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The Forum > Article Comments > Speed? Let the people decide > Comments

Speed? Let the people decide : Comments

By David Leyonhjelm, published 13/1/2014

The public thinks otherwise. In the absence of visible enforcement or perceived hazards, voluntary compliance with speed limits is low.

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Well done, you got into government becuase people in NSW can't even fill out a ballot paper correctly, and you think they should be able to judge a safe speed at which to drive at.
Posted by Cobber the hound, Monday, 13 January 2014 10:04:57 AM
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David, this 85th percentile is fine in theory but of course is critical flawed in reality.

It would mean having no speed limit on many thousands of sections of road all around the country for a period of time sufficient to get a sample size of drivers from which the 85% can be determined.

This would make these stretches damn dangerous. Those who want to travel at great speed generally donít have much tolerance for slower drivers, donít have much concern about safety or courtesy, will tailgate like crazy and overtake dangerously, and generally make the roads a nightmare for those who put safety first.

It would also give a contorted impression of the 85th percentile, as everyone would know exactly why certain stretches or road suddenly have no speed limit. Many drivers would drive faster than they know they should be, just to do their little bit to bump up the 85th percentile.

What we need is for the authorities to encourage people to report what they think are inappropriate speed limits, so that at least the ones which bother people the most can be critically reassessed.

At present, the public is disempowered. I mean, who thinks that there would be any point in making a complaint, or airing oneís views about speed limit signs, to the police, Main Roads, local councils or state or federal govt reps?

continued
Posted by Ludwig, Monday, 13 January 2014 10:53:21 AM
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The answer to all of this is to empower the public. There are plenty of people out there who would be only too willing to do their bit. It would only take a tiny percentage of the whole populace to do this to make an enormous difference.

If the authorities are willing to listen to ordinary road-users and to reassess speed limits far and wide as a result of expressed concerns, then Bobís your uncle, the speed limit problem will be solved!

I did this once a few years ago. I accrued a list of what I thought were inappropriate speed limit signs around Townsville, with photos, and took them to the Dept of Main Roads and the local council. They were both reluctantly receptive, but we did eventually organise a joint meeting and they looked at each of my examples. They even agreed that quite few of them needed to be changed. Well, some of them were so ridiculous that they couldnít have failed to agree. ButÖ.. more than five years later, not a single one of them has changed!

Needless to say; I hold those people in very low regard.
Posted by Ludwig, Monday, 13 January 2014 10:54:41 AM
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There is a monthly email which the NSW traffic authority publishes to advise of the geographic locations of speed limit changes. Interesting that around 90% of these changes are reductions in speed limits, so it's pretty easy to see where we are heading. Of course many roads have artificially low limits, like the dual lane Hume Highway Sydney to Melbourne which is 110kph. After an hour one feels like getting out and walking beside the car. On the other hand, 90 and 100 speed limits on single lane country roads, with substantial traffic coming in the opposite direction, can and often are, occupied by drivers sitting on 80 - 90. It all comes down to how many lanes are available. A prime example of illegal speeding is on the upward 5km of the three-lane stretch of Mt Ousley Road in the Wollongong area. It is posted at 80, but the vast majority drive at around 100, simply because that feels like the appropriate speed. The Highway Patrol are often active in this stretch, and it would seem to me they can stop and book people at will. The outfits which decide speed limits are probably out of touch with reality.
Cherokee
Posted by Cherokee, Monday, 13 January 2014 12:04:47 PM
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Or, we could simply bring car manufacturers into line with speed laws.
Why is it legal to sell cars capable of 2 or even 3 times the maximum legal limit?
Car manufacturers demonstrate the same moral rectitude as tobacco companies or indeed drug pushers.
"We don't force anyone to use/abuse our products..."
Posted by Grim, Monday, 13 January 2014 12:31:23 PM
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The existing speed limit are designed for the worst scenario, involving young/inexperienced drivers, but are often unreasonable to others.

Another issue is that speed limits are an important source of funds that are needed to build and repair roads.

The solution is allow mature and experienced drivers to purchase more Kms/h in advance rather than after the fact.

Mature-aged people with significant no-accident history should be able to register for 'E'-plates ('E' for "Expert"), that allows them to drive 20-30 km/h above the speed limit when safe. Passing an advanced driving-course may also be required.

'E'-plates should not apply to heavy vehicles.

The rights of slow drivers must not be compromised and anyone caught tailgating or otherwise pressuring other drivers to go faster, should lose their 'E' license immediately.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 13 January 2014 1:46:57 PM
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