SHADOW Minister for Road Safety Stephan Knoll says the State Government is “waving the white flag” when it comes to regional road safety, after his party announced its plan to review the speed limits on all major country roads.
The State Opposition announced last week that, if elected in March, it would undertake the review as a result of the Weatherill Government’s recent decision to cut speed limits on eight rural roads from 110 km/h to 100 km/h.
Mr Knoll, who is also the Member for Schubert, said his party’s proposed review was in addition to its plan to return the 110 km/h speed limits to the eight most recently affected roads.
“The government, recently, decided to, for the third time, reduce the speed limit on a tranche of roads from 110 km/h to 100 km/h (and) this time eight roads were affected,” he said.
“This is nothing more than a waving of the white flag by the government.
“Instead of investing in regional road infrastructure, they take the cheap option to reduce speed limits.
“After reviewing the road data we decided to reverse this decision, if elected, and undertake a review of all major country roads, with a view to looking at what maintenance is needed to keep speed limits at current levels.”
In 2011, the Labor Government decided to reduce limits to 100 km/h on 45 sections of road, including four in the Adelaide Plains Council region and six in the Light Regional Council area.
Some of the roads included Main North Road, south of Roseworthy, the Gawler to Mallala Road and the Gawler to Kapunda Road.
Mr Knoll said rural and regional road users don’t have access to public transport and, therefore, decisions around speed limit do significantly impact country people’s lives.
He also refuted the State Government’s claims that reducing speed limits by 10 km/h was going to reduce the number of road crashes.
“The causes of road accidents are often complex and multifaceted,” Mr Knoll said.
“To simply blame everything on speed limits is naive and disingenuous.
“In reality, crashes are caused by a wide range of factors, including inattention and fatigue, drug and alcohol use, seat-belt use, road conditions, car safety and maintenance, speeding and animals on roads.”
Minister for Road Safety Chris Picton was contacted for comment, but his office redirected the request to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, which did not respond before The Bunyip’s print deadline.