I was pleased today to address Parliament on the topic of speed limits on country roads and to specifically call for the return to 110 kilometres per hour for the Yorke and Copper Coast Highways, the Balaklava to Auburn Road on Traeger Highway, and the Port Wakefield to Balaklava Road.
With widening works and recent upgrades on these roads, I highlighted there is no reason why they can’t be reinstated to 110 kilometres per hour.
I was pleased to welcome the announcement on 18 May that the works on the Yorke and Copper Coast Highways now enable 36.5 metre road trains to use them, meaning these highways are now restriction-free heavy vehicle networks that will increase efficiencies for primary producers and carriers.
It surely now follows that the speed limit on these roads can be reinstated to 110 kilometres per hour for cars, because if they are good enough for big trucks to use they are good enough for smaller vehicles to use at the higher speed.
Pre-election the Marshall Liberal Government vowed to review speed limits on all major country roads -- which will occur -- as will the reversal of the eight state regional roads which had their speed limits cut to 100 km per hour most recently as last September. These roads were the Loxton to Pinnaroo Road, the Cleve to Kimba, Crystal Brook to Gulnare, Mt Gambier to Port MacDonnell, Pinnaroo to Bordertown, the Southern Ports Highway to Callendale, the Carpenter Rocks to Mt Gambier Road, and the Andamooka Road.
As highlighted at the time, the argument for lowering speed limits on country roads instead of investing in their maintenance is a flawed one, as there are many factors that cause fatalities and injuries from accidents -- including speed (regardless of what the signage says), inattention, fatigue, roaming animals, driver drug and alcohol use, lack of road shoulders to allow for corrective driving, and wearing (or not) of seat belts, to name a few.
Rural transport operators also refute the argument for lowering speed limits, stating the lowering to 100 km per hour limit can have the opposite effect. In their experience, frustrated drivers make risky moves to overtake trucks, and both being capped at the same speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour means cars are forced to speed over the limit in order to overtake them.
The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to reviewing speed limits on all major country roads, as pledged prior to the 17 March election.
My call today has been to start this process with the Traeger Highway Balaklava to Auburn section, the Yorke and Copper Coast Highways, and the busy Port Wakefield to Bowmans and Balaklava Road.