A 110 km/hr speed limit

August 11th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Motorists are calling for a major rethink of speed limits – including raising the top limit to 110kmh on the safest motorways.

The Automobile Association, which represents 1.3 million drivers, says a move to 110kmh should become a priority after this year’s election.

It also wants limits reduced on highways that are not equipped to handle 100kmh traffic, such as the steep and winding Rimutaka Hill Road.

motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said too many “inconsistencies” had crept into New Zealand’s speed zones, which was confusing well-intentioned drivers and seeing them get caught for speeding.

The association wanted fair, consistent and predictable speed limits across the board.

If some motorways had been designed for 110kmh traffic, then the limit should reflect that, he said.

But it should apply only to flat, straight stretches of motorway with two lanes in each direction, a median barrier and good shoulder space. “It won’t be an enormous amount of roads,” Noon said.

I agree. 110 km/hr is a common overseas for well designed motorways. The should reflect the road conditions.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths would not be drawn on whether speed limits should go up or down, but said they needed to reflect the risk and functions of a particular road.

Agreed.

Featherston man Nick Burt, who drives the Rimutaka Hill Road about four times a week, favoured scaling back the speed limit there to 80kmh.

You’re crazy if you drive that road at 100 km/hr. I agree it should be lower, as should the road to Makara.

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52 Responses to “A 110 km/hr speed limit”

  1. mjw (396 comments) says:

    This is well overdue. It would be great to have speed limits that reflected road conditions.

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  2. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    I guess TPTB will support it, so they can slip some badly signed surprise 100k bits and ka-ching.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    You missed the most important part of the article…

    “A lower tolerance could apply to 110kmh roads as a way of keeping speeding drivers in check, alongside speed cameras”

    ie,only the legal liimit will change — the effective limit (legal limit+tolerance ) will be unchanged.

    So, why bother?

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  4. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Drivers must never be allowed to think for themselves.

    That would be a catastrophe.

    Hell, we might see allowable speeds of roads like Pukaki to Lindis Pass reach 150-160kph – safe as houses but far too fast for the anti-thought police.

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  5. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    You’re crazy if you drive that road at 100 km/hr. I agree it should be lower, as should the road to Makara.

    ****

    Rimutaka – Utter impossibility, except in the flats either side….. some motor cycles, and late nights excepted.

    But the 110 limit should be operating now on motorways, plus certain two /3 lane sections. All the talk about “look at by 2020″ from Woodhouse is nuts. So is the talk about only on flat straight motorway stretches. Define “straight” in an NZ roading context. 110 is the reality. So 110 – plus small margin of 3 to 5 for speedo error…. depending on conditions.

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  6. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    I listened to quite an interesting argument regarding this whilst in the car earlier.

    The speaker was claiming that we shouldn’t have any speed limit (yeah eeeeekkkkk!!)

    His argument was that all we needed was a very tightly monitored law that each person much drive according to the conditions – conditions including weather, visibility, vehicles ability, driver ability, traffic congestion, type of other vehicles in the proximity, type of road (metal, tarseal), type of environment, including suburb, country road etc).

    He said that it was the fact that people were being dictated speed limits etc, and were not taught how to drive properly according to the conditions, that was contributing to our road safety, or rather lack of it. Each driver should be taught to be aware of everything in their driving environment, and drive to that accordingly.

    Not sure that I agree, but it is an interesting take on it.

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  7. Sporteone (43 comments) says:

    Seems we are already running a 110kph speed limit, unless it is a long weekend and the Police revert to the old 4kph over the speed limit tolerance. What speed would people travel at if the limit was raised to 110kph.

    It is not whether the road/highways or cars can handle the speed, it is whether the NZ drivers can drive at that speed. Personally I don’t think we can.

    Many drivers who think they can drive at such speeds, would be absolutely annihilated on the autobahns and freeways in Europe and the USA.

    We are trying to lower the road toll, not raise it.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Driving the autobahn (no speed limit, efficient German drivers in late model German cars, couldn’t see it working in NZ), I can see my driver is going 180k and we are being overtaken as if we were standing still. Both thrilling and terrifying.

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  9. dave_c_ (219 comments) says:

    Re Rimutaka road – as ALWAYS – road speed limits are NOT a target (must’ve taken notice of one or two advertising stuff on TV !) Drive to the conditions (incl. road conditions)

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  10. muggins (3,787 comments) says:

    I have no problem with raising the limit to 110km for motorways.

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  11. Redbaiter (9,106 comments) says:

    I think motor cars are far too dangerous for NZers to use. Whereas Americans can drive at 70 and 80 mph and other countries even faster, NZers should only be permitted (by govt) to use horses and buggies. Providing they complied with regulations of course. WOF every two weeks. Driver training monthly. Licences renewable every three months. Nobody under 26 and over 35 permitted to drive. Talking to passengers must be strictly forbidden. No radios or in buggy entertainment permitted. This would I think bring the safety we all yearn for so much.

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  12. chris (647 comments) says:

    That section after the Bombays into Auckland should be 120km/h

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  13. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    As a New Zealander, I have driven in many other countries and I have to say I have a very poor opinion of our collective driving skills. We can be rude, aggressive and menacing to other drivers with basic road courtesies often lacking.

    I think it would be madness to have an additional open speed limit of 110 Km/h on selected roads.

    And what will you do with that extra five minutes you save, when you reach your destination?

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Driving from Auckland to Vegas yesterday, had an interesting interlude. Usual moronic twat in front of me, sitting on 85, and then up to 110 in the passing lane. So, given I had 3 cars behind me who also wanted shot of this twat, I went up to 140 to pass him. The others did the same. Police car coming the other way flashed his lights at me. Knob.

    And 5k down the road his mate pulls me in. Derh.

    Him: You were speeding in the passing lane back there.
    Me: Prove it, we both know you cant.
    Him: I can ticket you for reckless driving
    Me: Please do, and I will happily see you in court when I contest it.
    Him: (Points to car, a brand new Audi) Warranted? Everything on it as it should be?
    Me: Your kidding right? Im leaving now, anything else?
    Him: Just trying to make the roads safer sir. Have a safe trip.

    What a complete waste of time, money and effort. But of course Mr 85 kmh is allowed to do what he does. There will be limited roads where 110 makes sense. But you cant make laws for the cars that can handle it (or drivers) and those that cant.

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  15. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    Why bother to reduce the limit on the Rimutaka Rd, there are a few bits where 100 km is possible (very few, but you can), but there are a lot of bits where 80 is tricky, should we make it a 30 kmph limit ? Don’t be daft, it’s “Open Road”, except for the idiots nobody regards 100 as a target they have to meet, they drive at sensible speeds (except for the cnut in front of me last time but one heading East who didn’t get over 25 kmph on the entire descent and steadfastly ignored the two or three pull-over areas).

    So treat drivers sensibly and don’t get fooled into the “we have to think for them” mentality.

    It’s like all this 80 Kmph limits they’ve been putting in Hawke’s Bay so I hear. Just made a section of the road near Havelock North 80 K limit so a 19 year old goes off the road and hits a power pole; like he really paid attention to the speed limit didn’t he. Just before a lot of the limits were applied there was a fatality on the Havelock to Napier Road; oddly enough it was on the small already 80 K section not the 100 K section.

    A higher limit, I’d support one on suitable roads, but also encourage the building of more suitable roads. There’s no doubt that divided highways are far safer than non-divided. I suggest that most parts of the Motorway system could support 120-130 K with relative safety, but there is a good reason to want to have limits that vary based on traffic; in heavy traffic drivers trying to go too fast would be a problem. Another thing that would really help traffic flow is a real emphasis on the “keeping as far to the left as practical” rule and more people who make a point of letting faster drivers through when it is reasonable to do so. Some people do, and I think there’s a greater degree of polarization; there’s more who will try to let you through, but sadly more who make a point of NOT letting people past.

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  16. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    We can be rude, aggressive and menacing to other drivers with basic road courtesies often lacking.

    Never !!! I’m always courteous, even when other drivers do silly things – I wave to them – I may not use all fingers, but its still a wave, of sorts.

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  17. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    Nice one hmmo, that sort of thing cheers me up no end.

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  18. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    The way to set speed limits based on “what is safe” should be modified a bit. The best scientific arguments on setting speed limits is based around the 85%:

    set the speed limit so that 15% of drivers exceed it and 85% of drivers drive at or below the speed limit.

    This “nationally recognized method” of setting the speed limit as the 85th percentile speed is essentially traffic engineering 101. It’s also a bit perplexing to those unfamiliar with the concept. Shouldn’t everyone drive at or below the speed limit? And if a driver’s speed is dictated by the speed limit, how can you decide whether or not to change that limit based on the speed of traffic?

    The answer lies in realizing that the speed limit really is just a number on a sign, and it has very little influence on how fast people drive. “Over the years, I’ve done many follow up studies after we raise or lower a speed limit,” Megge tells us. “Almost every time, the 85th percentile speed doesn’t change, or if it does, it’s by about 2 or 3 mph.”

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  19. OTGO (557 comments) says:

    Typical! 110 kph. What a half arsed attempt at an increase. So typical of NZ. Why be happy with the bronze medal when we could make it 130 kph and go for the gold?
    The shear number of speeding infringements (including speed cameras) in 2012 was 919,708 offences. What I’m reading from that statistic is that motorists don’t agree with the current speed limit so are happy to pay the “speed tax” to drive on our roads.
    Grow up FFS. It’s 2014 and we’re not driving Austin Allegros (shudder) anymore.

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  20. big bruv (13,931 comments) says:

    Given that Kiwis are without doubt the most arrogant, and hopeless, drivers in the western world I think it should stay the same.

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  21. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    I would be cautious about applying 110 kph to ‘sections of motorway’. I’ve driven in overseas jurisdictions where the speed limit goes from 90, to 110, to 130, to 100, back to 130 in the space of 10km. It’s a right royal pain in the arse to be constantly changing speed. I’d imagine it is inefficient as well.

    If you’re going to have a 110kph limit, the section of road it applied to needs to be at least 10km long to be worthwhile

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  22. Milk Me (157 comments) says:

    Unfortunately we cannot afford to relax any of our road rules because this country is full of idiotic drivers that obtained their licences with comparative ease and have never been subjected to any serious test of their competence behind the wheel.
    Any relaxing of rules or increasing of speed limits will result in the old give an inch and they will take a mile.
    Instead I would like to see all drivers in this country who when witnessed by a traffic enforcement officer driving in a manner that displays incompetence be subjected to a full and through testing to ascertain if they are a fit and proper person to hold a driving licence and if found not to be then having to go to an approved driving school and not allowed back on the road untill proven they are not a danger to others. This would also assist in getting foreign licence holders of the road who in Auckland especially are a real menace.
    Having a licence is a privilege not a right.

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  23. alwyn (427 comments) says:

    More years ago than I care to remember I had a friend who was a traffic engineer with the old Ministry of Works. He told me that the Johnsonville Porirua motorway was designed for a speed of 75 mph. That is 120 kph. If the road was designed for that speed why aren’t we allowed to travel at it?

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  24. infused (656 comments) says:

    Rimutaka is quite possible… during the day, virtually no traffic. My car enjoys going sideways.

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  25. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    Given that Kiwis are without doubt the most arrogant, and hopeless, drivers in the western world I think it should stay the same.

    Great idea, and I get let off when I flash my UK driving licence, best of both worlds.

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  26. big bruv (13,931 comments) says:

    James

    If you have driven in the UK then you will be well familiar with just how appalling bad our drivers are.

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  27. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    I see heaps of incompetent tourist drivers up here so I don’t buy the claim that NZ drivers are worse than the rest of the world.

    Neither do I buy the claim that our roads are not designed for higher speeds. Some parts are, some are not. It’s up to the driver to control the car accordingly. Some vehicles are safer at much higher speeds than others. Again, it is up to the driver to manage the safe speed.

    I am heartily sick of our traffic management assuming we are all idiots and have no more brains than your average bureaucrat desk jockey. Likewise drivers who are only fit to drive a shopping trolley to the supermarket being let loose on the open road.

    The whole culture of risk management has been twisted into bureaucratic butt protection instead of individual responsibility and produced generations of utter incompetents who are fit only to be passengers in self-driving vehicles. This is reflected in the plummeting percentage of young people obtaining driving licences and the increased urbanisation of the population including immigrants from crowded Asian countries.

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  28. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    You’re crazy if you drive that road at 100 km/hr. I agree it should be lower, as should the road to Makara.

    More to the point – you’d need some SERIOUS machinery to get even close to 100km/h on more than a couple of locations on the Rimutaka Hill Rd.

    Physics and inertia are already providing an effective speed limit of 80km/h on the Rimutaka hill, what good would be achieved by adding a legal one?

    (I’m a fairly keen carver of corners, and the fastest I ever drove over the hill was late one clear moonlit night, when someone having an inspired drive in a new Ford Focus caught up and passed me… that (guy/girl) certainly knew where the racing line was through all of the corners, despite being handicapped in horsepower as well as talent I managed to hang in there behind him for a little while before I ran out of nerve… but we would have seldom got anywhere near 80km/h)

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  29. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @bb, I have driven in the UK and most drivers there are only fit to toodle along in a queue of traffic. Then they come here and create their own queue behind them.

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  30. adc (595 comments) says:

    It’s not black and white, you can’t just say it’s crazy to do 100 over the Rimutakas. It’s a doddle to do that in a sports car, and insane to do it in a camper-van.

    The problem is speed is easily measured. That’s why it’s limited. Because the limit can be enforced. Doesn’t mean it’s philosophically right – it’s a compromise for pragmatic reasons.

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  31. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    RRM….

    Yep, say do you have a best “bridge to bridge” time? My wife beats me hands down. Bloody women drivers. :-)

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  32. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    RRM (& flipper)

    Ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TFhSyfeV84

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  33. meanybeany (27 comments) says:

    In France the speed limits when I drove there were 110 / 90. . . so 110kph during the hours of daylight and on a dry road, 90kph at night or if the road surface was wet. Makes sense to me. . . surely Kiwi’s are smart enough to cope with that?

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  34. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    If you have driven in the UK then you will be well familiar with just how appalling bad our drivers are.

    I’m a pom and a former 60,000 miles/year Sales Rep. It’s amazing how well the UK road system operates on a normal weekday outside of rush hour when it’s pretty much exclusively reps and truckies…

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  35. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    ” **** Having a licence is a privilege not a right. ”
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    Horse manure would be polite.

    I am a shareholder in the land on which the roads sit. Those self centred, power hungry bureaucrats are denying me my “property” rights.

    For so long as the “privilege not a right” mentality prevails, and we accept Government theft like the cancellation of life time licences, then we will continue to be little more than sheep. :-)

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  36. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    meanybeany (24 comments) says:

    August 11th, 2014 at 11:42 am

    In France the speed limits when I drove there were 110 / 90.
    ******

    Really?

    That may be on ordinary roads.

    When I last drove Paris to Lille on the tolled freeway, an average of 160 plus would have been the norm in the left lanes. But those flashing headlights come from a long way back and roar past at about 200. Nothing to worry about. Never saw one accident in three weeks driving. We were in the middle doing 130-40 odd…. occas 160. Just standing still.

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  37. Mobile Michael (452 comments) says:

    What hacks me off on the roads is the morons who try to race over the Rimutakas. I admit I go slow, but I don’t want to deal with the kids vomiting everywhere. Just be patient, I’ll pull over when there is a shoulder!

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  38. Akaroa (558 comments) says:

    My response to the suggestion that the open road speed limit be raised to 110 kph is:

    “Don’t be so naive! Don’t you know that there is a class of driver who unfailingly ALWAYS drives ten or twenty K above the limit if he/she thinks they can get away with it”

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  39. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Flipper – No I’m not determined enough of a speed freak to actually want to time myself! (I just like to give it a bit of a squirt occasionally, and go as fast as conditions and the law permits on a clear night when the road is dry and you can see that there is no-one else around for miles.)

    Starting a stopwatch at the bottom of the hill seems like a great way to ensure you will get stuck behind a log truck, and then a camper van, and then Joe Thick towing a trailer load of tree prunings, and then an old overheating Ford Econovan with only three cylinders still making compression, and then Aunt Doris…

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  40. Akaroa (558 comments) says:

    I’ve just read hmmokrightitis (1,526 comments) at 1041.

    Clearly hmm..etc is the sort of driver one tries to keep clear of if possible.

    You’ve met ‘em!!

    Uber-clever! In their own eyes one of the finest and most skillful motorists who ever got behind the wheel! Far, far too competent and experienced to take any notice of speed limits, other drivers or other limitations placed by a society laughably unappreciative of their vastly superior driving abilities.

    Hmmo..etc, my dear, dear friend!

    Let me say this to you. When – not if – when, you finally have an appalling crack-up on the road – due no doubt to the cloddishness of one of those ‘other’ less-competent-than-you drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians – and are – if you’re lucky – reflecting during your long hospitalisation and convalescence about the stupidity and lack of superb driving ability of all the other road users, then I hope you’ll have a thought for all the people who have been taught to drive – not aggressively as you clearly have – but defensively.

    You remember defensive driving don’t you? Sure you do! As preached by the UK Metropolitan Advanced Police Driving Course at Hendon. Its kept me safe on the road for sixty driving years – on motorcycles, in cars, landrovers, trucks. In UK, Hong Kong, Aden, Singapore, NZ, and the USA.

    Look it up! I have a sort of a feeling that your driving might benefit from it!!

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  41. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    I would be happy if just passing bays were changed to 110 in the fast land and MAX 90 on the slow lane.
    At least then you have delta 20 km/hr over a slow driver and can get passed a bunch.

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  42. Griff (7,810 comments) says:

    I would like to see the the cops enforce the existing law and pull over the fuckwits who insist on holding up traffic by habitually traveling at 20kmh under the limit in the right hand lane now.
    Same goes with the idiots who insist on driving slowly for miles on the open road then speed up to 110 when there is a passing lane. I have seen arrogant wanks do it time and again and often they slow back down to 80 kmh or less as soon as the passing lane ends.
    I have hazed a few such wankers into the ditch over the years and will do so again .

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  43. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    Posted speed limit in Makara hasn’t been 100kmh for sometime, maybe 60kmh for the most part now (certainly not open road speed limit).

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  44. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Take a drive on our premium? SH 1 from Puhoi to Wellsford.

    You will encounter hairpin bends (Schedewys Hill),

    … foreshortened passing lanes … to die for,

    … permanent 80 KPH stretches,

    …narrow bridges (The Honey Centre) and

    … one of the Top? five black spots for fatalities (The Dome Valley).

    Still think it is a Holiday Highway?.

    Bring it on … at 110KPH.

    PS: at “Holiday time”s the heavy slow traffic can make it a two hour13 K drive (tunnels to north of Warkworth).

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  45. Steve (North Shore) (4,565 comments) says:

    With the new 3 year warranty of fitness, you and your car are invincible

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  46. All_on_Red (1,584 comments) says:

    Interesting research and attitude in this article. More open and better roads (mainly)in the US though.
    “Over the past 12 years, Lt. Megge has increased the speed limit on nearly 400 of Michigan’s roadways. Each time, he or one of his officers hears from community groups who complain that people already drive too fast. But as Megge and his colleagues explain, their intent is not to reduce congestion, bow to the reality that everyone drives too fast, or even strike a balance between safety concerns and drivers’ desire to arrive at their destinations faster. Quite the opposite, Lt. Megge advocates for raising speed limits because he believes it makes roads safer.”

    http://priceonomics.com/is-every-speed-limit-too-low/

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  47. Sonny Blount (1,783 comments) says:

    110 kmh is pathetic.

    Our motorways should be at at a minimum 120 kmh.

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  48. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Ruff estimate of heightened speed” Kill factor”.

    Before you go increasing road speeds from say 80 K to 110 bear in mind the logarithmic increase in the mass times speed kill (impact) factor.

    Doubling speed does NOT just double the impact … it is much more. (Physics students can supply the exact detail).

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  49. All_on_Red (1,584 comments) says:

    lazza
    They will only be increasing the motorways speeds from 100 to 110, not the 80 km ones. That’s hardly doubling. Your point about the physics is correct but doesn’t really apply here.

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  50. lazza (381 comments) says:

    All-on -Red you say … “They will only be increasing the motorways speeds from 100 to 110, not the 80 km ones”.

    Err … “Yes” they will”. My main proposition is that higher speeds kill “more” whatever the road. Take Puhoi to Warkworth f’rinstance.

    It is 80 KPH at present, on the new road it will go? to 110 KPH.

    Sure the road conditions will be totally different but it is that extra! 30 KPH that has big killing power … whatever the road conditions.

    Like try a normal? (sub-normal species?) kiwi male macho testosterone fueled 25 year old Pakeha in his souped Nissan Sunline weaving over the lanes of the new motorway at the now legal speed of 110 (he will push this to say 130 140?) … QED.

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  51. All_on_Red (1,584 comments) says:

    “including raising the top limit to 110kmh on the safest motorways”
    “If some motorways had been designed for 110kmh traffic, then the limit should reflect that, he said.”

    Sigh, Puhoi to Warkworth is not a motorway.
    The motorway is that big four lane thingy with barrier fences you drive on as you leave Auckland. I bet you they don’t raise it anywhere other than MOTORWAYS .Also the people ( love your assumptions as to who speeds…) who do 140 km do that now regardless of what the limit is.
    You’re not very bright are you. You also clearly don’t understand how QED works either. Try looking it up.
    Oh, and bad drivers ” kill” not speed. Moron.

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  52. lazza (381 comments) says:

    A o R (Troll?)

    Puhoi to Ww is SH1 for crisssake that is it is our “premium’? arterial route and “should be” a Mway soon. OK?

    And what is it about “my point, is that higher speeds kill MORE”” that you do not understand?.

    As for your mindless IQ abuse … GFY … you arrogant troll rude person you.

    I’m Gone. Better things to do.

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