THE NT government has reinforced their message to motorists driving on the open speed limit trial section of the Stuart Highway, ‘drive to your own skill level and observe the conditions surrounding you, don’t be reckless’.
Minister for Transport Peter Styles said it’s been about three weeks since the open speed limit trial began and wanted to remind motorists to drive safely.
“Open speed limits means driving to the road conditions – motorists should be driving within their own capabilities, taking into account the condition of the road, prevailing weather conditions and the standard of their vehicle,” Mr Styles said.
Police have already issued infringement notices to several drivers who were driving recklessly on the trial stretch. They will continue to monitor this section of road, and all highways in the Territory, for people who are driving dangerously.
“If police believe you are driving recklessly, whether it is due to the road conditions or that your vehicle or tyres may not be up to standard to drive at excessive speed, they will book you,” he said.
“Drivers, irrespective of the speed limit, are responsible for driving in a manner that doesn’t put themselves, their passengers or other road users at unnecessary risk.
“I’d just like to make it clear that local or interstate drivers that think they can abuse the open limit by driving like a bat out of hell are in a for a rude shock.
“It’s not an autobahn like in Germany, it’s a country road,” he said.
Mr Styles also said that people driving in the trial area should ensure that their tyres have been speed rated to cope with the pace and heat that is created when driving at increased speed.
“One of the first things police will be checking is your tyre speed rating, as unfit tyres can lead to blowouts which create the unnecessary potential for serious accidents to occur.
2013 saw the road toll drop by nearly 25 per cent in the Northern Territory, with 12 fewer deaths on our roads than in 2012 and the lowest since 2009.
“We want to keep our road toll down – every fatality is a tragic accident and someone’s mother, father, friend – this is something our community wants addressed," he said.
Mr Styles said the Territory Government were continually undertaking audits and assessments on the major highways of the Northern Territory.
“The commencement of the trial honours a 2012 pre-election promise, which was made to Territory locals who have been asking for the open limit to be reintroduced for years.
He said the Territory has a unique road network with long distances and low traffic volume.
“With the implementation of this trial we are putting the responsibility back on motorists.
“We believe roads, cars and technology used in the Territory have improved enough to the point that the Government was able to agree the trial was safe to commence.”
From 2001-2011 there have been no speed deaths on the 204km stretch where the trial has been implemented.
The trial area is comprised of good open stretches of road which the Government thought was highly important when assessing the placement of the initial trial.