In December 2019 Mornington Peninsula Shire commenced a two-year Safer Speeds trial. For this trial, the speed limit on 33 Shire-managed, high risk sealed rural roads was reduced to 80 km/h. The trial period has now concluded and a comprehensive evaluation of the trial has been undertaken by the Victorian Department of Transport.

At the 22 November 2022 Council Meeting, Council resolved to apply to the Victorian Department of Transport to make the 80 km/h speed limits permanent on all of the 33 roads.

The Mornington Peninsula has a long history of high rates of road trauma. We have experienced the equal highest number of road deaths of Victoria’s 79 municipalities for the period 2014 to 2021 with 64 deaths, and over 1,200 serious injuries which have devastating and often lifelong impacts to victims and their families. Our community has consistently highlighted road safety as a significant concern.

In response to the challenge of reducing road trauma on the Peninsula, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has developed its Mornington Peninsula Towards Zero Road Safety Strategy for 2020-2025 which provides a framework for the Shire’s policies and actions aimed at reducing road trauma. Following public exhibition and consideration of community feedback, the strategy was adopted by Council at the 8 September 2020 Council Meeting.

The Shire’s commitment to reducing road trauma is underpinned by the best-practice Safe System philosophy which addresses road trauma under four pillars:

  • Safer Roads – upgrade of roads and intersections
  • Safer Road Users – education of drivers and other road users
  • Safer Vehicles – purchase of the safest vehicle that drivers can afford
  • Safer Speeds – appropriate speed limits and reduction of the number of vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit

The Shire undertakes initiatives for each of the four pillars, including road safety education, encouraging drivers to purchase the safest vehicles they can afford, and funding millions of dollars of road upgrades, renewal and maintenance each year. For more information about road improvement projects, please visit our Major Projects webpage: mornpen.vic.gov.au/MajorProjects

Visit our Towards Zero webpage for more information about road safety: mornpen.vic.gov.au/TowardsZero

While the Shire invests millions of dollars in our roads each year, high speed rural roads put road users at increased risk of death and serious injury. Many of the 33 Safer Speeds Trial roads have a significant crash history and high crash risk, including narrow lanes and large trees close to the road. Over the past 20 years, 32 people have been killed and over 280 people severely injured on these roads. A further 487 people sustained less severe injuries. Six deaths occurred in 2019 alone.

The purpose of the trial was to better match the speed limit with the road environment and characteristics of our high risk rural roads to reduce the likelihood of crashes occurring and also reduce the risk that vehicle occupants will be seriously injured or killed if a crash does occur.

The trial was only for Shire-managed high risk sealed rural roads and does not affect any Peninsula arterial roads, such as Peninsula Link, Moorooduc Highway and Westernport Highway.

Shire-managed roads on the Peninsula are typically in good condition, however even with perfect roads, drivers will make mistakes. Based on extensive road safety research in Australia and overseas, a relatively small reduction in average vehicle speeds results in a disproportionally large decrease in road safety risk and road trauma. By travelling 10km/h slower on high speed roads, the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash reduces by an estimated 40% and 35% respectively.

Obtaining a similar outcome by improving road infrastructure through widening roads and installing safety barriers is well beyond the available Shire budgets for road upgrades and would require the removal of thousands of trees - devastating the natural environment where these roads are situated.

The impact on travel times has been minimal. The longest stretch of road in the proposed trial is Browns Road (12 km), where the new speed limit of 80km/h adds less than a minute to a journey (according to field tests). The majority of the roads under the proposed trial are less than a quarter of the length of Browns Road, therefore the impact on travel times along these roads is negligible.

The trial has been comprehensively evaluated by the Victorian Department of Transport.

The evaluation analysed detailed quantitative and qualitative information such as community views, road trauma statistics and recorded vehicle speeds over the two-year period. Whether COVID-19 movement restrictions may have had any effect on the trial was also considered.

In summary, the 80 km/h speed limits were shown to have a high level of community support, and road trauma and average vehicle speeds reduced, in line with the objectives of the trial.

The evaluation outcomes are summarised below. For further information, refer to the evaluation reports in the Document Library, or the Frequently Asked Questions and News tabs below.

Community sentiment

As part of evaluating the trial, Wallis Market and Social Research were engaged by the Department of Transport to design and undertake a community sentiment survey to understand the community’s feelings about the trial. The survey was a targeted survey where the 1,059 participants were a demographically representative sample of randomly selected Shire residents. The survey was undertaken in November and December 2020. The results of the survey showed strong community support for the trial with almost three times as many people supporting the trial as opposing it - 59% of people support, 20% of people neutral, 21% of people oppose (of which 7% of people strongly oppose).

While respondents reported driving less at the time of the survey relative to 12 months earlier due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, Wallis Market and Social Research concluded that this would not have had a significant influence on community sentiment towards the trial.

Road trauma

Annual serious crashes reduced from 19 per year to six per year (a 68% reduction) during the trial.

To account for any impact that changes in traffic patterns due to COVID-19 movement restrictions may have had on road trauma during the course of the trial, the change in crashes was also analysed for comparable 100 km/h roads in other municipalities where speed limits have not been changed. Injuries reduced by 48% on these comparable roads. Therefore, the Mornington Peninsula Safer Speeds roads experienced a 20% greater reduction in road trauma relative to comparable roads.

In addition, there have not been any road deaths on any of the 33 roads since the beginning of the trial, relative to six deaths along their length or at intersections in 2019 alone, and 32 deaths over the past 20 years.

Vehicle speeds

Overall, the 80 km/h speed limits have been effective in reducing vehicles speeds relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits. In summary, average mean speed reductions of 3.4 km/h and 5 km/h were recorded on the roads that had 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits respectively. These observed reductions in vehicle speeds are similar to other evaluations of speed limit reductions in Victoria. There were higher reductions observed on higher volume roads (7 km/h on average) and roads that had the highest ‘before’ speeds (up to 10 km/h reduction). There is also now a significantly higher proportion of drivers travelling below 80 km/h which is a safer speed relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits.

While traffic volumes were reduced for some of the trial period due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, traffic volumes at the end of the trial (when the final ‘after’ data was collected) were back to similar levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, COVID-19 did not have an impact on the vehicle speed analysis.

Council formally considered the Safer Speeds Trial evaluation outcomes at the 22 November 2022 Council Meeting. Council resolved to apply to the Victorian Department of Transport to make the 80 km/h speed limits permanent on all of the 33 roads. The Shire is currently preparing an application to the Department of Transport.

Further to deciding to apply for making the trial permanent, Council resolved to review unsealed rural road speed limits where ‘END 80’ signage currently applies and apply to the Department of Transport to change the speed limit where appropriate.

Council also resolved for the Mornington Peninsula Towards Zero 2020-2025 Road Safety Strategy to be referred to the Shire’s new Citizen Panel for report back to Council in 2023.

Evaluation at a glance

Roads part of the trial

FAQs

What is the Mornington Peninsula Shire Safer Speeds Trial?

The Mornington Peninsula Shire Safer Speeds Trial is a two-year safer speed limit trial undertaken by Mornington Peninsula Shire. Since late 2019, 33 council-managed high-speed sealed roads that were previously zoned as either 100 km/h or 90 km/h speed limits were changed to 80 km/h.

Which roads are included in the trial?

A map and list of the roads included in the trial can be downloaded.
Download: List of roads part of the Safer Speeds Trial
Download: Safer Speeds Trial map

The trial is only for Shire-managed high risk sealed rural roads and does not affect any Peninsula arterial roads, such as: Peninsula Link, Moorooduc Highway and Westernport Highway.

Who is conducting the trial?

Mornington Peninsula Shire implemented the Safer Speeds Trial. The Victorian Department of Transport has coordinated an independent evaluation of the trial.

Will these speed changes be made permanent after the trial period?

In late 2022, Council will consider the results of the trial following the Victorian Department of Transport’s evaluation of the project, including whether to apply to the Department of Transport to make the 80 km/h speed limits permanent.

Is it mainly visitors to the Mornington Peninsula that crash?

Based on information supplied by the TAC, from 2014 to 2019 Mornington Peninsula residents made up 59% of those who lost their lives and 77% of those who suffered serious injuries on Mornington Peninsula roads.

Why are other roads in the area not being included in the trial?

This trial focuses on improving safety along high-speed, high-risk Council-managed sealed rural roads as a priority as they are unsafe at high speed which is represented by a large proportion of the fatal and serious injury crashes on the local road network.

While we know from traffic count data the average travel speeds on unsealed roads are generally much lower than sealed roads, the Shire is currently investigating the safety of unsealed roads.

Safety on State-managed roads will also continue to be monitored by the Department of Transport.

The trial does not preclude future investment in Mornington Peninsula Shire or Department of Transport road safety improvement projects.

Why has the Shire trialled safer speeds on these roads?

The Shire is determined to eliminate severe road trauma, as demonstrated by the Shire formally committing to becoming Victoria’s first ‘Towards Zero’ municipality in 2016 and adoption of our Mornington Peninsula Towards Zero 2020-2025 Road Safety Strategy. This trial is an important step towards making our roads safer.

Many of the roads included in the trial have a significant history of road deaths and injuries, and high crash risk, including: narrow lanes, large trees close to the road and table drains.

Over five years to 2019, there were 165 casualty crashes on our local rural sealed roads. Over the past 20 years, 32 people have been killed and over 280 people severely injured on the 33 Safer Speeds roads. A further 487 people sustained less severe injuries.

In 2019 alone, we sadly had 12 deaths and over 100 serious injuries within the Shire – six of these deaths were on these high-risk sealed rural roads.

While speed is not always the cause of a crash, travel speed determines whether a crash can be avoided and the speed of a vehicle at impact will always determine how severely people are hurt as a result of crashing.

Even with high standard roads, drivers will make mistakes. Extensive research shows reducing the speed limit will reduce both the frequency and severity of crashes and, ultimately, contribute to saving lives and preventing severe injuries. We also know that many crashes involve compliant drivers and that a simple error by a competent driver can result in death or severe injury.

Why does reducing the speed limit improve safety?

A relatively small reduction in average travel speed leads to a disproportionally large decrease in the risk of people being killed or seriously injured. Crashes, even at legal speeds, can result in death or severe injury where the speed limit is not matched to the road environment.

The reasons why 80 km/h is safer and more appropriate for rural roads with no safety barriers include:

  • There is a direct correlation between speed limit and average vehicle speeds.
  • The relationship between speed and road crashes has been studied extensively and is very clear: the higher the speed, the greater the probability of a crash and the higher severity of crashes that occur.
  • High speed roads with speed limits of 90 km/h and 100 km/h without adequate safety features are over-represented in road trauma across Victoria relative to comparable roads with 80 km/h speed limits.
  • By reducing the average speeds on these roads by 10 km/h, the risks of serious injuries or death can be reduced by an estimated 35% and 40% respectively.
  • A head-on collision at 100 km/h will very likely result in a fatality (90%+ probability), whereas at 80 km/h it is approx. 30 – 40% chance and at 70 km/h it is approx. 10% chance.
  • Kinetic energy increases disproportionately with vehicle speed. The kinetic energy of a vehicle travelling at 100 km/h is 56% more than a vehicle travelling at 80 km/h. In the event of a crash, this additional kinetic energy must be absorbed by the vehicle and vehicle occupants, resulting in much more severe injuries and much higher probability of death.
  • At 80 km/h, events evolve slower with more time to observe what is happening and react to avoid a crash.
  • Travel speed is critical to how rapidly speed can be reduced under braking to avoid a collision or collide at a lower speed that is less likely to cause harm. For example, it takes 115m to stop from 80 km/h and 165m to stop from 100 km/h (a 43% increase in braking distance for a 25% increase in speed).
  • Roads that don’t have roadside and centre barriers are at particularly high risk at speeds above 80 km/h. High traffic volume State-managed arterial roads with 100 km/h speed limits are increasingly having roadside and median barriers installed, reducing fatalities and serious injuries by up to 85%, thereby making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits. It is not feasible or practical to upgrade all roads with the required safety features, such as roadside and centre barriers to be safe for a 100 km/h speed limit.

Woolley et al (2018) summarise some of the reasons why even a small reduction in travel speed results in a significant reduction in the probability of death and serious injury:

I’m a good driver, why should I have to drive slower?

Distraction and momentary inattention happens to all drivers. At 100 km/h, a vehicle travels more than 50 metres in the couple of seconds it takes to adjust the stereo or check mirrors. Even if this is not you, it could be a driver coming towards you who causes a head-on collision.

Lower speeds can help to avoid a crash. As vehicles travel more slowly, there is more opportunity for drivers to react and avoid a crash. In addition, lower speeds reduce the severity if a crash occurs, which can be the difference between death or survival.

Why are speed limits being reduced when vehicles are now safer than ever?

Speed limits were historically set based upon sampling the speeds at which the fastest 15% of drivers felt comfortable travelling. Default speed limits were originally set over 50 years ago. We now understand much more about crash risks and the physical tolerances of human bodies to the forces experienced in crashes.

The risk of being killed in a run-off-road or head-on collision, even in the best, modern 5-star vehicles, increases sharply at impact speeds above 70-80 km/h. This critical impact speed is lower still in older vehicles or when one of the vehicles involved in a head-on collision is a truck or other heavy vehicle.

What effect do the safer speeds have on travel time?

In practice, the effect on travel times is minimal. The longest stretch of road in the trial is Browns Road (12 km), where the new speed limit of 80 km/h adds less than a minute to a journey (based on field tests).

The majority of the roads included in the trial are less than a quarter of the length of Browns Road, therefore the effect on travel times along these roads is negligible.

Why can’t the Shire upgrade the roads instead?

The Shire will continue to repair roads and complete safety upgrades. The trial does not preclude future investment in Mornington Peninsula Shire or Department of Transport road safety improvement projects.

Even with high quality roads, drivers will make mistakes. Reducing the speed limit will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, and ultimately contribute to saving lives and preventing severe injuries.

State managed arterial roads with 100 km/h speed limits are increasingly having roadside and median barriers installed, reducing fatalities and serious injuries by up to 85%, thereby making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits.

Upgrading Shire managed roads to achieve the same road safety benefit as 80 km/h speed limits would require the removal of thousands of trees along rural roads to install crash barriers and would cost ratepayers many millions of dollars.

The Victorian Government and the Shire invest millions of dollars in road safety infrastructure on the Mornington Peninsula annually, however, safer road infrastructure is not sufficient on its own. One of the fundamental aspects of improving road safety is to implement appropriate speed limits that match the characteristics and use of each road. This is also the most cost-effective proven way to significantly reduce road trauma.

Is this just a revenue-raising exercise?

The Safer Speeds Trial is a Mornington Peninsula Shire project. The Shire receives no revenue from traffic fines.

Will speed limits on other roads within the Mornington Peninsula also be changed?

Review and implementation of appropriate speed limits is an important part of improving road safety. Safe Speed is one of the four pillars of a Safe System approach to road safety. As such, the Shire’s Traffic and Transport team regularly reviews speed limits on Shire-managed roads in response to road safety risks and community concerns. The Shire also implements initiatives across the other three pillars (Safe Roads, Safe Road Use and Safe vehicles) to reduce serious road trauma.

Potential speed limit changes are assessed against Department of Transport’s Speed Zone Guidelines which take into account a number of factors when determining an appropriate speed limit for a road, such as the road environment, abutting land uses, the presence of vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists), crash risk, volume of traffic, number of property accesses, intersecting roads and any crashes that have occurred.

When roads warrant speed limit changes, the changes are prioritised, and applications developed for submission to Department of Transport.

The suitable type and extent of community engagement for speed limit changes is considered on a case-by-case basis in line with Department of Transport’s Speed Zone Guidelines.

What are the summarised results of the Safer Speeds Trial evaluation?

Three of the key components of the Safer Speeds Trial evaluation are community sentiment, changes in road trauma and changes in vehicle speeds.

A community sentiment survey found majority support for the trial among the Mornington Peninsula community. Notably, almost six in ten (59%) of Mornington Peninsula Shire residents surveyed supported the safer speed limits, compared with 22% who did not support the safer speed limits. Half of those surveyed agreed that the speed limits make them feel safer, compared with 29% who disagreed. Further, just over half (51%) of respondents agreed that the reduced speed limits should be made permanent, compared to less than a third (29%) who disagreed.

Overall, the 80 km/h speed limits have been effective in reducing vehicles speeds relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits. In summary, average mean speed reductions of 3.4 km/h and 5 km/h were recorded on the roads that had 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits respectively. These observed reductions in vehicle speeds are similar to other evaluations of speed limit reductions in Victoria. There were higher reductions observed on higher volume roads (7 km/h on average) and roads that had the highest ‘before’ speeds (up to 10 km/h reduction). There is also now a significantly higher proportion of drivers travelling below 80 km/h which is a safer speed relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits.

There has been a net 20% reduction in road trauma on the 33 roads (a 68% reduction in crashes on the 33 Safer Speeds roads compared with a 48% reduction on comparable roads in other municipalities where the speed limit is unchanged). In addition, no road deaths have occurred on any of the 33 roads since the beginning of the trial, relative to six deaths along their length, including at intersections, in 2019 alone, and 32 deaths over the past 20 years.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the trial, community sentiment survey and evaluation?

The timing of data collection during the trial was carefully managed to minimise any potential influence of the pandemic. Refer to the Community Sentiment Survey FAQs for further information.

Why was the community sentiment survey conducted?

The community sentiment survey was conducted to better understand how Mornington Peninsula Shire residents feel about the trial, as well as to gain an understanding of their views on road safety and speed on the road more generally.

Does the community support the trial?

A community sentiment survey found majority support for the trial among the Mornington Peninsula community. Notably, almost six in ten (59%) of Mornington Peninsula Shire residents surveyed supported the safer speed limits, compared with 22% who did not support the safer speed limits. Half of those surveyed agreed that the speed limits make them feel safer, compared with 29% who disagreed.

Further, just over half (51%) of respondents agreed that the reduced speed limits should be made permanent, compared to less than a third (29%) who disagreed.

What impact do residents think the 80 km/h speed limits will have?

The safer speed limits are based on evidence that adjusting speed limits to match the road environment and safety features of roads improves safety and lowers road trauma. Nearly 60% of respondents agreed that the reduced speed limits will help reduce the level of road trauma on the Peninsula, compared to 21% who disagreed.

How representative of Shire residents is the community sentiment survey results?

The survey was designed so participants comprised a demographically-representative sample of randomly-selected Shire residents. This sampling approach was designed to minimise possible bias in the survey due to the wide coverage of the sample, random nature of the selection process and multiple modes of completion options (telephone and online). The sample size of the survey was 1,059 responses, which is considered a robust sample size to ensure a representative view of a population of this size.

What part does the community sentiment play in the evaluation?

The community’s views are an important aspect of managing speed limits, therefore the Safer Speeds evaluation is seeking to understand the community’s feelings about the 80 km/h speed limits after the implementation. Other aspects forming a key part of the evaluation include vehicle speeds and crash statistics.

Have similar community sentiment surveys been completed in other areas?

Speed limit corrections on this scale are uncommon in Victoria. By surveying a representative sample of Mornington Peninsula Shire residents, this trial has presented a unique opportunity to understand community attitudes to lowering speed limits to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

By engaging proactively with the community in this way, we have been able to ensure the views captured are more representative of overall community sentiment than past methods of engagement that relied more heavily on community members’ own initiative to have their voices heard.

Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the community sentiment survey results?

Although respondents reported they were driving less frequently at the time of the community sentiment survey compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not believed this had an impact on the survey results or respondents’ views of the project. Respondents are generally experienced in negotiating different levels of traffic and the survey was conducted at a time when traffic had returned to close to pre-lockdown levels.

Where can I get more information about the community sentiment survey?

A detailed report on the community sentiment survey can be download: Safer Speeds Trial community sentiment survey report.

Where have the statistics and road safety data mentioned in the Discussion Guide (Appendix 3 in the community sentiment report) come from?

Statistics on road trauma used in the report and underlying research have been sourced from Department of Transport and/or Transport Accident Commission databases.

Other supporting data has been sourced from Austroads. If you would like further information on the research used in this report, the following Austroads publications provides a good starting point: Towards Safer System Infrastructure: A Compendium of Current Knowledge

Did vehicle speeds change as a result of the speed limit changes?

Vehicle speeds were recorded on the 33 roads in late November 2019 before the 80 km/h speed limits were introduced and several times after the implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits. The final ‘after’ traffic counts were undertaken at the end of the trial in late November 2021. Data was also recorded on comparable ‘control roads’ in other municipalities on roads where the speed limit was unchanged to provide a comparison to the changes in vehicle speeds on the Safer Speeds roads.

Based on various metrics, the 80 km/h speed limits have been effective in reducing vehicle speeds relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits. In summary, average control-corrected mean speed reductions of 3.4 km/h and 5 km/h were recorded on the roads that had 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits respectively. These observed reductions in vehicle speeds are similar to other evaluations of speed limit reductions in Victoria. It’s worth noting that average vehicle speeds before implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits were generally below the 90 km/h or 100 km/h speed limits.

There were higher reductions observed on higher volume roads (7 km/h on average) and roads that had the highest ‘before’ speeds (up to 10 km/h reduction). There is also now a significantly higher proportion of drivers travelling below 80 km/h which is a safer speed relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits. For roads that were 90 km/h or 100 km/h, over 60% of drivers were under the target speed of 80 km/h in the ‘after’ period, compared with 42% and 46%, respectively, in the ‘before’ period.

Compliance with the 80 km/h speed limits is expected to improve naturally over time, as drivers continue to adjust to the new speed limits.

Where can I get more information about the vehicle speed analysis and results?

A detailed report on the analysis of vehicle speeds downloadable: Safer Speeds Trial speed data analysis report.

Why didn’t recorded vehicle speeds reduce by 10 km/h on the former 90 km/h roads and by 20 km/h on the former 100 km/h roads?

In general, lowering the regulatory speed limit does not reduce mean travel speeds as much as the numerical drop in the speed limit. This occurs for several reasons such drivers taking time to adjust to new speed limits and average speeds before a speed limit change are often already below the existing posted speed limit.

In the case of the 33 Safer Speeds roads, average vehicle speeds before implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits were generally below the 90 km/h or 100 km/h speed limits. Therefore, it was not expected that vehicle speeds would reduce by 10 km/h on the former 90 km/h roads and by 20 km/h on the former 100 km/h roads. The observed reductions in vehicle speeds are similar to other evaluations of speed limit reductions in Victoria.

Even further vehicle speed reductions may occur naturally over time, as drivers continue to adjust to the new speed limits.

Are the recorded changes in vehicle speed expected to reduce crashes?

The 80 km/h speed limits have been effective in reducing vehicles speeds relative to the previous 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits based on various metrics.

Reductions in serious road trauma can be estimated from the observed vehicle speed reductions, using well-established road safety research from Australia and overseas. The estimated reductions in the risks of serious road trauma are 20% and 15% for the roads that previously had 100 km/h and 90 km/h speed limits respectively. For some former 100 km/h routes, estimated reductions are as high as 39%. Over a long period of time, these predicted reductions in risk would be expected to prevent a significant number of deaths and severe injuries.

Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the vehicle speed results?

While traffic volumes were reduced for some of the trial period due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, traffic volumes at the end of the trial when the final ‘after’ data was collected were back to the levels before the trial. Therefore, COVID-19 did not have an impact on the vehicle speed analysis.

Did the amount of road trauma change as a result of the speed limit changes?

There has been a net 20% reduction in road trauma on the 33 roads (a 68% reduction in crashes on the 33 Safer Speeds roads compared with a 48% reduction on comparable roads in other municipalities where the speed limit hasn’t changed). In addition, no road deaths have occurred on any of the 33 roads since the beginning of the trial, relative to six deaths along their length, including at intersections, in 2019 alone, and 32 deaths over the past 20 years.

One of the fundamental aspects of improving road safety is to implement appropriate speed limits that match the characteristics and use of each road. However, road safety will continue to be monitored on the 33 Safer Speeds roads and consideration given to future improvements to safety where warranted.

Could the reductions in road trauma be due to chance?

To thoroughly assess the change in road trauma following implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits, crashes on the 33 Safer Speeds roads were compared with similar roads in other municipalities where the speed limit hasn’t changed. The data revealed a 20% net reduction in road trauma on the 33 Safer Speeds roads relative the comparable ‘control’ roads (68% reduction on the Safer Speeds roads versus 48% reduction on control roads). This approach accounts for any impacts that changes in traffic patterns due to COVID-19 movement restrictions may have had on road trauma during the trial.

While this initial reduction in road trauma is very encouraging, trends in crash statistics are generally monitored over a longer duration. On this basis, the Department of Transport will continue to monitor road trauma on the Safer Speeds roads to provide a more reliable estimate of the longer-term effectiveness of the lower speed limits on these roads.

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