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Journeys : Feb March 2011
February / March 2011 5 In our community RACT members – have your say on the State Government’s planned changes to speed limits on rural roads Like many of our members, I took the opportunity to explore our state’s amazing natural scenery during the Christmas and New Year per iod. I travelled on many rural roads, and noticed – not for the first time – huge var iations in their quality. Some roads were good, while geographic limitations imposed differences in other roads’ w idth and form. There were some unexpectedly tight corners and undulations, pot holes, poor-quality bitumen and lack of sealed shoulders. In summary, no two roads were alike. It must be hard driving for the many tour ists from interstate and overseas who are accustomed to roads of a more uniform standard, and it is certainly the case that tourists have tragically featured in our road trauma statistics. So the State Government’s decision late last year to consider speed limit reductions on these roads is an important issue for the RACT and Tasmanian motor ists. The Gover nment’s idea is to reduce the default r ural speed limit from 100 to 90 km/h on sealed roads, and to 80 km/h on unsealed roads. Road crash statistics show that over 40% of serious crashes occur on roads with a speed limit of 100 km/h and the RACT agrees that it is appropriate for the Gover nment to be focusing attention on this category of roads. However, given the huge var iation in quality of our 100km/h roads, I am concerned about a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This view has been reinforced to me through my recent holiday experiences on our roads. We have requested more data from DIER about all the roads affected by this proposal and detailed crash statistics for each of these roads. Read the story on the following page. The information the Government provides w ill be useful in formulating our response. We are also interested in hearing members’ views directly. Tell us what you think via the R ACT Community section on our website or by letter. From the CEO The RACT is currently involved in a community campaign with Kidsafe to bring rural Tasmanians up to speed on child restraints. Child restraint laws were quite extensively updated at the end of last November, and the concern of both Kidsafe and the R ACT was that for rural Tasmanians, it’s not so easy to pop into an R ACT centre for advice and fitting of the right child restraint. So together, we’ve been granted funding by the M AIB Foundation to provide information sessions in rural and regional areas across the state. These sessions continue through until mid-March and I’d urge you to attend if you live in a rural area and transport children in your vehicle. You will learn much, and if you already have restraints in your car, you can get them checked by RACT experts. Each year, some 38 children under the age of seven are injured or killed as passengers in vehicles on Tasmanian roads. Parents generally move their children into adult seatbelts from about the age of five and half years, before they’re ready for it. In fact, children up to seven years are at least four times more likely to sustain a head injury in a crash when sitting in an adult seatbelt only. You’ll find more details on the RACT website – please go to the RACT Community section, read the child restraints article and post a comment. STOP PRESS Just as our magazine was about to be printed, the full impact of the devastating floods in Queensland and New South Wales was becoming clear. As Tasmanians, we have had our share of disaster from fire and flood, so we have a real sense of empathy for our fellow Australians and the calamity they have experienced. We also share an understanding of how such terrible and uncontrollable natural events can affect a community – and we know that in towns like Chinchilla, Grantham and Grafton, and even in cities like Toowoomba, Ipswich and Brisbane, everyone will know someone who has lost property, possessions, or worse, a friend or a family member. Given that the economic cost estimate has been put at upwards of $10 billion, the enormity of the recovery effort is clear. With this in mind, the RACT will be matching, dollar for dollar, all donations made to the flood appeal by our statewide team of RACT staff. It’s a small way that we can show our support and concern for the people who have lost so much. Harvey Lennon Chief Executive Officer
Apr May 2011