08 Nov 2011
"Too many South Australian lives continue to be lost on our roads, particularly on our rural roads." Ms Rankine said.
"Last year 64 per cent of all fatalities occurred in the regions - a trend that has continued throughout 2011 with 51 people already dying on rural roads this year."
In the past five years, almost one fifth of all fatal and serious injury crashes in South Australia occurred within a 100 kilometre radius outside of metropolitan Adelaide.
"That's why we're moving today to reduce the speed limits on 45 State road sections down from 110km/h to the rural default speed limit of 100 km/h."
Records show there were 290 casualty crashes recorded on those 45 roads in a five year period (2006-2010) resulting in 22 fatalities and 121 serious injuries.
Analysis of this crash data indicates that if the speed limit on these 45 roads is reduced by 10 km/h, there's the potential for 12 less casualty crashes each year.
"In July 2003, speed limits on about 1100 kilometres of rural roads in South Australia were reduced to 100 km/h, resulting in 20% fewer casualty crashes on those roads," Ms Rankine said.
The new speed limit changes will not apply to national highways or freeways, such as the Northern Expressway, Port Wakefield Road, South Eastern Freeway and Sturt Highway.
Starting this month, changed speed limit signs will be progressively rolled out with 723 kilometres of State roads having the new 100 km/h limits in place in time for the Christmas/New Year holiday period.
On average, the 100km/h limit will add only about one minute in travel time to a 20 kilometre journey, while saving around 10 cents a litre in petrol.
"The initiative follows considerable State Government investment into the 45 road sections over the past five years where more than $17 million has been spent on safety treatments," Ms Rankine said.
Overall, $110 million has been invested on arterial roads across the State over the past five years through the Rural Road Safety, Shoulder Sealing, Responsive Road Safety and State Black Spot Programs. $371m has been allocated to rural road maintenance over the same period.
A further seven local government road sections within 100 kilometres of Adelaide and on Yorke Peninsula, totalling 141 kilometres, have also been identified for the speed limit reduction.
"We're strongly urging councils responsible for those roads to get behind this initiative and move quickly to lower the speed limit on their seven road sections to 100km/h at the same time as the changes are made to the limit on State roads," Ms Rankine said.
Speed Limit Changed signs and a newspaper and radio advertising campaign will inform all road users about the changes over the coming weeks.
The speed limit reductions are part of the Road Safety Strategy 2020 - Towards Zero Together Action Plan released last month, which has a target of reducing the road toll by 30 percent - to less than 80 fatalities and 800 serious injuries by the end of the decade.
Download a map (1 MB PDF) showing the roads affected.
Download a list (140 KB PDF) of the road sections affected with estimated changes in travel times.
The department has committed to improve safety along its transport networks and to provide some practical responses to incidents of object throwing.
The South Australian Government conducted an audit of speed cameras to ensure they are operating for safety purposes and not to raise revenue.
The lowered motorway constructed as part of the $801 million Torrens Road to River Torrens Project Torrens will be opened to traffic on Saturday 29 September.
Preliminary works for the upgrade of the Main North Road intersection with Dalkeith Road and Smith Road are currently underway, with Telstra early works to commence from Wednesday 5 September.