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1,153 deaths on Australian roads this year.



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Media Release

SENATOR RON BOSWELL

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR

TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL SERVICES

LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY IN THE SENATE

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

 

1,153 DEATHS ON AUSTRALIAN ROADS THIS YEAR

 

22 September 1999

 

There were 1,1 53 people killed on Australian roads to the end of August 1999 according to figures released today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Senator Ron Boswell.

 

Commenting on the Federal Office of Road Safety (FORS) Road Fatalities Australia August Monthly Bulletin , Senator Boswell said he was disappointed that improvement so far this year had been very small.

 

“Although we have registered a decrease over the same period last year, when 1,156 people died, it is very minor at just 0.3 per cent”, Senator Boswell said.

 

“We continue to struggle with the shocking toll that occurs on our roads. During August, there were 136 deaths and many more seriously injured as a result of road crashes.

 

“Over the past twelve months, despite the conscientious efforts of the police, the number of drivers killed has risen by 9.4 per cent. The number of pedestrian deaths has also risen by 2.6 per cent.”

 

“I support the efforts of state and local government to introduce 50 kilometre per hour speed limits in appropriate residential areas. I encourage the introduction of even lower limits in inner urban areas and around schools. These are initiatives that will result in safer roads for all.”

 

Senator Boswell said that appropriate speed zoning was one of the greatest challenges for road safety as we move into the next millennium. He noted that appropriate speed limits did  not always imply lower limits and that there could be a good case for increasing limits on some roads.

 

Noting the recent increase in driver fatalities, Senator Boswell repeated his appeal to drivers to adopt safe driving practices.

 

“Avoiding drink-driving and excessive speed, taking regular breaks to counteract driver fatigue and always wearing seat belts provides the foundation for reducing the road toll”, Senator Boswell said.

 

Senator Boswell said that the revised National Road Safety Strategy being developed for decision by Federal and State Transport Ministers early next year, could deliver a major reduction in road deaths.

 

“Emerging technology can be used to make our roads safer. For example vehicle based systems can automatically alert emergency services of the location and severity of a crash, or to make sure a car keeps a safe distance from the one in front. Alcohol interlocks can prevent an intoxicated driver from starting their car. We need to act decisively to grasp this technology and ensure it is applied quickly,” Senator Boswell said.

 

“A new National Strategy is the ideal means of coordinating the actions of the many players in road safety to deliver these systems.”

 

“We should not overlook pushing harder with conventional solutions either. There are plenty of legs left in measures like making roads safer, especially with our black spot program, and better matching speed limits to conditions,” Senator Boswell said.

 

The August road toll (August 1998 figures in brackets) was: New South Wales 43 (51), Victoria 27 (19), Queensland 25 (25), South Australia 5 (10), Western Australia 25 (18), Tasmania 4 (5), Northern Territory 7 (11), Australian Capital Territory zero (1).

 

Ends

 

Media inquiries: Wendy Whittaker Tel: 07 3001 8150

 

 

jk  1999-09-23  11:01