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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.
I’m particularly focused on ensuring that local councils get
the funding and support they need to deliver infrastructure
for their communities. Local roads represent 80 per cent of
the road network in NSW, with regional local councils
experiencing an infrastructure backlog deficit of $1.56 billion
in 2015-16, so these challenges have a significant impact on
the safety of our transport system.
Innovative funding solutions must also be identified to clear
the infrastructure backlog. This includes encouraging local
councils to share their road engineering capacity, so they can
better manage their local roads and upgrade them sooner.
While there’s this growing infrastructure backlog for local
councils, we also know that the Australian Government
collects significantly more from fuel excise than it returns to
roads. That’s why the NRMA wants to see a permanent
commitment from the Australian Government to ensure more
of this funding goes back into local roads through the budget
process. This should be secured through legislation.
I’m a firm believer that regional communities are best placed
to know their transport needs, so the NRMA is also calling for
the establishment of a $150 million Smart Infrastructure Fund
to encourage local councils to adopt new and innovative
solutions to tackle key road and transport problems.
I hope to be able to share some positive updates from the
budget in the next edition of Open Road.
LOCAL COUNCILS ARE CRITICAL TO ROAD SAFETY
The majority of
crashes last year were
on regional roads.
TIM TRUMPER Chairman
FIONA SIMSON Deputy President & Director
North Western NSW and North Coast (Townsend Region)
9/2/18 3:23 pm
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