NT to slam brakes on unrestricted speed limit trial

Northern Territory Speed Limit

THE Northern Territory’s newly elected Labor government will re-instate a 130km/h speed limit on unrestricted stretches of the Stuart Highway, marking the end of a controversial five-year trial.

An unnamed spokesman for newly elected government of chief minister Michael Gunner told Wheels’ sister site Motormag.com.au that work to reinstate 130km/h speed limit signs on a 300km stretch of the highway would “start soon”.

It comes after the Adam Giles-led Country Liberal Party, which reintroduced the derestricted zones as part of a trial of open speed limits, was unseated in a landslide election result at the weekend.

It slams the door shut on more than four years of trials on a stretch of road that to date has only accounted for one, non-speeding related, fatality – after a car towing a caravan travelling at well below the speed limit ran off the road.

“Our policy which we have taken to several elections now is that it [Stuart Highway] should be 130km/h,” the spokesman said.

“There will be no open speed limits under Labor. We’re backing calls from experts in the field like the [Northern Territory] Police Association and the AMA [Australian Medical Association] who have called for 130km/h to be brought back in those zones.”

The spokesman said there was pressure on the government to lower speed limits to 110km/h to be more in line with other state and territory governments, but said the 130km/h limit was “reasonable”.

The derestricted speed zone does not mean drivers can push their cars as fast as they will go; police can still issue a dangerous driving penalty if the speed they are travelling at is deemed unsafe for their car or the conditions.

A Labor government introduced a 130km/h speed limit throughout the Territory in 2006. The Adam Giles-led Country Liberal Party was elected in 2012 partly on the promise that it would reintroduce the open speed limit on sections of road deemed safe enough to handle higher speeds. The first trial was introduced in 2014 to a 200km stretch of the Stuart Highway, and later extended to cover more than 300km of the road.

Giles told Wheels in the lead-up to the election that his government was looking at other roads in the territory that could also have an unrestricted speed limit.

In the lead-up to last weekend’s election, road trauma doctors banded together to lobby the Northern Territory government to scrap the unrestricted speed limits on safety grounds, claiming money spent on the trial would be better spent on drug and alcohol-related problems in the NT.

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  • WTF Another example of the dictatorship we live in! Not one related accident for speed ! The faster you go the more alert you are... Politicians are destroying our once free & easy country!!!!!!!!
  • This quote......"We’re backing calls from experts in the field like the [Northern Territory] Police Association and the AMA [Australian Medical Association] who have called for 130km/h to be brought back in those zones.” Since when are doctors and enforcers of laws all of a sudden experts in engineering and mechanics??????
  • Yep labour your **** is weak !!!!
  • What a **** government. Labour have no idea how to run anything All this is, is another wart on the **** of progress.'atblwast we can all see how you morons are going to work backwards as usual. Keep undoing all the good things Adam has done instead of concentrating on moving forward. If it isn't broke don't fix it!!!!!
  • Even if you drive at 130, and most people here do, you will have one eye on the speedo instead of finding a comfortable pace and focusing on the road.
  • Just goes to show that government is only interested in revenue, not safety. Trials have proven that unlimited speeds is safe for many years now. Most travel at 139km/h, ok, let's bring in a 130km/h speed limit and fine everyone that previous were driving at a safe speed. Revenue raising at it's finest. This has nothing to do with safety.
  • No deaths during the derestricted trials (four years, NOT A SINGLE DEATH due to SPEED), and they want to bring back speed limits. Tell me again how many people DIED when there were speed limits on the same stretch of road? When people start dying again due to fatigue, should the government be held accountable for those people dying?
  • This is geting out off control for **** sake the speed limit is a joke 30.kmh + 40.kmh then 40. And 60 and so on 30 + 40.kmh far to slow can walk farster share if you agree it just revenue
  • What money spent on trials? Apart from a few road signs ,not alot of money was spent and the figures show only one low speed death..revenue raising time?