Councils across NSW are joining police and the NSW Government in calling on motorists to put safety first as they head off on holidays and other leisure activities over the 2018 Easter long weekend.
Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said there had been an alarming increase in the number of fatalities and serious injuries occurring on the NSW road system over the past few years.
“In 2017, 392 people lost their lives on NSW roads,” Cr Scott said.
“Of these fatalities, 50 per cent occurred on local roads, as did 54 per cent of serious injuries.
“Around 70 per cent of all the 2017 fatalities occurred on country roads, while a majority of serious injuries happened in metropolitan areas.
“Analysis undertaken by the NSW Government found speeding was a factor in 42 per cent of all road fatalities, tiredness in 18 per cent, and drink-driving in 15 per cent. And we all know how dangerous distraction while driving can be, like texting and other hands-on mobile use in the car.
“Local roads make up about 90 per cent of the entire state’s road network and it’s particularly important that all spheres of government – local, state and federal – work together to play their part in helping to drive down the road toll.
“One death is one too many, and that is why NSW councils are standing shoulder to shoulder with police and other government agencies to play their part.”
Clr Scott said the local government sector was already working with the NSW Government to support grassroots Towards Zero initiatives.
This included consultation around urban high-risk areas where speed limits may need to be changed, and the Government’s Saving Lives on Country Roads Program, which involves safety infrastructure upgrades targeting high risk curves and key routes, including local roads.
“This fresh commitment to a partnership approach is particularly important, with life cycle cost to maintain and renew the roads and bridges network estimated at $1.527 billion per year.
“To date there has been a life-cycle funding gap of $447 million per year, which is where the maintenance backlog comes in.
“The NSW Government largely maintained funding for the Regional Road Block Grant in 2017’s State Budget, and delivered an overall $10.7 million boost to the Fixing Country Roads program.
“In Easter 2018 we’re joining with police and the State Government to urge everyone on the roads to:
- slow down and drive to conditions, not to a deadline
- take frequent breaks during distance drives
- stay out of the driver’s seat if you’ve been drinking, and
- keep the mobile phone hands-free.
“Easter is a time for family, reflection and relaxation – let’s take special effort on the roads to make sure everyone gets to enjoy it.”