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Innovative Technology Providing Safer Roads

Thu 17 May 2012

David O'Byrne

Minister for Infrastructure

The Tasmanian Government is again boosting its commitment to road safety by investing in world-leading technology.

The Tasmanian Road Safety Levy raises $11 million each year, to be spent solely on road safety measures and initiatives.

"Last year, Tasmania recorded the lowest road toll on record. That's encouraging, and suggests our approach to road safety is working," Mr O'Byrne said.
"But every death is a tragedy, and one death too many. We know there's no room for complacency.

"We'll continue investing and researching strongly to help protect Tasmanian lives.

"That includes investing in the latest cutting-edge technology, to either create more forgiving road conditions, or better information and guidance for drivers on our roads," he said.

Innovative technology currently being used or introduced by DIER includes:

  • The new $3 million Variable Speed Limit (VSL) signs from Liverpool Street in Hobart to the Cambridge Road interchange. The high-tech system is due to be switched-on mid-year, to improve safety and prevent rear-end crashes. It can detect incidents like traffic congestion or a crash, and help monitor weather conditions, so speed limits can be lowered to prevent secondary crashes.
  • The $430,000 Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program for all repeat drink drivers, or offenders who record a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher. Participants will only be eligible to be re-licensed when they fit an interlock to their vehicle. Once the alcohol interlock has been fitted, the vehicle cannot be started until the driver provides a breath sample. Work is progressing well, with the final consultation process underway. Tenders will then be called, with the program due to be implemented by the end of the year.
  • Heavy vehicle advance warning systems on some Tasmanian highways.

Work starts in June to install several infra-red detector systems, worth $1.1 million each and funded by the Australian Government. They'll be installed on seven sites across Tasmania - two on the Tasman Highway sideling, and one each on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge, the Lyell Highway at Queenstown, the Murchison Highway north of Renison Bell, the Esk Main Road at St Marys Pass, and the Poatina Main Road.

  • New high-visibility electronic warning signs installed at the northern junction of the Dilston Bypass on the East Tamar Highway are now fully operational. The installation of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) follows community concerns about poor visibility in winter fog.

Mr O'Byrne said the VSL and alcohol interlock programs are among several road safety initiatives funded through the Road Safety Levy.

Other initiatives underway include the roll-out of Electronic Speed Limit Signs at schools across Tasmania, installation of flexible safety barrier, shoulder sealing, right-hand turning facilities, tree removal on Tasmania's major highways and arterial roads, and point-to-point speed enforcement.

Since adopting the current Road Safety Strategy, the Government has invested more in road safety than any other government, and exceeded its target of reducing serious injuries and fatalities by 30% over five years.

Innovative Technology Providing Safer Roads