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Friday, December 09, 2005

Speed cut adds to safer dining [

The Mercury: Speed cut adds to safer dining [10dec05]

PEDESTRIANS visiting the popular North Hobart restaurant strip can feel safer with the speed limit being lowered to 40km/h yesterday.

Licensed venues in the area will also adopt a program to encourage people to nominate a designated driver to avoid the possibility of diners driving home drunk.

The speed limit was reduced from 50km/h to 40km/h on Elizabeth St between Federal St and Burnett St as part of the state's speed zoning review.

Tasmanian Road Safety Council chairman Doug Parkinson MLC said the reduction should result in fewer crashes.

He said slowing down traffic was important in an area with such a high density of pedestrians crossing to eateries on both sides of the road.

"The restaurant strip between Federal and Burnett Sts had 19 crashes involving pedestrians between 1999 and 2003, something which has concerned the North Hobart Residents Association," he said.

"We will be advertising to make the public aware. We can expect to see other 40km/h zone areas popping up around the state from here on."

The only other such Tasmanian precinct where a 40km/h limit applies is Battery Point.

Three North Hobart hotels have also adopted the "Who's Des Tonight?" campaign, which has been successful in Burnie.

People who identify themselves as designated drivers at The Republic Bar, The Queen's Head and The Sir William Don will receive free soft drinks all night to encourage at least one person in each group to stay sober for the drive home.

Sir William Don proprietor Glen Davies said drink-driving happened more often than people liked to think.

"We try to look after our customers. When someone's had too much to drink we give them cordial, water or coffee and try to get them into a taxi to go home," he said.

"But once they're around the corner, we don't know what happens. So if it means people will be safe then it's worth a few bottles of cordial."

Tasmanian Tigers cricketer Michael Bevan has been recruited as a spokesman for Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drink Driving (RADD) and praised the lower speed limits and designated-driver campaign.

He has recorded radio advertisements for RADD and was pleased to be a role model.

"You've got to practise what you preach and if I can help create awareness, then that's a role I think I can do," he said.


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