NSW government's Road Safety Plan hopes to make country roads safer

According to data from the Roads and Maritime Services in the Orana region a total of 856 people have been killed or seriously injured on our roads since 2012. Photo: FILE
According to data from the Roads and Maritime Services in the Orana region a total of 856 people have been killed or seriously injured on our roads since 2012. Photo: FILE

NSW roads are to be made safer with the NSW government releasing their Road Safety Plan.

Last Wednesday member for Barwon Kevin Humphries released the NSW government’s Road Safety Plan, which aims to reduce the road toll after 392 people lost their lives on NSW roads in 2017.  

The comprehensive package addresses a number of issues including, speeding, drink driving, drug driving, driver distraction, driver fatigue, truck safety and funding to improve safety on country roads.

Mr Humphries said the Road Safety Plan is a concerted effort to save lives by making sure roads and vehicles are as safe as possible.

“Every 41 minutes in NSW someone is either killed or seriously injured on our roads, leaving families and friends with the heartache,” Mr Humphries said.

Mr Humphries said one of the biggest challenges remains on country roads, which accounted for almost 70 per cent of the state’s road toll last year.

Detailed data from the Roads and Maritime Services has revealed that in the Orana region a total of 856 people have been killed or seriously injured on our roads since 2012. 

“If you live in the country you are four times more likely to die in a road crash than if you live in metro NSW,” Mr Humphries said.

“This is why we will roll out 1600 kilometres of rumble strips and 300 kilometres in targeted safety works, such as flexible, wire-rope barriers to help prevent run-off-road and head-on crashes on our road network, including the Princes Highway,” he said.

The plan has allocated an initial $125 million for a new Saving Lives on Country Roads program which will include safety barriers, tactile line marking, wide centre lines and safety upgrades of high risk curves. 

It has also allowed $11 million for pedestrian and cyclist safety improvements including traffic calming measures, pedestrian refuges and crossings to keep cyclists and walkers safe. 

Mr Humphries agreed that there is more the government can do to make NSW roads safer and this plan makes this apparent. 

Other measures announced in the plan today included, expanding the mandatory alcohol interlock program to include all mid-range drink driving offenders, where drivers must provide a negative sample for the vehicle to start. 

Police will be given the power to issue on the spot fines and licence suspensions for low range drink driving and amendments to legislation to allow camera technology to be used to enforce mobile phone offences. 

These measures are in addition to last month’s crack down on drug drivers, which saw cocaine added to the list of drugs subject to testing, and the number of roadside drug tests double from 100,000 a year to 200,000 a year by 2020.

The Road Safety Plan will bring the government’s total commitment to targeted road safety programs from the Community Road Safety Fund to $1.4 billion over five years.

The Road Safety Plan includes a number of key initiatives for immediate implementation as well as a number of other key measures that will be subject to review and consultation.

A review into driving on prescription drugs has been requested by April and the NSW sentencing council will be tasked with reporting back on sentencing of repeat traffic offenders who may pose an ongoing risk to the community.

The initiatives announced today are in addition to ongoing programs, including our Safer Roads infrastructure program, safety around schools and mandatory road safety education for every child in NSW.