Published: Jan 1, 2018

Make road safety your New Year's resolution

Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey today joined Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy to appeal to everyone to make driving safely their number one New Year’s Resolution after 392 people sadly lost their lives on NSW roads in 2017.

This is 12 more than for 2016 and Mrs Pavey said the New Year is the perfect time for all of us to reflect on how our behaviour can affect not only ourselves, but others on the road.

“Every life lost is one too many and sadly in 2017 we lost 392. That’s 392 people lost to their friends, families and communities forever,” she said.

“Let’s not forget the thousands of people across NSW who had to face the heartache of losing someone to a road crash and the many thousands more who are learning to live with lifelong injuries from crashes.

“Since 2009, when the road toll hit 453, we were seeing a steady decline year on year but the recent spikes in the road toll have been incredibly disappointing. In 2017, as with 2016, speed was the biggest killer with 168 people losing their lives because someone was driving too fast. That is more than 40 per cent of our road toll.

“The other big killers - tired drivers, drivers who’ve had too much to drink - were again a big problem in 2017.

It is important to note that the number of vehicles registered in NSW over the past 10 years has increased by 1.2 million. The number of vehicles registered in the state increased from 5.2 million to 6.4 million from June 2008 to June this year, an increase of 24 per cent.

The state made some positive reductions in 2017. Following a major campaign, and a significant boost to pedestrian safety infrastructure, pedestrian deaths are down from 71 to 54. We have continued our focus on safer licensing systems for young drivers with the involvement of people aged 21-25 in fatal crashes down from 57 to 42.

Following significant effort by Police to enforce seatbelt wearing, deaths involving drivers and passengers who were not wearing one were down by 13 to 30.

However, unfortunately we have gone backwards in other key areas with vehicle passenger deaths up from 54 to 82, female deaths up from 97 to 118, deaths of people aged 60 to 69 up from 40 to 52 and deaths from heavy truck crashes up from 56 to 81.

The Government is taking action. We are investing $8 billion in upgrading the state’s roads, including recently opening the Pacific Highway Macksville bypass and the Foxground to Berry bypass.

We are also investing in regional roads with $90 million provided in the first two rounds of ‘Fixing Country Roads’ for 138 projects across Regional NSW.

Sadly, two thirds of the deaths of our roads occur in regional NSW.

We also have our $70 million Safer Roads Program and the Community Road Safety Fund, where every dollar from every speed camera fine is spent on road safety initiatives.

The Government this year launched a number of road safety education campaigns;

  • Be Truck Aware, to improve safety around large trucks;
  • Your Last Text, to target mobile phone driver distraction;
  • Saving Lives on Country Roads, the first comprehensive road safety campaign to target country drivers

These campaigns were backed up by a number of high visibility police operations, including Operation Safe Arrival, which is targeting risky behaviours over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

The government has been consulting with stakeholders and the community to formulate the state’s Road Safety Plan to help us reach our target of a 30 per cent reduction in deaths on NSW roads by 2021.

NSW Police Traffic & Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said while most drivers drive sensibly, it is the ones that don’t care who are putting everyone at risk.

“The tragedy is that nearly every one of those lives lost, was the result of a driver or rider making a bad decision.

“This year, I want everyone behind the wheel, on a bike, or crossing a road to think about what they are doing and take responsibility for their actions,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.