Archive for November, 2008


Our expert, David Matthews writes:

I drive a fairly low-slung sports car- a Nissan 200SX, as regular readers of this blog will know.

What really gets up my nose is the aggressive driver of a four-wheel drive who tailgates me in suburban streets, when I’m doing the speed limit. Because they can see right over the top of my car from their seat on high, they close the gap to frighteningly close dimensions if they want to push you along.

Recently, I was tailgated by a 2 ½ tonne Landcruiser with bull bar, head lights blazing, at less than five metres behind, at the end of the shopping strip, and past the pedestrian crossing. I floored it for 75 metres just to get away. Straight into the arms of the speed trap set up by the police. He had a digital readout to nail my speed, and that was enough to issue the ticket.

Three demerit points! 77 km/h in a 50 km/h area- even if it was for only 75 metres.

Protesting about the four wheel drive, the policeman, who was quite nice about it, admitted that tailgating was a problem, but that he had never booked any-one for doing it! His only advice was that if confronted by this situation, the victim should pull over and let them pass. You can imagine how likely that is in busy city traffic.


November 17, 2008 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

NSW demerit points are the go!

Faced with the prospect of a huge voter backlash as motorists reap their harvest of demerit points for a huge variety of driving misdemeanours, the N.S.W. State government has started to back-pedal on the consequences of their actions. A rumoured 40,000 motorists on Sydneys North Shore have accumulated so many de-merit points that their next indiscretion will cost them either a 3 month’s suspension of their driving licence, or force them into an undertaking to be good for the next twelve months, or double the penalty if they offend again.

The new NSW Minister for Transport says he’ll look into it – he promises.

Regular Sydney commuters know where the speed cameras are, either from the GPS or from local knowledge. What throws their calculations out is when a new camera is installed at a new location. They reap a harvest for the first month, until the grapevine catches up. Pity the poor country motorist who comes to town rarely, and has their hands full already negotiating Sydney traffic. Throw in some rain, or a thunderstorm, or a huge truck blocking your vision, and six points can go out the window in a flash.

Average traffic speed in Sydney is 65 km/hour. Because this is 15 kms over the 50km subrurban speed limit,  it puts the fine bracket up to the next level – $243 dollars instead of the lesser penalty.

But beware, in Queensland, it’s 13 km/h over the posted limit that puts you up to the higher penalty

November 16, 2008 at 11:57 pm 4 comments

Green cars a cornerstone in Government $3.4 billion aid package to car industry

The government is to inject an extra A$3.4 billion ($2.3 billion) into the ailing car industry to offset tariff cuts and a global economic slowdown, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today.

Rudd said his government would proceed with long-standing plans to halve tariffs on imported cars to 5 percent in 2010 from 10 percent, while offering aid to help the A$7.7 billion industry cope with slowing sales amid global economic gloom.

“Some might say it’s not worth trying to have a car industry,” Rudd told reporters in Melbourne, where much of Australia’s automotive industry is based. “That is not my view, it is not the view of the Australian government.”

Rudd said Australia would outlay A$3.4 billion from 2011 to 2020 to transform the industry, including money for a “Green Car” fund to help automotive companies design and sell locally-made environmentally friendly cars.

The fund would see the government match industry investment in green cars on a A$1 to A$3 basis over 10 years from 2009.

Other funds would help consolidation in the auto parts sector and help suppliers boost capability.

November 10, 2008 at 3:17 am 1 comment