Efforts to beat road toll
STRATEGIES to reduce the Pacific Highway road toll over the holiday period were the big issues of discussion at a NSW Police Highway Patrol conference in Coffs Harbour this week.
Highway patrol officers from across the Northern Region attended along with the hierarchy of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Unit and guests from Roads and Maritime Services.
"The Pacific Highway always features prominently in our road crash and fatality statistics so we are particularly keen to work to reduce that for the full length of the highway over the holiday period," Superintendent Bob Ryan said.
"These meetings allow us to map out the effectiveness of road safety strategies that are in operation to combat the state's road toll.
This week's double fatality in the Clarence Valley saw the road toll rise to 269 for 2014, one fatality more than for the same period last year.
Supt. Ryan said the road toll was the single biggest figure that highway patrol officers serve to change.
"In saying that the road toll last year was the lowest in 90 years," he said.
"It has been coming down progressively since 1978, which was the highest point in terms of fatalities on the roads, and a number of initiatives - the introduction of radar use more broadly, random breath and drug testing and improvements to road design and the safety of vehicles have all contributed to this decrease.
"Speed however, is still the big killer on the roads, speed along with alcohol, drugs and fatigue and driver distraction," Supt. Ryan said.
Road toll statistics since 2000 show that speeding was a factor in twice as many fatalities as fatigue, causing roughly 40% of all road deaths in New South Wales.
From 2000 to 2013, an average of 190 people have died each year in speed-related crashes.