Currently, the speed limit on roads through Canberra’s suburbs is 50kph.
A research paper calling for a nationwide reduction is being presented at the Australasian Road Safety Conference in Canberra on Wednesday afternoon.
The co-author of the paper, Marina Alexander from the Queensland University of Technology, said the lower speed limit would save lives.
“A 10-kilometre reduction won’t do much as far as reducing our travel times but it will dramatically increase our safety on the streets,” she said.
Ms Alexander said a pedestrian hit by a car travelling at 50kph had a 50 to 80 per cent chance of dying.
“While if you were to reduce that by 10 kilometres to 40kph your chances of dying reduce to between 20 and 30 per cent, so it’s a big reduction,” she said.
“You still have a chance of death on the road, but we’re trying to reduce that risk.”
Ms Alexander said the current 50kph zone was a “really risky speed when you have shared traffic”.
“Most fatalities have been recorded as occurring in between 50 and 60kph,” she said.
But ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said the Government did not have sweeping plans to lower the speed limit on suburban streets.
Mr Rattenbury said the lower speed limit already in place around schools and shopping centres was enough.
“There’s not a sense of doing it right across the city,” he said.
“We’re really focusing on those targeted areas where we know there’s vulnerability, be it shopping centres, areas with high levels of pedestrians and also places where we’ve got elderly residents.”
Source : ABC Net