The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) recently told a coronial inquiry that the speed limit on the South Eastern Freeway descent should be lowered on a dangerous stretch of the road.
SARTA has called for trucks to be limited to 40km per hour on a dangerous and notorious stretch of 8km on the South Eastern Freeway approaching Adelaide. SARTA was speaking to a coronial inquiry investigating a fatal accident that occurred there.
SARTA’s executive director Steve Shearer said that trucks needed to be forced to lower their gears and reduce their speed, thereby reducing the risk of brake failure and resulting accidents that have become all too common on the dangerous stretch of road.
Shearer explains that by minimising the speed limit from 60km per hour, as it is currently, to 40km/hour would add a little extra time to drivers commute but it would save a number of lives so it would be worth it.
This excerpt from a post on Fullyloaded.com.au explains:
“Truck drivers don’t have a problem with it (lowering the speed limit),” Shearer told deputy coroner Anthony Schapel.
Shearer says car drivers will also need to reduce their speed.
“Some people will be appalled by the idea, it will take (almost) a minute longer to get to work,” he says.
Shearer made the comments while speaking to a coroner investigating the accident that took place there recently which claimed the life of James William Venning. The driver lost control of his semi-trailer on the freeway earlier this year. Venning was killed when his truck hit a wall at the bottom of the freeway.
The South Australian government is apparently reviewing a number of strategies to reduce the risk on the notorious strip of road. In fact speed limiting is just one of 22 risk reduction strategies they are considering as a response to the accident which claimed Venning’s life.
While Venning’s death was the last straw before authorities put plans in motion to reduce the risks in the area, that part of the freeway had apparently been the cause of a number of accidents in the past, which is why the authorities now recognise the need for immediate action.
Some of the most popular risk reduction plans were discussed on the Fullyloaded.com.au article. Here they are below:
Regional manager with the SA Transport Department Andrew Excell says the most popular suggestion with stakeholders is improving truck driver education, increasing awareness of the relative benefits in using low gears for speed control, instead of brakes.
A third arrester bed, potentially in the centre of the freeway, has also been canvassed.
As the inquest continues, it is hoped that truckies recognise the risk to their own lives and the risk to other road users and reduce their speed by lowering their gears when travelling down steep inclines like the one that resulted in the accident that claimed James William Venning’s life.