Greater caution required on rural roads

L - R: ARSF ambassador and Supercars Champion Craig Lowndes, ARSF founder Russell White and Suncorp Representative Daniel Wilkinson. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is urging drivers to take greater care when driving on rural roads, after recent data found two in three road deaths happen in regional areas.

According to the Australian Government Road Deaths Database there were 1148 fatalities on Australian roads in the 12 months to July this year.

The ARSF released its own national study on September 1 to mark the beginning of Rural Road Safety Month.

The research showed that a quarter of Australian drivers are more likely to break a road rule when in regional areas.

And the risk is not for those living in regional areas, as the data also found that 39 per cent of drivers in the state utilise a regional road at least once a week.

ARSF founder and chief executive officer Russell White said the research painted a picture of the need to reform dangerous driving habits in non-metropolitan areas.

“The risks being taken are choices. It just really goes to show that empowering more people to choose road safety is going to have the biggest impact on reducing the tragic loss of life and serious injury on our roads,” he said.

“We now have strong evidence that when it comes to prevdenting road trauma in regional areas, drivers from across greater Melbourne and built up areas carry an equal responsibility to local residents.”

But the data also indicated the public’s desire to be better informed on the issue of road safety.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents said they wished they were educated on how to drive in dangerous conditions, while 83 per cent said there should be more community awareness and education on the topic of road safety.

Mr White said the ASRF is encouraging businesses and community groups to raise awareness through hosting local events.

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