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Journeys : Apr May 2011
Patron His E xcelle nc y, the Honourable Peter Under wood, AC Preside nt Stuart Slade Vice P re sidents Peter Joyce, K athry n Westwood Board Josephine Archer, Ted Best AM, David Catchpole, Br uce Clark, Peter Di xon, Robin Holme s, Chris L angdon, Roger L ocke, Tony Stacey AM. Chief Executive Office r Har vey Lennon Head Office Cnr Murray & Patrick Streets, Hobart Telephone (03) 6232 6300 Facsimile (03) 6234 8784 Bra nches Hob art - 1/110 Collins Street (03) 6222 9222 Launceston, Cnr York & George Sts (03) 6335 5633 Devonport, 119 Rooke St Mall (03) 6421 1933 Ulvers tone, 38 Reibey Street (03) 6490 8350 Burnie, 24 North Terrace (03) 6434 2933 Rosny Park, Rosny Mall, 2 Bayfield St (03) 6212 6755 Glenorchy, Cnr Main Rd & Terry St (03) 6212 9588 King ston, Shop 49A Channel Court (03) 6242 3200 Editor Chri s Viney GPO Box 1292, Hobart 7001 Em ail: email@example.com Ph: (03) 6236 4310 Fax: (03) 6234 8784 Adver tising Artemi s Publishing Consultants Anne Shield a nd Yvon ne Buckley Ph: (03) 6231 6122 Fa x: (03) 6231 6322 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Published bi-monthly by The Roy al Automobile Club of Tasmania Limited ABN 62 009 475 861 Every effort is made to ensure the authenticity of advertisements including product te sting where practicable. However, publication of an advertisement does not imply that the product or service carries the recommendations of R ACT. No part of Journeys may be reproduced without perm is sion. Copyright 2010 RACT Design & production: Digital Ink Printing: Hannanprint Victoria Mailhouse: Datasend Australia Distribution: Australia Post ISSN 0818-5549 About your club Default speed limit reduction proposal The R ACT’s long-standing policy position on unsealed roads is that the introduction of a default 80km/h limit on all gravel roads should be considered, particularly to moderate the speed of heavy vehicles. In response to the Government’s current proposal about a blanket speed limit reduction on 100km/h sealed roads, the R ACT sought comprehensive statistical data regarding crash history and traffic volumes on the 100 km/h sealed roads to be affected by the proposal. The crash data supplied by the Gover nment indicates that most crashes on Tasmanian 100km/h roads in the last five years occurred as a result of ‘driving without due attention’ – exceeding the speed limit on sealed roads in 100km/h zones is neither the major, nor the only factor in serious casualty crashes. The data showed some eighteen different crash factors and RACT consolidated these into six key crash-factor types. ‘Exceeding the speed limit’ was the second-last of these six crash-factor categories. Many individual crashes were as a result of multiple factors. The categor y ‘driving without due attention’ included such factors as inattention, inexper ience, e xcessive speed for the conditions, failure to give way, improper overtaking, failing to obser ve road signs and markings, reversing without care, turning without care or distraction inside/outside the vehicle. Together with the second-highest category (drugs and alcohol) the R ACT believes the statistics underscore the importance of our long- standing policy that road safety should be taught in all schools as a compulsor y subject. In our view, the infor mation supplied by the Government shows that better education – whether on inattention, distraction, alcohol/ drugs – may be a more effective strategy, perhaps combined w ith more high-visibility law enforcement on r ural roads, together with better road maintenance. End Speed Limit signs must be abolished The use of End Speed Limit signs must be abolished and replaced by proper speed limit signs that clearly indicate the speed limit on that part of the road network. These counter-productive signs are a source of constant complaint to the RACT by road users who are regularly confused and misled. These signs are used extensively across Tasmania, but only sparingly across the rest of Australia. If a driver doesn’t know the speed limit, the potential for inadvertently exceeding the speed limit clearly increases. RACT response to the proposal for sealed 100km/h roads We do not support a blanket reduction on sealed Tasmanian roads from 100km/h to 90km/h. Not enough convincing evidence has been provided to justify the fundamental assumption that under pins this proposal. Just because the speed limit of a particular sealed road is 100km/h does not make it somehow inherently unsafe. We have widely publicised the proposal since its launch and the feedback has indicated very little community support for the Government’s position. R ACT has received extensive feedback from Tasmanians across a wide variety of communication channels. In addition, the R ACT has received unsolicited commentar y from qualified road and traffic specialists who have strongly criticised the proposal. Compliance is everything Speed limits must be credible if drivers are to comply with them – and compliance is everything. If introduced without broad community support, blanket speed limit reductions could negatively affect compliance levels and could under mine other legitimate enforcement activities. The 100km/h road network in Tasmania provides a vital structure of key freight links, tourism networks, commuter functions and recreational pursuits. A blanket or even partial blanket reduction to 90km/h would have a negative impact on mobility for a major ity of Tasmanians. It would also potentially lead to increased transport and business cost s and ultimately, cost-of-living increases. A case could be made for varying lower limits on some roads that are typically low-volume, of a lower standard, with poor alignment and/or topographically complex. However, before such a decision is made, an AusRAP risk assessment project must be undertaken to assess the relative collective r isk and crash histor y for these roads. And if the speed limit is reduced on any par ticular road, any new speed limits must be clearly posted to properly inform road users. In our community April / May 2011 5
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