Stop Press | More bang for your buck in a country truck, sedan or van

AGEING POPULATION: Most cars in Orange are older than the national average.
AGEING POPULATION: Most cars in Orange are older than the national average.

We might have the latest smart phones, iPads and other digital gadgets but the average registered vehicle we own in Orange was made in 2005, two years older than the national average of 2007.

Latest Roads and Maritime Services’ figures show the average age of all the 44,583 registered vehicles here is 11.6 years. Off-road vehicles are the newest with an average age of 8.2 years followed by light trucks (9.8 years) and passenger cars (10.6 years). Caravans are the oldest with an average age of 13.6 years.

Bathurst people own the oldest vehicles in the region with an average age of 12.2 years. The average age of cars is 11 years, off-road 8.7 years, light trucks 10.7 years and caravans 13 years. Dubbo’s fleet is a smidgen older than Orange at 11.7 years. Cars are 10.2 years old, off-road 7.9, light trucks 9.5 and caravans 14.7 year

LOWERING THE LIMIT

Police this week flagged an 80km/h limit on country roads but there’s a well-supported theory that suggests higher speed limits can actually reduce accidents because drivers normally travel at a speed that feels safe and comfortable regardless of the posted limit.

So a speed limit that’s below this comfortable rate means drivers sticking to it can disrupt the flow of traffic that’s found its own pace and if you’re driving slower than other cars, you might be the one posing the safety risk.

When motorists generally are all going at the same speed it’s a safer corridor and there’s not too many drivers sticking to the 80km/h limits already on some country roads. It’s pretty well-known driving at a slower speed like 80km/h on long trips causes drivers to look around, lose concentration and are then more prone to have an accident.

The dozens of different speed limits across the Blue Mountains are ridiculous with drivers trying to keep up with all the changes rather than concentrating on what they’re doing.

In many cases the lower speed limits on country roads, like the Cargo Rd, are put there because of the poor condition of the surface. Federal safety authority figures show almost a quarter of cars involved in fatal crashes are unregistered or driven by banned or unlicensed drivers. A similar number are drunk, drug affected or not wearing seatbelts.

Speed is not the real factor. Modern cars have excellent road holding and good brakes and are safe to drive faster than the older cars of yesteryear. And the police could be more visible on roads with Highway Patrol cars not recognisable from the front, no doubt a move to disguise them to catch and fine drivers rather than slow them down.

HIGHER SECURITY AT A COST

There’s talk of cheaper air fares for Orange people but the days of simply boarding an aircraft here could soon be over with the federal government expected to soon introduce new counter-terrorism measures to include scanning passengers and their luggage.

Presently there’s no mandatory screening when an aeroplane weighs less than 20 tonnes and the Saab 340’s operated by Rex weigh around 8.9 tonnes so Orange people fly to Sydney unchecked. There’s concerns the costs involved could make flights to some towns unviable although it’s not known whether Orange City Council or the Federal Government would have to pick up the tab for the security upgrade.