Speed Limits

Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 17:52 ): I rise today to speak about speed limits and safe access on the South Eastern Freeway into the city of Adelaide; in particular, the section of road from Stirling to Glen Osmond. We have recently seen some horrendous accidents on this section of the road which have seen innocent people's lives taken and destroyed. This subject is very close to my heart, because not only do I use this road repeatedly, as do many of my constituents, but I also personally know some of the people who have been involved in these accidents.

I was pleased to attend the current South Eastern Freeway community session that was held last weekend, the information session held at Stirling. At that session I collected documents containing the options that are being looked into in regard to safe descent of the downhill slope of the freeway into Adelaide, and I want to comment about the top 10 options out of 22 in regard to safe access of heavy vehicles into the city.

Option 1 which is being investigated—and this is after consultation; finally we have some consultation between the government and the heavy vehicle operators—is greater awareness of Australian Road Rule 108, which requires a truck to use a gear that is low enough to limit the speed of the truck without the use of the primary brake. This is so true, and it is common knowledge amongst any truck driver worth their salt that the gear you select to go up a hill is the same gear you select to go down the hill. That needs to be implemented so that you do not need to use the primary brakes.

Option 2 is to implement further speed limit reductions, which would be 40 km/h for trucks and 80 km/h for light vehicles. I am not so sure about bringing the 90 down to 80 for light vehicles, but in regard to the 40 km/h for heavy vehicles coming down the freeway into Adelaide I certainly have some sympathy for that proposal. I note that the Great Eastern Highway in Western Australia, which has a similar gradient as the freeway entrance into Adelaide of 7 per cent, has a 40 km/h speed limit for trucks. There is also the Princes Highway between Sydney and Wollongong, where the descent into Wollongong has a 40 km/h speed limit for heavy vehicles. I had an ex-truckie speak to me about something he witnessed on that 2 road before that speed limit came in. There was no Armco between the opposing lanes of traffic, and he witnessed an horrific accident where a truck veered over to the other side and killed about five people.

I then refer to option 3, improving signage. Signage has partly improved on the freeway, but I think there can be even more signs stressing the need for drivers to use a low gear to safely access the entry into the city. Option 4 promotes the arrester bed use and busting the myths. I think there needs to be major education program around arrester beds. There are two there that have proven on multiple occasions that they can work. There are some stories in the industry that it costs $10,000 to get pulled out of an arrester bed. I am told that to get pulled straight out of an arrester bed and be taken to Regency Park for a roadworthy test it costs about $3,000.

Option 5 is for the Tollgate intersection upgrade for the intersection of Cross Road, Portrush Road and Glen Osmond Road and the South Eastern Freeway. Also, incorporating that, there should be the option of a hook turn, as the buses do in front of Parliament House when they come out from King William Street onto North Terrace, so that trucks can turn right from the left-hand lane. I certainly think that is something worth investigating. I have at times driven trucks here, and trying to get into the right-hand lane to turn into Portrush Road is just about impossible because people do not let you in even though you may have indicated for 1½ kilometres.

Option 6 is for an in-depth investigation to understand the decisionmaking of heavy vehicle drivers. I think the more education citizens have the better off we will all be. Option 7 covers the cost of removal from an arrester bed or charging a standard fee. The government has stated clearly that it will not cover those costs, but I think education about fees and perhaps standardisation certainly need to be looked at.

Option 8 introduces a road worthiness component into the heavy vehicle chain of responsibility. It is not there now, but I think it is certainly something that can be included. Option 9 is for a third arrester bed, which the Minister for Road Safety initially said was not possible. I think it should be looked into, and I think there could be room made on the left. Steve Shearer indicated that it could be placed in the centre of the road, but I think that would have its own problems. Option 10 is for annual heavy vehicle roadworthiness inspections, which could be a vital asset in making our roads safer for everybody's entrance into the city. I think a lot of work needs to be done on this because we have seen some horrific accidents. Let's see if we can get the right outcomes so that the safety of people entering Adelaide from the South-East is assured.