A 200-mile long strip of tarmac in Australia’s Northern Territory is one of the few places on earth ungoverned by speed limits, but it won’t stay that way for long.
That’s because the local government plans to impose a 130 km/h speed limit, despite protest from the area’s residents and top-ranked automakers like Porsche. According to the BBC, the newly elected North Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said that the decision boils down to saving life, stating:
“Our policy is to remove open limits based on advice from doctors, nurses, surgeons and police who agree open limits should not exist.”
Surprisingly, previous government research showed that speed limits in the area have caused deaths to rise, prior to their abolishment in 2014.
Porsche’s director of public relations, Paul Ellis, told the BBC and ABC Australia that speed isn’t the main issue when it comes to fatalities, accusing NT of becoming a “nanny state”:
“All I’m saying is let’s have a logical discussion about what causes fatalities. To say that speed is the biggest issue, I don’t think that is correct. Speed does not kill, bad driving kills. And it’s just a shame we’ve taken a nanny state approach.”
Moreover, he continued saying that such decisions would deter car companies from coming to Australia: “We’ve done a pretty good job of killing off the local car industry, the manufacturing of local cars in Australia, and now it seems the Northern Territory government’s doing its best to deter international car companies from coming to Australia to spend money and invest in the local economy.”
However, Michael Gunner said that car companies will still be able to undergo test drive trials at any speed, as long as they’ll apply for a permit.