NT’s newly-elected Labor party said it would reintroduce the 130km/h speed limits in the coming months after its landslide victory in last weekend’s election, undoing the two-year trial implemented by the former Country Liberal government.
Initially a 12-month trial, the open speed limits were implemented on a 204-kilometre section of the Stuart Highway between Barrow Creek and Alice Springs on 1 February 2014, based on the findings that between 2001-2011 no speed-related fatalities had occurred on that stretch of road.
The research by the previous government also found that higher speed limits helped to improve fatigue behind the wheel, while the open speed limits brought responsibility back to motorists to drive to the road conditions and their abilities.
Within a year the Country Liberal government derestricted a further 132 kilometres of road connecting Alice Springs to just south of the Ali Curung rail overpass, and extended the trial to 24 months.
However, this was met with criticism from a number of NT’s road and safety authorities, including the Automobile Association of the Northern Territory, which argued the quality of the selected roads were not suitable for open speed limits.
Prior to that in 2007, the then Labor government restricted the NT’s highways to 130km/h. Ironically, more people were killed on NT roads in the following six years (307) than in the six years prior to the limits being imposed (292).
Despite the 130km/h limits, NT’s highways are still the fastest in the country.
CarAdvice has contacted the Northern Territory Labor party for comment, and is awaiting a response.
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