SPEED LIMITS: UP OR DOWN?

SAPOL is out and about targeting people who “creep” over the speed limit this weekend.

This raises, for me, an age old questions: speed limits.

Cue the protests from people who claim the limits are too high, speed kills and we all need to slow down.

But I’m arguing the other side.

Our speed limits are too low.

But, speed kills, right?

Well, yes and no.

If you’re getting around Tasman Terrace in Lincoln, Railway Terrace in Cummins or Alfred Terrace in Streaky Bay, doing 80km, then yes, you’re going to find yourself in some strife.

However, what if you’re on the Lincoln Highway, or the Eyre Highway, or out of town on the Flinders Highway?

There is evidence that, on longer journeys, higher speed limits reduce fatigue and save lives.

In the words of the National Road Safety Partnership Programme:

“… reduced speed limits would have greatest effect on travel time along roads with minimal congestion and number of intersections. It also concluded that, for arterial roads within urban environments, reduced speed limits would have no appreciable effect during times of congestion. So, broadly speaking, higher speed limits can reduce travel time, but only over long distances.”

This isn’t a political agenda, this is science.

So why do I raise this in relation to SAPOL’s campaign?

Because I hope that SAPOL is going to target the “creepers” in built up areas.

When you’re on a long, empty road with no traffic around, going in an absolute straight direction, it can sometimes be easy to start exceeding the speed limit by 10-15km/h… not that I’ve ever done that…

*crickets chirping*

… ahem…

Keep in mind, too, that most of our highway speed limits were implemented 40 years ago, when roads were in a far worse condition than what they are now.

So our speed limits, on open roads, should be increased, in my opinion.

In built up areas, however, speed limits are still necessary, and accurate.

And I hope SAPOL targets “creepers” in these areas.

Because, let’s face it, if you’re flying down Main Street in Cowell, then there is a real safety concern.