Monday, December 8, 2008

Travelling Speed and Risk of Crash Involvement Conclusions

In rural out of town areas, the risk of involvement in a casualty crash increases greater than exponentially with increasing free travel speed. Even travelling just 10 km/h faster than the average speed of other traffic was found to double the risk of crash involvement.

It was also found that small reductions in travelling speed in rural areas have the potential to greatly reduce casualty crashes in those areas; that illegal speeding is responsible for a significant proportion of rural crashes; and that reducing the maximum speed limit on undivided roads to 80 km/h could be expected to have a marked effect on casualty crash frequency.

We therefore recommend that:

1. The level of enforcement of speed limits in rural areas be increased.
2. The tolerance allowed in the enforcement of rural speed limits be reduced or eliminated.
3. All currently zoned 110 km/h undivided roads be rezoned to no more than 100 km/h.
4. Speed limits be reduced where current limits are considerably greater than average travelling speeds and where there are frequently occurring Advisory Speed signs.
5. After a period with stricter enforcement of rural area speed limits, consideration be given to changing the maximum speed limit to 80 km/h on all two lane rural roads, as is the practice on two lane rural roads in many States in the USA.
6. The level of public awareness of the risk of involvement in a casualty crash associated with speeding be increased with the aim of developing a culture of compliance with speed limits, and support for strict limits, similar to that which has developed in relation to compliance with blood alcohol limits during recent decades.
7. To assist with the preceding recommendation, we also recommend that the results of this study be widely publicised.

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