Sharp rise in road toll sparks call for investment

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road accidents
An all too common sight on Australia's roads

After being on a downward trend for four decades, the road toll in Australia has increased sharply … sparking renewed calls for more investment in road safety.

The Australian newspaper reports that – from January to September this year – 1273 Australians were killed in road accidents, an annual increase of 86, and almost 150 more deaths than the low point reached in March 2015 when the 12-month rolling average was 1129 fatalities.

According to the AAA’s latest, Australian Road Assessment Program report, known as AusRAP, the worst road section in the country, based on five years of data from 2010 to 2014, is western Sydney’s Parramatta Road from Concord to the M7 Westlink, where there have been 788 “casualty crashes” including six deaths arising from the almost 100,000 vehicles a day using the road.

A casualty crash is defined as any road crash in which at least one person is killed or injured.

The Australian says Queensland has four roads in the worst 10 sections of the national network, with the most dangerous being the M1 from the Smith Street Motorway to the Logan Motorway, used by 137,200 vehicles a day and where 19 people have been killed in 563 serious accidents.

RACQ said the Bruce Highway accounted for 11 of 21 high-risk sections of national highway identified in Queensland.

Three highways in Tasmania are listed among the country’s worst, with a 7 kilometre section of the Bass Highway between Burnie and Penguin the worst, recording 67 serious crashes and one death.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said government figures suggested the rising road toll was costing the national economy $34 billion annually and called for evidence-based road upgrades.

“However we would also ask our government to reflect upon the more than 1200 Australian families sitting down to Christmas lunch this Sunday wishing that there was another person at their table,” he said. “The social cost of our rising road toll is immeasurable, which is why the AAA … will share this report with state and federal governments.”

·         Which stretch of road do you most ‘dread’ driving on? Comment below.

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4 Responses to Sharp rise in road toll sparks call for investment

  1. I have travelled on all of these roads and yet sections that are listed are some of the best road conditions in the country. The sections that road conditions are very poor don’t even rate a mentiin. So one has to ask, is it the road or is it the driver? All I see is that where the road conditiins are good but continue to attract fatalities and severe injuries is because of the high volume of vehicles. We need to stop balming the roads and look at the way the deivers behave on them.

    • Absolutely agree with the comment of Sue Powers. Drivers cause the accidents, not the roads, not the cars, not lack of road safety messages. Money is not the answer – driver awareness, driver capabilities, driver impatience etc. are the answers.

  2. I agree with Sue, Stop blaming the roads and look at the driving habits of the Drivers,
    As Christmas gets closer, people seem to be in an all-fired hurry to get to the shops, they are like animals on all freeways, cutting you off, changing lanes with-out signalling, and driving at supersonic speeds, then they wonder why they crash,
    I’m staying home, the Idiots can have the racetracks ( er roads )

  3. Yep, right with the comments above. Compared to my younger days in NQ, the roads are so much better and the cars far safer. So, what’s changed? Well, the vehicles are far better, but are more readily available and despite being safer, can go a lot faster without the feeling of “Hmmm, this is too fast.” So much of it has to be driver behaviour. Having said that, there are things which can be done to make the roads better – and they are being done. The latest thing seems to be the lines down the middle of the road – have you noticed, the roads are being widened, an instead of a narrow centre line, the practice seems to be two lines separated by about half a meter. Should help keep oncoming traffic away from each other.

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