A man is on the run in Melbourne’s southeast. Picture: file photo, Bill Hearne
A man is on the run in Melbourne’s southeast. Picture: file photo, Bill Hearne

Efforts to reduce road toll

EVERY life lost is one too many and, sadly in 2017, we lost 392 on NSW roads.

That's 392 people lost to their friends, families and communities forever.

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 408, 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.

The State Government is 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 on 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 State Government this year launched road safety education campaigns Be Truck Aware and Saving Lives on Country Roads.

These campaigns were backed up by high-visibility police operations.

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.

Melinda Pavey,

NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister