The creed for speed
“A WANKER’S going to go and ruin it for everyone.”
This was a commonly expressed sentiment last weekend as the Northern Territory replaced malaise with unmitigated motion. We refer to the removal of the speed limit on a section of road north of Alice Springs.
Authorities were moved by the obvious fact that maintaining 130km/h on this barren stretch of bitumen is the equivalent of driving under general anaesthetic, but mainly we suspect because the chink of change from tourists and car companies had ceased.
No one’s willingly driving that patch of blacktop without major motivation.
Centralian Advocate editor and old Carsguide hand Bryan Littlely brought news of an Aston Martin Vantage and even a Chrysler Crossfire doing 250kmh-plus.
“I’ve been driving this road for 22 years and never had a problem,” Aston pilot Peter Jackson says. “I fear that the blame for one idiot’s actions may ruin it for everyone, though.”
That’s the concern. A tossbag in a conveyance vastly overpowered for their meagre ability, or simply inadequate to the task, will stick it in in such a way as to predicate a spectacular extinction event. Thus from the woodwork will crawl every finger-waving pissant politician, tenure-hungry academic and hysterical headline hack. Nor will it be a matter merely of the Territory’s unrestricted limit being junked once more. The repercussions will further blight the daily driving experience of millions.
Insofar as road safety has been debated in this country, the argument has been warped and won by peer-reviewed experts and quota-fixated senior police who beep: “Speed kills-speed kills- speed kills” like especially tedious and mendacious automatons.
This, of course, is a perversion of the fact that speed kills if you can’t drive in the first place. Those of us lucky to drive in Germany and other first world countries for our work observe people commuting safely at speeds that would have them incarcerated here.
For Germans, a licence is a hard-won privilege that entails mastery of a rigorous practical curriculum, as opposed to reverse parking with your older siblings until they resignedly forge your logbook. Nor do Germany’s state governments obsessively predicate road safety on speed and the steady accumulation of the revenue inherent to this regime.
As if a dozen cars cocooning across three lanes at an indicated 98km/h on the Tullamarine Freeway for fear of being done by a camera is safe. As if taking minutes to crawl past a truck between Sydney and Newcastle or on the Bruce Highway is safer than finishing the manoeuvre smartly and smoothly (that’s assuming the truck is on the inside lane).
So to those intending to cut loose out of The Alice, do so judiciously — and remember your obligation to those suffering elsewhere.
Top Enders: Chris and Peter Jackson with their Aston Martin V8 Vantage, rider Reece Debney and Conan Latham with a Chrysler Crossfire at the unlimited trial stretch of Stuart Highway near Alice Springs