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.