Open speed limit to begin in NT next year

Open speed limit on the Stuart Highway will begin on February 1, but it will not extend to heavy vehicles

October 17, 2013

A year-long trial of an open speed limit on the Stuart Highway will begin next year, but it will not extend to heavy vehicles.

The open speed limit on the 200km stretch between Barrow Creek and Alice Springs will commence on February 1.

Transport Minister Peter Styles says the section was appropriate for the trial because no speed-related fatalities had been recorded between 2001 and 2011.

"We are bringing responsibility back to motorists. They need to be able to drive to the road conditions and their capabilities," Styles says.

However, he adds that the open speed limit is not a licence to drive recklessly.

"Open speed limits mean driving to the road conditions – everyone should drive within their own capabilities, the condition of the road, prevailing weather conditions and the standard of their vehicle," Styles says.

"Learner and provisional drivers and heavy vehicles will continue to be speed limited as they are now."

Styles says police will continue to prosecute motorists caught driving in a dangerous manner and adds that officers will be increasing enforcement of the non-wearing of seatbelts and drink driving. Both offences remain major causes of fatalities and serious injuries on Territory roads.

The Government will also implement a new policy for setting speed limits near road houses on major highways, he adds.

"Speed at road houses will be determined based on access arrangements, visibility, setbacks from roads and level of pedestrian activity," Styles says.

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