11/23/2007Australia: New Speed Limits Costs Money, Lives
Imposing a speed limit on the Northern Territories, Australia has increased the number of road deaths while destroying local tourism.
The imposition of a speed limit on the formerly limit-free open highways in the Northern Territories, Australia is destroying local business without providing a corresponding safety benefit. In January, the top legal speed in the Territories was lowered to 130km/h (80 MPH) in an effort to generate revenue with a new traffic police force collecting newly doubled fines.
Before, automakers from around the world jumped at the ability to travel to the city of Alice Springs to test vehicles at their maximum speed in a warm climate. With the new speed limit, however, the testing business has moved to other countries. Imposition of the speed limit will likely cost the city up to A$9 million a year in lost hotel and tourism revenue.
The Country Liberal Party cited statistics that show the new limit has failed to improve road safety. The total number of highway deaths so far this year with the speed limit has already exceeded the number of deaths in 2006 when speeds were unlimited.
"There was no evidence that the open road speed limit was a significant factor in the Territory's high road toll," Shadow Minister for Transport Fay Miller said in a statement. "As so many people predicted at the time, imposing an open road speed limit has failed to cut the road toll. The open road speed limit was just another pointless attack by the Martin Labor Government on the Territory's lifestyle."
"Government have lied to us as the real problem is on dirt roads and not on the sealed open road," the Keep NT Limit Free website explained.