New South Wales (NSW) Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey has joined Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy to appeal to everyone to make driving safely their number one New Year’s resolution.
The plea comes after 392 people lost their lives on NSW roads in 2017, 12 more than in 2016.
“Every life lost is one too many and sadly in 2017 we lost 392,” Mrs Pavey said. “That’s 392 people lost to their friends, families and communities forever. Let’s not forget the thousands of people across NSW who had to face the heartache of losing someone to a road crash and the many thousands more who are learning to live with lifelong injuries from crashes.”
Mrs Pavey said that, since 2009, when the road toll hit 408, road deaths had been declining steadily year on year. However, there has been a recent spike in fatalities.
“In 2017, as with 2016, speed was the biggest killer with 168 people losing their lives because someone was driving too fast. That is more than 40% of our road toll,” she said. “The other big killers – tired drivers, drivers who’ve had too much to drink – were again a big problem in 2017.”
Mrs Pavey highlighted that the state had made some positive reductions in 2017. Following a major campaign, and a significant boost to pedestrian safety infrastructure, pedestrian deaths were down from 71 to 54. Deaths involving drivers and passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt were down by 13 to 30.
However, vehicle passenger deaths increased from 54 to 82, female deaths increased from 97 to 118 and deaths of people aged 60 to 69 increased up from 40 to 52. Deaths from heavy truck crashes increased from 56 to 81.
NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said while most drivers drive sensibly, it is the ones that don’t care who are putting everyone at risk.
“The tragedy is that nearly every one of those lives lost, was the result of a driver or rider making a bad decision,” he said. “This year, I want everyone behind the wheel, on a bike, or crossing a road to think about what they are doing and take responsibility for their actions.”