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Don't be a Christmas statistic: road toll already on the increase.



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19 December 2000 B58/2000

DON’T BE A CHRISTMAS STATISTIC -ROAD TOLL ALREADY ON THE INCREASE

“Don’t be a Christmas statistic” was the plea following today’s release of road fatalities showing an additional 45 lives have been lost on Australia’s roads so far - the rise occurring across all states and territories except Western Australia and Tasmania.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Ron Boswell, urged Christmas drivers to take extra precautions by switching off the mobile phone, remain alert for oncoming irresponsible drivers and of course, don’t speed or drive when fatigued.

“To-date there have been 1661 fatalities - the rising trend continues to be contributed to by an increase in deaths of male drivers and passenger according to the latest figures in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Road Fatalities Australia: November Monthly Bulletin,” he said.

“Fortunately, there has been an overall drop in pedestrian fatalities.”

Senator Boswell said with the Christmas holidays now upon us these latest road fatality figures come as a timely reminder of the road safety dangers that Christmas will bring.

“All too often the joy and happiness of the festive season is destroyed forever for some families by the horror of road trauma,” he said.

“Driver fatigue and alcohol are among the major causes of road death at Christmas.  It is frustrating to know that these dangers can be avoided if drivers only took a few simple precautions.”

Research shows that people should avoid driving during the hours when they normally sleep - start your trip after a full night’s sleep.

“People walking home from celebrations also need to be mindful of the fact that inebriation is involved in more than one in three deaths of adult and young pedestrians on Australia’s roads.

“Hosts and the operators of licensed premises can also make a major contribution by facilitating safe homeward journeys by their guests.

“A major commitment will be needed from all of the community if we are going to achieve a safer Christmas on our roads this year,” Senator Boswell said.

The November road toll (November 1999 figures in brackets) was: New South Wales 48 (48), Victoria 42 (30), Queensland 26 (28), South Australia 10 (13), Western Australia 18 (23), Tasmania five (eight), Northern Territory five (three), Australian Capital Territory nil (two).

Media Contact: Senator Boswell's Office: (07) 3001 8150 / (0414) 426 614

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Tuesday, 19 December 2000