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"The pain is unbearable": Nick Campo's family speaks out

<p>The parents of a Perth teenager who tragically died in a car crash have started an emotional campaign for road safety in the name of their late son. </p> <p>Budding footballer Nick Campo, who had just turned 18, was the rear passenger in a Toyota HiLux that rolled and collided with a Jeep Patriot in Perth’s southern suburbs on Saturday night and was pronounced <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/rising-star-footy-player-dies-at-just-18" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dead</a> at the scene. </p> <p>Campo's parents Daniel and Bianca told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/nick-campo-parents-speak-of-unbearable-pain-after-losing-son-to-horror-crash/a5ab695f-d536-4fbb-9a95-088e155e3cba" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9News</em></a> of their "unbearable pain" since the sudden and tragic loss of their son. </p> <p>"My Nick, he was definitely one of a kind," his mum Bianca said. "I knew he was special, but he was really special to a lot of people."</p> <p>"And he was a beautiful boy, and he's going to be missed by so many, so many people."</p> <p>His father Daniel said his son was "the complete package" but was best known for his quick wit cheekiness.</p> <p>"If you had to sum Nick up in one word, 'cheeky'," he said. "From day dot .... Cheeky, cheeky."</p> <p>Sitting in the ute alongside Nick at the time of the crash were two of his teammates from the South Fremantle Football club, as well as the 17-year-old driver and one other young man.</p> <p>"He loved footy, he loved cricket, he just was so committed," his mum said.</p> <p>"He loved getting around all the boys, you know all the teammates. He loved being in the clubs."</p> <p>The 17-year-old boy accused of being behind the wheel, who was also injured in the crash alongside one of the other passengers,  is facing serious charges.</p> <p>Another boy is fighting for his life in Royal Perth Hospital.</p> <p>Nick's parents are praying their son's friend pulls through and don't want other families to go through what they have gone through.</p> <p>"(Because) It is, it is the worst nightmare that you can imagine and the pain is unbearable," his mum said.</p> <p>The family is now channelling their grief towards a road safety campaign called "Call Out for Nick".</p> <p>"If it doesn't look right, that person doesn't look right to drive, the habits - it's got to be called out," his father said.</p> <p>"We see it every day - young kids they think they're bulletproof, they're not."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Caring

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Influencer's windscreen smashed in wild road rage act

<p>Video footage has captured the scary moment a New Zealand influencer's windscreen got smashed in a wild road rage incident. </p> <p>Social media influencer Chantelle Baker claimed that the blue Mazda Demio had cut off another car behind her and began tailgating her when she was driving 40km/hr as she was carefully navigating a near-crash. </p> <p>“They started to scream at me from their car, trying to indicate [and] use their hands to tell me to pull over so they could go past,” she said in a video posted to Instagram. </p> <p>“I obviously didn’t. We go a few hundred metres and they decide to throw a rock at my car with my eight-month-old baby asleep in the back seat.”</p> <p>Baker said she saw them down a side road a couple of minutes later and followed their car to get the licence plate. </p> <p>She then recalled them pulling into an area near an old petrol station in Rangiora, Waimakariri, where the footage was filmed. </p> <p>In the viral clip, which has racked up over seven million views on TikTok, the two women can be seen exiting the Mazda and sprinting towards Baker's car. </p> <p>One of them ran up the bonnet and on to the windscreen causing it to shatter. </p> <p>The same woman then goes to the driver's door and tells Baker to "f*** off". </p> <p>Baker then reverses and drives away. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9EXimPJtE6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9EXimPJtE6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Chantelle Baker (@chantellebakernz)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>New Zealand Police have said that they were aware of the incident and are in the initial stages of investigation. </p> <p>“Police received reports of an incident in the King Street area around 1pm on Saturday where one driver apparently followed another driver after a car failed to merge correctly,” they told <em>news.com.au. </em></p> <p>“The cars have stopped at a petrol station where a person has reportedly got out and jumped on the other person’s vehicle, breaking a window. No people were injured.”</p> <p>In an update shared on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C9JiK9cpnkt/?hl=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a>, Baker said that the two girls have come forward and are speaking with Police. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram/ Chantelle Baker</em></p>

Legal

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Neighbour's "selfish" parking act sparks outrage

<p>A resident in Leichhardt, Sydney, has taken matters into their own hands and decided to deal with the lack of parking by using orange traffic cones to reserve a space for themselves. </p> <p>But frustrated neighbours were not pleased with this act, as parking on the the busy street is already difficult to find. </p> <p>"It's been ongoing for months and doesn't look renovation-related," they wrote on social media. </p> <p>It is understood that there are no parking restrictions on the street, meaning that residents can park there for as long as they like, if they're lucky enough to find a spot. </p> <p>Social media users were quick to share their thoughts, with many suggesting to just move the "witches hats."</p> <p>Others slammed the resident's parking act as "outrageous" and called him out for his "rude" and "selfish" behaviour. </p> <p>"I've noticed that for months and wondered why people have been so observant of them," one person wrote. </p> <p>"I guess if you're self-entitled and can get away with it," another added. </p> <p>"Remove them when they aren't there, someone will park there," a third wrote. </p> <p>While there were a few others who supported the act, and said that residents were entitled to reserve a parking spot, the Inner West Council has debunked it. </p> <p>They said that reserving street parking using objects like traffic cones or other items and then leaving these objects unattended is prohibited. </p> <p>"Unfortunately, this type of thing does happen in our local government area," a spokesperson told <em>Yahoo</em>.  </p> <p>The council has also urged anyone who sees someone using their belongings to obstruct public use of amenities to report it, with fines ranging from $330 to $660. </p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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EV driver slammed for worst piece of parking you'll ever see

<p>An Australian electric vehicle driver in Tasmania has been slammed online for their "unbelievable" parking. </p> <p>In a picture shared on Facebook, the BYD was seen parked horizontally across two separate charging spaces in Howrah, Hobart. </p> <p>Not only did they hog two charging spots, but their vehicle also parked over two nearby motorbike bays. </p> <p>"Congratulations to this person yesterday who managed to connect to the charger on the right, while parking sideways across the charging bay on the left, AND a couple of bonus motorbike parking bays," a frustrated driver wrote online, after witnessing the scene. </p> <p>This prompted an outpouring of frustration from both EV drivers and Australians who dislike the  "electric vehicle community in general".</p> <p>"They should put cameras on the charger and if they park like this it starts to drain the battery instead of charging it," one wrote. </p> <p>"Give me a crack at parking, I'd do better — even with my cane," another commented. </p> <p>"I officially give up trying to defend the EV community," a third added. </p> <p>"I honestly have no words," wrote a fourth.</p> <p>EV etiquette has been a popular topic of debate recently, with drivers frequently being photographed for their questionable parking skills. </p> <p>Just a few months ago, a Tesla driver was mocked for their <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/entitled-as-tesla-driver-mocked-for-creative-parking" target="_blank" rel="noopener">"entitled as"</a> parking, after taking up two spots in a shopping centre to park their vehicle. </p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Woman's fake parking fines divides internet

<p>Finding a parking ticket on your windscreen is the last thing you'd want to see after a day out - but last month dozens of drivers were greeted with fake fines made by one woman who wanted to spread "a little kindness". </p> <p>Melbourne woman Karina went viral for her odd marketing tactic, where she put handmade fake fines onto cars, public phones and lamp posts across the city's southeast, in a bid to promote her photography business. </p> <p>The "infringement" note read: "Notice to owners: We saw you pull into this car park and I wanted to tell you that you look absolutely beautiful today, your smile could light up a whole room...</p> <p>"Just to make your day a little more special than you already are, I want to give you $30 towards my beach prints from my travels."</p> <p>When asked why she did it, Karina told <em>Yahoo News</em>: "I decided to do it to make people's day by spreading a little kindness. It was a reminder that life is too short."</p> <p>"They're going to think it's a fine but little do they know that it's actually some money towards a print for our store."</p> <p>While there were a few that praised her "hustle" mentality, saying that they "love this idea" and thought it was "cute", others were less pleased. </p> <p>"No this would make me have a panic attack," one wrote. </p> <p>"I thought this was wholesome until I realised ya'll are just trying to sell stuff," another added. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Ranger's confrontation with mum sparks debate

<p>An altercation between a woman and a parking inspector in Sydney's Double Bay has sparked debate online. </p> <p>Video footage of the confrontation was shared on <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/parking-ranger-altercation-mum-ritzy-000020905.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social media</a>, and the pair can be seen arguing over a parking ticket the woman received on Cross St, where two-hour parking rules apply. </p> <p>The woman claimed that she'd "just parked" her car and was paying for a ticket when the inspector arrived to fine her. </p> <p>She started recording him as he was "rude and abrupt", with the video showing him writing up the fine and telling her that he will be adding a complaint to his notes. </p> <p>"You're harassing me, I'll call the police," the ranger said to the woman, as she films him up close. </p> <p>As he turns abruptly pointing a finger toward her, and telling her to leave he appears to hit the phone, and the woman accuses him of assault. </p> <p>"You physically assaulted me. Wow. It's all on camera,"  she said to the ranger. </p> <p>She also claimed that the ranger  "pushed her away", and said that it was "terrifying".</p> <p>The video posted online attracted mixed responses from locals, with some arguing that  "there's more to the story" as the video didn't capture what happened before she started filming. </p> <p>However, a few others called the ranger out for his "shocking" behaviour. </p> <p>"The ranger has no right to assault anyone. And if it was when they were on the job, it’s a sackable offence, if not criminal," one said. </p> <p>Another argued that the woman was also in the wrong for being  "up in his face" as the ranger was  "just doing his job". </p> <p>"You can tell he didn't mean to knock the camera, and that she was up in his face," another added. </p> <p>A spokesperson for Woollahra Council confirmed they were aware of the incident and "regrets any distress experienced during the issuing of a fine due to an illegally parked vehicle."</p> <p>"We understand no one likes receiving a fine, but [we] ask members of the public to refrain from taking out their frustration on Council staff, either verbally or physically," they told Y<em>ahoo News</em>. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Yahoo</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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‘Sleep tourism’ promises the trip of your dreams. Beyond the hype plus 5 tips for a holiday at home

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-gupta-347235">Charlotte Gupta</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dean-j-miller-808724">Dean J. Miller</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Imagine arriving at your hotel after a long flight and being greeted by your own personal sleep butler. They present you with a pillow menu and invite you to a sleep meditation session later that day.</p> <p>You unpack in a room kitted with an AI-powered smart bed, blackout shades, blue light-blocking glasses and weighted blankets.</p> <p>Holidays are traditionally for activities or sightseeing – eating Parisian pastry under the Eiffel tower, ice skating at New York City’s Rockefeller Centre, lying by the pool in Bali or sipping limoncello in Sicily. But “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/inspiration/pillow-menus-and-sleep-gummies-the-new-hotel-trend-that-s-putting-guests-to-sleep-20230823-p5dyu5.html">sleep tourism</a>” offers vacations for the sole purpose of getting good sleep.</p> <p>The emerging trend extends out of the global wellness tourism industry – reportedly worth more than <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogersands/2023/11/17/the-global-wellness-tourism-sector-surpasses-814-billion-market-share/">US$800 billion globally</a> (A$1.2 trillion) and <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/1018497/global-market-size-of-the-wellness-tourism-industry/">expected to boom</a>.</p> <p>Luxurious sleep retreats and sleep suites at hotels are popping up <a href="https://www.countryandtownhouse.com/style/health-and-beauty/sleep-retreats/">all over the world</a> for tourists to get some much-needed rest, relaxation and recovery. But do you really need to leave home for some shuteye?</p> <h2>Not getting enough</h2> <p>The rise of sleep tourism may be a sign of just how chronically sleep deprived we all are.</p> <p>In Australia more than one-third of adults are not achieving the recommended <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352721816301292?via%3Dihub">7–9 hours</a> of sleep per night, and the estimated cost of this inadequate sleep is <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/41/8/zsy083/5025924">A$45 billion</a> each year.</p> <p>Inadequate sleep is linked to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.2147/NSS.S134864">long-term health problems</a> including poor mental health, heart disease, metabolic disease and deaths from any cause.</p> <h2>Can a fancy hotel give you a better sleep?</h2> <p>Many of the sleep services available in the sleep tourism industry aim to optimise the bedroom for sleep. This is a core component of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400203/?ref=askdoctorjad.com">sleep hygiene</a> – a series of healthy sleep practices that facilitate good sleep including sleeping in a comfortable bedroom with a good mattress and pillow, sleeping in a quiet environment and relaxing before bed.</p> <p>The more people follow sleep hygiene practices, the better their <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08964280209596396">sleep quality and quantity</a>.</p> <p>When we are staying in a hotel we are also likely away from any stressors we encounter in everyday life (such as work pressure or caring responsibilities). And we’re away from potential nighttime disruptions to sleep we might experience at home (the construction work next door, restless pets, unsettled children). So regardless of the sleep features hotels offer, it is likely we will experience improved sleep when we are away.</p> <h2>What the science says about catching up on sleep</h2> <p>In the short-term, <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-it-possible-to-catch-up-on-sleep-we-asked-five-experts-98699#:%7E:text=We%20can%20catch%20up%20on,and%20we%20cannot%20resist%20sleep.">we can catch up on sleep</a>. This can happen, for example, after a short night of sleep when our brain accumulates “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07420528.2012.675256">sleep pressure</a>”. This term describes how strong the biological drive for sleep is. More sleep pressure makes it easier to sleep the next night and to sleep for longer.</p> <p>But while a longer sleep the next night can relieve the sleep pressure, it does not reverse the <a href="https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/pdf/10.5664/jcsm.26918">effects of the short sleep on our brain and body</a>. Every night’s sleep is important for our body to recover and for our brain to process the events of that day. Spending a holiday “catching up” on sleep could help you feel more rested, but it is not a substitute for prioritising regular healthy sleep at home.</p> <p>All good things, including holidays, must come to an end. Unfortunately the perks of sleep tourism may end too.</p> <p>Our bodies do not like variability in the time of day that we sleep. The most common example of this is called “<a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/12/4543">social jet lag</a>”, where weekday sleep (getting up early to get to work or school) is vastly different to weekend sleep (late nights and sleep ins). This can result in a sleepy, grouchy start to the week on Monday. Sleep tourism may be similar, if you do not come back home with the intention to prioritise sleep.</p> <p>So we should be mindful that as well as sleeping well on holiday, it is important to optimise conditions at home to get consistent, adequate sleep every night.</p> <h2>5 tips for having a sleep holiday at home</h2> <p>An AI-powered mattress and a sleep butler at home might be the dream. But these features are not the only way we can optimise our sleep environment and give ourselves the best chance to get a good night’s sleep. Here are five ideas to start the night right:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> avoid bright artificial light in the evening (such as bright overhead lights, phones, laptops)</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> make your bed as comfortable as possible with fresh pillows and a supportive mattress</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> use black-out window coverings and maintain a cool room temperature for the ideal sleeping environment</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> establish an evening wind-down routine, such as a warm shower and reading a book before bed or even a “<a href="https://theconversation.com/turns-out-the-viral-sleepy-girl-mocktail-is-backed-by-science-should-you-try-it-222151">sleepy girl mocktail</a>”</p> <p><strong>5.</strong> use consistency as the key to a good sleep routine. Aim for a similar bedtime and wake time – even on weekends.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231718/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-gupta-347235">Charlotte Gupta</a>, Senior postdoctoral research fellow, Appleton Institute, HealthWise research group, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dean-j-miller-808724">Dean J. Miller</a>, Adjunct Research Fellow, Appleton Institute of Behavioural Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sleep-tourism-promises-the-trip-of-your-dreams-beyond-the-hype-plus-5-tips-for-a-holiday-at-home-231718">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Roadside cameras set to target more infringements

<p>Millions of Aussie drivers are being warned as authorities expand the number of infringements being targeted by roadside cameras. </p> <p>The technology, initially used to detect mobile phone use, will now target new road rules. </p> <p>"The laws were brought in and this technology was brought in as a preventative measure ... to stop people getting behind the wheel and taking risks that jeopardise the safety of others," NRMA head of media told <em>Yahoo News. </em></p> <p>"The road toll is terrible nationally in Australia ... So we need to do everything we can to reduce risks on our roads."</p> <p>In NSW authorities are expanding the capabilities of their roadside mobile-detection cameras. </p> <p>From July 1 the cameras will be able to catch drivers wearing their seatbelt incorrectly. </p> <p>This comes after Queensland reportedly became the first jurisdiction in the world to roll out seatbelt-spotting detection along with mobile-detection. </p> <p>Last year, Victoria also rolled out dual mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras last year after a two year trial.</p> <p>No grace period will be granted when they issue the seatbelt fines. </p> <p>"The expansion of mobile phone detection cameras to also apply to seatbelt offences reinforces the NSW Government’s commitment to enforcing the 50-year-old seatbelt law, actively contributing to improving road safety and reducing fatalities on NSW roads," a statement read on their official website. </p> <p>The department told Yahoo that all images captured by roadside cameras are automatically reviewed by software. </p> <p>Those that do not contain evidence of an offence will have their images deleted within an hour. </p> <p>Drivers in the ACT will need to make sure they have proper insurance and registration.</p> <p>From August, the roadside cameras alongside speed cameras and red light cameras will be used to send hefty fines to those driving without proper registration or insurance. </p> <p>Those caught by the cameras will have their paperwork manually checked by transport staff. </p> <p>An infringement for driving an unregistered vehicle in the ACT is $700 while the fine for driving an uninsured car is $973. </p> <p>The mobile detection cameras could also soon be programmed to detect speeding in the ACT. </p> <p>In South Australia, authorities began testing overhead mobile detection cameras at four busy locations in April, fines are currently not being issued, but the grace period is due to finish on June 19. </p> <p>Drivers caught using their phones in Adelaide will be fined $540 and three demerit points. </p> <p><em>Image: </em><em>Stepan Skorobogadko / Shutterstock.com</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Ruined our trip": Mum shell-shocked by $130k fine

<p>A mother has been slapped with a hefty fine after her children were caught in a seemingly innocent act while on a beach holiday. </p> <p>Charlotte Russ took her five kids on a trip to Pismo Beach in California, where her children started enthusiastically collecting what they thought were ordinary seashells. </p> <p>"My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact,"  Russ told local news outlet <em><a href="https://abc7.com/post/fresno-woman-fined-88k-after-kids-collect-clams/14859295/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">ABC 7</a></em>.</p> <p>Clamming is highly regulated in California, meaning if you don't have a fishing license, you cannot catch the small sea creatures. </p> <p>She received a citation right there on the beach and was later notified she has to pay close to $89,000, or $133,000 AUD, for her kids' seemingly innocent treasure hunt. </p> <p>"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip," said Russ.</p> <p>Department of Fish and Wildlife's Lieutenant Matthew Gil defended the fine, saying there are rules in place for a reason. </p> <p>"The reason we got it we have these regulations is because we have to let them get to 4 and a half inches so they can spawn so they can have they can have offspring every year, and they have juvenile clams," said Lt. Gil.</p> <p>Russ said her kids have learned their lesson, saying, "They know now at the beach don't touch anything, but they know now what a clam is, compared to what a seashell is now, I've had to explain that to them."</p> <p>The mother was able to plead her case with a San Luis Obispo County Judge, who reduced her fine to $500 dollars, and after she "won" her case, Russ got a shellfish tattoo to commemorate the incident.</p> <p>"It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable," said Russ.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC 7</em></p>

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“Entitled as”: Tesla driver mocked for creative parking

<p>A Tesla driver's parking skills has sparked an online debate after pictures of the vehicle parked across two parking spots was posted on Facebook. </p> <p>The black Tesla Model Y was parked at the Orion Springfield shopping centre in Queensland, and most online commenters condemned the driver's actions. </p> <p>“Of course, it’s a Tesla owner. Entitled as mentality,” one wrote. </p> <p>“They should find somewhere else to charge it or go home," another commented. </p> <p>However, some commenters pointed out that the charging station could be the problem, and with an increase in drivers choosing electric vehicles, it sparked a few questions on the accessibility of the charging stations across the country. </p> <p>“Maybe that was the only way to reach the plug? EV owners should be allowed to fuel up just as we do," one commenter wrote. </p> <p>“The one at fault … is the silver car parked in the charging spot not on charge, so I guess they [the Tesla owner] had to park like that to charge up," another said. </p> <p>In another incident last April,  another Tesla driver was criticised for parking their Model 3 – with an attached trailer – over the kerb next to the charging bay. </p> <p>However, the photo also highlighted the accessibility issues as current charging stations for EV's do not accomodate to oversized vehicles, so drivers may have to come up with other ways to charge. </p> <p>A spokesperson for Standards Australia said that a charger reform is currently being discussed by all relevant regulators. </p> <p>"There's a lot of work going on right now as our vehicle fleet becomes more electric. This includes consideration of charging infrastructure, its placement, and matters of safety and amenity," the spokesperson told<em> Drive</em>. </p> <p>"Standards Australia is working with governments, industry and the community to identify what standards are needed for charging infrastructure and how they can be embedded in our communities."</p> <p><em>Image: Drive/ Facebook</em></p>

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New rules to crack down on dodgy taxi practices

<p>New technology is being rolled out on Wednesday, which will make it more difficult for taxi drivers to overcharge their customers. </p> <p>The country's largest taxi payment provider, Cabcharge, is introducing a new system which will link  cab drivers' payment terminals with their meters. </p> <p>The move has been made in attempt to crack down on dodgy taxi practices. </p> <p>Under the current system the two are not connected, so dishonest drivers may disregard the distance and fee on the meter and input a higher sum on their payment terminals, charging customers more money. </p> <p>The crack down has been approved Australia's most extensive taxi network which includes operators such as 13cabs, Silver Service and Black & White Cabs. They are also encouraged to display a sticker that says "We proudly accept Cabcharge."</p> <p>Speaking to<em> 2GB </em>on Monday, Nick Abrahim the CEO of NSW Taxi Council said that the technology was "welcomed news", which will help strengthen customer trust. </p> <p>"We want people, whether they're going to a sporting event or a concert or whatever it is, not even to worry about the transport issues. We want them to go out and make sure they're having a good time," he said. </p> <p>"The majority of drivers are out there, they want to do the right thing they want to look after passengers, but we know there are a handful of those drivers that unfortunately think they can flout the law and get away from it... [this] sends a strong message to that handful of drivers."</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Dodgy tactic to keep driver's licence growing "out of control"

<p>A criminal lawyer has exposed an alarming trend, which has caused more and more people to seek legal advice. </p> <p>Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of drivers off-loading their demerit points to strangers in exchange for cash, as Aussies desperately try to keep their licences. </p> <p>The illegal tactic is often advertised on social media, where users attract those looking for someone to falsely nominate and palm off their demerit points to. </p> <p>The price of one demerit point can go for $30-$150, and criminal lawyer Jahan Kalantar revealed that more people are seeking legal advice after getting involved in the trend. </p> <p>"This used to be a very tiny part of my practice, I do about eight to nine consultations a week on this," he told <em>7News Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>"This is becoming really out of control."</p> <p><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/dodgy-drivers-licence-tactic-used-by-millions-growing-out-of-control-044254123.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Australia</em> </a>shared a screenshot of a chat obtained from Facebook, which showed a person responding to an ad someone put up about selling their demerit points. </p> <p>"What fine is it?" the person advertising asked. </p> <p>"Speeding," the person replied. </p> <p>"Yeah I can sort it out for you," they said. </p> <p>When asked how it would work the advertiser replied: "If it's under 5 points it's $80 a point". </p> <p>There are tough penalties for those who choose to falsely nominate another driver, and for those who trade their demerit points for cash. </p> <p>In Victoria, offenders face fines of $9,000, while those in NSW and Queensland cop a maximum penalty of $11,000. </p> <p>In addition to hefty fines, imprisonment is also a risk, with one high-profile incident in 2006 landing former federal court judge Marcus Einfeld in prison after he was caught falsely declaring another driver for his speeding fine. </p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS/ Facebook</em></p>

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“Is that Snoop Dog?!”: Man caught with fake passenger in carpool lane

<p>A US motorist has been handed a traffic infringement after police found him using a dummy to drive in the carpool lane. </p> <p>Not only did his hilarious attempt to bypass morning traffic with the fake passenger whose goatee was "just a little too sharp" get him fined, he helped authorities answer the common question: “If I have a mannequin in the passenger seat, does that count as a second occupant in the vehicle? </p> <p>"The answer is simple… NO."</p> <p>According to an Instagram post shared by the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Spring, authorities stopped the unnamed driver for crossing a double line when they noticed the plastic passenger. </p> <p>"Officer Kaplan made an enforcement stop on this vehicle for crossing solid double lines only to realise the driver was the only occupant in the vehicle with their plastic friend," they wrote. </p> <p>The mannequin in question had a human-like mask, sported a hoodie and sunglasses, and was seated upright with his seatbelt buckled in just like any other passenger. </p> <p>And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for the fake facial hair. </p> <p>"The goatee was sharp … just a little too sharp," they shared. </p> <p>"We've gotta give it to them, the appearance is next-level modelling but at the end of the day ... plastic is plastic." </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by CHP Santa Fe Springs (@chp_santa_fe_springs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The driver was issued with a number of citations for carpool violations, but many online commenters shared their amusement at the light-hearted nature of the traffic violation. </p> <p>"Is that snoop dog?!" wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Leave Stevie wonder alone," joked another. </p> <p>"I really don’t see a problem here because most people are fake and have lots of plastic on them anyways," quipped a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Woman fined after paid car park gets set up around her parked vehicle

<p>Josephine Williams had been leaving her car in a gravel clearing at Westgate in Auckland, alongside other commuters to catch the bus into the city for months. </p> <p>The New Zealand woman was left with a "nasty surprise" when she returned from work on Monday to find a NZ $85 ($77) fine sitting on her windshield. </p> <p>"To my unfortunate surprise - and many others - I was greeted by an $85 parking ticket for a breach and a flyer from Wilson Parking saying paid parking had started that day," Williams told <em>Stuff</em>.</p> <p>"But what breach exactly was made? How was I supposed to know paid parking started that day when there was nothing at all displayed anywhere in the car park?"</p> <p>Williams claimed that the Wilson Parking car park had been set up around her already parked car, even providing dash cam footage that showed her pulling into the gravel clearing at 7.45am, with no paid parking signs or Wilson branding in sight. </p> <p>By 6pm, a large red and white Wilson sign had been put up at the entrance, with "12 hours for $4" written on it. </p> <p>"Wilson deliberately put their sign up sometime after 9am and then took it upon themselves to fine every single car that was already parked there from the morning," Williams said.</p> <p>"$85 is a lot of money - it would have been two weeks' worth of grocery shopping for me," she added. </p> <p>"I'm lucky that I know the law and my rights, but some other people might not. What about students or the elderly or people who don't know English well?"</p> <p>She estimated that there was usually around 50 and 100 cars in the gravel clearing. </p> <p>Wilson argued that the carpark was always there and they had just added more signage, but have since waived Williams' fine after she lodged a request to have it reviewed by Parking Enforcement Services. </p> <p>Wilson Parking also said that they had started to set up the car park and installed a "clear signage" on April 22. </p> <p>"It was not set up around parked cars on 29 April as suggested," a Wilson spokesperson said.</p> <p>"Several payments were made by customers via the Parkmate app from 22 April proving that signage on the site was clear and effective," they said.</p> <p>They added that on April 29 more signs were added to all entry points of the car park. </p> <p>"In acknowledgment of the increased signage added on the 29th at the entry we've made the decision to refund all payments made until 30 April and waive any breach notices issued up to this date."</p> <p>They also denied issuing any breach notices before the signs were put up.</p> <p>"Payment options were available and signed from 22 April - but no infringement notices were issued prior to the 29th."</p> <p><em>Images: Stuff</em></p> <p> </p>

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Advocates slam "ageist" call for older drivers to undergo mandatory testing

<p>A fresh push to make older drivers undergo mandatory health checks every year has been labelled ageist by advocates. </p> <p>General Practitioners have reignited the debate to introduce annual assessments for drivers in Victoria aged 75 and over, to bring the state in line with standards in other states including NSW, Queensland, WA and the Australian Capital Territory. </p> <p>“This is not about discriminating against older people, but a recognition that the skills that are required to drive safely can be lost as we get older,” the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Victoria chair Dr Anita Muñoz told <em>The Age</em>. </p> <p>"We do feel that having an annual assessment done for elderly drivers is a good thing," the college's Victoria co-deputy chair Dr Bindiya Sethi added. </p> <p>Victoria Police data obtained by <em>The Age</em> also showed that 145 people have died and 7080 have been injured in road incidents caused by people aged over 65. </p> <p>20 per cent of licence holders in Victoria are over 65, which has gone up from 16 per cent a decade ago. </p> <p>In the last financial year, there were 247 deaths and 16,265 injuries caused by crashes on Victorian roads, with drivers aged 65 and over responsible for around 10 per cent of these incidences. </p> <p>However, Chris Potaris, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria, has called the move "ageist". </p> <p>“We continue to support Victoria’s approach, which emphasises a driver’s behaviour and medical fitness to operate a motor vehicle,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“Driving should be based on ability, not on age.”</p> <p>Seniors Rights Victoria policy and advocacy manager Ben Rogers has also slammed the move. </p> <p>"We find it ageist and arbitrary ... It's targeting people that don't need to be targeted," Rogers said. </p> <p>MP Steve Dimopolous added that there was no evidence that an aged-based assessment model was any better than the existing rules. </p> <p>VicRoads also claimed that there is a lot of misinformation about older drivers, who are "usually more cautious, more experienced and more responsible" than younger drivers.</p> <p> </p> <p>"They are more likely to obey the law and are less likely to drink drive or speed," VicRoads said.</p> <p>However, a few others believe that mandatory assessments are a good move. </p> <p>"I think it's fair enough. Over a certain age, maybe 70 or so," local man Pat said.</p> <p>"I think the younger drivers are worse than the older drivers," another added. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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10 million animals die on our roads each year. Here’s what works (and what doesn’t) to cut the toll

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graeme-coulson-1378778">Graeme Coulson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helena-bender-98800">Helena Bender</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>There’s almost no warning. A dark shape appears on the side of the road, then you feel a jolt as something goes under the car. Or worse, the shape rears up, hits the front of your vehicle, then slams into the windscreen. You have just experienced a wildlife-vehicle collision.</p> <p>This gruesome scene plays out <a href="https://www.bbcearth.com/news/australias-road-kill-map">every night across Australia</a>. When these collisions happen, many animals become instant roadkill. An <a href="https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/handle/2123/23121/Thesis%20updated%20for%20library%20submission.pdf?sequence=1">estimated 10 million</a> native mammals, reptiles, birds and other species are killed each year.</p> <p>Others are injured and die away from the road. Some survive with <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-are-hit-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-how-you-can-help-them-and-steer-clear-of-them-these-holidays-149733">terrible injuries and have to be euthanised</a>. The lucky ones might <a href="https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/who-should-i-contact-about-injured-wildlife/">be rescued</a> by groups such as <a href="https://wildliferescue.net.au/">Wildlife Rescue</a>, <a href="https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/">Wildlife Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.wires.org.au/">WIRES</a>.</p> <p>Wildlife-vehicle collisions also increase the risk to whole populations of some threatened species, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/WR17143">Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo</a> on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.</p> <p>People are affected, too. Human <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/1742-6723.13361">deaths and injuries</a> from these collisions are rising, with motorcyclists at greatest risk. Vehicle repairs are <a href="https://www.mynrma.com.au/-/media/wildlife-road-safety-report--final.pdf">inconvenient and costly</a>. Added to this is the distress for people when dealing with a dead or dying animal on the roadside.</p> <p>How can we reduce the wildlife toll on our roads? Many measures have been tried and proven largely ineffective. However, other evidence-based approaches can help avoid collisions.</p> <h2>Evidence for what works is limited</h2> <p>Many communities are worried about the growing impacts of wildlife-vehicle collisions and are desperate for solutions. Recent reports from <a href="https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1822182/FULLTEXT01.pdf">Europe</a> and <a href="https://westerntransportationinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/4w7576_Huijser_etal_WVC_ConnectivityLiteratureReview_PooledFundStudyFinalReport_2021.pdf">North America</a> review the many methods to reduce such collisions.</p> <p>Do these findings apply to Australia’s unique fauna? Unfortunately, we don’t have a detailed analysis of options for our wildlife, but here’s what we know now.</p> <p>Well-designed fences keep wildlife off our highways but also fragment the landscape. Happily, animals will use crossing structures – overpasses and <a href="https://theconversation.com/good-news-highway-underpasses-for-wildlife-actually-work-187434">underpasses</a> – to get to food and mates on the other side of the road. Fences and crossings do work, but are regarded as too costly over Australia’s vast road network.</p> <p>As for standard wildlife warning signs, drivers <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494358/">ignore most of them</a> after a while, making them ineffective. Signs with graphic images and variable messages get <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani3041142">more attention</a>, but we need road trials to assess their effect on drivers and collision rates.</p> <h2>Whistling in the dark</h2> <p>Some drivers install cheap, wind-driven, high-pitched wildlife whistles on their vehicles. Tests in the United States 20 years ago found humans and deer <a href="https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1582071">could not hear any whistling sound</a> above the road noise of the test vehicle. Yet these devices are still sold in Australia as kangaroo deterrents.</p> <p>The Shu-Roo, an Australian invention, is an active wildlife whistle. It is fitted to the bumper bar, producing a high-pitched electronic sound, which is claimed to scare wildlife away from the road. Sadly, <a href="https://rest.neptune-prod.its.unimelb.edu.au/server/api/core/bitstreams/3c3154e0-2f48-5b73-a6cd-a7423c2a75ee/content">our tests</a> show the Shu-Roo signal can’t be heard above road noise 50 metres away and has no effect on captive kangaroo behaviour.</p> <p>We also recruited fleets of trucks, buses, vans, utes and cars to field test the Shu-Roo. Nearly 100 vehicles covered more than 4 million kilometres across Australia over 15,500 days. The drivers reported just over one wildlife-vehicle collision per 100,000km travelled, but <a href="https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2021.042">there was no difference in the rate</a> for vehicles fitted with a Shu-Roo versus those without one.</p> <p>The virtual fence is the latest attempt to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. It uses a line of posts spaced along the roadside, each with a unit producing loud sounds and flashing lights aimed away from the road. Vehicle headlights activate the units, which are claimed to alert animals and reduce the risk of collision.</p> <p>Early results from Tasmania were encouraging. A 50% drop in possum and wallaby deaths was reported, but <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/AM19009">this trial had many design flaws</a>. Recent trials in <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/10/752">Tasmania</a>, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/10/1323">New South Wales</a> and <a href="https://www.redland.qld.gov.au/downloads/download/292/virtual_fence_to_reduce_vehicle_collisions_with_wallabies_on_heinemann_rd_-_final_report_2020">Queensland</a> show no effect of virtual fencing on collisions with possums, wallabies or wombats.</p> <p>Our concern is that this system is being <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/wildlife-fence-trial-underway-in-queensland-and-phillip-island/12268110">rolled out</a> in <a href="https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2023/june/councils-innovative-trial-helping-keep-local-wildlife-safe">many</a> <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-26/nsw-south-coast-council-first-virtual-fence-to-protect-wildlife/101571600">parts</a> of <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/the-stealth-tech-aiming-to-stop-roos-from-becoming-roadkill-20231222-p5etda.html">Australia</a>. It gives the impression of action to reduce collisions with wildlife, but without an evidence base, solid study design or adequate monitoring.</p> <h2>A very messy problem</h2> <p>The problem has many dimensions. We need to consider all of them to achieve safe travel for people and animals on our roads.</p> <p>At a landscape level, collision hotspots occur where wildlife frequently cross roads, which can help us predict the collision risk for species such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.13465">koalas</a>. But the risk differs between species. For example, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01530">on Phillip Island</a> most wallaby collisions happen on rural roads, while most involving possums and birds are in urban streets.</p> <p>Traffic volume and speed are key factors for many species, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2306">kangaroos</a>.</p> <p>Driver training and experience are also important. In the Royal National Park in New South Wales, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/6/6/40">half the drivers surveyed</a> had struck animals, including wallabies and deer. Yet most still <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-are-hit-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-how-you-can-help-them-and-steer-clear-of-them-these-holidays-149733">weren’t keen</a> to slow down or avoid driving at dawn and dusk.</p> <p>Road design has a major influence on wildlife-vehicle collions too, but the planning process too often <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2022.959918">neglects wildlife studies</a>.</p> <p>Smarter cars are <a href="https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1822182/FULLTEXT01.pdf">being developed</a>. One day these will use AI to spot animal hazards, apply automatic emergency braking and alert other drivers of real-time risk.</p> <p>To explore potential technological solutions, Transport for NSW is running a <a href="https://www.eianz.org/events/event/symposium-using-technology-to-reduce-wildlife-vehicle-collisions">symposium</a> at the University of Technology Sydney on May 21. The symposium will cover wildlife ecology and the evidence base for options to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in Australia.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you see an injured animal on the road, call <a href="https://www.wildliferescue.net.au/">Wildlife Rescue Australia</a> on 1300 596 457. for specific state and territory numbers, go to the <a href="https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/who-should-i-contact-about-injured-wildlife/">RSPCA injured wildlife site</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222367/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graeme-coulson-1378778"><em>Graeme Coulson</em></a><em>, Honorary Principal Fellow, School of BioSciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helena-bender-98800">Helena Bender</a>, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Social Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-die-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-what-works-and-what-doesnt-to-cut-the-toll-222367">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Police share wild seatbelt pic after fining driver for bizarre DIY fix

<p>A driver has copped a $387 fine over their bizarre seatbelt fix during a random stationary test at Richmond in Sydney's northwest. </p> <p>A photo shared by NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol showed the shocking state of the driver's seatbelt, which was tattered and held together by duct tape. </p> <p>The police department have warned other drivers to make sure their seatbelts are in good condition, otherwise they too might cop a fine and demerit points.</p> <p>"Seatbelts help to save lives, except for this one...."  they wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. </p> <p>"Hawkesbury Highway Patrol were recently conducting random stationary testing on Londonderry Road at Richmond when they spoke with a driver about his seatbelt.</p> <p> "Not only was the seatbelt not being worn, an inspection of the seatbelt found it to be dangerously defective," they added. </p> <p>"He was issued a defect notice and infringement in the amount of $387 and three demerit points. Please ensure your seatbelts don't look like this."</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/SeatbeltNSWPolice.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Many commenters were baffled as to how the vehicle passed the eSafety check, also known as a pink slip inspection, which is required for vehicles over five years old in NSW to be deemed roadworthy. </p> <p>"And who passed the Pink Slip? That’s where I’d be heading,"  one wrote. </p> <p>"I wonder who did the rego check on this vehicle," another added. </p> <p>"How does it even get to that stage," a third questioned, while others agreed that the seatbelt was no longer safe. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty / Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, NSW Police Force</em></p>

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