Dramatic fall in road accidents
CAR accident rates have dropped over the past five years by as much as 20 per cent according to Border Smash owner Bob Maxwell.
Mr Maxwell, who has been in business on the Coast for 32 years, said the number of smash repair shops had dropped as a result of the dramatic fall in crashes.
"We've had to supplement our business by branching out into other areas and we now do repairs and services to help keep them afloat," he said.
Mr Maxwell said he didn't believe NSW Transport Minister Michael Costa's proposal at last week's Road Users' Summit to trial a 10kph reduction in speed limits on major roads during wet weather would have any effect on drivers.
He said motorists didn't stick to speed limits no matter what they were in the wet or the dry.
"I don't see how they can enforce something like this - drivers don't do the current speed limits," Mr Maxwell said.
"And we don't have the police numbers to monitor it."
He said a number of factors had helped reduce accident numbers, including the quality of cars these days.
"Nowadays the stopping distance is better, there's new braking systems and cars are easier to control ? geared more for safety, and tyres are much better," he said.
"The roads are better too with the roundabouts, lights and speed cameras."
However Tweed-Byron traffic coordinator Sergeant Bill Darnell said wet weather did increase the incidence of car accidents and believed reducing speed limits would be a good idea.
Sergeant Darnell said police always encouraged slower speeds and greater distances between vehicles during wet weather, as it took a greater distance for vehicles to stop.
"In terms of policing this, it would be a case of educating motorists," he said.
"Motorists should be vigilant and slow down in the wet as there is a noticeable increase in crashes during wet weather."
Mr Maxwell said the first day of rain was when roads were most dangerous as oil on the roads mixed with water, becoming slippery.
"After this, you really don't see as many accidents in the rain as the water has washed the oil away," he said.
Mr Costa said while he would like to see a NSW trial to gauge whether there was merit in the proposition of cutting speed limits by 10kph in wet weather as a mandated response, the summit had failed to come to an agreement.