The Queensland Government will conduct a review into the state’s roads that could see speed limits lifted above 110km/h.
Transport Minister Scott Emerson announced a plan to analyse 100 roads to determine whether speed limits should be increased, decreased or remain the same in the name of improving safety.
Emerson said speed limits would only be raised if doing so was the safest option.
“There is research out there which shows if you don’t have the appropriate speed limit for the quality of the road, there is a tendency for people to break the law,” the minister told News Limited.
“But it’s not a case of ‘look, everybody’s speeding on this road so we should raise the limit’, because the road may not be suitable for that speed.”
Emerson told ABC Online the government would speak with the communities that travelled on the roads every day to help determine what speeds were appropriate.
“I expect some people will argue certain roads in their area should have the speed reduced, others may argue some roads should have their speed improved.
“That may mean that in some cases the speeds go down, in other cases the speeds go up, and in other cases there’s no change.”
The minister referred to a similar review in New South Wales that saw speed limits increased, decreased and retained.
“What we saw there was about 20 per cent of speeds went down, 20 per cent of speeds went up, and the rest of the 60 per cent of those 100 roads remain the same,” he said.
“It is important to consult motorists, but the bottom line is there’ll be no change unless the experts believe it is safe to make that change.”
Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland director Barry Watson told AAP he supports the decision to review the state’s speed limits but warned increasing speed limits would not reduce the number of crashes.
“I don’t think our road network is of a high enough quality,” Watson said. “Studies show that when speed limits are increased that crash levels can go up.”
RACQ spokesman Joe Fitzgerald told the ABC he believed the only section of road fit for a speed increase was the stretch of highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“As far as increasing the speed limit goes, really only the M1 in south-east Queensland is appropriate,” Fitzgerald said.
The Northern Territory is currently the only state or territory in Australia in which drivers are permitted to exceed 110km/h.
The government will finalise any changes to speed limits by mid 2014 following the completion of a review consulting communities and road experts.
Note: Images courtesy Ozroads.com.au