A 12-month trial returning open speed limits to a 200km stretch of the Stuart Highway looks set to be extended only two months in, following comments by the Northern Territory’s transport minister.
Speaking on ABC radio, Peter Styles said he believes the trial – announced in October last year – has so far been a success, with people generally being responsible and driving to the conditions, and that the government is already preparing to extend it.
“We said we’d have a 12-month trial and as part of that we’re looking at various sections of road, both on the Stuart Highway and on the Barkly Highway, that may be available to open up as part of the trial,” Styles said.
“We’ve always said and asked people that it’s their responsibility to drive to the conditions of the road, the condition of their vehicle, to their own capabilities in relation to driver understanding and driver knowledge – generally most people have.
“The police have indicated that everyone seems to be doing the right thing out there. The truckies that we’ve spoken to and the trucking people have said that they’re very pleased.”
A decision on if and where the open speed limits will become permanent is due to be made following a report based on final assessments and audits of the trial, however, Styles adds, “We’re a long way from that decision.”
Back in January, 12 days before the trial was due to start, the open speed limit started an entertaining war of words between Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles and the head of the Pedestrian Council Harold Scruby that included the minister referring to Scruby as “a waste of space”.