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In Spain, if you exceed the maximum permitted speed limit, you will most likely get a fine. If you exceed the maximum permitted speed limit excessively, you can find yourself in prison. These result, however, are the better option, as the consequences could be fatal for the driver, the other vehicle occupants, and other road users.

According to the European Road Safety Observatory, in their report, “Road Safety Thematic Report – Speed”, at an impact speed of 70 km/h the risk of fatal injury is 16% for a car occupant, and twice as high (38%) for a pedestrian; at 80 km/h, this probability increases to 33% for car occupants and 61% for pedestrians (Elvik, 2009).

According to the World Health Organisation, every 1% increase in mean speed produces a 4% increase in the fatal crash risk and a 3% increase in the serious crash risk.

About 30% of road fatalities are caused by excessive or inappropriate speed, and yet, 67% of Europeans admit to having speeded on rural roads over the previous 30 days, according to the same report.

As the speed of a vehicle increases, so does the risk of fatal consequences for everyone, which is why the financial sanctions, and potential loss of liberty, all increase the faster you go, and the more you drive above the established limit, to try to educate drivers into a safer course of action, that is, quite simply, to slow down.

We can see that excessive or inappropriate speed is a global problem, and the authorities around the world are constantly looking for new ways to reduce the risk.

One such country highlighted this week is Australia, where a driver who was travelling well in excess of 200 km/h, luckily avoided the worst of the consequences, but has been dealt with in such a manner that might well, we can hope, serve as a lesson never to repeat the actions.

The driver in question was detected on an Adelaide highway traveling at 253 km/h with a Holden Commodore SS V8. The driver was a young man, 20 years old, and only recently obtained his driving licence, so much so he was still displaying the novice driver “L” plates on the vehicle.

Speeding caught
Picture from South Australia Police

In addition to the excessive speed (143 km/h above the limit of the road), he was also detected “aggressively changing lane” on several occasions. Although he can consider himself lucky that he survived, and didn´t kill anybody else on the road, luck wasn´t completely on his side as his car couldn´t handle the stress and broke down, allowing the authorities to catch him. The car has a top speed of 249.4 km/h.

It later transpired that this was not the first time he had literally risked life and limb, and a matter with the Australian authorities therefore considered “completely unacceptable”, because driving at that speed can have “catastrophic” consequences for other drivers. “We cannot tolerate this,” was the conclusion they reached, and they acted with the harshness that their laws allow.

The driver is now in prison. He is also banned from driving for six years. He will also be looking for new wheels when the ban is finally lifted, as part of the punishment is also confiscation of the vehicle, which can be sold and the proceeds given to charity, or, as is the case with the Holden Commodore SS V8, which had a starting price of over 40 thousand Australian dollars, it can simply be

“This is how this matter ends, but we also send the message that whoever is going to behave like this is going to lose their car,” Superintendent Darren Fielke explained to ABC News Australia. In fact, the state police point out that in 2022 up to 1,500 drivers were deprived of their cars for traffic crimes.

Of them, two thirds were destroyed, as in this case. This end of life of vehicles is usually applied to cars that are considered unfit for road use … or when you want to send a very clear message to society, as in this case.

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