Life in the very fast lane

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

TEX­ANS tend not to daw­dle. As any­one who has driven on the Lone Star state’s free­ways will tell you, Texan driv­ers en­joy a civilised and rapid rate of progress on the open road.

From Novem­ber, they’ll be able to do so with a greater level of pro­tec­tion from their lo­cal po­lice. A new toll road from the state cap­i­tal of Austin to Seguin will have a speed limit of 85 miles an hour— or nearly 140km/h— a ve­loc­ity that would have you hand­ing in your li­cence throughout much of Aus­tralia.

Among gen­eral cel­e­bra­tions, there are one or two naysay­ers. The re­search is clear that when speed lim­its go up, fa­tal­i­ties go up, says the ap­pro­pri­ately named Russ Rader, spokesman for the US In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety.

Rader is pos­si­bly un­aware of Aus­tralia’s North­ern Ter­ri­tory, where the in­tro­duc­tion of a 130km/h speed limit in 2007 was fol­lowed by the NT’s worst road toll in a decade. The NT pre­vi­ously en­forced no speed lim­its on its var­i­ous high­ways, a sit­u­a­tion that may now be re­stored.

‘‘ There comes a point where peo­ple have to make their own de­ci­sions and there are re­quire­ments on gov­ern­ment to pro­tect in­di­vid­u­als and to set a stan­dard,’’ North­ern Ter­ri­tory Chief Min­is­ter Terry Mills said this week.

Mills be­lieves there is a ar­gu­ment for a re­turn to the NT’s ear­lier, won­der­fully un­lim­ited speed poli­cies.

‘‘ When it comes to places out­side of the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, be­yond Katherine there may well be the case, and I think there is, pro­vided the roads are in good con­di­tion.’’

That last-men­tioned fac­tor is key. Other states and ter­ri­to­ries should look at in­creas­ing high­way speed lim­its in con­nec­tion with road qual­ity. THERE are about the same num­ber of pages in an av­er­age For­mula One driver’s con­tract as there were laps in last week­end’s Ital­ian Grand Prix.

Ac­cord­ing to a piece by Nigel Roe­buck in the lat­est edition of Bri­tain’s Mo­tor Sport mag­a­zine, your typ­i­cal con­tract with F1 team McLaren runs to about 50 pages.

There will be vari­ances, which might run to an­other 10 pages if it were a dif­fi­cult per­son, McLaren team prin­ci­pal Martin Whit­marsh told Roe­buck.

If I were sign­ing Heikki Ko­valainen it would be 50 pages; if it were Jen­son But­ton it would be 52, if it were Nigel Mansell it would be 57.

Whit­marsh says that cur­rent McLaren driver Lewis Hamil­ton is a 60-page man. The first F1 con­tract signed by the late Gilles Vil­leneuve with McLaren in 1977 was six pages.

No slow­pokes: Anewroad in Texas will have a speed limit of 140km/h

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.