NatRoad says better roads beats speed management

NSW government is looking into how to improve road safety on regional roads

NatRoad says better roads beats speed management
NatRoad says infrastructure investment is key to improving road safety

The NSW Standing Committee on Road Safety (Staysafe) is enquiring into regional speed limits and road safety, looking into whether the current speed limits are suitable and what the impacts of improved technology and road infrastructure are on safety.

In its submission, NatRoad has said that while speed must always be appropriate to road conditions, governments at all levels need to invest in significant infrastructure upgrades to achieve greater safety on the road.

"There is no better example than the upgrade currently underway on the Kings Highway, which is the state road linking Canberra with Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast," says NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.

"Its focus is on building overtaking lanes and installing safety treatments, like widened centrelines and shoulders, safety barriers and audio-tactile line marking. 

"Safety improvements like these are much more important than speed management, which all too frequently becomes a revenue-raiser."

NatRoad wants Transport for NSW to ban vulnerable road users such as cyclists from a range of highways. 

"TfNSW really needs to take a close look at risk management starting with restricting bicycle access to the Pacific Highway," Clark says.

The contentious question of variable speed limits has been raised by NatRoad members who say its incidence is increasing.

"Our strong view is that variability can lead to inadvertent non-compliance, largely unrelated to safety issues, and is a poor way to deal with safety," says Clark.

"Variable speed limits cause frustration and we see it in the behaviour of light vehicle drivers who often overtake trucks in a dangerous manner.

"Wherever possible, we want road designers to make sure heavy and light vehicles are separated and there must be a greater focus on educating people in appropriate driving behaviour around heavy vehicles.

"It’s safer if all heavy vehicles are permitted to travel at the same maximum speed because it reduces the need for overtaking.

"The difference in handling and stability for different types of combinations at a 10km/h speed difference is minimal and does not outweigh the benefits of the same maximum speed."

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