Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 are not. I am really surprised that the press has been hoodwinked by those comments. I strongly endorse the mi ni ster' s statement. I strongly endorse hi s stance on the various components of the 10-point package, accepting that some points are reasonable and that some of them are quite unreasonable, even flying in the face of the findings of many Commonwealth inquiries and the knowledge of the states concerning what is best for them. I support the statement. Mr COLLINS (Sadadeen): Mr Speaker, I will be brieL I certainly cannot support the proposition of the Prime Minister that we should have uniform road rules throughout the country. It certainly does not stack up with the way I see things. There are, for example, some magnificent highways in New South Wales, with well-separated traffic moving in oppo~ite directions. It makes sense that people should be able to travel at a decent speed on such roads. There are other highways in New South Wales where the speed limit should be much lower because they simply are not safe. I dare say that the same thing applies right across the country. I do not think that the needs of suburban Melbourne should dictate road speeds throughout the country. Since the pilots' dispute, I have driven from Alice Springs to Darwin a number of times. ,We are told that we should not drive when tired. However, when one sets oneself a goal, one tends to go for that goal. If the speed 1 i mit were 100 km/h, a person who comp 1 i ed wi th the 1 etter of the 1 aw and tried to cover as much distance as possible between Alice Springs and Darwin would be very tired by the end of the day. Tiredness is a real danger. People are likely to nod off, fall asleep or collide with animals. I normally drive at approximately 120 km/h, occasionally reaching 130 kni/h or 140 km/h and occasionally going a little more slowly. There is a relationship between how fast you travel and how long you drive and there has to be some optimum position. It is quite likely that travelling slowly over a long period could be more dangerous than travelling more quickly over a shorter period. People are not so thick that they cannot understand that a particular speed limit applies on a particular highway. It is a case of horses for courses. Uniform road rules simply do not stack up logically. Drugs are also relevant. You will recall, Mr Speaker, that the driver of the road train which hit the bus in New South Wales was found to have a very high level of some of, the substances which some drivers use to keep themselves awake. In fact, he was way over any acceptable limit. He is dead and so are many other people, and that is greatly to be regretted. I accept the argument of people in the road transport industry that it is a very cutthroat business. Vehicles cost a poultice of money and drivers often work far longer hours than is reasonable. The temptation to work long hours to make enough money to pay the bill sis indeed a problem for these people. I do not have the answer. I wish I did. I am sure that the people concerned think about the matter far more than any of us do. It is a problem and it needs to be looked at. We tend to focus on alcohol when we talk about drugs and driving. However, along time ago in thi sHouse, I ra i sed my concern s about a drug whi ch seems to be ga i ni ng a fa i r bit of acceptance in the commun i ty one way and another as being harmless. I refer, of course, to marijuana. I believe that, if anybody is hi gh on any substance, hi s or her dri vi n9 abil i ty wi 11 be impaired. We have done very little as a nation to try to detect the use by drivers of drugs other than alcohol. The answers may 1 ie in the education of our children and communicating the idea that driving on our roads is a privilege which carries certain responsibilities. The attitude 8805
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