Christmas road safety critical as NSW toll rises

By Peter Khoury on 20 November 2017

The NRMA is pleading with the community to stay safe on our roads this Christmas after it was revealed deaths on our roads in 2017 have exceeded 2016 statistics on a year-to-date basis.

So far in 2017, 342 people have lost their lives on the state’s roads – an increase of five people. In the past 12 months, 385 people have lost their lives on NSW roads, up 9 people over the same period.

As of 17 November 2017, 23 people lost their lives. By contrast the road toll for the whole of November 2016 was 25.

The number of passenger, driver and cyclist fatalities have all increased slightly. The number of males killed on our roads has fallen from 251 to 241, while female fatalities have risen from 86 to 101.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said the tragic loss of life so far in 2017 was especially hard to comprehend after a record low year in 2014, thus making it harder to meet the target of a 30 percent reduction in road fatalities by 2021.

“Too many people are dying unnecessarily on our roads and as we head in to the Christmas holiday period the message couldn’t be clearer – please take care,” Mr Khoury said.

“Around 94 per cent of all fatalities involve some element of human error so as a community we must look for ways to address risk-taking behaviour, otherwise these statistics will just get worse.”

The NRMA was also concerned with an over-representation of fatalities in regional NSW with 236 lives lost on regional roads (up by 12 last year), compared to 106 in metropolitan areas.

The NRMA is investing in technology as a way to encourage safe driving behaviour. The organisation is rolling out NRMA Connected, which provides real-time individual scores on a driver’s speed, acceleration and braking to help drivers monitor and change risk-taking behaviour.

The organisation also provides Corporate Driver Training to fleet running businesses to reinforce road safety skills to people who drive for a living.

“As families prepare for the holidays please remember that the NSW Police are focusing heavily on speed, drink and drug driving and other dangerous behaviour behind the wheel,” Mr Khoury said.

“The road toll in 2017 is horrific – this must stop.”