Don't let complacency kill your Christmas

5 December 2018

Strong reforms are influencing driver behavior and attitudes, as nineteen fewer people have died on our roads than the same time last year, but history shows complacency kills when behind the wheel.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey is calling on all motorists to be their best self when on the road this holiday period.

“Last December was by anyone’s measure a shocker. Forty lives were lost in 31 days, up from the 28 killed over the same period in 2016.The sobering fact is that all 40 deaths were preventable,” Mrs Pavey said.

“As a country Member of Parliament, what I’m most encouraged about is the reduction in regional fatalities this year, 24 fewer than in 2017, as those in the regions are one third the population but two thirds of the road toll.”

The Liberals and Nationals have taken tough action to make our roads safer releasing the Road Safety Plan 2021 in February 2018, and have delivered;

New laws have passed Parliament that:

  • Enable testing of emerging camera-based technology to detect mobile phone offences (commenced 1 July 2018)
  • Increase penalties for driving under the influence offences to align with high-range drink driving (commenced 1 July 2018)
  • Add cocaine to the roadside mobile drug testing program – a first for Australia (commenced 1 July 2018)
  • Extend the mandatory alcohol interlock program to middle-range drink driving first time offenders (commenced 3 December 2018)
  • Allow vehicle sanctions to be applied for high-risk, repeat drink driving offenders (commenced 3 December 2018)
  • Apply on-the-spot fines and 3 month licence suspensions for low-range drink driving and drug presence first offences (commences 20 May 2019).

NSW Road Rules have been updated to:

  • Increase demerit points for mobile phone offences from 4 to 5 (commenced September 2018)
  • Make permanent the Minimum Passing Distance Rule (following a two-year trial) to improve the safety of both cyclists and drivers on our roads (commenced May 2018)
  • Allow children under 16 years to ride bicycles on the footpath, up from the current limit of under 12 years, with a supervising adult also permitted (commenced July 2018).

We have also commenced:

  • Testing of camera technology to detect illegal mobile phone use – a world-first.
  • A telematics trial involving more than 930 young drivers from across Western Sydney and regional NSW to evaluate the road safety benefits of these devices.
  • Doubling our roadside drug testing, towards our target of 200,000 drug tests annually by 2020
  • In the NSW 2018/19 Budget, the Liberals & Nationals announced a boost of $600 million for road safety. This will deliver a record $1.9 billion in road safety initiatives over the next five years.

Priority areas include:

  • $640 million to save lives on country roads through infrastructure safety upgrades
  • $250 million for enhanced enforcement, including 50 additional highway patrol officers in regional areas, roadside alcohol testing and a doubling of mobile drug testing
  • $180 million to increase liveability and safety in urban communities through infrastructure safety upgrades for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users

Round one of the Saving Lives on Country Roads program was announced in September 2018 – with $50 million being invested in 97 projects.

“This December, please use your head when you’re on a bike or behind the wheel. Think and Drive, survive and thrive this festive season, and give the best gift of all to those you love by being there on Christmas Day,” Mrs Pavey said

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