With two-thirds of road deaths occurring on regional roads, a new rural road safety initiative has been launched nationally in Goulburn.
Despite making up only 16.5 per cent of the nation’s population, regional road deaths account for a staggering two in every three of the national toll.
To help address this disparity, the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) has commissioned research, which revealed that both regional and metro drivers change their driving behaviour when driving on rural roads.
The research found one in three Australians is more likely to break road rules when driving on rural roads, compared to city streets.
The ARSF, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk and representatives of NSW Police gathered for the launch.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the last year 1225 people had died on Australian roads
“Each of these people had loved ones who are now mourning the fact that they are not coming home,” he said.
“How hard is it for police to knock on the door and advise the relatives. It is worse for country police because they do it more than their metro counterparts.
“In regional areas, lives lost on roads are four times higher than in metropolitan areas.”
Mr McCormack said the new Youtube video ‘Yeah...Nah’ sends a powerful message to drivers about saying: ‘yeah-nah’ when contemplating risky driving behaviours such as driving when fatigued, speeding, drink-driving, checking mobile phones while driving and not wearing seatbelts.
He said the ARSF is committed to driving down the road toll to zero by 2050.
“We are all doing what we can. We have already lost way too many loves on our roads and now we are coming up to the holiday season we need to ensure that we are taking every precaution and driving to the conditions,” Mr McCormack said.
“Tragically people are four times more likely to die on a regional road and that statistic has to come down.”
Other facts relating to NSW drivers:
- Of the 245 road deaths in NSW this year, 149 (61 per cent) have occurred on regional and rural roads
- Twice as many regional NSW residents have lost a close family or friend member in a road crash than their city-based counterparts
- 45 per cent of drivers believe a change in driver attitudes would have the biggest impact on the regional road toll
- 3 in 10 drivers admit that they are more likely to break a road rule on regional roads
- Metro drivers admitted that they were more likely to break a road rule on regional roads, compared to local drivers
- 42 per cent of drivers who break road rules on regional roads do so because they think they are less likely to be caught by police.
Regional drivers are more likely than metro residents to regularly drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive fatigued, not wear a seatbelts and speed.
NSW was also the only state where regional drivers had a bigger issue with mobile phone usage compared to city drivers.
Regional drivers were also 1.5 times more likely to use their phone every time they got behind the wheel.
See one of the ‘Yeah...Nah’ road safety campaign videos below.
ARSF CEO Russell White urged Australians - both regional and city based - to take ownership for their role in reducing the rural road toll.
“While there are a number of factors that contribute to the regional road toll, it’s every day Australians that hold the key to safer roads” Mr White said.
“The research has told us that the main reason drivers are taking more risks on rural roads is because they’re less likely to get caught.
“We will continue to see this significant and unnecessary loss of life on regional roads, until we make the effort to shift this mentality so that we’re driving with safety front of mind.”
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