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Police slam 130km/h car magazine stunt

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    Latest issue of Wheels boasts that they drove from Melbourne to Sydney at 130km/h, didn't die and didn't get booked.

Journalist drove Melbourne to Sydney at 130km/h - and didn't get caught.

Police have slammed as "reckless" a magazine stunt that commissioned a foreign journalist to drive from Melbourne to Sydney above the speed limit at 130km/h — slashing more than an hour off the journey and completing it in less than six-and-a-half hours.

In a campaign to increase the limit between the two capital cities, the latest issue of Wheels magazine boasts "we drove from Melbourne to Sydney at 130km/h, didn't die and didn't get booked".

Defending the stunt, Wheels editor Stephen Corby said: "We've been told for years drowsy drivers die, but increasing the speed limit would reduce fatigue. You're less likely to have a microsleep, less likely to wander off the road. We see it as a positive for road safety."

The magazine was prepared to pay for three speeding tickets before calling off the attempt, done on a Saturday, but was amazed to find it didn't once get stopped by police in Victoria or NSW.

Travelling 20km/h above the posted limit cut more than 70 minutes from the 800km journey between the northern outskirts of Melbourne and the south-western outskirts of Sydney on the Hume Highway, to just six hours and 23 minutes.

The British journalist behind the wheel, Ben Oliver, slowed for more than a dozen speed cameras and stuck to the limit in all other speed zones except 110km/h sections.

"I've never arrived in a city with the sole intention of breaking the law before, but any sense of roguish glamour soon fades as I head out of Melbourne on the Hume Highway, flagrantly breaching Australian law by doing something that is considered perfectly safe and legal in other countries," wrote Oliver, even though he later admitted "I wouldn't advocate making the Hume 130km/h all the way".

Aside from speed-unlimited sections of German autobahn, most European countries have maximum speed limits of between 130km/h and 150km/h. But Australian police are not impressed. "This stunt has potentially endangered other people's lives. Speed is still one of the biggest killers on our roads," said NSW Police Assistant Commissioner, Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol, John Hartley. "It's a deliberately reckless action. We take a dim view of what is clearly a stunt. It sends a bad message to other drivers and could have had tragic consequences."

Victoria Police Superintendent of road policing, Neville Taylor, said: "This has been a ridiculous high-risk stunt and is most certainly not an appropriate method of doing research into road safety initiatives. Speed is a significant contributor to one in three road traumas." Despite the article amounting to a confession, police said they would not attempt to prosecute the foreign journalist — who has since returned to Britain — but did issue a warning to other overseas licence holders who flout the law.

"If the (foreign) driver had continued with that behaviour and been caught multiple times it would have come up on our police computer and he would have been placed under arrest and put before a court," said Mr Hartley.

Highway patrol officers regularly check the immigration status of foreign licence holders to ensure they are bona fide visitors rather than permanent residents trying to avoid fines, he said.

The lead-footed journalist said Victoria's near-zero tolerance to speeding "causes cars and trucks to bunch together as one overtakes another achingly slowly, terrified of getting pinged".

The author also "marvelled at the staggering wrongheadedness of the constant roadside signs warning drivers of the dangers of fatigue when an unnecessarily low limit forces them to remain behind the wheel for longer".

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay gave qualified support to the 130km/h campaign: "I think in certain conditions (130km/h) would be a speed that could be contemplated, but it is not a speed that the community would accept," he said.

Swedish car maker Volvo, the inventor of the three-point seatbelt and a road safety advocate, said it was aware its car was being used for the magazine's 130km/h stunt.

"We knew the nature of the story and we're comfortable with it," said Volvo Australia spokesman Oliver Peagam, who supplied a super-fast turbocharged sedan worth $110,000 for the exercise. "It was more to illustrate the differing views on speed limits."

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling

How fast are you going now?
France — 130km/h
Austria — 130km/h
Bulgaria — 140km/h
Denmark — 130km/h
Italy — 150km/h
The Netherlands — 130km/h
Poland — 140km/h
Germany — Unlimited, on selected roads
Australia — 110km/h (130km/h on some sections of the NT)
 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 66 comments

  • Well done wheels mag for this article. I fully agree with higher speed limits to be allowed on open roads. I have travelled from Adelaide to Darwin several times, and because of the 110klm limit in Sth Aus, it becomes a long and boring trip. As soon as you cross the border to N.T. it becomes so much easier and bareable in the 130 zone. Fatigue is the main issue. However, most comments here are talking about raised limits on "dual lane highways". Adelaide to Darwin is ALL single lane, without any passing lanes,very reasonable highway, and very capable of having 130klm plus limits. Most of the time you can see miles ahead, so you know what traffic is around to be able to drive accordingly. In some places, you cannot even see a tree for as far as you look, (I'm yawning just thinking about it). I've worked in underground mines as a truck driver, doing speeds of 7-10kph when loaded for up to 2 hrs a trip, for a 12 hr shift, and I can honestly say that it is much easier and less tiring doing 130kph on a highway for 12 hrs. I feel less fatigued, so I am able to concentrate better. Please keep following up on this subject, and stop the revenue raising on our highways. WE WANT 130kph.

    brenton of S.A. Posted on 06 March 2014 12:32pm
  • I have to agree the speeding limit should be raised on most freeways, highways a few reasons are people cant concentrate going 100km or some parts 110km, thats why we have alot of signs telling us, distracted drivers kill, micro second sleep will kill you in seconds...and other signs similar, I cant belive the amount of these signs plastered along the m31 (hume freeway) telling us this, Isnt this telling us somthing... maybe the speeding limit needs to be reviewed? If high speeds where such a major issue on roads, im sure Germanys autoburn speeds would have been limited There is no doubt in my mind "within reason" driving at higher speeds on h/w & f/w keeps you alert, less time, less traffic on the road.

    samuel of tarneit Posted on 29 December 2013 3:30pm
  • I also done 400 mile trip in the lower west of america recently, 75 mile limits posted, travel with the trafic around 85, police on the side of the roads watching the traffic, only people weaving through at high speeds were pulled over. best of all, there was all but one road that was min. 2 lanes each way. I had to travel 60 miles to the grand canyon on single lanes, yet had many passing lanes. how comfortable it was to check the mirror for a faster car, then change lanes to overtake, I arrived still reasonably fresh after a 9 hour run. proud to be Australian, yet feel shafted by revenue raising.

    Danny of Whyalla S.A. Posted on 09 December 2013 11:42am
  • Speed is not the killer. It's the sudden stop, usually caused by inattentive drivers. Get rid of unroadworthy vehicles. Train drivers to drive safely on highways. Fatigue sets in quickly when one needs travel long distances at slow speeds. Many years ago I came across an unmarked police car accident, caused by a high speed pursuit. The vehicle being pursued was no where to be seen. Both ambulance officers suggested that high speed pursuits should be at the bottom of the list in police activities.

    Flinders Flyer Posted on 19 November 2013 1:42pm
  • John Hall hit the nail on the head - Inattentiveness is fatal and needs attention.

    Better-Roads-Party.com of Sydney Posted on 15 November 2013 5:49pm
  • "This stunt has potentially endangered other people's lives. Speed is still one of the biggest killers on our roads," said NSW Police Assistant Commissioner.....what an idiot. I can guarantee not 1 single accident 'EVER' has been caused by speed. The aerospace industry, oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, etc. all use one simple procedure to find out what caused an incident - called Root Cause Analysis (RCA). Why do our Road Safety 'Experts' think differently? I'll skip all the preamble, but the simple process is asking 'WHY?' Things happen. Why did the car crash? Because it was traveling at a velocity to great to negotiate the bend and stay on the road.....buy WHY did it do that. Because the driver was not trained properly to operate his vehicle within the bounds of its abilities, the road/weather conditions, etc. The 'CAUSE' of the incident was 'HUMAN ERROR' - not speed. Fatalities on our roads will never decrease until we train people properly, to DRIVE a car, instead of just operating it. A licence needs to be expensive and difficult to get - It's a privilege to drive - NOT A RIGHT. Retest every 10 years. And compulsory lifetime ban for drunk/drug driving Get it right

    Shane Daniel of Perth Posted on 11 November 2013 11:02pm
  • fat lot of good 130km/h is if you own a Datsun 120Y

    David Posted on 09 November 2013 2:13pm
  • Try driving a 22 wheeler at 80 kph, So the faster speed in a car could very well assist the driver to maintain attention. Talking on a CB used to help me, so there are things that could be trialed ..

    John Hall of Australia Posted on 07 November 2013 4:53pm
  • Interesting that in Australia, which has the lowest maximum speed limits in the world, statistics don't reflect that dubious "honour" in road fatalities per 100,000 vehicles. Germany, with the highest maximum limits has one of the lowest fatality figures. Denmark and the Netherlands also fare better than Australia, both with higher limits and less fatalities. Until our State governments acknowledge that our low speed limits are merely easy revenue raisers, motorists have every right to remain cynical about the 110 km/h maximum, (although 100 km/h is the more usual maximum).

    ausGeoff of Frankston Posted on 07 November 2013 9:47am
  • Search 'speed camera photo corruption' or Redflex. Speed cameras are only about money and have nothing to do with safety.

    Nick Cooper of New Zealand Posted on 28 October 2013 6:34pm
  • Most places in Europe or North America with high speed limits, are on Freeways or Autobahns or Interstates where the two sides of the road are very separate (barrier or distance), & the roads are engineered with soft curves. It is totally fair to argue for speed increases in those environments! Not so fair in situations where the traffic approaches head-on, especially with winding or poor quality roads, where combined speed (sum of speed of each oncoming vehicle) approaches 250 kph. In the 70's and 80's the various state road death toll was nuts, and there were Road Accident Investigation & Research groups created. The groups studied & made recommendations to reduce the injuries & death to people, & damage to property. Their recommendations worked so well, the arguments presented in the comments above to increase speed, are forgetting the data that led to changes resulting in the low fatality numbers you see today. The quotes suggesting "I drove long distances at speed, and never died" miss the point .... the guy or gal who tried & died, have not been able to provide their comments! No matter how many people say they succeeded, the dead guy or gal is not speaking.

    gsf Posted on 26 October 2013 12:56am
  • Shows you what little we have to worry about in this amazing country of ours if Police are "outraged" and "disgusted" at someone doing 130kph on a road designed to do just that.

    Will Power Posted on 25 October 2013 3:06pm
  • In the UK they have actually reduced the number of static speed cameras on major roads, due to research indicating they contributed to more accidents. As a result of drivers suddenly reducing speed causing front to rear accidents, increased by adverse weather conditions. Australia is so bloody backward and controlled by nanny state politicians. We are truly sick of this bla bla bla speed kills. Vehicle safety and increased ten fold over the last two decades with ie ABS; 4WD Steer; Air bags; 4 wheel disc brakes; IRS; etc. Not to mention passenger restraints; airbag systems and improvements in vehicle geometry and handling characteristics. Not to mention the major highway improvements and divided carriageways. We are not still in 1971 on the single lane Hume Hwy driving a XY Ford Falcon. When will you bureaucrats wake up, the public all know your addicted to speed camera revenue.

    Dave Davis of Tweed Heads Posted on 17 October 2013 12:52am
  • I congratulate Wheels for exposing as utter rubbish the "Speed Kills" propaganda espousd by ALL Australian governments and highlights that a well trained driver and a modern motor vehicle can safely travel at mort than 100kmh without suffering death. And as for the incompetent boobs that are our national police departments calling this demonstration "Reckless", it is no more reckless than letting so-called trained police officers hoon around at high speed chasing crooks or responding to emergencies, how many of these end badly? The cops bigger worry is of course lost revenue and a negative impact on their speed is bad message. The biggest problem we Aussies have on the roads are crap drivers, a result of piss poor driver training and no decent national standard of training or psychological and physical testing to determine if individuals are capable of responsibly controlling a vehicle. When the cops and "Speed Kills" zealots act to correct driver training and skills I will take notice of what they ahve to say, otherwise they are nothing more than a buch of slow witted control freaks!!!

    cjd of Perth Posted on 16 October 2013 4:31pm
  • I fully sppot hte test and the campaign to increase hte maximum limit. There is a significant amount of time focused on constantly monitoring te speed your driving to ensure you dont creep 3km over and get booked as a result, instead of being able to focus onth e road and driving conditions. Additionally how can you have a 3km sensitivity to speed (103km in a 100km zone for example) and ye vehicle manufacturing tolerances are allowed to be upto 8%. In order for a consistent message to be sent to drivers the level of fluctuation allowed by new car makers and the limit of tolerance accepted by Police surely has to be the same. You can buy a brand new fully compliant car, set it on 100km and be booked for doing 108km wthout knowing.

    Aaron Young of Victoria Posted on 16 October 2013 9:45am
  • Oh my. Does this mean lost revenue? Of course it does!!!

    PR of Perth Posted on 15 October 2013 2:04pm
  • We frequently see police vehicles travelling at far greater speeds than our foreign journalist, often for no apparent reason. This also sends the wrong message to other motorists and sometimes does have tragic consequences. It's a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality that even law-abiding people find very disturbing.

    Ian Barrett of Gosford Posted on 11 October 2013 7:35am
  • being an aussie driver in aus i can see when one person starts to overtake once they are in that right lane they are more concerned about breaking the speed limit by a few kms to get passed,rather then do the overtake and get out of the way of the way of 123456789+cars bumper to bumper behind them all wanting to overtake also.Its time everyone relizes that a majority of speed zones in aus are simply speed traps to just raise revenue for the government ,has nothing to do with safety. What can we do?

    mikkhan of Ballarat Posted on 08 October 2013 6:14pm
  • We have just come back from the Netherlands and 130 kmh is common place with far less fatalities on the freeways. We are over regulated over here run by folks that lack vision

    MAH of Perth Posted on 06 October 2013 10:19pm
  • When you look at the fatality rate of, lets say German roads compared to Australian roads, its silly to think that speed kills. Its a lack of attention that kills. The faster you go, the more focus you are on whats happening around you.

    Yuri of Frankston Posted on 04 October 2013 6:23pm
  • Every year I spend 5 weeks driving or riding a motor bike in Europe. The drivers a so much better than Australia because they have to concentrate 100% of the time, the speeds are so much higher and police don't worry about 10-15ks over on open roads and pay more attention to travelling too close to the car in front.People say Italy has bad drivers but at least when they cut you off they know that you are there HERE the drivers have no idea what is happening out side the car. To finish off on the German Autobahns at 200 ks PLUS you are not dozing off or txting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Geoff Rowville

    geoff whiter of Australia Posted on 03 October 2013 10:34am
  • Anyone who thinks that speed doesn't kill must obviously have had their brain removed.

    P1 Posted on 30 September 2013 9:00am
  • I, like many people, drove in the Northern Territory at high speeds when there was no speed limit and we are all still alive.. How do the authorities still getting away with"Speed Kills" when it is known to be rubbish after all these years.. and just a continual excuse for revenue raising..!!!

    GM of Queensland Posted on 24 September 2013 12:36pm
  • Australian govt wants easy money to line their super when rhey get off politics. They have to tow the boat to safguard their expense account. Knowing full well that this country is an immigrant country, the commoners would be over the posted speed limit. Until the politicians drive themselves they would not know the drowsiness that 110 causes. The cops are a law to themselves. They drive the way they feel like, "speeding", switching on red/blue lights to get away from red lights and camera and to clear traffic jams. Kudos to Wheels to perform this test. Lets support this effort people, don't waste it. Thank you George Krooglik.

    Jeffrey Chenis of Sydney Posted on 24 September 2013 10:39am
  • Of course the list of European countries leaves out the countries with a 120 limit... (for brevity) I drive to the conditions, and within the scope of the law of whichever country I visit.. When in Germany and, conditions, limits and time requires it, 160 is not too fast. Just Note that as the speed increases so too does the cost. (though getting to destination at 9pm is better than 11 pm) Driving a Ford Focus (ok not a speed beast), on a very long European trip (~7000 km): In Mountainous, rugged country and on 90-100 km/hr bad country-roads, average fuel consumption fell to 6.8 L/100 km (without resetting meter). Driving on Autobahns around 140-160 most of the time, consumption rose to around 7.3 L/100km At 130km/hr, consumption stabilised at around 7.2 L/100. Driving fast will not kill you or anyone else, but if something does go wrong, of course you hit the guard rail with a lot more kinetic energy. Driving faster may get people to the end quicker (no guarantees, when everyone bunches up again at the inevitable road works (eg. in Germany) ) but it will not use less fuel than sitting at the mind numbingly boring pace of 90-100 km/hr. So to go faster there is a cost.

    MD of NSW Posted on 23 September 2013 4:41pm
  • i fall asleep everytime i drive to and from Canberra and have to stop on a regular basis. On several occasions i have increased my speed limit just to try and stay awake until i would get to a near rest area. If police continue to think Speed is a major factor they are obviously living in La La La land.... fatigue in my view is far more dangerous than anything else. There is the few who do speed and drive dangerously but those dont represent 99% of us. They introduced point to point cameras and i dont see that being effective.... one can speed for his life then stop for 30mins- hour and resume their trip...how can that be effective. the only people that suffer will be the mums and dads or even your regular young driver you for minute didnt look at the speedo and got done for going 5kms over the speed limit. no wonder police dont get the respect they deserve...but politicians are as much to blame.

    Bruster of sydney Posted on 23 September 2013 11:11am
  • I think that its really pitiful that here in Australia where most of us have to travel greater distances than than people could even imagine in some European countries that we are made to drive at these arbtuary speed limits that send us to sleep. Ive been booked more times than I care to remember for allegedely speeding yet never for looking tired when pulled over for RBT. All about safety and not revenue. Ha! I think NOT why do you think that in NSW they awarded every full license holder an extra demerit point, if not to keep us on the roads for more revenue.

    George Cassar of Minchinbury Posted on 23 September 2013 5:20am
  • I drive safely all the time, never injured anybody or myself, by not looking at clock except in fear that's causes accidents, makes mistakes, zombies sitting together hogging all lanes and fear of cameras placed around or too much policy, drivers slam on their brakes without thinking about safety first, I been guilty of this once, in wet weather at lights lucky no one was behind me stopped just in time of a red light camera. Also, had way too many do to me causing accidents, I vowed to myself never do again, just drive safe for how feel has always been the best policy. Need more make no sense policies&police;&terrorists; encourage more&more; of this fear&control; onto it's own people for this so-called scam "government", plus they aint greedy/corrupt/breaking any 'real' laws at all -not

    Bron of Melbourne Posted on 22 September 2013 6:52pm
  • great work, It's about time the stupid authorities & govt come to realise that speed does not kill at all it may have a small part to play. what does kill is the sudden stop. I have many years driving experience on the road at very high speeds where roads permit & also on the race track what is needed is driver training on proper training tracks then hold a license acording to their ability I now still drive to road conditions & constantly drive from quad road trains to small car or a motor bike. Some Roads are still only fit for a horse & dray not a modern vehicle.

    Colin of Perth Posted on 21 September 2013 10:21pm
  • 130 k would be excellent on our freeways. I must say how obviously stupid the police sound when bemoaning speeding and safety. I honestly believe the police are the most dangerous drivers on our roads. They would do anything to get their booking tally for the shift. I have seen many ridiculous breaches of safety from highway patrol while hunting down the poor motorist doing a few kilometres over the speed limit. Even saw one on a mobile phone while driving not long ago.

    Brett Posted on 21 September 2013 10:18pm
  • This gets boring after a while. It is a fact, to be found from the governments own figures, that more than 95% of fatalities occur WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE SPEED LIMIT. When police refer to speed being a "factor", they are not saying its the cause, nor are they saying that it involved exceeding the speed limit. We just assume those things, and they're happy for us to do that. The RMS website has a definition of speed that includes exceeding the posted limit AND driving at an excessive speed BUT BELOW THE LIMIT. In this way almost any accident can be called "speed related", it just depends on how it is looked at. If the vehicles are moving any crash is speed related! The sad consequence of all this half truth is that people genuinely believe that driving slowly is a guarantee of safety. It isn't. Our toll will not fall while "speed kills" is a policy. Its been essentially unchanged in NSW for four years. I doubt that 2013 will be any different. $1m per day is a big incentive to allow us to believe something that those at the very top know is incorrect!

    Bruce Harper of Wagga Wagga Posted on 21 September 2013 8:07pm
  • Now we just have to force the government to listen, the government is supposed to implement what the majority of people decree. Most people have always known what we are hearing, but who has the backbone to act on it. I recently defended myself against a mobile speed camera fine >10 < 15km in 100km zone, the case was dismissed. If more people did this then, the courts would be so backlogged the court system would come to a standstill. I am not suggesting everyone drive at ridiculous speeds, there should be more of a visual police presence (not speed camera traps that no one ever sees). Australia used to be known as the country of little Aussie battlers, Where has that last word gone. I am now standing down from my soap box

    Ian of Perth Posted on 21 September 2013 3:58pm
  • First of all, driving a car or bike at speed that is quite safe for one person can be very dangerous for many others. So if higher speeds are to be allowed on our roads then people should be skill tested to achieve that license which will then enable them to drive/ride at higher speeds. Second, roads where greater speeds are allowed will need to be of a high standard, multi lane & free of other dangers (ie: trucks, slow drivers, caravans, boats & trailers) will need to be policed as such. Third, vehicles that can travel on roads where higher speeds are permitted should 1. Be certified to do so 2. Be subject to more stringent roadworthy tests more often 3. Be undamaged. Fourth. Driver education about all aspects of high speed driving & the roads where it is allowed must be introduced & maintained for all road users. Do all these things, plus change the attitudes of a few narrow minded politicians, policemen & low speed loving do gooders. And yes we can travel safely at speed, no problem. But just remember this! if you let people travel at 130 kph & still give them 10% grace before making them a criminal, they will be doing 140 kph when things go wrong. Be ready for some carnage

    Bruce of Leeton Posted on 20 September 2013 9:21pm
  • Last time I checked Australia had about the 12th. lowest mortality rate for road users. Every country with safer roads had heavier traffic, a less benign climate and higher speed limits. Stupid driving kills. This doesn't necessarily equate to speeding. However, speeding is relatively easily policed and a wonderful source of revenue. In Victoria we issue nearly as many infringement notices as all of Great Britain. Not bad with 10% of the population!

    Graeme of Melbourne Posted on 20 September 2013 7:59pm
  • This is a really emotional issue, but when you consider the great number of road users that are already will to risk a fine by travelling well over the speed limit, then this hardly seems like a reckless stunt. And it is difficult to think of a more effective way to bring this to the attention of various governments and the public. Sometimes extreme actions are needed.

    Bill Dunk of Darlinghurst Posted on 20 September 2013 12:42pm
  • a lot of cops are above the law. They cut the law in to pieces while in their police cars. Speeding, going above the limit all the time for no reasonably reason; irrational at all times. People who do just over 60 get booked, while the cop who does 70km/h in the 60 zone does not get booked. A person who is unreasonable and does not foresee or is able to foresee; thus has no capacity to realise that their very own stunt at 70 or 80km/h in the 60 zone is absolutely futile. And how futile? well if an idiot officer does say 75% in the 60, it just cuts 10-20 seconds less on the way to his randomly selected route/direction. So why not stick at 60? , why do over 60? for no reasonable cause, plus not under any duty or a mission or a call. Seriously. And on the topic, I think that our Australia cars are all tall geared. Doing a 130km/h at just under 2,000rpm in an FG XT in top gear...easy, or 120km/h in top gear on most 4 speed Falcons and Commodores. Seriously 140kn/h ought to be a norm. Not 100, though I can say , the speed does kill. So lets keep it at 100km/h.

    Durabrond Lawrence of perth Posted on 19 September 2013 10:44pm
  • There's a lot of emotion around this proposition. In Australia we've been brainwashed into believing that higher speeds will lead to more fatalities. Mostly straight stretches of multilane and divided highways should allow for vehicles to travel at 130 km/h as in European countries without any commensurate increase in fatalities, with less driver fatigue. If it's raining or foggy speeds will decrease to 110 km/h or lower. Trucks to travel at no more than 100km/h and 90 km/h on single lane roads. Cars to travel at no more than 100km/h on single lane roads which are indeed dangerous. Speeding does not kill - it's inappropriate speed for the driving environment. Its nonsense for the police to say that Wheels were in any way irresponsible driving a near brand new car with excellent brakes and safety features - they made the journey without harm being done to anyone. And Victoria has a blatant focus on revenue raising. Tougher laws on roadworthy vehicles would be more than worthwhile to allow the opportunity to drive at 130 km/h on straight roads. Most humans are not daredevils - generally we drive at a fast enough speed to get us to our destination safely and efficiently.

    Luke of Sydney Posted on 19 September 2013 1:59pm
  • Good Work fella's. Its about time the govt realised that our speed limits are way too slow on our highways. Melbournes main freeway is 80kmh. Ridiculous. Not only would increased speed make everyone more alert behind the wheel, it reduces the time spent on the road by tired drivers. We are the laughing stock of the world. There should be a 130kmh highway between every major city in Australia.

    Derek of Timbumbiurite Posted on 19 September 2013 11:51am
  • Interestingly, most of those countries you mentioned boast lower accident rates than Australia, despite the higher speed limits. Most accidents occur off the freeways where limits are lower, so whilst speed is a factor, it's usually driver error or poor road design that causes the accident. So is the real reason for our low freeway limits driver safety? Maybe it's so the Police can raise more fine revenue for the state governments.

    John of Brisbane Posted on 18 September 2013 6:41pm
  • After reading this report I got interested in the statistics. I dug up the NSW crash stats from 2010. According to these stats in 2010, there were only 10 fatal crashes on roads where speed limits are 110 km/h out of 365 fatal crashes for the year. A further examination shows that in the country sections for the Hume for 2010 there were 9 fatalities. A further examination shows that 2 of these were in Holbrook (not 110 km/h at the time). This is without even determining what the cause of those crashes were. There is no way to determine just how many crashes on the Hume are speed related. Even if that was the case, you could still make an argument that some of those stats are irrelevant because if you had say out of those 9 crashes all due to speed, the occupants were driving in excess of 130 km/h then increasing the speed limit to 130 km/h would not have prevented nor caused those deaths.

    Michael Larkin of Canberra Posted on 18 September 2013 3:20pm
  • This is an intelligent report and action, brilliantly displaying what many motorists here in Australia know to be the reality of travelling long distances. The response by all levels of the Police Highway Patrol groups to this article is typical of "stoic ignorance" and the need to tow a line that supports deliberate revenue raising. Speed limit signage in this country is often ridiculous - It can be easily proven that some signage along expressway off ramps and even some on ramps displays "speed limit changes" from 110 to 80 to 60, as an example, are so close together it looks STUPID to any person who is able to think for themselves. This is the case too along many Highway Sections, and where often a SPEED CAMERA is nearby - BLATANT REVENUE RAISING. Australia's road toll has diminished proportionately, and is actually considerably lower than it was during the 1950's, 60's, 70's and 80's. this report should lead to a refreshing approach to the "speed limit" status in Australia. And congratulations to Wheels Magazine, and Ben OLIVER, and to Volvo.

    Barry Peterson of Queensland Posted on 18 September 2013 1:11pm
  • Top job by wheels! When are the authorities going to wake up to the fact that if they increased the limit to 130klm it would not only keep drivers more alert, but also boost the Australian economy. Eg: The average commuter who drives 100klm per day on a 110 limited hwy, would save 8 minutes. 8 minutes may not seem much, but multiply 8 minutes by the amount of commuters, tradies and sales people. It equals a lot of wasted time. 90% of our highways would be fine for a 130kmh limit, but better driver training is a must. Bring it on!

    James of Sunshine Coast Posted on 18 September 2013 11:38am
  • I wonder if any of you who have made a comment supporting higher speeds have lost family members in car accidents? I've lost two. It's a horrendous and very real consequence of speeding. It doesn't surprise me that most of the comments here are from men. Go spend your extra testosterone on being useful, and not trying to prove you can drive really, really fast.

    Jem of NSW Posted on 18 September 2013 9:04am
  • A full review of speed limits has to be put on the agenda, coupled with mandatory driver training and better roads. I like the saying regarding Australia and our roads " too Big to be so Slow" maybe a catch cry for all motoring realists/ enthusiasts. Credit to Duncan Gay who is a roads advocate hampered by small thinkers in Government.

    Jack Venture of Central Coast Posted on 18 September 2013 8:49am
  • Let's get the speed limit up in increments. Increase it now to 120kmh and in 5 years time to 130. The NT already has a 130 limit and I can never understand how when you cross an imaginary line - the QLD border - that it's no longer safe to do 130, you have to reduce your speed to 100.

    Wayne Cole of Sunshine Coast Posted on 18 September 2013 4:01am
  • The death toll has increased in the Northern Territory since they introduced a 130km/h speed limit. It used to be unlimited. They focus on speed because its good for revenue raising.

    Ben Posted on 18 September 2013 12:56am
  • Good work Wheels. ...I'll vote for the MP who increases freeway speeds to 130 km/h as I cannot stand driving at such low speeds along these long stretches of roads. Also with no high speed train network in place this should definitely be considered, thus moving the economy along. Also make the driver test harder and skill people up on road curtsy, braking distances and general good driving skills, as there are too many drivers on these roads who would fail driving tests in allot of other European countries.

    Richard of Sydney Posted on 18 September 2013 12:49am
  • The comparison with European speed limits highlights just how absurdly low our highway speed limit is. 130kmh is definitely a safe speed on decent roads, would greatly reduce fatigue and increase transport efficiency on many Australian highways. Those accidents where speed is a factor usually involve massively excessive speed such as 110 in a 60 zone or 160+ in a 100 zone. The misleading police comments highlight just how brainwashed they are by their own propaganda. At least Duncan Gay can see reason but he is wrong saying the community wouldn't accept a 130kmh speed limit. The silent majority would be perfectly comfortable with it.

    Nat Posted on 18 September 2013 12:10am
  • Typical propaganda from the Police, continuing to brainwash the general public. With such long Australian roads covering vast distances, we need 130 kmh roads even more than all those European countries! The speed limit has been 110kmh for too many years in Australia. Cars have evolved dramatically and are much safer now at all speeds. All the speed cameras (sorry, 'Safety Cameras') raising extra funds for governments have now created an environment where so many motorists drive everywhere at 10kmh under the speed limit causing congestion, and risk taking by frustrated drivers who end up behind them.

    Robert M of Adelaide Posted on 17 September 2013 11:43pm
  • I lived in the NT when they still had unlimited speed on the open road and also when they introduced the 130 speed limit, most of the people that were crashing were overseas tourists and drunks. Now live in South Australia and the roads are so crap that it's dangerous to go over 60, maybe if the roads were improved then there wouldn't be so many accidents.

    SusanG of Australia Posted on 17 September 2013 11:38pm
  • It's great to see a respected motoring magazine finally take a positive step towards making our roads safer to drive, but completely disappointing to see the shortsightedness and negativity of the police. I have thought for years that a 130km/h speed limit would encourage safer driving, with less crashes caused by fatigue, and traffic being spread out further. Well done Wheels, you covered all bases possible, considering the circumstances, and keep up the good work - you have many thousands of supporters!

    Cameron of Launceston Posted on 17 September 2013 11:04pm
  • Hellaluyah I can only agree with previous comments and thanks to Wheels magazine. I'm sick to death of the minority scaremongering that is promoted by government to save them investing where it really counts-driver education. I do an average of 100,000 kms a year and on country roads I do it at 130-140kph and havent been involved in an accident for more than 30 years. Thanks again for your voice in this one sided decision making process, wheels magazine.

    Rick of Perth Posted on 17 September 2013 10:11pm
  • After recently retiring from 35 years of NSW policing, 11 of which were on HWP I can speak freely now. The myth that "speed kills" is only a half-truth or less. Speeding is very situational but more importantly it is a massive revenue earner for all state Govts but dressed in paternalistic "safety" clothing. We used to allow a rule of thumb 20km/h over the prevailing 100 km/h limit on the old Hume Highway before booking and had a wonderful road safety record, often with a zero road toll (Albury region). No senior police officer will dare to contradict the official Govt propaganda lest they get targeted themselves with transfers, demotions etc . Privately however, my view is commonly held. The greatest example of the hypocracy that "speed kills" is the recent withdrawal of the 900 speeding tickets to Victorian motorists who were caught speeding in a roadworks zone. If the Govt was consistent and truly believed "speed kills" then they would not have withdrawn the fines. They ran with their tail between their legs because of the mass uprising by motorists. This proved "speed kills" is a propaganda nonsense continued by successive Govts to get the revenue. Speak up !.

    George Krooglik of Albury Posted on 17 September 2013 9:13pm
  • I would agree wholeheartedly with Wheels campaign. A recent trip to the US when we drove for 4,000 miles across the western US showed me that driving at 130 kms (or 80 miles an hour which is tolerated in the US) on the interstates is a lot more relaxing than a similar drive would be in Australia. We have been beaten to death with the so called dangers of speed on good roads when i feel the biggest dangers we face are driver inattention and fatigue. How many people do we see in peak hour that are doing everything except concentrating on driving. Red light running seems to be rampant as well - but the police are silent on this one too.

    Julian of Bris Posted on 17 September 2013 8:17pm
  • Speed isn't the killer. Otherwise every country would be at 110. It's people crashing at higher speeds that cause deaths. We should be worrying less about people going to fast, but teaching them how to do it safely and sensibly. It works in other countries, a fact you can not dispute. We need better training, better roads, better cars. Australia is too big to drive that slow.

    phil of Australia Posted on 17 September 2013 4:35pm
  • Ditto what you said tintedstud. I'm glad someone has brought this into the spotlight in a rather extravagant manner. Good on 'em.

    Dan4096 of Perth Posted on 17 September 2013 4:14pm
  • Excellent work Wheels, fully agree that marginally higher speed limits definitely reduce fatigue.

    Brett of Hobart Posted on 17 September 2013 2:16pm
  • How fast are you going now? Not fast enough. Only in Australia would we we be having this silly debate about proper speed limits. You can see from the list of countries above that other people in the world manage to travel faster than 110 without spontaneously combusting. Get real Australia, speed up.

    John of Stuck behing a caravan on a 2 lane road Posted on 17 September 2013 2:00pm
  • I've long since given up on any rational debate about speed limits in Australia. The traffic bureaucrats would rather come up with some inane tagline like "Wipe off 5 - stay alive" than ever consider raising the speed limit on the sections of freeway that are engineered to that level. Wipe off 5 from what exactly ? 115 - 110, 85 - 80, 45 - 40 ? What if the speed limit is clearly designed to raise as much revenue as possible ? Why is the Geelong freeway only 100 when it was engineered to cater for 130 ? Why doesn't it have a variable speed limit that allows 110 outside of peak periods and when the traffic volumes and weather conditions permit ? Other roads do .... There are too many sheeple in this country to ever protest loudly enough for anything to happen.

    Rick of Melbourne Posted on 17 September 2013 1:49pm
  • Having driven for many years on the Italian Autostrade and German Autobahns, at speeds even up to 160-180 kmh, every day to get to work and home, I find that I get bored to the point of distraction while driving at 110 kmh along the long Australian highways, which I feel is more dangerous. Also I find it more dangerous have to pay attention to the speedometer and the road signs with changing limits, for fear of exceeding them, than to the actual traffic and road conditions. Particularly so since, in all honesty, Australian drivers do not respect road rules as closely as the general european driving community. So you really do need an extra pair of eyes to watch out for irregular driving behaviour ...

    Maurizio Pellizzon of Sydney Posted on 17 September 2013 1:49pm
  • Police have their own axe to grind. They apply a lowest-common-denominator policy which I guess is understandable considering the poor the skills and attitudes of Australian drivers. If we were as well trained as Germans and Finns, who have the most strict licensing requirements, and we treated a license as a privilege rather than a right, then maybe we could aspire to higher speed limits too. But I'm afraid I've personally witnessed too many bad drivers with bad attitudes over 25 years as an advanced driving instructor to support a move to let Aussies driver any faster

    Bruce Scott of Sydney Posted on 17 September 2013 1:38pm
  • Awesome, well done Wheels Magazine. Don't take any notice of the police 'official' comments, they are just spokespeople for the government propaganda fed to us.

    Love it, well done. Posted on 17 September 2013 12:53pm
  • With modern cars comfortably capable of travelling safely at such speed, I would be all for increasing the speed limit on dual lane highways such as the Hume to 130km/h under certain circumstances. The following conditions would need to be met - 1. Get old junkers off the road with tighter registration and roadworthy laws, such as the NSW system of annual roadworthy tests for registration. 2. Higher standard of driving and car control tuition and testing, including for high speed in order to obtain a licence. 3. More money for road maintenance and upgrades to ensure that the road is safe for travelling at the increased speeds. 4. Electronic speed signs on the road, to allow the speed limit to be adjusted down when necessary to ensure road safety i.e in bad weather, accidents, maintenance crews on road. 5. Harsher penalties for those who exceed the speed limit. But the pollies and the left wing political correctness fun police will never allow all that...all too hard and too expensive...

    SVZ Posted on 17 September 2013 12:37pm
  • Interesting story. I also enjoy how the police trot out the old speed kills line. It may well be true that 1 in 3 crashes are speed related, but I would be willing to bet they are on single lane country roads with potholes and blind corners. We are not talking about 130 km/h on those. We are talking about 130 km/h on a double lane divided freeway. I would be interested in the stats to see how many crashes on the Hume are speed related

    Michael Larkin of Canberra Posted on 17 September 2013 12:30pm
  • NSW Roads Minister Gay said "... 130km/h is not a speed that the community would accept". Really? What rock does he live under? It's not rocket science - long stretches of road (like the Hume) can easily be 130km/h. In all fairness, those that are unable to maintain proper control of a vehicle doing 130km/h on a straight section of the Hume shouldn't be in the drivers seat in the first place....

    Mike of Melbourne Posted on 17 September 2013 10:14am
  • LOL.... love ya WHEELs... as for the 2 tossers Neville Taylor and John Hartley... there is a thing called save speeding! if you listened to mark skaife when you sent him to european countries with higher speed limits expecting him to come back and support you. (and he proved your stance on speeding being completely wrong) you guys all started moaning and crying! what we need are improved driver training, better roads and maintenance and encouraging people to drive safer cars.... anything else and you FAIL!!! which to this day has been the case!

    tintedstud Posted on 17 September 2013 8:21am
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