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Christmas road safety message.

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21 December 2000 A202/2000


Last December, 142 people died on Australia’s roads. Whether that tragedy is repeated on the same scale this year depends on decisions that millions of individual Australians will make over the next fortnight, the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

“If we all decide to do what we have always done, the outcome will be much the same as last year,” Mr Anderson said. “But if each of us wants to, we can contribute to a safer and happier holiday season.”

By the end of November, the national road toll for the year reached 1661, or 45 more than in the first 11 months of 1999.  Road deaths increased in all states and territories except Western Australia and Tasmania.

It’s up to all of us as road users to reverse this trend. The cars we use are being built to higher safety standards and dangerous sections of the roads are being fixed, but how we use the road is where both the problem and the opportunity to quickly improve road safety lies.”

The new National Road Safety Strategy released last month sets the goal of reducing the fatality rate by 40 per cent over the next decade.

“This goal is ambitious, but with strenuous effort it is achievable. State and Territory transport ministers have joined me in committing to this goal. We have also asked for the continued support of all involved in road safety, including police, motoring associations, health providers, vehicle and transport industries, and especially individual road users.”

Driver fatigue, speed and alcohol are still the major dangers on the road at Christmas.

Fatigue can be avoided with a few simple precautions. Start long trips after a full night’s sleep, and avoid trip plans that involve driving when you would normally be asleep. Allow time for a break every couple of hours. If you do start to feel drowsy, don’t press on: stop straight away. The first signs of nodding off can be the last warning a driver gets.

Easing up on the accelerator is one of the most important things people can do to reduce the risk to themselves and others.  Trimming just a few kilometres per hour off your normal speed on a road can make the difference between a close shave, and an irreversible disaster.

The risk of drinking and driving is widely known, but pedestrians are also at risk from intoxication. People walking home from celebrations need to know that more than one in three adult and young pedestrians killed on Australia’s roads were intoxicated.

“People need not die on our roads.  If we commit ourselves we can make our roads safer this Christmas. I sincerely hope we do,” Mr Anderson said.

Media Contact: Paul Chamberlin: (02) 6277 7680 / (0419) 233 989

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Thursday, 21 December 2000