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'No speed limits means motorists will pay attention to driving'

2017-04-18 08:37

SPEED DOESN'T ALWAYS KILL: Wheels24 reader JJ Smith says speed limits should be increased to reduce crashes. Image: AP

Cape Town - Earlier in 2016, Wheels24 reported on draft regulations, intended to reduce road carnage, include lower speed limits, the banning of transporting children in a bakkie's load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.

These new SA road rules  are set to be implemented during the course of 2017, according to the Department of Transport.

Earlier in April, the JMPD revealed it had arrested 1670 drivers for travelling at more than 40km/h over the speed limit in 80km/h or 100km/h zones between 2014 and 2016. During the same time period, 667 drivers were arrested for speeding at over 160km/h.

READ: Speedsters, here's what a 193km/h crash does to your car

Wheels24 reader JJ Smith says although it is quite obvious that if you are involved in an accident at high speed your chance of survival is less then what it would be at low speed, it is worth noting that everywhere where there were no speed limits, or in case of the Autobahn in Germany, there is still no speed limit, the number of fatal crashes are far less than when speed limits are introduced.

Smith goes to to share his thoughts on speeding in SA:

Here you can look at Montana in the USA which when the federal speed limit of 55mph (88km/h) was scrapped in the USA, had no speed limit for five years.

In this five-year period they had their lowest death rate on their roads is their history, when a speed limit of 75mph (120km/h) was introduced after a court case, the death rate on their roads doubled within a year. In fact when the federal speed limit of 55mph was dropped in 1994 in the USA, most states upend their speed limits.

The death rate on the roads in the USA, against the predictions of the experts, dropped to the lowest in their motoring history. Up to today, 23 years later, their death rate is still lower than what it was under the 55mph speed limit. Also in Australia's outback they had an increase of 117% in the death rate when a speed limit was introduced.

The theory behind this is that when a motorist travels without speed limits, 1) they pay attention to what they are doing, 2) they know other drivers might be driving faster and they may do so, so they tend to pay attention to other traffic and they stay out of the way of faster vehicles.

They do not adopt the attitude of "I'm doing the legal limit so the hell with you". You know that guy that sits in the middle of the road believing his speedo was made by NASA, and is the Alpha and Omega of speed indication, and he will not move over no matter how many cars is behind him.

I believe that if a speed limit on rural roads of about 160km/h is introduced we should see a significant drop in accidents on those roads. The problem is that the vast majority of fatal accidents happens in areas where speed limits are 60km/h and in, I would guess, 80% of those accidents either the driver or pedestrian involved is intoxicated.

So speed is not a problem, its is made a problem in order to generate more income out of traffic fines.

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