Re­duc­ing loss of life on ru­ral roads

Calls for ru­ral mo­torists to change driv­ing be­hav­iours

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - RURAL -

WITH re­ports that two thirds of road deaths have oc­curred on re­gional roads, the Aus­tralian Road Safety Foun­da­tion is call­ing on every­day road users to jump in the driver seat of ru­ral road safety.

De­spite mak­ing up only 16.5 per cent of the na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion, re­gional road deaths ac­count for a stag­ger­ing two in ev­ery three deaths across the na­tion.

To sup­port the in­au­gu­ral Ru­ral Road Safety Week the ARSF com­mis­sioned new re­search that re­vealed that both re­gional and metro driv­ers changed their driv­ing be­hav­iour when on ru­ral roads.

In fact, ac­cord­ing to the data, one in three Aus­tralians were more likely to break a road rule when driv­ing on ru­ral roads, com­pared to city or sub­ur­ban streets.

Rus­sell White, CEO and founder of ARSF urged Aus­tralians – both re­gional and city-based – to take own­er­ship for their role in re­duc­ing the ru­ral road toll.

“While there are a num­ber of fac­tors that con­trib­ute to the re­gional road toll, it’s every­day Aus­tralians that hold the key to safer roads” Mr White said.

“The re­search has told us that the main rea­son driv­ers are tak­ing more risks on ru­ral roads is be­cause they’re less likely to get caught.

“We will con­tinue to see this sig­nif­i­cant and un­nec­es­sary loss of life on re­gional roads, un­til we make the ef­fort to shift this men­tal­ity so that we’re driv­ing with safety front of mind.”

The ARSF re­search also high­lighted key dif­fer­ences in at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours be­tween ru­ral and city driv­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the data, re­gional driv­ers were more likely to en­gage in dan­ger­ous be­hav­iour in­clud­ing driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, driv­ing fa­tigued, not wear­ing a seat­belt and speed­ing.

In fact, when it came to com­mit­ting key road safety risks – metro driv­ers only scored worse than their coun­try coun­ter­parts when it came to driv­ing dis­tracted.

How­ever, the re­search also showed that it was re­gional road driv­ers who also recog­nised that a shift in at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours would have the big­gest im­pact on the road toll.

“Ac­knowl­edg­ing that every­day road users have a per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity is the first step,” he said.

The ARSF re­search was con­ducted by a third-party re­search com­pany, Pure Pro­file, and was an on­line sur­vey of more than 1000 li­censed Aus­tralians, na­tion­ally rep­re­sented by gen­der, age and lo­ca­tion.

‘‘

WE WILL CON­TINUE TO SEE THIS SIG­NIF­I­CANT AND UN­NEC­ES­SARY LOSS OF LIFE ON RE­GIONAL ROADS, UN­TIL WE MAKE THE EF­FORT TO SHIFT THIS MEN­TAL­ITY SO THAT WE’RE DRIV­ING WITH SAFETY FRONT OF MIND. RUS­SELL WHITE, CEO AND FOUNDER OF ARSF

Photo: Ray Cash

COUNTNG THE COST: ARSF founder and CEO Rus­sell White.

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