Let’s not get too excited, but the Queensland Government is thinking about lifting speed limits on some roads to 130km/h.
We say that because they are also considering lowering the speed limits on some roads and with the current quality of roads in the Sunshine State after a pounding from several flood seasons, there is little likelihood many roads will get increases limits.
Also, safety groups, the RACQ and senior groups are already up in arms about the proposal.
It follows a recent announcement by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay that he is prepared to consider raising the limit on roads that meet certain standards. Also the Northern Territory is considering restoring its open speed limits on remote sections of highway abolished in 2006.
Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson seems to support community consultation on the issue.
“There is research out there which shows if you don’t have the appropriate speed limit for the quality of the road, there is a tendency for people to break the law,” he says.
“But it’s not a case of ‘look, everybody’s speeding on this road so we should raise the limit’, because the road may not be suitable for that speed.”
He also warned that under a speed limit review in NSW 20 per cent of the 100 roads reviewed 20% had the limits lowered, 20% went faster and 60% were unchanged.
However, the critics were quick to line up, including the Older Drivers Safety Advisory Committee who want lower speeds to suit the growing number of seniors on the roads.
The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland says the state’s roads are not good enough to cope with higher speeds and the RACQ agrees, saying the only road that should have a higher limit is the M1.
A final decision on Queensland speed limits on 100 sections of road will be made by mid-2014.
Needless to say, I think it is ridiculous that it has been 20 years since speed limits were reviewed in Queensland.
In the past 20 years, cars have become much safer with every new vehicle having airbags, ABS and stability control. Many motorcycles also have ABS. Modern vehicles are capable of traveling safely at higher speeds and there is a lot to be said for the higher levels of concentration and alertness when traveling at these speeds.
While I believe speeds on major highways and lonely stretches of remote country roads (like in the picture below) should be increased to 130km/h, trucks should still be limited to 100km/h and they should be restricted to the left lane. Same goes for caravans.
It is these limitations that contribute to the success of Germany’s autobahns, some of which are no better quality than our highways.