By Mitchell Clarke
Regional road users are under the spotlight, urged to take care on the roads, after research indicated risky road behaviour is significantly higher amongst rural drivers compared to city drivers.
Friday 31 May will mark the Fatality Free Friday, an initiative by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) which aims to foster community ownership, complex road safety issues and encourage road users to make a significant difference in reducing road trauma.
While road trauma is the number one killer of children aged 14 and under, and the second highest killer of young people aged under 24, the new research has put the spotlight on the dangerous behaviours of regional drivers.
Damning research shows that one third of regional Victorian drivers admit to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while one quarter admit to speeding on a regular basis.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said that this was the tip of the iceberg, with risky road behaviour continuing to climb when driving solo.
“While parents are most guilty of bad behaviour with children in the car, the majority of rural drivers seem to believe it is acceptable to take even greater risks if it’s just themselves in the car,” Mr White said.
“The research shows that when we’re driving along, the likelihood of taking a risk increases by roughly 20 per cent, with men more likely than women to take risks on the road.
“The stark reality is that any time you take a risk behind the wheel, you are putting the lives of every motorist, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian around you at risk.”
Fatality Free Friday launched in 2007 and continues to expand its operation, now being recognised as Australia’s only national community based road safety program.
Road users can #ChooseRoadSafety and commit to reducing the nation’s road toll by taking the pledge at: https://arsf.com.au/take-the-pledge/.