Making roads safer means sacrificing economy: minster
SIMON Lamerton knows better than most how deadly local roads can be.
The Queensland Police Forensic Crash Unit senior sergeant has seen the horrific outcomes of dangerous driving on roads with low speed limits.
Speeding kills about 60 Queenslanders every year and an international road safety expert believes reducing speed limits wherever crashes occurred could save lives.
But Queensland road safety minister Mark Bailey has warned there could be economic costs to reducing speeds on highways.
Mr Bailey said highways were vital transport corridors and any impact reduced speed limits could have on transport costs had to be considered.
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"There's always a balance isn't there between making sure we've got efficient supply chains in terms of our industries and trying to make the roads as safe as we possibly can," he said.
"But we still need to create jobs. And be economically productive as well as a safe community."
Mr Bailey said determining the appropriate speed limits for roads was an "ongoing conversation" though.
Snr Sgt Lamerton said crashes at speeds as low as 60kmh could be devastating.
"What people have to understand is they are in charge of a tonne and a half of metal - it's a deadly weapon," he said.
"Like cyclists and motorbike riders, pedestrians are very vulnerable and are inevitably badly injured or killed in a crash.
"A car hitting a pedestrians at 60kmh is invariably fatal."
World Bank road safety lead Soames Job rejected the suggestion that decreasing speed limits would reduce the effectiveness of long-haul transport and damage the economy.
He said the true cost of not reducing speed limits included the hundreds of people who died on Australian roads every year.
"When we start thinking about the environmental costs of higher speeds, when you start thinking of the safety costs of higher speeds and we take all of that into account instead of shifting the cost away from the operator then we'll see that we need to lower speeds," he said.
Mr Bailey said he would be open to reducing speed limits - but only with overwhelming political and community support.
This came as he issued a press release urging people to slow down after four fatalities in three days on the state's roads in October.
Mr Bailey said if local government and the state opposition supported change, he would consider reducing speed limits.
But Mr Bailey said getting the community on board would be the most important part.
"If there was very clear community consensus and there was local government on board and bipartisan support for it then certainly."
Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell did not say if the LNP would support reducing speed limits.
"The LNP has always supported Queensland roads having sensible speed limits taking into account the infrastructure, local environment and road safety data," he said.
"In government, the LNP embarked on the first state-wide speed limit review, taking submissions from locals who use these roads every day.
"We appraised 100 roads - some had their speed limit increased, some decreased."