This Highway Is So Safe It Doesn't Need A Speed Limit

Illustration for article titled This Highway Is So Safe It Doesnt Need A Speed Limit

This 124 mile (200km) stretch of road between remote Alice Springs and Barrow Creek in the Australian Outback had zero speed-related fatalities between 2001 and 2011. As a reward, the local government will give it 'no speed limit' speed limit next year.

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Yes, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that this 200km stretch of the Stuart Highway is going unrestricted for twelve months starting in February 2014. Why? Because it will possibly be safer.

The Sydney Morning Herald points out that Northern Australia used to have no speed limits on the arrow-straight roads in the Outback. In 2006, the government introduced a blanket 130 km/h (81 mph) limit on those roads, only to find that fatalities went up rather than down after the limit's introduction.

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Now the government is testing out derestricting its highways again, starting with this road.

The comments of Northern Territory transport minister Peter Styles read like the dreams of every car enthusiast the world over.

We are bringing responsibility back to motorists — they need to be able to drive to the road conditions and their capabilities.

Are governments finally hearing sense that speed might not be as bad as it seems?

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(Hat tip to Simplify, then add beer!)

Photo Credit: seattle_maddog

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DISCUSSION

I've honestly wondered how much safer, or more dangerous, U.S. highways would be if we just ditched speed limits.

I know our roads don't match the inherent safety of this one, but still. I would think, dumb as they are, people would naturally find a fair speed. Sure, some people would be taking their Mustangs out for top speed tests, but the current system has the ricer Civic staring more intently at medians and the speedo than other traffic - which is to say, no system is perfect.