Drive safely this Christmas
21 December 2015
With Christmas fast approaching many of us are planning to travel to visit family or visit one of our nation's world-class tourism destinations for a holiday. Many of our journeys will be by road and it is important we travel safely so we can all have a happy and safe Christmas.
Sadly, 1,194 people have died on our roads over the past 12 months (to the end of November)—an increase of 19 deaths compared to the previous 12 months. And of course there are a great many more people who are seriously injured in road crashes, spending time in hospital and rehabilitation, with some injuries resulting in permanent disability.
A report to Ministers last month on progress with the National Road Safety Strategy showed that although deaths had decreased by 19 per cent under the strategy, not all areas and road users had benefited equally. Fatalities on remote roads fell by only 6.7 per cent, and there were increased in the numbers of deaths of older drivers and older motorcycle riders, as well as cyclists.
Many of these deaths were avoidable—and there are things you can do to stay safe.
Plan your trips—take adequate rest breaks every couple of hours—and avoid driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And remember seatbelts are not just for show.
Don't touch your mobile phone while driving. That call or message can wait and you don't want the next call to be to emergency services.
Do not drink and drive—have a Plan B. Drive to conditions and within speed limits.
The Australian Government is working with state and territory governments to improve road safety, through the actions we are taking under National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 (the Strategy) and the National Safety Action Plan 2015–2017. The Australian Government has continued to implement safer vehicle standards, and has made a record investment in road improvements through programmes such as the $500 million Black Spot Programme.
Despite the increase in deaths this year, the work done by governments has led to positive results. The annual number of people killed in road crashes has reduced by almost 20 per cent since the implementation of the Strategy and this work will continue.
Please think about your safety and the safety of other road users at this special time of year. Don't rush and make sure you obey the road rules.
Have a great Christmas and stay safe.