State Government drops Indian Ocean Drive speed limit based on road safety review

State Government drops Indian Ocean Drive speed limit based on road safety review

THE speed limit on a stretch of Indian Ocean Drive will drop to 100km/h, as recommended by a safety review released today.

Main Roads WA will action the change this week in line with the first findings of a safety report undertake by the Indian Ocean Drive Highway Safety Review Group.

It follows several serious and fatal crashes along the highway between Two Rocks and Lancelin this year and the group included staff from the Road Safety Commission, WA Police and Main Roads.

“While there was evidence of unsafe behaviours occurring, such as speeding and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, analysis of the serious crash data showed that in only two of the 28 crashes, WA Police were able to identify a traffic offence to have contributed,” acting Road Safety Commissioner and group chairman Iain Cameron said.

“Subsequent analysis by the review group showed that vehicles on the wrong side of the road were in a drift or loss of control situation due to potential contributing factors involving fatigue, steering task and road geometry.

“This would normally have resulted in a single vehicle run off road crash.

“However, when combined with a growth in vehicles using the road, the drift/loss of control over the centrelines to the right resulted in a side swipe and head-on crash occurring at rates above the network average.

“While tourists were involved in some crashes they were not the norm or the majority.”

Mr Cameron said the current median operating speed varied from 99-103km/h on the road, which had a posted speed limit of 110km/h.

However, the review said speed surveys also found some motorists exceeded the posted speed limit and there was a risk of loss of control crashes as the result of driving more than 110 km/h.

“The results for a 10km/h lowered speed limit showed that, over a 10 year period, a reduction of between 13.4 and 25.4 fatal and serious injury crashes could be achieved, dependent on compliance,” it said.

The review recommended ongoing speed enforcement, particularly at higher risk times such as weekends, using speed activated variable message signs and lowering the speed limit to 100km/h until infrastructure improvements were implemented.

The group identified short, medium and long-term measures that could improve safety along the road, including audible edge and centre lines, increased police patrols, more signage and additional overtaking lanes.

The State Government has already implemented those measures and will consider other short to medium term recommendations subject to future budgetary processes and the effect of the initial road safety improvements.

Those include clearing of roadside hazards, reviewing intersection designs to improve the visibility of traffic, road shoulder widening and creating more overtaking lanes.

“The most significant safety treatment is the recommendation to widen the seal and install a 1m-wide centreline with audible lines, a high-value treatment that is estimated to bring a nearly 60 per cent crash reduction benefit,” Mr Cameron said.

“This treatment has the benefit of reducing not only head-on crashes, by providing more margin for error and an audible warning to prompt driver recovery, but will also reduce single vehicle run off to the right crashes.”

Authorities have already applied 30km of audible edge lines on three sections between Two Rocks and Lancelin, with all audible centre and edge lines to be finalised by early 2018.

Work is expected to start soon on a $7 million project to build four passing lanes between the Ledge Point and the Seabird turn off, with the first two to be finished by mid-2018 and remaining pair to be built in 2018-19.