Rural road users urged to take road safety seriously

The Australia Government has joined the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), in urging all motorists using rural roads to reconsider their behaviour and put road safety first, during this Rural Road Safety Month and beyond.

Rural Road Safety Month was launched in 2018, following research showing rural road users were over-represented in the nation’s road toll for death and serious injury.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said, with rural road fatalities making up two thirds of last year’s national road toll, the community must come together and recognise that road safety is everyone’s business.

“The Australian Government is committed to getting Australians home sooner and safer, which is why we committed $500 million for a Targeted Road Safety package to help keep Australian drivers safe as they emerge from COVID-19 restrictions — however, we cannot do it alone,” Mr McCormack said.

“Last year 835 people lost their lives on regional roads, devastating their friends and communities and leaving behind 835 mourning families.

“It is the job of every motorist or rider across the country to help us bring that number down to zero because even one death or one crash on our roads is one too many.”

Assistant Minister Buchholz said the Morrison-McCormack Government had put road safety high on the agenda and was working closely with road safety advocates, state and local governments and stakeholders to ensure investments were delivering targeted outcomes.

“The Australian Government has a long-term plan, a 10-year infrastructure vision with a pipeline of projects and investment worth $100 billion. These projects will improve our road network and make safety improvements across the country,” Mr Buchholz said.

“We have also opened the Office of Road Safety to provide greater leadership and coordination of road safety efforts at a national level. This is putting road safety at the forefront of our transport infrastructure investment program and is bringing all levels of government together.”

Australian Road Safety Foundation founder and CEO Russell White said every driver, whether city or country based, must take ownership of their role in reducing the regional road toll.

“Despite smaller population numbers, 109 people have already lost their lives on New South Wales' rural roads this year, which shows that just one dangerous choice can have dire consequences,” Mr White said.

"We will continue to see an unnecessary loss of life in rural communities until we acknowledge that all road users have a personal responsibility to ensure safety is front of mind when behind the wheel.”

Mr Buchholz said there were many factors contributing to the road toll.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. When you get behind the wheel of a car, truck, bike or bus – you’re responsible for doing the right thing. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, wear your seatbelt, stop for regular beaks, slow down and do the right thing.

“The Australian Government is continuing to make targeted investments through the Black Spot Program to address high risk areas, to get people home sooner and safer.

“Similarly, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program is upgrading danger points that experience high traffic flows of heavy vehicles.

“While we will continue to invest in safer roads, there is always more to be done and driver awareness and behaviour is a big factor in road safety. 

“Our Government is also providing vital funding to revitalise the Driver Reviver Program, including $8m for site upgrades.

“I encourage everyone to make the pledge to Choose Road Safety and support rural road safety month through hosting local events or sharing road safety information among staff, students, colleagues, family and friends,” Mr Buchholz said.

Media Contact:

Mr McCormack – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860

Mr Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384