Are The Speed Limits of Australian Freeways Absurd?

Do you think Australian Speed Limits Are to slow?
100KM/H On Au Freeways 70MPH/113KM/H On UK Motorways
All of these limits will be for Metropolitan Freeway
Could change because of variable speed limits on most metro freeways

Poll Options Thu, 18/07/2019 - 00:00

  • 7
    Should Become 80-90KM/H
  • 81
    Stay At 100KM/H
  • 439
    Increase To 110-120KM/h
  • 283
    Increase To 130+KM/H
  • 23
    Should Be No Speed Limit


  • +42 votes

    Many freeways are 110

    • +5 votes

      And yes, I know for a fact that Australian speed limits, like all speed limits, are to slow…

      …drivers who may otherwise drive too fast for the conditions.


    I’m trying to point out Metropolitan Freeways SE suburbs of Melbourne. Not sure about other states

    • +25 votes

      Let's fix the law (incl punishments) & the driving training centres before we change the road speed, shall we?
      There are too many idiots out there who thinks they know how to drive, let alone European style.

      • +21 votes

        Do you think Australians are dumber than their EU counterparts?

        Making laws for the lowest common denominator will just lead to the race to the bottom.

        Speed limits should reflect the road specification. If it was built for 130km/hr, then limit it to 130kph. If it is designed for 100kph than keep it at 100kph. Also a 15 year old medium model car should be used as reference. Not a 70 year old car.

    • +3 votes

      Here in SE Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, the speeds are all over the place. The toll road Eastlink is set at 100kph even though it has restricted access and variously 2, 3, and 4 lanes in each direction. It could easily be classified at 120kph. The Mornington Peninsula Freeway with similar restricted access and only 2 lanes is also 100kph. However, it seems to be populated with idiots, geriatrics, and holiday makers (I'm definitely in the middle group and possibly the first). It regularly chokes and surges at certain spots because people can't seem to handle a moderate amount of traffic. The Moorooduc Highway is also classified as 100 and it has roundabouts for access. Hodgins Rd at Hastings is a narrow one lane each way and is 100 in parts. All very inconsistent.


      I’m trying to point out Metropolitan Freeways SE suburbs of Melbourne

      If thats what you are doing then your post headline is wrong.

  • +9 votes

    Should be uncapped with no road lines

    • +5 votes

      And cars owned by experienced drivers armed with heat-seeking missiles up front, and Gattlings on the rear…

  • +23 votes

    We need autobahns.

    • +1 vote

      especially on Highway 1

    • +15 votes

      You never know. There might be one closer than you think

    • +6 votes

      I just returned from a driving holiday in Europe. It was quite a mixed experience.

      The auto-bahns are great in places, but terrible in others. Generally it comes down to the number of lanes.

      The entire slow lane (right) is full of trucks doing 60-80km/h, while the fast lane (left) is open slather, with people going 150km/h+ constantly.

      This is fine on a 3 lane road, where there is a buffer (middle) lane. But on two lane auto-bahns it is a hair raising experience.

      You can either crawl along with the trucks (and never get anywhere) or you can try to use the fast lane, with endless fast cars tailgating you and flashing their headlights (to go even faster).

      Even trying to enter/exit the auto-bahn is a stressful experience. You need to pick your exit at least a kilometre in advance, then slow down in the fast lane (to match speed with the trucks) and face the wrath of car drivers, then merge through the wall of trucks onto the exit ramp.

      To add to the stress, not all auto-bahns are "open speed", in some places there are speed limits, so you have to be constantly vigilante you are not breaking the limits (where they exist).

      Ultimately I preferred highway driving in Switzerland, where the limit is a sensible 130km/h on all freeways. This meant all traffic moved at similar speeds and made it much less stressful experience, while still getting to your destination in a reasonable time.

      • -2 votes

        The trucks were the killers for us, even at 130 Kmph. So scary having that much metal driving at that speed right next to us.

        • +2 votes

          In the UK and I believe euro countries, trucks are speed limited just like here so that shouldn't happen.

      • +2 votes

        I have no idea why our freeways are stuck at 100. Doing 130 on a dual carriageway with 5 lanes in each direction will land you a suspension, fine and conviction here. It's absolutely ridiculous that what would be considered as perfectly reasonable driving in most of Europe is treated as though it's as serious as drag racing through a school zone.


        I love the 100-200m stretches in some places on the Autobahn where it drops from unlimitted speed to 80/100kph, as some village the road passes/goes through, has decided that's the maximium speed for their area.

        Agree entirely with what you say. I've done plenty of driving on the Autobahn, in cars that can doo 200kph+ without a problem, and the most i've ever got up to was 250kph owing to trucks and traffic.

        Driving with a friend who'd never done those kind of speeds (and never driven on the wrong side of the road) was hair-raising; he failed to appreciate that the little dot that is the car pulling into the left lane to overtake that 80kph truck, quickly becomes a very large car you're about to crash into!

        Definitely not stress-free driving, but a lot of fun if you do it safely.

  • +4 votes

    The speed of my work colleague is absurd

    • +16 votes

      Yeah lets research it again and again with no result….spoken like a true politician

      New licence class LOL………….. you would be too busy running up the arses of idiots in the right lane side by side with idiots in the left lane for ever
      and dont start me on people doing 70 to 80 in a 100 zone and touch there brakes at every corner as if they are going to roll over….sheeeeeeetttt

      • +12 votes

        I don't know why you're getting negged, but this is completely true.

        It's far more dangerous to have a group of people going at 130km/h and another group of people going at 100km/h because the people going at 100 will be consistently blocking the way of the people going at 130.

        I don't think that having multiple license classes is a bad thing, but you can't have mixing speed limits. For example, you could have a tier 1 license which allows you to drive on suburban roads - this might be suitable for people who never want to do anything other than drive to their local shops, train station, kids' school…etc. Then you could have a tier 2 license which allows drivers to drive on freeways with a stricter mandated intensive training program.

        My issue with current driver training is that it never touches on what to do after an accident or in the moments before an accident. I recently saw a car driving straight and a car coming in the opposite direction was turning right, so they were on a collision path. The guy going straight tried to swerve left. Of course, they hit each other because they both went in the same direction. The guy should have swerved right, as that would have been the opposite direction to the path of the other car. These sorts of things should all be taught in a simulator before we start driving.

        • +2 votes

          It's far more dangerous to have a group of people going at 130km/h and another group of people going at 100km/h because the people going at 100 will be consistently blocking the way of the people going at 130.

          Oh boy. I remember well those days P motorcyclist limited to 80 while L & full licence could do 100. On 110 roads a P biker stuck at 80 while a 100k limited truck overtakes him/her with a family car stuck behind…. oh, and weren't caravans limited to 80kph as well?

          I also remember too well when the road toll was high and the Vic Govt dropped out 110k to 100k to punish the drivers that did the right thing and not kill themselves at dangerously high speeds, usually much higher that the 110k

          What we really need is 2 things:

          1: Proper driver training and testing for advanced driving skills and comprehension of inertia. Also the ability to speak and understand Oz English AND have Full Comprehensive Insurance cover.

          2: Consideration and respect of others educamation.

          1 & 2 are very unlikely to happen.

          • +1 vote

            @Chris Topher:

            Proper driver training and testing for advanced driving skills and comprehension of inertia. Also the ability to speak and understand Oz English AND have Full Comprehensive Insurance cover.

            I agree. This is where I think having two tiers of licenses would be helpful. I understand that there is a large group of people who just want to be able to drive to the local shops or their train station and never have any want or need to drive on a freeway. My suggestion would be to have a tier 1 license (where they would have to display plates and can only drive on suburban roads) for a lesser licensing fee and less rigorous training program.

            Then we could have a tier 2 license where drivers would have to go through a specialised program for driving at high speeds and a real technical test on a track where they have to be able to demonstrate they know what to do when they are in danger. This is the sort of test they have in Germany from what one of my German colleagues has told me.

            Basically, the issue in Australia is that we have zero driver education, have the mentality that anybody can drive, and only let their bad driving perpetuate because we tolerate it. When I drove in many places in Europe, if you drive slow, if you don't get up to speed to merge or if you are blocking someone from overtaking, you will get honked. You learn to keep out of the way and when you're honked, you know not to do that again next time.

            In Australia, drivers are just oblivious, it's like they genuinely have no idea that they're bad drivers.

          • +1 vote

            @Chris Topher: I remember the several days (last week) that the three lane highway I use was clogged by 300m to 1 kilometre long tail backs, due to successive heavy vehicles overtaking each other across all three lanes as they all fought to maintain their individual speeds going up and down each hill around the 110 limit…

            Not that this is of such consequence- far more important is the danger of error it creates for so many drivers

            In europe, this just doesn't happen. Trucks are 10kmh slower and are not allowed to overtake. I guess the state is saying, people are more important than freight.

            Oh, but I am just remembering- there they have railways they actually use, Internet that works, and even canals that still do…

  • +34 votes

    Suburban freeways, it doesn't make too much of a difference. The difference between 100km/h and 110km/h is only 10%, so your 30 min journey becomes a 27 min journey. Not a big deal in the scheme of things. Most people don't spend more than ~30 min on suburban freeways anyway and the big time killer here is congestion.

    Interstate freeways though, especially the Hume can be much faster. I don't see why those roads are not 130km/h, many roads with much higher speed limits in the Northern Territory, say. That would make quite a big difference because your 900km MEL-SYD journey goes from around 8.5 hours to 7 hours, which is a huge saving for people who have to make that trip on a regular basis.

    Overall, we need to get unsafe drivers off the road. Having spent time in many places where drivers are much better than here in Australia, I really think that the problem is that we have far too many timid drivers and far too many aggressive drivers. It's a vicious cycle. I think rather than trying to enforce silly penalties like driving at 3km/h over the speed limit (which happens here in VIC), police should address reckless/aggressive and distracted drivers.

    So many times I see idiots following too close, especially in wet weather, similarly, I see people hogging up the right lane (which doesn't allow other cars to overtake safely), along with cutting in front of other traffic (making me have to slam on the brakes), people not knowing how to merge, trying to get onto the freeway at 60 km/h, which makes everyone else have to brake…etc. Unpredictability is the biggest issue, in my opinion.


      I thought if you broke the limit by 1kn/h you get a ticket in Victoria

      • +2 votes

        I thought if you broke the limit by 1kn/h you get a ticket in Victoria

        They have an equipment tolerance of 2km/h, so 3km/h is where you'll start getting fined. Yes, a family member of mine has been booked at 63km/h in a 60km/h zone, I've never been so unlucky.


          id like to see the same law makers and enforcement officers maintain that tolerances 100% of the time.
          although in saying that, as speedo's generally have a 2 to 3k variance that would make a 5 to 6 k difference on the speedo which I guess is more readily kept under.

      • +4 votes

        I'm just trying to wrap my head around how fast 1 kilonewton per hour really is.

    • +7 votes

      The difference between 100km/h and 110km/h is only 10%, so your 30 min journey becomes a 27 min journey.

      But on country roads it's the difference to being a zombie at 100 or alert at 120

      • +1 vote

        If you are a zombie, you are one at any speed. There is no activity in the world that can keep you awake. None.

  • +5 votes

    Freeway speed limits are a dance. They are based on road conditions, road toll deaths, political will, capability of drivers, weather conditions, etc. we’ve driven on the 130 km/h roads in France, and it was fun, but when you have a truck barrelling next to you it is much less fun; which is the concern I have with upping to that limit. The speed limit goes up, the death toll goes up, the speed limit goes down. I agree with the speed limit of 110 for well maintained separated freeways, and there are plenty of them around, but not the general roads. A lot of our roads are poorly maintained, our drivers aren’t great, we get changeable weather. Maybe I’m prejudiced because I lost my brother in a motor bike accident but I’m happy to arrive a bit later if it makes it safer. I think the current trade off is pretty good.

    • +1 vote

      … capability of drivers …

      Well, you can stop right there…

      • -2 votes

        We'd all be more capable if our training included basics like, how to change a tire, engine oil, blinker fluid…

        I mean, I still can't seem to find the isle for elbow grease.

    • +2 votes

      Your post is absolute bullshit. There is no correlation between speed limits and death tolls. That's just TAC bullshit to justify draconian policing and revenue raising. Australia has a 30% higher road toll than Germany and the UK, one of which has no speed limits on many motorways, and the other has flexible speed limits, where police tolerate you driving up to about 160kmh before they pull you over. They also both have winters which results in ice and sometimes snow on the roads, which would add to their road toll considerably.

      There is also zero difference in terms of sensation when driving at 130kmh as opposed to 100kmh. It's all in your head.

      • +1 vote

        Australia also has a hoon culture, and I suggest that anyone who senses no difference between 100km/h and 130km/h might sense the 70% difference in kinetic energy.*

        *When they have a prang.

        • -3 votes

          Oh, so you think you’re going to me 70% more dead at 130kmh?

          • -2 votes

            @Burnertoasty: Or 70% more chance of having an accident if going 130 instead of 100?

            • -2 votes

              @Danstar: That shows you have no understanding of what he said at all. There’s probably a 0% chance of an increase in the likelihood of having an accident if the speed is increased from 100kmh to 130kmh.


                @Burnertoasty: I was being facetious…..


                @Burnertoasty: The police statistics on this tend to disagree with you. Maybe do a bit of Googling on this. This issue is exacerbated when there is a greater difference between slower drivers and faster drivers. There are going to be number of drivers that aren't going to be comfortable doing the higher speeds so this issue will arise.


                  @try2bhelpful: Show me a single statistic that shows a correlation between increased speed limits and increased road toll.

                  • +4 votes


                    "Based on work by Nilsson in Sweden, a change in average speed of 1 km/h will result in a change in accident numbers ranging between 2% for a 120 km/h road and 4% for a 50 km/h road."
                    "A similar relationship is assumed in Britain, based on empirical studies by Taylor, where changes in accident numbers associated with a 1 km/h change in speed have been shown to vary between 1% and 4% for urban roads and 2.5% and 5.5% for rural roads, with the lower value reflecting good quality roads and the higher value poorer quality roads."

                    "In high-income countries, speed contributes to about 30% of deaths on the road, while in some low-income and middleincome countries, speed is estimated to be the main contributory factor in about half of all
                    road crashes."

                    "Speed is a critical factor in every serious crash, and speeding was identified as a contributing factor in an estimated 29% of fatal crashes (2011-2015)."

                    Many researchers (Woolley) ii have demonstrated that lower travel speeds and death tolls usually follow lowering of speed limits and higher travel speeds and death tolls follow increases in speed limits. During the 1970's energy crisis, the maximum speed limit was reduced across the United States of America (USA) from 70 miles per hour (113km/h) to 55 miles per hour (89 m/h) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration board issued a special report, pointing out that this reduction in maximum speed had resulted in a 16.4 percent drop in fatalities. In 1987, the USA lifted the speed limit on rural interstates to 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), which led to a 17 per cent rise in fatalities. A report appearing in the American Journal of Public Health in 2009 has found that a 3.2 per cent increase in road fatalities was attributable to the raised speed limits on all road types in the United States, resulting in 12,500 more deaths between 1995 and 2005.
                    In 1987, Victoria raised the speed limit on its rural and outer Melbourne freeway network to 110 km/h from 100
                    km/h. There followed an increase in casualties (including fatalities) of 24.6 per cent. In late September 1989, a 100km/h limit was reintroduced, resulting in a reduction in crashes of 19.3 per cent (Sliogeris, 1992) iii. In NSW, recent experience shows that reducing speed limits is an effective measure in reducing the number and severity of crashes including the 26 per cent reduction in casualty crashes on the Great Western Highway after speed limits were reduced from 110 to 100 km/h (Bhatnagar et al)iv.

                    "Results: A 5 mph increase in the maximum state speed limit was associated with an 8% increase in fatality rates on interstates and freeways and a 4% increase on other roads. In total, there were an estimated 33,000 more traffic fatalities during the years 1995–2013 than would have been expected if maximum speed limits had not increased. In 2013 alone, there were approximately 1,900 additional deaths—500 on interstates/freeways and 1,400 on other roads."

                    "Speeding, the driver behavior of exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, has consistently been shown to be a contributing factor to a significant percentage of fatal and nonfatal crashes. Between 1990 and 2006, the frequency of speeding-related (SR) fatal crashes ranged from 11,000 to 13,000 each year, and the percentage of SR total fatal crashes ranged between 30 and 33 percent according to data observed in the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS).(1) T"

                    Exactly what was your statistic again and how relevant was it to emperical studies?

                    • +1 vote

                      @try2bhelpful: Very true.

                      But this only proves the obvious, that reducing speed limits obeys the law of diminishing returns.

                      The reduced impact they are trying to achieve by imposing a limit is still up to the politicians, so for them, how many peasant deaths are acceptable?

                      1000/year, 100? 10? None?

                      Let's all travel at zero km/h, and be done with it :-(


                        @resisting the urge: Ultimately it depends on how many more dead we are willing to accept. In 1970 the Victorian road toll was 1061, last year it was 241. There is a lot of work that has gone into quartering the road toll, and it is even more remarkable given the increase in the number of cars on the road. Personally, I’m OK with 110 on multi lane freeways with good conditions, good visibility and sensible drivers. The extra few minutes above that isn’t worth the extra few deaths.

                        What I really would like to see are more overtaking lanes on some country roads. That way the drivers, behind the much slower drivers, are less likely to do a stupid overtake.


        You're a joke…

        It makes a huge difference… Australia has shit roads and shit cars…

        The people who says there are no difference between 100 and 130kph are the ones endangering lives on the road

        • +4 votes

          I'll disagree with that.

          There are much bigger issues on our roads in regards to dangerous driving.

          Ie. Poorly skilled drivers, nervous drivers, etc.

          I'd rather be driving next to someone competent and driving @ 130

          Compared to driving next to someone who shits themselves changing lanes and constantly is braking for no reason


            @Danstar: the problem is that the problems with drivers at 100 Kph is exacerbated at 130 kph.


            @Danstar: I had a friend who was an awesome driver.. he would complain about other drivers all the time.

            Being a good driver, meant he seamlessly changed lanes all the time. He never regarded this as a risk. It IS a risk…

            Out all of our mates, he has had the most accidents.

            Myself the worse driver, have had no driving accidents…just parking… why because I dont take risks

            • +1 vote

              @Baghern: If the people who probably were in the right lane driving 10kms under the limit stayed in the left lanes, your mate wouldn't need to be changing lanes constantly.

              Thus the point of "Keep Left Unless Overtaking"


        The statistics don't agree with your analysis of this. The 30% road toll increase might be due to our poor roads, our poor drivers etc. The physics, and road toll statistics in multiple countries, show that increase in speed results in increase in the likelyhood of fatalities. If you care to Google this you will find study after study showing this, not just the TAC in Australis. This may not agree with your "intuition" on this, but it is borne out by the studies.

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