Tasmania rural speed limit reduction unpopular

Trucking industry players join majority of public in opposition to the idea

April 30, 2013

Tasmania’s inquiry into lowering secondary road speed limits is facing heavy opposition to the idea, not least from elements of the state’s trucking fraternity.

The inquiry is looking at lowering the default rural speed limit of 100km/h to 90 km/h on sealed roads and to 80km/h on unsealed roads.

Opposition to the idea floated by the Road Safety Advisory Council more than two years ago has been strongest in country areas.

Public hearings have been held in Hobart earlier this month
and in Launceston yesterday.

Local media reports have highlighted Page Transport owner Geoff Page’s evidence on the need for better roads, driver education and fatigue management ahead of a move that would mean driver
confusion over a spread of differing speed limits.

The livestock transport specialist adds that the state of Tasmania’s rural roads meant trucks struggle to make it to the present speed limit anyway.

Stefan Rebarcyzyk of dealers Burt & Campbell Trucks believes complacency and boredom could become an issue for country-dwellers once they are out of their comfort zones.

An artificially low speed limit might see "locals in that area . . . become used to that pace and when they enter the highway 110kph zones their acquired abilities will become sorely tested", Rebarcyzyk says in a submission.

Inquiry committee chairman Greg Hall has noted that the public’s feeling against the changes was running at 75-80 percent, as measured by submissions.

In the Hobart hearing, Road Safety Advisory Council Chairman John Gledhill restated his organisation’s reasoning behind calling for a limit reduction.

"It is proven that where infrastructure can't be upgraded, speed management is the best option to mitigate risk," Gledhill says.

"The science is strong. Reducing travel speed reduces crashes and crash severity regardless of the cause."

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources has said the State cannot afford to upgrade all its roads.

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