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OPEN ROAD 7
Rise in road deaths must be stopped
on our roads must
be a top priority for
especially those in
ANOTHER HORRIFIC period on
our roads has marred the first
quarter of 2018. Every road death
is a national tragedy and worthy of
our immediate attention.
Particularly notable about the
road toll over recent months has
been the shocking nature of these
crashes, such as the high-profile
crash on the South Coast that took
the lives of a whole family, and the
multi-vehicle pileup on the Newell
Highway behind stationary traffic.
These, and other crashes,
featured prominently on the nightly
news during the holiday period and
in the first few weeks of 2018. At
the time of writing, 30 people had
been killed on NSW roads. That’s
seven more than the same time for
the previous year, which we know
was terrible – the worst since 2009.
The causes of these crashes have
remained heartbreakingly similar
over recent decades. Speed was a
factor in 40 per cent of crashes in
2017, followed by fatigue and drink
driving. Two-thirds of crashes were
on regional roads and, contrary to
popular belief, most of the victims
were locals and not out-of-towners.
In addition to these traditional
risks, the police must contend with
the dangers of drug driving and
those distracted by smartphones.
NRMA research found 15 per cent of
people using their phones illegally
behind the wheel believe they won’t
get caught. They’re wrong.
Technology may be adding to
driver distraction, but it’ll play a
large part in providing solutions.
We know the police are looking
to new technology that’ll make
it easier to catch people using their
phones while driving. The NRMA
is also investing in connected
technology that alerts drivers who
need to take a break and provides
safety scores around speeding.
We must ensure changes to road
safety laws are evidence-based
and backed by research and data to
deliver real outcomes. The greatest
successes have come when
laws were adopted using these
measures, such as the introduction
of seat belts and blood alcohol
limits, and the Graduation Licensing
Scheme for young drivers.
As a community, we must work
together to put an end to the
needless deaths on our roads.
Please be safe over the Easter
holidays and throughout 2018.
Following a shocking road toll last year, the NRMA has
continued our focus on road safety by rolling out our Connected
car technology and calling for better driving behaviour.
In the lead-up to the federal budget, we’ll work with
governments on behalf of our Members to improve
road infrastructure, as well as public transport and visitor
infrastructure, with the aim of giving the community a real
choice about how they keep on the move.
The NRMA’s first priority for our Members will always be
their safety on the roads. We support the National Road
Safety Strategy 2011-2020 to reduce deaths and serious
injuries on Australian roads by at least 30 per cent.
Despite increased roads funding, safer vehicles, and a range
of community education programs targeting drink driving, seat
belt use and speeding, each year road crashes still cause 1250
deaths and 32,000 injuries that leave people hospitalised.
Early this year, we’ve had serious crashes involving trucks.
Tragically, these are worse because of the vehicle’s size and
weight, regardless of who’s at fault. For this reason, it’s
important all motorists understand how to share the road with
heavy vehicles. They have different capabilities and need more
room to turn, which is why ‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’
signs appear on the back of trucks. Be patient and give them
room to turn, particularly at intersections and roundabouts.
Heavy vehicles also have longer stopping distances, so
avoid pulling in front of them at short notice. I saw someone
do this recently at a set of traffic lights on Pennant Hills
Road. An impatient motorist changed lanes to grab pole
position at the lights but a truck in that lane was forced to
brake heavily, locking all wheels in a dangerous near-miss.
With our road toll still not tracking downwards in the way
that we would like, it’s more important than ever that
everyone shares the road safely.
ROAD SAFETY AND HEAVY VEHICLE CAUTION
The majority of
crashes last year were
on regional roads.
TIM TRUMPER Chairman
CORAL TAYLOR Director
Central Coast and Newcastle (Howe Region)
9/2/18 3:20 pm
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