The first road safety campaign targeting the high accident and fatality rate on NSW country roads has been launched.
'Saving Lives On Country Roads' highlights the hidden crisis occurring on the state’s regional road network and is designed to kick start a new conversation in the country by challenging the ‘yeah, but ... !’ excuses many drivers make to justify risk-taking behaviours.
“We need to face-up to the fact that far too many country people are crashing and dying on our roads,” the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said.
“Last year we lost 252 people in the country. This is two-thirds of the road toll for the entire state.
“In Oxley, 48 people lost their lives and 444 were seriously injured between 2012 to 2016.
"This situation cannot go on and is why the campaign targets country drivers with the fact that it’s not tourists or people from the city dying on country roads, it’s locals.
“It’s also time for the excuses to stop. It’s not good enough for drivers to say things like ‘Yeah, but I was only going a few k's over the limit’ or ‘Yeah, but I didn’t bother with a break as I was so close to home’ or ‘Yeah, but I only had a few drinks’.”
As part of the campaign, the NSW Government and Transport for NSW will partner with local councils, community groups and local industries to help spread this important safety message across regional NSW.
Campaign ambassador and NSW farmer Sam Bailey said people in local communities needed to start talking about the problem.
“I became a quadriplegic as a result of taking a risk and not wearing a seatbelt. I was thrown from a moving vehicle and my life has never been the same,” Mr Bailey said.
“Recently I lost a dear friend in a road crash on a country road – this tragedy is real and it is happening to our families and friends.
“I never thought I would end up a victim of a road crash, and I never imagined one of my friends would be killed on the road, but I am living proof that tragedy is real and it can happen to you, even if you think you are indestructible.”