Australian town changes name to warn speeding drivers

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MELBOURNE - A tiny town in Australia named Speed would change its name for one month to “Speedkills” as part of a road safety campaign to promote safe driving.

Speed town in Victoria, with a population of just 45 people, will be known as Speedkills for the month of March, the Telegraph reported.

Each year hundreds of people die in accidents on Australian roads, and in 2010 deaths on rural roads increased by about 25 percent.

But advertising campaigns by the government urging motorists to slow down have been largely unsuccessful.

Locals of Speed town hope that their unique contribution to road safety will make drivers hit the brakes.

Phil Down, a local farmer, is changing his name to “Phil Slow Down” for the month.

He said the aim of the name change was to encourage people to keep to the speed limit on country roads.

“It’s virtually on the road to somewhere else, so we’ve taken our quirky name and run with it to bring the attention to the campaign of trying to get people to slow down on country roads and especially through small towns,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The idea was the brainchild of the state’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

The commission approached Speed residents with a proposal that if 10,000 Facebook users supported renaming Speed to SpeedKills, the change would go ahead in return for a donation to a local charity.

More than 30,000 Facebook users have since given their support to the campaign.

Speed, which lies 250 miles (402 km) north of Melbourne, was originally named after a Victorian railway commissioner.

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