For too long, complacency has been a killer on regional roads, with research showing it’s middle-aged men, not p-platers, most likely to fall victim to the road toll.
Fairfax Media NSW and the department of transport have teamed up to encourage drivers to rethink their actions and Survive the Drive.
Through a new campaign, launched Monday, the organisation hopes to shine a spotlight on the ripple effect of trauma, the risks contributing to fatalities and the devastating impact of road crashes on families, community and emergency services.
Over the past five years, 36 people have died on Albury road and 357 people seriously injured.
But the toll felt by the community each time a number is added to that statistic, cannot be measured.
Behind every figure is a person whose family, friends, neighbours and community are forever changed.
At every crash scene, hidden by sirens and flashing lights, people working or volunteering as first responders, face unforgettable trauma.
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said country people were disproportionately represented in the road toll, with two third of NSW fatalities occurring in regional areas.
“Of those 354 fatal crashes, 272 of those fatalities occurred in regional NSW,” she said.
“We are one third of people but constantly two-thirds of fatalities.
“It’s not just about road and road quality it’s about driver behaviour.”
Statistics show excessive or inappropriate speed was a factor in 47 per cent of country fatalities, fatigue a factor in 28 per cent, alcohol in 20 per cent and not using seatbelts in 21 per cent.
Ms Pavey said there were no excuses when it came to road safety.
“We need to confront the issue,” she said.
“We need to make a difference on country roads.
“354 – just image that number of people.
“They aren’t just numbers they are our friends, family and colleagues – we all have too many stories people lost on our roads, particularly in country NSW.”
Deputy premier John Barilaro said a NSW advertising campaign, run in conjunction with Fairfax’s campaign, was fantastic and would deal with issues specifically being seen in country NSW.
“The numbers are too high,” he said.
“In the regions often country people believe it is city people visiting the regions who are dying on the roads – it’s not, it’s locals.
“It’s a timely message especially at Christmas as people travel across the state and country on regional roads.”
#SurviveTheDrive will tell the stories of those affected by crashes, those left behind and those fighting to prevent any deaths on our roads.