Speed is still the biggest killer on the state’s roads as NSW recorded its worst road toll in three years.
There were 348 deaths on the roads in 2015, which was 41 more than the previous year.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay urged everyone to make road safety a top priority in the new year.”It’s incredibly disappointing, especially considering the amount of resources we’ve put into driver education and on ensuring high visibility deterrents are in place,” he said on Saturday.
“It’s incredibly disappointing, especially considering the amount of resources we’ve put into driver education and on ensuring high visibility deterrents are in place,” he said on Saturday.
“That’s 41 people that didn’t go back to their families.”
Speed remained the top killer, followed by fatigue, the minister said. Drink and drug driving were equal third.
Pedestrian, passenger, motorcyclist and P-plater deaths spiked from the previous year, Mr Gay said.
Pedestrian deaths jumped from 42 to 62 and deaths from P-plate crashes were up by 16 to 50. There was also a 33 per cent increase in fatalities on metropolitan roads.
“There are areas we need to improve, because frankly an increase of 41 is not the standard we aspire to, we want it to keep going down.” Mr Gay said.
The 2014 road toll was a record low, and although the toll increased in 2015, Mr Gay said it was the third-lowest total since 1925.
The executive director of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, Bernard Carlon, said specific initiatives had been introduced to target key areas of concern, including drug driving.
“Tougher mobile phone penalties had also been introduced to encourage everyone, particularly young drivers, to get their hand off it,” Mr Carlon said.
Assistant Police Commissioner John Hartley said police would maintain a high-visibility presence on the state’s roads for the rest of the holiday period.
“Police are targeting drink- and drug-driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts or helmets and fatigue over this period,” he said. “Everyone’s New Year’s resolution should be prioritising road safety to ensure you and your family aren’t part of these tragic statistics.”
Operation Arrive Alive, launched over the 2015-2016 holiday period, has so far resulted in 13,645 speed infringements and 703,963 breath tests. There have been 1250 major crashes and 15 fatalities over the period.
“The current Operation Arrive Alive road toll stands at six more than at the same time last year,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said. “Driving over the signed speed limit is simply foolish. It’s not only your own life you’re putting at risk, but other innocent lives of motorists and road users around you.”
As part of the operation, double demerit points apply for certain offences including speeding and mobile phone use. Double demerits conclude Sunday night and resume before Australia Day, from January 22 to 26.
This news was originally published in SMH.