Safety Issues

Faster than any other boy has ever gone

If you break the speed limit you are the devil’s spawn. It’s true. You’ve seen the shocking road safety ads on TV, what other conclusion can one come to?

Regardless of which side of the needle you sit, it’s hard to deny that Australia’s state and territory governments have a fixation with speed cameras.

It’s reached a point now where governments around the country are drunk on the revenue speed cameras bring in. Let’s not bother with the debate over whether speed cameras are effective road safety devices or not, because the fact is they’re not going anywhere. Not while the millions and millions of dollars continue to roll in to the coffers of money hungry state/territory treasurers.

Don’t want to contribute to the revenue swill, don’t speed. It’s pretty simple.

So, back to the speed debate, then. For the let-me-drive-as-fast-as-I-want crowd the last bastion of sense was in the Northern Territory where, until 2007, you could actually could drive as fast as you wanted. Really.

Then, just like that, those silly Territorians introduced a speed limit like the rest of the country. It will save lives, they said. You know, the usual mantra. But it didn’t. Not in simple terms anyway.

Quoting an article from Fairfax Media, “In the six years since [NT ended unlimited speeds], more people have died on Northern Territory roads (307) than in the six years before the change (292).”

Yay, speeding doesn’t kill, so let’s lift the restrictions and do it like the Germans do and let us all drive like bats out of hell. Read any online debate over speed limits and within five comments some will say, “My experience on the German Autobahns suggests…”

It’s worth pointing that 40% of German Autobahns do have a mandated 130km/h speed limit and that remains the recommended speed on derestricted roads. But not for much longer if the German opposition SPD party has its way.

They want to end the days of derestricted Autobahns and introduce a blanket 120km/h limit. No formal policy has been formulated at this stage, but as reported by Autocar, SPD spokesman Sigmar Gabriel reckons statistics prove the road toll is lower on the restricted roads and that’s good enough for him.

Back in the day I would have been burning effigies of speed limit signs in a rage of self-importance. But I’m older now and find the fence a more comfortable place to be. I’ll let others fight it out. Ultimately, seeking increased speed limits is not that important. Respecting other road users is where it’s at kids.

Drive safely.

[Thanks to Mark and Matt for the tips | Pic:]

6 replies on “Faster than any other boy has ever gone”

Some speed cameras almost unavoidably force you to speed. Such as cameras just before the bottom of a hill leading into another hill. That just just plain dodgy to those of us who drive manual.

I’ll be happy if they increase the freeway limit to only 120km/h… 110km/h is a tad slow with today’s car & freeway developments.

Yet the fatalities on the roads that got the 130 km/h speed limit has halved… You can’t mix crash statistics for the entire state to use as the argument for 3 regional highways 🙂

Speed cameras should be put in around all school zones in my opinion. People don’t do 40 and they should. It’s a tiny inconvenience for a good safety improvement.

As for highways, keep the speed limit at 110, but on multi lane roads that are relatively straight, have sections where the suggested speed is still 110, but have an upper limit of say 130. I’d be willing to bet you’d see fewer fatigue related crashes and no increase in accidents. That way people who feel comfortable with the speed can do so in the fast lane, but the speed difference between people doing normal speeds won’t be significant which is the great fear if you remove speed limits all together.

Good point Richard. I never intended this to be a very scientific analysis.

The comments have been good so far, keep them coming.

The results from the NT, particularily the halving on the roads with reduced speeds limits mean virtually nothing. The numbers are very small and not statistically significant.

The NT limits are interesting. The distances are vast, the amount of oncoming traffic is small, and if you run off the road there is often less to hit. in this context high speed limits are probably a good thing because they reduce time on the road and driver fatigue.

One thing that always interests me when I go to tassie is that they have 110kmh limits on non dual carriageway roads, whereas most of the mainland states only have 100kmh on these roads.

Comments are closed.