Safety advocate wary of increase to speed limits

RAISING the speed limit on some Queensland roads could have catastrophic consequences.

Leading road safety advocate Russell White is not against higher speeds on our roads, but has concerns with engineering issues, traffic volumes, aging vehicles using our roads and driver skill.

The State Government is reviewing 100 roads as part of the "road safety action plan", after receiving more than 3000 public submissions on how motorists viewed speed limits.

Of the 3375 submissions, 52% said speed limits were too low, while 32% said they were too high.

"The moment you start raising the speed limit everything is happening faster," Mr White said.

"We have to be really careful we don't just say it sounds good on paper without really thinking about the repercussions."

He believes there is probably only one Queensland road that could be considering for an increase in speed limit - the M1. But he said that road had engineering issues with off-ramp speed.

Recent research found a quarter of Australian drivers admitted to frequently talking or texting while driving, with 5% also checking Facebook or Twitter when behind the wheel.

Mr White said that what was especially alarming was that 15% of people using the phone while driving wrongly believed they were still in full control.

"The reality is, sending a text message takes an average of four or five seconds. So if someone is driving at 100km an hour, this means they aren't looking at the road for well past the length of a football field," he said.

"What many drivers perceive as a seemingly minor task - like changing a CD over - is in fact a high-risk distraction."



Four levels of driver distraction:

Physical: Taking hands off the wheel

Visual: Looking away from the road

Auditory: Concentrating on sound other than the road environment

Cognitive: Driving while not thinking about it

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