Risks far outweigh rewards in speed limit increases

The coalition’s careless approach to speed limits will come at the cost of community safety and see our road toll continue to climb. 

“An absence of evidence and a moral compass gone missing are driving this Government’s agenda against safe speeds,” says Green Party Transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter. 

“The evidence is clear; unsafe speed limits result in a higher chance of crashes occurring and loved ones being unnecessarily lost. All of this, for the sake of mere minutes or even seconds being shaved off travel times. The risks completely outweigh the reward. 

“State Highway 5 avoided a staggering 34 serious crashes the year after it reduced its speed limit to 80km/h. State Highway 6 saw an 80 per cent reduction in deaths by prioritising safety over speed. The OECD has made clear that speed is the most significant contributor to our road toll, with 73 percent of road trauma happening on roads with speed limits higher than 80km/h.

“The Government's fixation with faster, more dangerous roads is the real ideological problem here. It is high time evidence was prioritised over the shallow soundbite policy that has characterised the course of this Government. 

“If the Government was serious about enhancing the efficiency of our transport network, it would invest in public transport, rail for people and freight as well as walking and cycling to ease congestion. 

“These investments would save people significantly more time than the average 20 seconds saved by upping urban speed limits to 50km/h or the four minutes saved by reversing speed limit changes on a journey nearly 2 hours long on State Highway 6. 

“The time savings are small enough that people would not notice - an increase around 1-3% of the journey time, if that. What people do notice is when a loved one doesn’t come home. 

“We can build a more efficient transport network whilst putting people first. The solutions are at our fingertips,” says Julie Anne Genter. 

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