Call for 140kph limit is dangerous
A CALL for the Hume Freeway’s speed limit to be increased from its current 110kph maximum to that of 140kph is gaining little traction.
Wodonga City councillor and Liberal Democrats party member Tim Quilty last week called for a 140kph speed limit to be applied to the entire length of the freeway, arguing that safety features on modern day vehicles, time saved by travellers, and success of European autobahns show a faster speed to be safe.
But Roadsafe North East executive officer John Weinert strongly disagrees, telling the
Wangaratta Chronicle on Friday that a 140kph speed limit would be dangerous and increase the risk of injuries and death.
“The Hume Freeway is not designed the same as the European roads which are specifically designed for high speeds,” he said.
“European drivers are also well educated to drive on those roads at those speeds, unlike in Australia.
“Modern day vehicles from the last few years do have the safety features to drive at that speed but in reality most public travelling vehicles aren’t new cars... they can be up to 10 years old or more.
“If we all drove those cars, sure it would be fine, but we don’t.”
Rural City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke also disagrees with the call for a speed limit change.
“I don’t believe we are ready for a 140kph speed along the Hume Freeway,” he told the Chronicle.
“I travel a lot with the rural city’s CEO Brendan McGrath and I’m not always driving but I feel some drivers are appalling and the faster speed would increase road deaths.”
Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) director of road safety programs and policy, Michael Nieuwesteeg, agrees.
“The research tells us that raising the speed limit to such high levels (140kph) on the Hume Freeway will result in more people dying and being seriously injured,” he told the Chronicle.
Mr Nieuwesteeg said the number of people killed on rural roads increased by five in 2017, from 150 to 155, despite Victoria’s overall lives lost figure decreasing from 290 to 257 over the same period.
The majority of the 155 deaths on regional roads last year occurred in high speed (100kph or more) zones and while speed is not always the cause of a crash, the speed of a vehicle at impact will always determine the extent of the injuries that result.
“It’s no coincidence the majority of road deaths and serious injuries in Victoria happen on high-speed regional roads,” he said.
“The link between higher speeds and more deaths couldn’t be clearer - we should never value reduced travel time ahead of lives.”
Wodonga Councillor Tim Quilty believes a speed limit of 140km/h should apply to the Hume Freeway. Do you agree? Want to have your say on topical issues? Visit our Facebook page to vote in our weekly poll.