Expert fears 'carnage' on roads

A STATE government proposal to increase the speed limit on the Hume Highway to 120km/h would be "carnage" according to a transport expert.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the government would consider the changes for major roads, to bring speed limits in line with those in Europe, where fatalities are lower than those in Australia.

But Sydney University's Professor Stephen Greaves, who researches driving and speeding habits, greeted the news grimly.

"My view is it would be carnage if they did it in Australia," Professor Greaves said.

"We know from research that if the limit is 120km/h they will drive at 130km/h and from a safety point of view it will increase accidents."

He said drivers in Germany, where some motorways do not have speed limits, were trained to deal with high-speed situations but Australian drivers were not.

Mr Gay said the limit would be reduced during wet weather and the plan would depend on several new road measures.

"The only circumstances under which I would consider increasing speed limits would be in cases such as the Pacific Highway and Hume Highway when extensive road work has been undertaken, including not only the current lane duplication but also full grade separation to remove all interchanges," Mr Gay told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Given the Picton Road/Hume Highway exit is located in the middle of the proposed Wilton Junction development, the increase in speed limit could have major implications for new residents.

However, Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell said he would seek community feedback and more studies before he took a position on the increased speed limits.

"At this point in time it's all about discussions with the community," he said.

"This isn't an announcement, it's a discussion.

"On the face of it there needs to be work done [into studies of the increased limit].

"Road safety is a highly important issue in Wollondilly Shire."

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