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Northern Territory Speed Limits

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by dan, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. (Former) Federal Transport Minister John Anderson once commented that the NT Government needed to put in place speed limits on non-urban roads. - http://www.nt.gov.au/ocm/media_releases/2004/20040927_cb_speed.shtml

    Others have commented on the relative 'Carnage' on NT roads, when you look at as a per capita death basis -

    Here are some road toll stats comparing the past two years:

    ------------------------------2004 2003----% Change
    New South Wales------------522 539----- -3.2%
    Victoria-----------------------343 330----- +3.9%
    Queensland------------------311 310----- +0.3%
    Western Australia-----------178 180----- -1.1%
    South Australia--------------139 156---- -10.9%
    Northern Territory------------35 53----- -34.0%
    Tasmania----------------------58 41----- +41.5%
    Australian Capital Territory--10 11------ -9.1%
    Australian Total------------1596 1621*--- -1.5%

    from http://www.transport.sa.gov.au/rss/content/safer_people/programs_resources/2004_road_toll_review.htm

    Now, if you have a look at NT, there is a 34% decline in road deaths from 03-04. If speed limits had been introduced during this period, they would have been claimed as a resounding success. The fact is, NT still has no non-urban speed limits, and no speeding law changes can explain the reduction of the toll. The fact is that such a small sample population area means that all it takes is a few multi-fatality incidents per year (most of which are related to alcohol/drugs) to cause a double digit percentage change.

    I think a similar anomaly has happened in Tasmania, and now they have to live with lower speed limits as a result of a knee-jerk reaction by their government to 'stop the carnage'. When the road toll is 30% lower next year, they will pat themselves on the back, ignoring the fact that bad stuff might just not have happened :evil:

    Basically, the NT is a great demonstration that no speed limits does not mean that every driver will try and set land speed records and kill themselves - as many who have travelled in the NT know, you choose a speed you feel comfortable at, and cruise there. You overtake others, and are overtaken yourself, as necessary. Yes the NT roads are straighter, have less traffic etc (and have roos!), but the fact is so are a lot of roads in our states.

    What are people's thoughts?
  2. I like such an idea, but feel there should still be posted "recommended speed signs" for corners etc.

    I have always found them useful for adding 20 to to know what speed to take. :)
  3. The pedestrian council is NOT credible by any stretch of the imagination. :roll: It's an organisation(?) which has always been happy to exaggerate figures and if there's none available to just invent them. It's generally referred to as "Harold Scruby and his fax machine"

    Some of his loopier ideas have been 40kph limits in ALL urban areas and a maximum of 80 in the country. Harold Scruby hates cars and loathes motorcycles and would be very happy if trams and buses were taken off the road as well... (I'm not sure how he feels about trains but probably thinks that they're creations of the devil as well) :LOL:

  4. I'm (pleasantly) surprised to see the drop in fatalities in NT in the figures you quoted. I think your right however, to attribute this to statistical anomalies due to a small sample, however.
    For a very long time, NT has had a much higher accident rate than the rest of the country. The reasons for this (since I have never seen a study into actual causes) MAY be due to many factors other than speed. For example, alcohol (and drug) consumption generally is higher than the rest of the country by an ENORMOUS margin. Average age (and driving experience) is much lower. The roads themselves are generally of a lower standard. Weather conditions are more frequently extreme.
    It's almost impossible to make a meaningful comparison to other states and their figures.
    Anderson's statement is just another example of politicians mouthing the MUARC mantra without full and impartial consideration.
    The Tasmanian figures, however, are worrying. It could be another statistical "blip", but only examination over a longer period will tell.
    Has there been a change in Tasmanian rules recently?
  5. Two numbers is not enough to provide an accurate statistical trend which is what the the %increase/decrease is showing. Now, if we took a 10 year sample, seasonally adjusted and took into consideration relative number of road users we might then be able to start to draw some observations on the data.
    To form an opinion on the strength of that data is foolish and dangerous at best and I can't see how you could possibly draw any conclusions as to whether speed limits would influence the figures.

    My opinion though, the NT is a big place, the places where you would want to go fast are on surfaced roads with good visibility. You would have to be reasonably unlucky coming to grief in these circumstances. Given the distances that people have to travel in "non-urban" areas I think introducing a 100 or 110 limit would be responsibile for killing more people out of boredom and fatigue than a higher speed
  6. Most Statistical data quoted for road safety comparisons is dodgy. Should you look at it against distance travelled, number of vehicles etc. If you are looking at fatalities shouldn't you look at the number of fatal incidents - not the number of fatalities. In a fatal crash it's often pure chance whether it's 1, 2, 3 or more people killed.

    People tend to choose the statistics that support their purpose and quietly ignore those that don't. Having said that, if speed was such an important primary cause then it's reasonable to expect far higher figures for those places that have no speed limits. If that's not the case then you need to start looking for other factors.

  7. I live in the NT (darwin)...we have higher alcohol consumption (a cyclone comes and our bottle-o's are full not supermarkets)..but the drugs been taken are just weed and a little wizz and ecstasy, nothing on sydneys heorin scene ect... but yeah, our weather is crazy, when it rains, IT BLOODY RAINS...but yeah, generally i believe our roads are correctly signed for speeds..

    as for the person who said it would be good to still have recommended speeds on corners in the unlimited areas on the highway, on those kinda corners my dad was telling me he used to double whatever speed the sign used to recommend..but he wasnt the average rider by any means..
  8. Titus reckons.... "The roads themselves are generally of a lower standard. Weather conditions are more frequently extreme."...and when did you last ride in the NT mate?? I've seen more crap roads and weather in Victoria and NSW...and, yes it is possible to make statistical comparisons if you describe them about a more meaningful base rather than deaths P/A which (unfortunate and no disrespect intended) is like a dart score.
    Anderson doesn't live there or obviously he wouldn't mess with it....he obviously enjoys the scenery while lounging in the back of his limo whereas for us the NT is the only place in Oz we can enjoy a ride without any of the plod hiding behind bushes...Jeez go and do some real work "Ando" or do we have enough caos in the other "controlled" States so you now have to mess with the NT.
  9. A few points

    Scrooby is a media hog with not one good idea to save his life; he has no qualifications in the field of road safety and no credibility in the area either. He spent years flogging a "Change the Flag" campaign, and when no-one took a blind bit of notice of that, he became the self-appointed spokeman for the pedestrian. He certainly does hate cars and drivers and all things powered, and this latest campaign will fail just like his flag campaign did.

    I don't know latest information on speed limits in the Territory, but I was told when I was up there on business in the middle nineties that insurance excesses on Rental Cars was around $6,000 per car THEN, because people would go to Darwin, knowing there were no statuary speed limits outside of the city, and impact the scenery and each other with such devastating results that the Rental companies were in danger of running out of cars, or going broke, or both!!!
  10. Re: A few points

    Insurance companies are some of the major culprits behind our unproven speed laws. Their risk metrics dictate that speed = danger, therefore that means higher premiums, eg:

    from http://www.sense.bc.ca/research.htm

    "In the United States, just two speeding tickets can increase your insurance premiums by 50%! In BC, the penalty points from two speeding tickets will cost you $300.

    - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a powerful lobby group funded by the US insurance industry, has been the chief opponent of moves to raise speed limits.

    - Insurance companies in the US (and ICBC in BC) frequently purchase radar and laser guns for police forces to issue more speeding tickets.

    - When the US Congress allowed states to increase their maximum speed limits in December 1995, the insurance/safety lobby protested that these moves would result in horrific carnage -- 6,400 more fatalities each year (a 15% increase). Actual fatalities and injuries fell, despite significant increases in total miles travelled and small increases in average speeds!

    - Insurance rates have been falling in the United States despite increased speed limits starting December 1996. ICBC promotes "frozen rates" when they should explain why there are no rate reductions!"
  11. "Does doing the speed limit mean you're safe? Does doing 5 kph over mean you're unsafe?"
  12. Have no idea, but doing 5kph below the speed limit is safe , the nice people from TAC say so :)
  13. Harold wouldn't be the pedestrians' version of our Damien, by any chance....

    I saw him recently on A Current Affair advocating the banning of 4WDs and generally labelling their drivers/owners as people with inferiority complexes. He was actually stating as his perceived facts, that they had a clinically diagnosable pschyological problem. This is despite the fact that he has no qualifications in that area, and a couple of professionals pretty well laughed at his "diagnoses".

    Thing is, if his website is to be believed, he has some pretty influential patrons. Apparently, he's the scourge of the NSW MCC. But from watching that show on ACA, I sort of got the impression that he may prefer motorcycles to cars/4WDs as an alternative means of transport. Of course, that may be wishful thinking, or that he may consider bikes as the lesser of the evils.
  14. I tend to agree with the other posts so far concerning the statistical accuracy of the figures for the NT, in the same way as the figures for Tasmania and the ACT need to be understood.

    While I agree that it appears that the "speed kills" mantra is disproven by the figures, I tend to think that the three areas mentioned have such a small population that the data is probably skewed.
  15. Further to the above I think it is also relevant to note this. We know that the majority of fatalities occur in built-up areas rather than in the country, despite the fact that, in built-up areas, speeds are generally lower.

    In the 3 jurisdictions mentioned above the level of traffic flow in the built-up areas is considerably lower, and thus, the accident rate and rate of death and injury is also lower.

    In the case of NT, especially, the vast amount of the driving that is done by the majority of the population is done within the Darwin area. Yes, people travel long distances int he outback areas, but they represent only a small proportion of the total mileage covered by NT citizens.

    So the "drop" in deaths and injuries is from predominantly the urban area and can be easily explained by the relative scarcity of heavy traffic and the other urban features that often leads to frustration and motor accidents.

    Food for thought.

    As Mark Twain, the great American suthor said. "There are three types of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics."
  16. Hey Dan, I wasn't DEFENDING insurance companies! I'm with the Goons on them, they called them "The White Man's Burden"!
  17. didn't think you were defending them hornet - just providing more evidence of their evil :LOL:
  18. I think that this article is a great case for tightening speed limits in the NT.
    Either that, or mandate better traction points on the roofs of 4WD's to allow 'Car Surfing' to be safer. :LOL:
  19. A few weeks back I spent a week driving around the NT (Well, litchfield, Katherine, Kakadu) in a campervan. In the unrestricted areas, I mostly sat between 90 and 110 k/h, for reasons that ought be obvious if you've ever driven a campervan.

    I can only recall one occasion where someone overtook me at what seemed excessive speed. A light truck with a heavy, unbalanced load had difficulty staying in a straight line at 130. Almost every other driver I saw (outside Darwin) was driving safely and courteously.

    On narrow back roads with not a lot of bitumen, a number of cars and 4WDs coming the other way at speed slowed down and put two wheels on the dirt to give me room to keep all mine on the bitumen. Of course they may have been exhibiting a self-preservation action born from past experience with tourists in campervans.