Country roads have seen a massive increase in fatalities this year, with 28 more deaths occurring than at the same time in 2015.
Metropolitan areas, on the other hand, have seen seven more deaths than the same time last year – a rise of five per cent next to regional areas’ 20 per cent.
A third of all fatalities on country roads were those aged 40 – 59, with men twice as likely to be the victims of a road fatality than women, according to the latest statistics from the NSW Department of Transport.
Executive Director at the NSW Centre for Road Safety said that people need to take care at all times to prevent putting themselves at risk.
“The tragedy of all road deaths is that they are all preventable,” he said. “We are seeing an increase in people killed on the road because of decisions to speed, drive while tired, drink drive, or fail to wear a seatbelt.”
“Personal responsibility is an important factor in our overall goal of driving the road toll towards zero. We know that consistently, it’s local people dying on our high speed rural roads where crash outcomes can be catastrophic. Travelling even 10km/h over the speed limit more than doubles the risk of a crash that kills or injures someone.
“We need all drivers to bear in mind the human cost of unsafe driving, particularly the cost to regional and rural areas when a member of the community is killed in a crash. They need to stick to the speed limit, make sure they’re alert while driving, always wear a seatbelt, and have a plan to get home safely if they’re going to have a few drinks.”
The centre spends $70 million annually on measures to bring down road fatalities, including improving high risk curves, increasing police visibility on the roads, investing in new highway patrol vehicles, and education campaigns.
However it seems like drivers just aren’t listening.
Road deaths in NSW fell dramatically over the last decade up until 2014, when they began to rise again. There were two deaths, 20 serious injuries, and 33 moderate or minor injuries in Tumut last year.
Sergeant Shane Brasen with the Tumut Police Force said that the causes of road accidents are well-known.
“The main causes of our serious accidents are fatigue, speeding, and driving under the influence,” he said.
“So obviously they’re the things that we need to try and cut back on. That’s going to be the case everywhere – it’s usually going to be one of those three things.”
Not using a seatbelt was also a factor in 22 per cent of fatalities on country roads. 280 people have lost their lives on NSW roads this year.