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Its over. The dream of speed free roads are soon to be forgotten anywhere in Australia. For so long the Northern Territory was seen as final and last place where motoring enthusiasts could have some fun. However, the sad news is in, the Northern Territory Government will introduce speed limits on its open roads and major highways from January next year.

The Chief Minister, Clare Martin, announced sweeping changes to the Northern Territory’s road safety regime this on thursday.

We will be introducing demerit points from the second-half of next year and the open speed limit for the Territory will end,” she said.

From January, the Stuart Highway and other major highways will be restricted to 130 kilometres an hour, with a default speed limit of 110 kilometres an hour on other roads. You know at least they are willing to go to 130, there are so many times when I am on the M1 going south that I could swear most cars can at least be doing 150 safely.

The Opposition Leader, Jodeen Carney, has come out with some real facts, Mrs Carney says the changes will not get at the root causes of the Territory’s appalling road statistics and they will be scrapped if the party wins the next election

“This obsession with imposing a speed limit is not the silver bullet,” she said.

“The major causes of accidents and fatalities in the Territory are failure to wear seatbelts and drink-driving,” she said. This was an opportunity for the Chief Minister, who has been silent when it comes to road safety since she won office in 2001. It was an opportunity for her to act and she hasn’t.”

The Automobile Association of the Northern Territory’s (AANT) Linda Deans has commended the Government for the changes, saying it is a brave decision but she would have liked to see the changes go further.

I know [the] AANT council would rather have seen even more drastic measures taken against speeding, seatbelts and red light but particularly the DUI (driving under the influence),” she said.

“I think they need to go further than what they’ve actually put into the report so I’m hoping they’ll take that under consideration.”

Thankfully though, we can rest assured that our fellow motoring enthusiasts fought hard to show the government what we all know, that speed limits are not a cure to reduce the road toll. The Northern Territory Road Users’ Group campaigned against the proposal through a website. The group’s Steve Strike says speed limits on open roads will not achieve anything.

“The whole package won’t do anything to reduce the road toll, we predict that there’ll be no change. This is just purely revenue raising. It’s about making money. I wish them luck, there’s not enough people here in the Territory to do that sort of thing like they do down south.

The problem that most government fail to understand, is that not every car is the same, instead of making the speed limit lower and lower, it might be a good idea to force inspection of cars 15+ years older, I have seen so many cars that shouldnt be on the road yet alone doing the speed limit. Those are the death traps.

Furthemore, it would be great to introduce compulsary driver training for 4WD drivers and drivers of performance cars, I know this is hard a measure to implement, but if we are looking for long term solutions, they are not going to be easy.

  • Louise Roy

    I visited Darwin in November and hired a Commodore. Drove down to Adelaide River and back at 160+kph. I might add I am well qualified to drive at that speed having held an international racing licence that entitled me to drive Formula 1 in any country in the world: a licence that I was tested for on three different race tracks. What a great drive I had in the N.T. In N.S.W. they would have locked me up and thrown away the key (if they could have caught me). Northern Territorians, continue to fight back against these invasions on liberty. Liberty is being taken from us by stealth, bit by bit. Don’t let it happen. Live free or die.

  • Eve Pattel

    Sack Claire Martin and Chris Burns thats what i say. Political suicide to touch the open speed limit. Northern territorians have taken this very personal indeed. This is just revenue chasing as per usual. Help us fight the fight vote Bring Back the Open Speed Limit. Vote no to 130km and yes to open speed limit. The death toll has nothing to do with speeding whatsoever. All lies Claire all lies.

  • Andrew

    Lies through clever statistics. There must be a government department dedicated to manipulating data to support their decision.


  • http://www.keepntlimitfree.org GSXR-600

    The open limits will be reinstated.

  • http://www.keepntlimitfree.org BMW-E46

    http://www.keepntlimitfree.org have revealed the facts of how we got to where we are today!

  • Jeremy H. Pritchard, (Mot Adv-NSW)

    The removal of speed derestriction in favour of a 130km/h speed restriction from NT’s ‘key highways’ was a mistake. It needs to be reinstated, even if as I predict, that takes a year or two to implement once again, certainly after the next NT election should NT Libs gain power.

    The FEDS *must* stay away from state and territory speed limit and derestriction setting, their capability instead limited to ‘AS1742.4 of 1999 – signage and interpretation/placement’.

    The jurisdictions must maintain the right to set key restriction/de-restriction allowances without federal monetary pressure.

    The adoption to all NT rural roads – not being key highways, ‘a default 110km/h’, is simply a too high speed restriction,- having dear people – regard the poor road quality that the particular limit seeks to serve. We are talking the poorest quality tracks and roads here. 110km/h is afterall a speed-limit that applies to modern freeway categories dotted around the states!

    The ‘rural default’ held in ARR’s therefore, really needs to be ‘conservative’, in the order 80km/h, AND remembering, naturally, that certain stretches within it CAN be ‘signposted’ with higher allowances as warranted.

    The removal of (//) speed derestriction from the key highways can only lead to a greater amount of inattention, fatigue, carelessness and poor ‘on-road’ behaviour. Treat people poorly with ‘low expectation’, and in effect bunching them up, (even in the NT) expect then poor driving in return!

    Speed derestriction; applied to the nations safest lengths of highways will not negatively impact overall network safety, and certainly instills in the road user,- a sense of much greater responsibility for their actions. Folk will feel a need to ensure their vehicle is fitted with good equipment and tyres, afterall, its in their best interest to do so under speed derestriction.

    A speed-limit on the other hand, removes or reduces any such requirement or ‘interest’ – in bettering oneself and vehicle, and the result will be an increase in certain factoral types of crash.

    We will always have fools that go out and drive at high-end triple digit speeds that crash, speed limit or not, it is a realityalready, and really they represent the bottom 2% of all road users. Most folk on the other hand are okay, and respond well to encouragement and allowances.

    The Commonwealth needs to give the Australian motorists’ ALL the “TOOL OF THE TRADE” afforded to vehicle owners in other markets, example of these items , mandatory in EU and China are; a “hazard warning triangle” to UN Spec, a “high visibility safety vest/shirt” that *must* be worn at all vehicle breakdown and crash scenes. SOME EU locales insist on a single fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

    How serious are we???? I’d argue ‘hardly’.

    FURTHER, the Commonwealth really should take steps to mandate for ADR vehicle categories; MA, MB and MC (Cars, vans 4WD’s) “ADR52″, the dreaded ‘rear fog lamp’ used to help other drivers in seeing your vehicle much sooner in heavy fog, rain-storms, snowfalls, dust-storms and in bushfire smoke conditions.

    ADR52 dear reader is restricted in Australia as ‘optional fitment’ owing Part 8.5.1 of ADR13, yet – the UN Convention on the matter now attempts to mandate it, we sadly continue opt out, allowaing virtually ‘no protection’ under those lousy visibility conditons.


    I reckon we are worth it. Mandate the aforesaid item and let police enforce the correct use of the lamp, as outlined by ARR217, AND as stated already in ALL the nations respective ‘driver manuals’.

    AUSTRALIA CAN, AND NEEDS TO DO MUCH BETTER. Introducing lower and lower speed limits to our highest standard roads is not conducive to road safety and only impacts national productivity in the negative.

  • http://www.keepntlimitfree.org Top End BMW Driver

    The road toll for the Northern Territory for 2007 to 30 June is 23.

    For the same period last year the road toll was 16.

    Even with a traffic branch the road toll is now higher!

    Open limits never were a problem, but obviously now 130k is turning out to be a killer.

  • Julien

    Such a pitty! I m slightly disappointed to read that NT changed what I really appreciated when travelling in Australia. In deed, we travelled in 2006 with my grilfriend from Perth up to Darwin and than down to the Alice and finally back to Perth.

    It was so great this feeling of freedom up there!!! I was hopping to come one day and realise what my “car magazine” did : 300 km/h on the Stuwart highway with a 911 Turbo(magazine is called Sport Auto – a french one).

    Unfortunately from now on the only place in the world not to have speeding will be Germany….

    As a Swiss it’s not so far for me, but much less exciting than Australia.

    What a hell is happing? Why do all these politicians in this world have just one thinking : “cutting liberty”?

    It’s sad….

  • Al Juraj

    I beg to reopen this topic being one of the less fortunate not to taste the glory of derestricted speed driving in Australia. It’s been a year since this was established, and hardly any improvement in road safety. German autobahns are a great example. Speed limits or none, accidents are the same.

    There should simply be a super licence that allow people to drive as fast as they can without endangering lives. Likewise, the cars should qualify to be safe in being driven at high speeds, with reliable brakes and tyres as starters. This would certainly come in handy for long highway drives. Drivers get less sleepy without speed limits.