simply to and from work, the boundary between safe driving and workplace safety has blurred. A person injured while driving for work is considered to be injured in the course of work*, and in the 2009-10 financial year there were 79 worker-commuter related fatalities, 5 of whom were pedestrians struck by the worker’s vehicle.
At a recent defensive driving course, Safety Action staff were urged to think differently about speeding. Speed (both over the limit, and speed inappropriate for adverse driving conditions) is one of the most widely publicised causes of traffic incidents, and yet also one that most people are likely to brush off with excuses like “I’m a good driver”, “I’m running late for work” or “Nothing’s ever happened before”.
Safety Action staff were asked to consider the fact that, if travelling at 100km per hour on the freeway and you are 20km away from your destination, you will get there in about 12 minutes. If you speed by 10km over the speed limit you will save just 66 seconds. Is it worth a potentially fatal accident to get there just over a minute sooner? But what if we appeal to our sense of greed instead?
“Time is Money”
Do you actually stop to consider how much your time is worth? If you are on a salary, you probably don’t think of your time at an hourly rate. You may value your work time, but not your personal time. But consider that every hour in your life (less the essentials like sleeping and personal hygiene) is time that you could potentially be earning money - if not at your normal salary, maybe at $20 an hour in retail.
Of course you probably don’t want to do that (and you shouldn’t because you would end up suffering from severe fatigue) but if you imagine your time to be worth that much, you are probably quite happy to “pay” $20 an hour for the evenings spent home with your family, and weekends off.
If you exceed the speed limit by 10km an hour for your 20km journey, saving 66 seconds, you are saving yourself around 37 cents.
However if you get caught speeding at 10km an hour, in Victoria you’ll pay a hefty $244 fine. Since time is money, that’s like donating 12.2 hours of your personal time.
Put a dollar value on time, and it sounds like a reverse lottery ticket. You win 37 cents, but there’s a chance you could pay for a $244 ticket. Most people wouldn’t want to take those odds. And incidentally, it just might make them safer drivers.