Speed drop not a long-term fix for SA roads
Tuesday, 12th Sep 2017
RAA is urging the State Government to not see its decision to drop the speed limit on eight roads in rural South Australia as a long-term fix.
RAA Senior Manager Road Safety Charles Mountain said these roads still need to be maintained.
“It’s pleasing the State Government has not gone with a blanket speed reduction for all of South Australia’s rural roads, as was previously proposed,” said Mr Mountain.
“But that doesn’t mean the maintenance of these roads, and other rural roads, can be put on the back burner.
“South Australia’s rural residents deserve to drive on safe roads that have been properly maintained.”
RAA will be seeking further clarification from the State Government behind its decision to drop the speed limit on these particular roads, and how the effectiveness of this move will be assessed.
“Of the crashes that have occurred on these roads, most of them have been attributed to inattention, with only a handful occurring where the driver was either not wearing a seatbelt or was driving under the influence,” said Mr Mountain.
“While speed was a contributing factor in 14 per cent of the crashes, in some cases the vehicle was actually travelling below the designated speed limit when the crash occurred.
“This reinforces that road users should always drive their vehicle to the conditions that are presented to them and that educating drivers about this should also be a priority.”
RAA would like to see the State Government review its decision after three years, to confirm if the change has actually improved safety on these roads.
“We would also like to see an increased focus on driver education, particularly around inattention and fatigue, which are the cause of many rural crashes,” said Mr Mountain.
Of all the roads identified, the Browns Well Highway (Loxton to Pinnaroo) in the Mallee region appears to be the ‘riskiest’ based on its crash history and infrastructure provided, especially through the winding section near Peebinga.
“Most of these roads have similar road safety issues, in that they have narrow lanes, with shoulders and edge line markings that are limited if there at all,” said Mr Mountain.
Carpenter Rocks Road (Carpenter Rocks to Mt Gambier) in the South East has very narrow lanes and would benefit from lane widening, edge lines or rumble strips, especially given its traffic volumes, and motorists along the Riddoch Hwy (Mt Gambier to Pt MacDonnell) would benefit from the installation of roadside barriers.
The other roads to have their speed limits dropped from 110km/h to 100km/h is the Clay Wells Rd (Southern Ports Highway to Callendale), Ngarkat Hwy (Pinnaroo to Bordertown), Goyder Hwy (Crystal Brook to Gulnare), Cleve Rd (Kimba to Cleve), and Andamooka Rd (Olympic Dam to Andamooka).
New speed limit signage on these roads is expected to be installed by the end of the year.