Road Safety is a Responsibility for Us All
16 December 2013
With many Australians soon heading off on trips for the holiday season, now is an important time to reflect on the responsibility every person has to drive safely during this busy time of the year.
Taking extra care on our roads should be something we all naturally do as responsible road users. Unfortunately this is not always the case and the consequences can be horrific. That is why all Australians have a duty of care to champion the cause of road safety this festive season so we can all remember it as a time of togetherness and not tragedy.
I am pleased to confirm that the latest Road Deaths Australia Monthly Bulletin released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics today shows in the last 12 months to 30 November 2013 deaths on our roads were down 9 per cent on the previous 12 months.
In fact, this was the lowest 12-month count recorded since 1945.
Despite this notable decrease, sadly 1,196 lives were still lost, or more than 1 in every 20,000 Australians.
Encouragingly, the Road Deaths Australia Monthly Bulletin shows that road deaths are down 18.1 per cent and the annual rate of deaths is down 24.6 per cent per population on five years ago.
We know that fatal road crashes can involve a number of factors, including the quality of the road infrastructure, the safety of the vehicle, the experience of the driver and the prevailing weather conditions.
But motorists can—and should—take a few simple precautions to keep the risks to a minimum.
When taking to the road this holiday season plan your trip ahead of time, get plenty of rest before departing, ensure all passengers are properly restrained, take regular breaks and drive to the conditions—and, of course, always refrain from drinking, speeding and using mobile phones.
While technological advances will continue to make vehicles safer there is no substitute for responsible and safe driving.
The Australian Government is committed to delivering safe, quality roads and highways throughout urban and regional Australia. That is why we have committed another $300 million to extend the national Black Spot Programme for a further five years.
The Black Spot Programme provides funding to upgrade known dangerous intersections and stretches of road and has been estimated to prevent over 4,000 accidents and save more than 30 lives each year.
Anyone can nominate sites or sections of road for safety improvements and I encourage people to do so in cooperation with their local elected representatives or other interested community organisations.
Nomination forms for the Black Spot programme are available at: http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/blackspots/nominate_black_spots.aspx
Together we can all make this festive season a safe and happy time for all Australians free from the tragedy of losing a loved one. Stay safe on the roads and have a Merry Christmas.