NT Govt Pushing For Expansion Of Open Speed Limit Trial Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Apr, 10 2014 | 2 Comments

The Northern Territory Government is considering an expansion of its new open speed limit trial, launched late last year.

In February, the territory removed speed limits on a 200km stretch of the Stuart Highway as part of a 12-month trial.

This week, transport minister Peter Styles told ABC News that a successful start to the trial now has the territory considering expanding the open speed limit to other roads.

"We're looking at various sections of road, both on the Stuart Highway and on the Barkley Highway that may be available to open up as part of the trial," Mr Styles told the ABC.

"We've always said and [told] people that it's their responsibility to drive to the conditions of the road, the condition of their vehicle, to their own capabilities.

Mr Styles did not offer any data or statistics on the trial’s results since its launch, but he said that “anecdotal evidence” suggests that motorists are driving safely on the 200km stretch.

"Generally, most people have. The police have indicated that everyone seems to be doing the right thing out there,” he said.

"The truckies that we've spoken to and the trucking people have said that they're very pleased."

Speaking at the launch of the trial last year, Mr Styles said that the trial was not an excuse for reckless or dangerous driving, and that existing speed limits would still be enforced for provisional and learner licence holders along with heavy vehicle operators.

The Northern Territory’s peak motoring body, the AANT, has previously said that it will not support a return to open speed limits until road conditions improve.

In a safety audit conducted last year, 61 percent of the Territory’s highways received only a 1- or 2-star safety rating.

“Current funding is barely adequate to maintain the existing NT National Highway network, let alone apply the necessary treatments needed to improve road safety,” AANT’s General Manager Edon Bell said in a statement earlier this year.

“This is not the time to be considering increases in speed limits on our National Highways.”

The NT government is also implementing a new policy for setting speed limits near road houses on major roads, including the Stuart, Barkley and Victoria Highways, depending on visibility, distance from the road and pedestrian activity.

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