New research has shown that the number of accidents resulting in death or serious injury is disproportionately high in rural and remote areas.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says people outside the major cities have nearly twice the rate of serious road-related injury as those living in metropolitan areas.
The ABC reports that these startling statistics can be attributed to a combination of factors, including vehicle and road characteristics, transport habits, perceptions of risk, and law enforcement rates.
In country areas, for example, there are more dirt roads, more hazardous roadsides, and generally poorer road geometry. There is a greater likelihood of colliding with livestock and wildlife, and more heavy agricultural and mining vehicles on the road.
The release of the research follows a spate of recent caravan rollovers in country areas that have involved a number of grey nomads.
Data from Austroads and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics confirms that people in rural and remote areas tend to travel longer distances than city people, and this places them at higher risk of fatigue-related accidents.
A higher percentage of crashes in rural and remote areas are attributable to fatigue, not wearing a seatbelt, speed, alcohol and driving without a licence. The fact that country drivers generally travel at higher speeds means they have a greater risk of serious injury or fatality in the event of a crash.
In terms of improving road safety in rural and remote areas, the ABC reports that removing roadside hazards and having clearer road markings have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of rural road crashes.