Dametto Renews Calls for 120km/h Speed Limit on Overtaking Lanes

24 May 2024

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto has renewed his calls from 2023 for an increased speed limit of up to 120 kilometres per hour for overtaking lanes along the Bruce Highway.

The Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Minister at the time rejected Mr Dametto’s proposal claiming that speeding increased crash risk and severity. Interestingly, the Minister also pointed out that the Australasian New Car Assessment Program only simulated head-on crashes at a speed of 50 kilometres per hour, with no justification as to why Queenslanders are allowed to legally travel at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour (nor why that is the limit).[1]

“I find this response intriguing because modern vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features that can handle speeds greater than 100 kilometres per hour although the Australian New Car Assessment Program only simulates cars in a head on crash up to 50 kilometres per hour this in no way justifies the speed limit as to which these vehicles can be driven safely,” Mr Dametto said.

“The Northern Territory has speed limits of up to 130 kilometres per hour, and similar limits exist in Europe on the Autobahn, where legal speeds range between 100 and 130 kilometres per hour through to an open speed limit. I would suggest that the speed limit is not set on the capability of the motor vehicle alone but a combination of important factors which must be heavily reliant on the road design and condition.

“No one seems to be able to justify to me with any data or statistics why we’re stuck at 100 kilometres per hour along most of the Bruce, let alone why it’s too unsafe to accelerate to 120 kilometres per hour to overtake a slow-moving vehicle.

“We are currently driving the safest vehicles on the planet while complying to speed limits set to align with the safety rating of a FJ Holden.

“Motorists would agree that the frustration of being stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle is exacerbated by the physics defying phenomenon of said vehicles being able to magically do 100 kilometres per hour or more once they hit the overtaking section. Being legally allowed to reach speeds of 120 kilometres per hour in the right-hand lane only while overtaking in this situation just makes sense.”

With the recent ministerial reshuffle, Mr Dametto said there was no better time than now to put the important question to the new Minister.

“I have written to Minister Bart Mellish to call for a lifting of the speed limit to 120 kilometres per hour on overtaking lanes in Queensland. Although he’s previously stated that he’d never driven the entire stretch of the Bruce, I invite him to do so to get an understanding of the challenges that face thousands of travellers every day before answering our request,” he said.

“The overtaking sections of our national highway are the best sections of road we have, good surfaces, wide lanes and extended guard rails — overtaking lanes are engineered to accommodate a completely different style of motoring behaviour, its ludicrous that we would apply the same speed limits.

“Most Queenslanders would admit they speed up for a brief time while overtaking, essentially this slight excess in speed is already happening safely thousands of times a day. The Minister should just formalise this by lifting the speed limit or is he more interested in supporting the State’s revenue raising scheme?

“Maybe we could look to the Northern Territory for some political inspiration, when it comes to a number of things including speed limit management, they seem to be running a much better show across the border.”


[1] Extract from previous Transport Minister Hon Mark Bailey’s response: “Regarding capabilities of modern vehicles, you may be interested to know speed limits are still higher than the general capability of modern vehicles to protect occupants in a crash. For example, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program simulates a head-on crash at 50 km/h to assess the safety rating of new vehicles. This means that even a brand new 5-star safety rated vehicle is only tested to protect front seat occupants from serious injury in a head-on crash up to 50 km/h. When also considering reaction time and braking distance, it is increasingly difficult for motorists to perceive, avoid and survive a head-on crash at highway speeds.”

Nick Dametto MP