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  1. #1
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Default Interesting ("Road Toll")!

    After Easter I heard a news item that said, roughly:

    "Eleven people died on Australian roads over Easter, one of the lowest death tolls in many years..."

    "Police report that more people than ever were speeding..."

    "Speed kills and police will continue to book motorists caught speeding."

    Now I would really like to know if anyone has statistics on this...

    "...in many years..."? They're joking... I would say it's the lowest figure ever... or at least since the days of the Model T. I remember when NSW alone had more than twice that number and more every year!

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    So how many years is it since the 'road toll' was that low over Easter?

    And how many were booked for speeding over the long weekend? And how many police were on the road? I have to say that I only saw about three, but maybe I was in the wrong place... I only went from Sydney to Goulburn to Young to Parkes to Griffith to Young.

    Of course it would be just too hard to find out how many police were on the road, too... and how many of those caught speeding were caught by cameras on sticks and other hidden cameras compared to those caught by other means.

  2. #2
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hmm,

    well I went all the way from Ballarat to Canberra, down through Jyndabine, then thredbo, followed by the best road I've driven on in my life, then back to Ballarat. In my travels I saw 2 marked police cars, and 1 unmarked booking someone (ALL in NSW).

    However I have a horrible feeling I passed under a number of overpasses that had cameras on them. (in Victoria naturly --I didn't notice the bloody cameras mounted on the bridges over the Hume at first ) Considering I cruised on about 2700rpm in top gear most of the way that certainly is a cause for concern. All those drivers sitting on exactly 108km/h is a daze is certainly a worry. The few that cruised on about 120km/h and actually **drove** there cars and watched what was happening around them were without doubt the safest drivers out there.

    Increasing the speed limits isn't the answer, if they were increased to 140km/h then all the same drivers would have there cruise set to 138km/h and still drive in a day dream gazing 5meters in front of the car

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    PS: You of course realise it's the speed cameras for the cause of the low death rate NOT the lack of police on the roads, road contions and of course the fact this is just probably within the average fluctuation of deaths on the roads.
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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Not really... it's an all-time low... as far as modern times are concerned, anyway.

    And I have never supported higher speed limits...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    Not really... it's an all-time low... as far as modern times are concerned, anyway.

    And I have never supported higher speed limits...
    I was surprised too! I guess there is a progressive improvement in roads that carry bulk traffic, more emphasis (not necessarily intelligently directed!!!!) on safety/speed issues and cars are just getting a helluva lot safer when you have your accident.

    Millions of cars travelling in opposite directions, crossing roads, passing manouvres and so forth, and just 11 fatalities this Easter is just unbelievably good when you think about it.

    I'd love to see a proper statistical look at this, as I'm sure Shane has a point with respect to the random nature of accident occurrences with respect to time (although no doubt correlations with weather, holidays etc). Accidents per driven kilometre might be one statistic, total accidents, then some ranking of injury/death per accident for different severity. These comments aren't new of course. There is an accident research unit at Adelaide University - I must look into this.

    Whilst I'm not an enthusiastic advocate of higher speed limits (except for myself of course - Ah for the days of 140 kph cruising in SA....) I keep sighing at police "interpretations" of individual weekend tolls. Comments like "People just don't seem to get the message" and "People are still driving irresponsibly" etc just leave me gasping.

    I won't go on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    one of the lowest death tolls in many years..."
    "more people than ever were speeding..."
    "speed kills"

    Didnt they just completely contradict themselves???
    somehow i'm not surprised!

    Faster speed limits, i think would be a good idea AS LONG AS:
    * Cars must be safer (too old = not registerable, cept for special events etc & maybe have a speed limiter?)
    * ABS Mandatory... after doing a driving course this invention is superb!
    * Driving courses Mandatory!!! (log book is a good step, but i believe you need professional instruction for everyone)
    * Automatic drop of speed limits by x% when wet (if the sign says 100, then its 90 in the wet)

    The fact that cars are continually getting better & speed limits are getting slower since the 70's!!! (drum brakes, no ABS, no safety cells etc...) and the death count remains the same, to me suggests its not speeding.

    Work mates were discussing this & in America they reduced speed limits in places & it increased the road toll & accident levels! increased it again & it dropped!

    I think the major problem is people doing stupid things or falling asleep...

    I'd like to see a breakdown of all accidents & deaths & see what the actual causes were...

    We can only drive faster if we're truely capable of doing it!
    Do some driver training!!! & keep doing it every now & then!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nate
    Didn't they just completely contradict themselves???
    somehow i'm not surprised!

    Faster speed limits, i think would be a good idea AS LONG AS:
    * Cars must be safer (too old = not registerable, cept for special events etc & maybe have a speed limiter?)
    * ABS Mandatory... after doing a driving course this invention is superb!
    * Driving courses Mandatory!!! (log book is a good step, but i believe you need professional instruction for everyone)
    * Automatic drop of speed limits by x% when wet (if the sign says 100, then its 90 in the wet)

    The fact that cars are continually getting better & speed limits are getting slower since the 70's!!! (drum brakes, no ABS, no safety cells etc...) and the death count remains the same, to me suggests its not speeding.

    Work mates were discussing this & in America they reduced speed limits in places & it increased the road toll & accident levels! increased it again & it dropped!

    I think the major problem is people doing stupid things or falling asleep...

    I'd like to see a breakdown of all accidents & deaths & see what the actual causes were...

    We can only drive faster if we're truely capable of doing it!
    Do some driver training!!! & keep doing it every now & then!
    I didn't see the article that Ray was refering to but I agree with most of what you posted.

    Just a few things though
    I don't see how you stipulate that a car over a certain age becomes "unregisterable"
    The registerabilty of a vehicle must be assesed by the condition and roadworthiness of the car. My car is 20 years old but it is in better mechanical condition than alot of 5 year old cars.

    ABS mandatory ....see above...(your well and truly into deep poo territory if the ABS is activating) besides, I've got my proportioning valve set juuuusssst right...

    As for the driving courses and variable speed limits, couldn't agree more.

    The problem of course is enforcement, one persons spitting is another persons raining.....(most probably mr Plod )

    Remember the speed limit is the MAXIMUM speed allowable under IDEAL conditions.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistareno
    The problem of course is enforcement, one persons spitting is another persons raining.....(most probably mr Plod )
    I believe that in some places in Europe (is it France?) they have variable speed limits in the wet. The rule is, wipers on = lower speed limit. Only a complete moron would leave his wipers off in the rain so that s/he is legally able to go faster.

    Of course, I don't know where that will leave them when wipers are replaced by air jets.
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    1000+ Posts U Turn's Avatar
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    Kinda off-topic, but I recently came back from Melbourne and I was quite impressed by the speed limits there. I know that Vic law has anally low tolerance for speeding and even 63 could get you booked in a 60 zone, but in my short time in Melbourne, I found most of the limits were quite reasonable and even, if I may say *gulp* generous. I found many areas even near the city that were 70 and 80 signposted. The speed limits also changed quite frequently on the same road eg. from 60 up to 70, back down etc. A lot of people complain about this, but in my opinion it makes people concentrate more, and not just in looking out for the speed limit signs, but in general awareness of surroundings. The areas where the limits increased and decreased also made sense, like where major junctions are approaching, the speed limit would decrease from 70 to 60. During my stay in Melbourne, I never felt like I was going too slow, and I never felt frustrated sticking to the speed limits.

    Where I'm currently residing, in Adelaide, it's a different story. Many places that warrant a 70 or a 80, are stubbornly limited to 60. Port rd and Victoria rd past Pt Adelaide are classic examples, if that was in Melbourne, those roads would be a 60 zone in a few places, and change to 70 and 80 for most sections. But nope, in Adelaide no matter how wide those roads are, no matter that in many sections they are dead straight for many kms and are passing thru non-residential areas, they are 60. You can see the frustration affecting the majority of motorists along those roads, and frustration can and does cause accidents.
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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    For the most part, I have no real issues with city speed limits... except for arterial roads, and even they seem to be improving. Entrapment is an issue, however, for these are gold for the police.

    Interesting statistic from Harry Roadsense... the Christmas 'road toll' runs pretty close to the same death rate as every other day or week or fortnight of the year! Easter is a bit higher.

    The way they carry on about it at Christmas, you'd think that five or six times the 'normal' number were dying on the roads during that time.

  10. #10
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    Have bit my toungue on this thread- I used to work in Road Safety. Sure you will all be shocked and stunned to hear that the road toll is a very political topic.

    The police want to reduce the toll while the state roads departments actually have an incentive to see it go up. This is because they can use crash statistics to obtain black spot funding from the Feds.

    I remember one recent year in which SA had a record low toll, of course the police claimed that this was due to their use of laser speed guns. Based on this they were given funding to buy a significant number of new laser guns. And next year the road toll went up considerably.

    The Road Crash Researchers reackon that the road toll is linked to the economy, the theory is that when people are feeling financial they drive more and more people on the roads results in more crashes.

    They use the word "crash" because a "crash" can be avoided but an "accident" can't.

    My own observation was that 90% of crashes were regular drivers going to or from work. Friday arfternoon being the worst.

    If you want to read more there is an exciting link below:

    http://www.transport.sa.gov.au/safet.../roadcrash.asp

  11. #11
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Regular drivers going to or from work?

    Could be that they just make up a big percentage of the annual mileage travelled... or that they go to sleep on the job.

    But I always found the average Sydney road commuter was right on the case, very alert. It was the mums taking the kids to school who were off the planet, and the midday drivers.

    What percentage of these 'regular drivers going to or from work' ended their days crushed by out of control trucks?

  12. #12
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    Regular drivers going to or from work?

    Could be that they just make up a big percentage of the annual mileage travelled... or that they go to sleep on the job.

    But I always found the average Sydney road commuter was right on the case, very alert. It was the mums taking the kids to school who were off the planet, and the midday drivers.

    What percentage of these 'regular drivers going to or from work' ended their days crushed by out of control trucks?
    Ray,

    common sense says there will be signifigantly more crashes in the times that drivers go to and from work... NOT because they are poor drivers, but due to the sheer number of cars on the road. If they took the statistics as accidents per 1000vehicles on the roads, the times you have outlined would probably be the worst (ie: when all the wank tanks are out & about in the school carparks and supermarket carparks ).

    seeya,
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    Forgot the vital bits of further info: I was talking about morning and arfternoon traffic and most of the accidents were rear enders. Car stationary at a red light gets rear ended. Most with a reported damage of $2,000-$5,000. Also a scary number of drivers that go through a red light and T-bone an unlucky vehicle. In other words most of these are minor crashes occuring to and from work. Guess the point I was making is that speed is not a factor, lack of attention on the other hand is.

    Other scary point is the number of people driving around on prozac, valium and the like. Put them in a 4wd and you have a road menace.

    Other bit of trivia is that most accidents happen close to home. This could be explained by most trips being short (ie most driving happens at home) or it could be something else.
    Last edited by sdabel; 20th April 2004 at 05:26 PM.

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    I reckon they'll still be talking about this subject in 2000 years, quite simply there will always be deaths on the roads it's unavoidable. The sad thing is that the vast majority would probably be avoided if the driving/licensing standard in this country was increased. It is, quite simply, too easy to get a licence in Australia.

    All of that said (and I could go on for hours about driving standards) the simple fact is that on a "per head"/"per car on the road" basis the road toll continues to decrease each year. Think about it, if we had 11 deaths on the road in Easter 1972 how does that really compare to 11 deaths in 2004. On a "per car on the road" basis this would have to represent a half to two thirds improvement I would estimate. And what is the reason for this? Speed camers? double demerit dementia/police blitzes? improved driving standards (yeah right!)? The answer is simple, improved vehicle safety, people walk away from accidents these days that in the not too distant past would have been fatal.

    As an advanced driving instructor I get to see first hand the level of competency of the average "enthusiast" (I say enthusiast as the average motorist has no interest or intent to attend advanced training) and IMHO I'd say 70% of the people I see do not start out with the skill necessary to get themselves out of an avoidable crash. What does this say about the average day dreamer let alone Mrs Suburbia in her shiny new Land Cruisemissile/Urban Safari mobile.

    Of course we all suffer from even the most minor accidents through increased insurance premiums. I know of one company who has made a traffic light "rear ender" in a company vehicle a sackable offence.

    I'm rambling now, I'm off.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdabel
    Other scary point is the number of people driving around on prozac, valium and the like.
    Thanks for confirming what I've suspected for a while now. Given your background in road safety, can you say (even roughly) (but authoritatively) what percentage of accidents involve one or more drivers being chemically impaired? By that I mean not just point-oh-whatever, but tranquillizers, sedatives and other substances ...

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    found this article at http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosins...a03-126777.htm
    seems without head and side airbags, injuries can be expected. Reports of fatalities and truck/4WD collisions would be of interest.
    Sedans do poorly in side crashes
    12 vehicles earn lowest safety rating when hit by pickup truck or SUV
    By David Kiley / USA TODAY
    Most midsize family sedans failed a test by the insurance industry designed to see how well the cars would stand up to a side-impact crash with a pickup or SUV.
    Twelve of 15 sedans failed the test, which involves a barrier shaped like the front end of an SUV “T-boning” the side of the vehicle at a 90-degree angle going 31 mph.

    The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, equipped with optional head- and torso-protecting air bags, were the only vehicles to earn “good” ratings, which means occupants would likely not suffer serious injuries. The Chevrolet Malibu, tested with optional head protection air bags, scored “acceptable,” because its air bag system would likely result in torso injury, though not serious head injury.
    Twelve models, including the Accord, Camry and Malibu without their optional air bags, scored “poor.” Three of the models that failed — the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Saturn LS — failed despite having side air bags.
    Results of the institute’s crash tests, to be announced today, used crash-test dummies the size of a 12-year-old to predict injury to children and short adults.
    The newer-design Malibu outperforming the older-design Saturn shows that GM is improving, GM spokesman Jim Schell said. GM plans to have head-protection air bags in all vehicles by 2009.
    The other vehicles scoring poor tested without optional side air bags: Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, Dodge Stratus, Chrysler Sebring, Mazda 6 and Suzuki Verona.
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    1000+ Posts mr bern's Avatar
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    Saw the same article the other day, and thought it was curious that the conclusion was not that unnecessarily-oversized, dangerously damaging trucks should be prohibited (or even modified), but rather how everything else might be able to be modified to accommodate THEM.

    But then I read elsewhere that the three biggest-selling vehicles in the US in the last year were all trucks, and it almost seemed sensible ...

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    1000+ Posts mr bern's Avatar
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    Actually, now that I think about it, two other points from the article that I saw were worth mentioning. Firstly, the dummies used in the tests were selected -- smaller -- to represent women drivers and passengers, because it was thought (and I think the study proved) that curtain airbags were too high to be of much use for the average woman.

    Secondly, the cars that they tested were the basic models, which meant in many cases that they didn't include OPTIONAL side -- and in some cases, passenger -- airbags. Vehicle manufacturers had the choice of providing additional, optioned models as well, but at their own expense, and the results would be solely for their own benefit and would not be part of the published findings. Not sure how many took that path ...

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    I am an advocate of higher speed limits, not in the 'burbs but on the open road. I like the French system of 130kph in the dry and 110kph when wipers are necessary (plus a police force that doesn't mind if you're actually doing more than 130 in the dry so long as you're driving sensibly and safely).

    Interesting story which would never happen here - I travel to the USA a fair amount on business. In Huntsville Alabama the Interstate virtually bisects the town and like everywhere else they dropped the speed to 55mph. No one stuck to that speed so the local cops went out with their radar guns, checked what everyone was doing (about 75mph) and set the speed at that instead!

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comment that it is not speed which kills but inattentiveness. Those of us who love driving and do so by maintaining an awareness of what is happening around them are definitely the safest.
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    all good points made here....it's good to see there are some people who can see through the governments rhetoric about speed etc. It's amazing how many people now fall unquestionably in-line behind the authorities' rhetoric, and actually think booking motorists for doing 63 in a 60 zone is a good thing! Next time someone says to me "well if you don't speed you won't get booked" I'm gonna smack them in the chops! hehe.

    As long as the millions in revenue are raked in by Governments, nothing will change. We will continue on our merry route of blind compliance to road laws the rest of the western world laughs at.

    I for one think that we may as well just abandon the current farcical licencing system, and just give them out in Corn Flake boxes, cause in reality it would make stuff all difference. We don't presently require a person to have any degree of driving skill to get a licence, they just have to be able to pass a basic test and do a handbrake start!

    it's a sad state of affairs, that as a country we value our young peoples' lives so little - we throw a drivers licence at them (for fear of the political backlash if we actually required them to undergo proper skills training), then we tax them to buggery on rego, stamp duty, insurance etc to ensure they can only afford a clapped out 20yo shitheap, then we send them off on 2nd rate roads, and when they inevitably die in numbers, we blame them for being young and reckless, increase penalties even more, and watch as some smug copper or pollie bastard struts his stuff on TV praising his own efforts to reduce the toll !! It disgusts me!

    The next time you see a mobile speed camera parked by the side of the road, do what I do, pull over and park right in front of it, then take a walk around the block for 10 minutes. You'll get fitter, and you'll save half a dozen poor buggers from getting taxed. I've done it many times, and I've never been challenged once. If 100,000 others were doing the same thing, it would send a powerful message. Of course, the government would simply legislate to make it illegal!

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    You'd want to make very certain that your car couldn't be defected before you did that in NSW!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    You'd want to make very certain that your car couldn't be defected before you did that in NSW!
    Do you mean to say that in NSW the Police Force actually does the policing? What a novel concept.

    In Victoria, speed camera operations are outsourced to a private contractor. So not only are our common law rights regarding the 'burden of proof' ignored, they rub salt into the wound by using Joe Average to police the law.

    For the record, in Victoria, the guys who man the cameras get paid $17.50 an hour! I responded to an employment ad once to suss it out.

    So as for pulling up and parking in front of them, I don't think they really give a crap. Except for the fact their 'performance payments' may be reduced if they don't reach their quotas.

    I look forward to the day I am challenged about it though, cause so long as I'm parked legally then I'm commiting no offence, and will stand my ground till the end. It must the the Irish in me....hehe.

    Damien

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugrat
    Do you mean to say that in NSW the Police Force actually does the policing? What a novel concept.

    In Victoria, speed camera operations are outsourced to a private contractor. So not only are our common law rights regarding the 'burden of proof' ignored, they rub salt into the wound by using Joe Average to police the law.
    Damien
    Of course this gives the police a very powerfull bargaining chip in any industrial dispute. A cynical observer might think that the government would try to remove this power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr bern
    Thanks for confirming what I've suspected for a while now. Given your background in road safety, can you say (even roughly) (but authoritatively) what percentage of accidents involve one or more drivers being chemically impaired? By that I mean not just point-oh-whatever, but tranquillizers, sedatives and other substances ...
    I am no expert on this- my job was looking at the physical location of accidents (mapping) but I took a keen interest while I was there and have done a bit of reading on the matter. Now that I have shot down my credabillity let me continue. I believe that in SA anyone admitted to hospital after a crash has a blood test taken to check for alchohol and other illicit drugs. Not sure if this includes prescribed drugs (of course it should but we live in a world of double standards).

    Regarding drug use, a quick search brought up some figures:

    2% of victorian community have used pain killers in last 12 months (1993). 1% had used tranquillisers. Remember that kids are part of the community but don't drive so % of drivers could be higher. 1-2% may not sound like much but consider a drive between Melb and Sydney. For every 100 cars you pass 1-2 are under the influence. Even if only 1 in 500 are at risk then the odds are not good.

    http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/rsc...ry/pdf/ch2.pdf

    Fatigue is also a big unknown risk. google "microsleep" for more. Maybe its just me but I find french cars to be generally less tiring to drive.

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    Fellow Frogger! yawood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdabel
    ...Maybe its just me but I find french cars to be generally less tiring to drive.
    It's because of their great seats and compliant suspension. When I first joined the Air Force my family was in Sydney while I did my initial training in Melbourne. Naturally that resulted in numerous trips over the three month period. I used to do outskirts to outskirts in 10 hours in my 504 and always felt fresh enough to have spun around and gone on to Adelaide (if I had needed to). The earlier Peugeots always had marginal power around the city but were fantastic on the open road. That 10 hours by-the-way was back in the late seventies before all the dual road went in - it just needed one stop for fuel in Albury. That was when the roads had to be driven because there were bends in them and overtaking opportunities had to be anticipated - there wasn't time for sleep, even a micro one.
    Last edited by yawood; 21st April 2004 at 08:30 PM.
    Bruce

    Currently owned:
    1988 505 GTi S2 Familial
    1999 E46 BMW 328Ci, 2002 Falcon AUIII Ute
    Previously owned:
    ('78-'81) 1970 504 (with the beautiful French seats)
    ('81-'89) 1977 504 (took the family on postings to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra)
    Brother owned:
    203,403,404,504 (each when they were current vehicles)

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